Image courtesy of Antonio Arroyo and Oliver Villar
Ok, so the title posits something that might seem really obvious if you know even just a little about distributed rendering. Thats why this article is going to not just explain what it is but show you why its really really important to you as an artist that you understand how to use it and the importance of a render farm to your project.
An Explanation - Distributed Rendering
Distributed rendering is where you render either a single frame or multiple frames using several computers instead of just one. We're going to go into more detail about why this is faster but for now we'll spell out the basics.
There are two main methods for distributing rendering. The first and slightly easier method frame splitting. This is where an animation is rendered by distributing its frames over several computers. Each computer renders some percentage of all the frames in the animation. We've made a simple example to follow along to where an animation of nine frames is to be rendered on three computers.
With frame splitting, a "master" node usually coordinates the render, sometimes this node (a technical name for a computer) will render some of the frames, some times it acts as a manager and controls the render, but does not render any frames itself. In our example, all the computers render.
The "slave" or "render" nodes are given some of the animation to render, in this example; three frames each.
If all three computers are the same in terms of processing power, then they will all complete the render in a third of the time just one of the would take. This is why distributed rendering is so important to artists, you can scale down your render time by adding more computers.
The second method for distributing rendering is "bucket re