I just got back from a month in Spain. I took my laptop. And I spent a lot of time getting very little done. I have also come to the conclusion that its impossible to create god rays in mental ray that done take forever to render.
What I have discovered is the wonder of Depth Map shadows, a technique that can look hideous at times but cuts render time so much that its definately worth investigating. Basically I spent hours messing around with useless things like the SSS shaders, totally irrelevant procrastinatory things. BUT! I got a piece of really nice animation done, its about 400 frames which is what? just under 20 seconds? Where the newly rigged detective makes his entrance, knocks on the open door, is ushered in, he closes the door and switches the light on before striding over the check out the corpse.

Here is me trying out genuine depth of field and salivating over the result. None of that Zdepth rubbish...

Still no quick fix for motion blur, I tried downloading reelmotiondoodar, didnt work so well, which is fair enough, I'm not paying $80 for it ;)

Here is all the lighting and shaders tweaked and perfected for optimal render times which then count for nothing because motion blur is a b*tch.
I plan to install Maya on the beast of a PC downstairs and see if I render out this scene.
Magical. Hopefully more fruitful updates to come. Hopefully...

Also! New Bioshock announced with Ken Levine back in charge and good god its exciting!