finishing off my render_ quality issues

Hi I have been using blender for about a year now and have always used blender render to complete my animations. They arent that good but my grandson loves them, so are worth doing. Now for my next installment I have used cycles render to try and improve the look a bit. They look great on screen but my computer isnt really the best and it is slow to render, and i mean really slow. (for example it took 7 hrs to render 30 frames).

Now to my question. Is there any composite/post production/settings i can use to blenders best advantage to get the best quality i can but render it faster. At this rate my grandson will be in college before i finish his next lesson on reading and writing and the poor kid is only six now.

A helpful settings list would be great giving me some proper settings to get the best quality, but not at the expense of masses of time. In the long run the animation is only going to be posted on youtube and i generally write it to disc just for his keepsake, so any ideas about how to use the right presets etc would really help.

Many thanks and sorry for waffling on.


Finding the perfect render settings is a science for itself…

A few tips can be found here (this was posted some time ago, but it is still true):

To speed up the cycles render engine in general try to use the smallest textures which are still providing a pleasant quality, keep the poly count low and avoid unnecessary detail in the materials. Additionally use as few lamps as possible and instead light your scene with a HDR.

Hope that this helps in some way,