Well, after 3+ days (72 hrs +) of rendering, I was just over a quarter finished. Realizing I needed to speed up my render times, I stopped, did some quick research, and found out I had a few things turned on that didn't need to be on but was adding about 5-7 mins per frame. Much better after. Since I had it stopped, I decided to look at what had been done.

The walk down the hallway was so bad that I couldn't continue. The problem is something called banding. This happens a lot in "low light" situations and especially when gradients are used. A computer can only generate so many colours (that seems like a ridiculous statement), but when you lower (or brighten) the light level, less colours are available. A gradient is when you smoothly transition from one colour to another with no breaks. Well, add dark and gradient together and you get banding. Banding is when the computer runs out of colours within the transition thus producing very noticeable borders between blocks of colour. This is what I'm getting and what I have been trying to fix for the past 4 days. This is a known issue within Blender and so to compensate for this, you use something called dither. Dither adds a low level noise filter to the affected ares thus "smearing" the border pixels. It has a smoothing effect that works quite well. But for the life of me, I can't make it work! I can see the effect when I apply it within Blender, but when I save the file, dither is not applied. I just don't get it. Not only that, there is almost zero documentation on how to make dither work, or how to get rid of the banding issue in general. And nobody is answering my question in the forums that I am posting. rrrrrrrrr


Now, the image above has this banding issue but it's not very noticeable. But trust me. When I see it as a video, it pretty much unwatchable. Bad week. :(