I've been plugging away at False Idols. Here are some more screenshots. I've taken a page from the experts and started rendering in layers. This speeds things up & saves memory on heavy effect shots. So, for example, in the top shot, I removed the rocket & the fire, and rendered the background and sky. Then I removed the background / sky and rendered only the rocket (with the lighting from the fire particle object) using my background animation as an environment map. Then I rendered the fire (with the rocket as an invisible mask so that the fire that was supposed to be inside of the rocket wouldn't be on top of it) with the previous rocket/background animation as an environment map. As this part involved a wacky amount of particles, it still took three days to render. However, rendering everything at once would have taken the computer two weeks.
Speaking of tips from the pros, kudos to 3d World magazine's Mental Roy column for commenting on how horribly trendy & slick the new Dr. Who show is. "Is the Master going to be wearing a North Face jacket?" Blech. Time to pop another Tom Baker episode into the VHS player.