I have a couple of questions I would like to put out to those who know a lot more about this than myself :)
1) My object scene has 5 parts. I have 3 materials. I need to render all permutations of material and part. Right now I am feeding permutations in via a script but every render takes 4 minutes. As my number of materials grows my permutations become exponential and the render time can become 85 years very fast on 1 machine. Are there any ways in which this kind of permutation rendering can be done that get around this? Any tricks?
2) 1 render of my scene at 600x600 takes about 4 minutes. I would like to know what I can do to get that faster from a hardware point of view. I know you can tweak the mesh to reduce polygons, reduce numbers of lights and so on. I am not interested in those, instead, I am keen to learn what are the hardware bottlenecks for max rendering. The machine is a new quad core i7, 8GB RAM. Do I need a faster graphics card/GPU?
You forgot one KEY component...what render engine?