How to shorten render time

This four minute animation took four days to render on 12 Cores @2.4Ghz

Dummyequalizer.blend (5.44 MB)
(Sorry I somehow can’t upload the mp3 and the ttf)

Is this normal? I know that all this smoke, transparency and lighting for sure needs some processing but do I probably miss some obvious acceleration trick?

Well, for one thing, it’s almost 7000 frames, so if a typical frame takes 10 seconds to render (just did a test of a random frame), that’s about 21 hours without considering anything that adds render time, like smoke. 4 days does seem like a bit much though.

My experience is that frames in the middle (so about 2000-5000) can take even longer. So if you have a comparable setup and achieve similar results I guess that’s normal. I initially didn’t think that this animation was so complex. As I am just starting out this may just come from my lack of experience.

A basic idea should be: “break the shot down, and make aggressive use of compositing.” Consider how they do audio recordings: “one track at a time, then mix-down the tracks.”

It is tempting to try to (a) “model actual-reality,” then (b) “render it all, all at once.” But: “this is not reality … this is 3D.” And: “if you do it all, all at once, then what necessarily happens when you need to do it again?” You need, not only to economize on your time-spent, but also to make sure that the time you have spent, on the “digital work products” that are now in your hand, will not turn out to be … scrap … sunk cost.

So, things like: “no actual transparency … rather, a visual outcome consistent with something being transparent, when everything is finally put together at the end.” Likewise, “smoke is overlaid later.” And, very important, “treating shadows as though they were [i]light.” Injecting a sufficient number of shadows strategically into a scene that was initially rendered shadow-less. They call these things, “faking it,” and ‘Fake’ is Good.

Thanks for the answer. Sounds like a lot I still have to learn.