My first scene shows the book with the diagram of the life cycle of a slime mold on a school desk.
Here is a render without shadows.
Here is a render with shadows.
Is it worth having the shadows (especialy if they are only simple shadows) if it takes an extra 44 seconds per frame. I'm thinking no, unless I happen to find myself with spare time at the end.
The ambient oclusion renders quick enough, which is visible in both renders. It helps ground the objects to the floor. I may as well just stick with that. What are other peoples thoughts no this.
I've already made the decision not to render this at full hd to further reduce render time. If I can keep the render time to no more than a minute per frame, I should be ok.