Johnson is experimenting with techniques to efficiently visualize the lypoglycan (long carbohydrate chains shown in green) from Mycoplasma mycoides in 3D, that were first illustrated in a beautiful watercolor painting by my mentor and colleague David Goodsell http://mgl.scripps.edu/people/goodsell/illustration/mycoplasma
Models generated directly by autoFill can be polygon heavy and because there is little data to drive the details of the lypoglycan part of the mycoses model, options like Cinema 4D's hair may be equally accurate, given the limitations of our knowledge, and because they generally render more efficiently, may be more useful in the short term. Casting proper shadows onto the hair, however, appears to be as expensive if not more so, than using actual geometry, e.g., this movie (lypoglycans = hair) rendered with C4Dr13's new Physical camera took almost 15 hours on my macbook air with shadows set to medium. I'll try real hair geometry next and if that speeds things up, I'll return to a bona fide autoFill version of the lypoglycans to see what is fastests.
To make this interactive in a Unity Spinner for autoFill, I'll probably have to resort to polygons with alphas, e.g.http://www.paultosca.com/varga_hair.html.