Great renders, everybody! For various reasons I have decided to announce my retirement from entering New User Contests, and I won't be entering my own render in this one.
In a few days, I'll be coming up on my one-year DAZ anniversary. Of course it's not just about join date--in my one year I've been able to put in more hours rendering and in the forum than some people do in several years, and in that time I've learned a great deal (thanks in large part to those who have given me advice and support during these contests, and elsewhere on this forum). Just in the course of the current project, I've incorporated UberArea lights, UberVolume, geometry shells, fantom occlusion, and subdivision, and for the first time (I think), lit a scene all on my own, without using a lighting preset made by someone else. Of course I still have a loooong way to go, but I'm at the point where I don't quite feel like a "New User" anymore. Which is not to imply that I consider myself "better" than anyone else, or that I think my renders are better...some of you are natural artists (which I am not), or more technically adept--I think the category of "new user" is something that each of us has to define for ourselves, and in my case I feel that I'm starting to stumble through the early stages of intermediacy.
There are other factors as well--one of which is that I don't really have an entry to post. I have a render in progress which I'm very satisfied with--I'll share it when it's finished--but here it is, February already, and I imagine the contest will officially close soon. My last WIP, at minimum, would have needed some postwork, which I haven't done.
I'll definitely be around for future contests, to offer help and advice, and also to submit my own renders for feedback (not as entries). In fact there may be some news about that soon... Best of luck to those who have entered, and congratulations on your progress!