From my experience there are many limiting factors which animators have to deal with, when I think about creating CG shorts. And I’m not talking about technical skills and knowledge about the theory of animation here. That would be another topic.
What I find the most frustrating part is the constant need to keep render times at a reasonable value. Maybe I’m not patient enough, but a whole night of continuous rendering for one second of animation at 30fps frustrates me. Yes I do open GL renders to iron out as many flaws as possible at this stage. And I do proof renders of several single frames to make sure that the look is consistent during the shot. But even then it often happens that I have to re-render, because I don’t like the result.
We have this awesome realtime viewport rendering on GPU, which is absolutely great for the development of materials and for look development and we have OpenGL preview renders. But for just one second of animation we have to wait countless hours.
There is a reason why some of us port their scenes back to BI and render in BI. And why others think about using real time render engines of game engines (yes, I know that cinematic trailers are often not rendered in the game engine itself).
And to be able to render one second of animation in the span of one night I have to make cuts on the visual quality. That’s frustrating also. Simplifying shaders, adding additional lights to help the render engine, accepting a certain amount of noise, trying to reduce the time for BVH building (yes, in big scenes this is sometimes half the time a frame needs to render), using backplates, using render layers and compositing are some of these workarounds.
I’m not complaining here, but that’s how it is.
So hardware capabilities are limiting factors, no doubt. And it would be really interesting what others use and how others feel about the points mentioned.
I’m rendering on AMD CPU FX 8350, 8 cores, 16 GB RAM, GTX 970, by the way.
But the real point of the OP - if I understood it correctly - was, that the available hardware and the limitations coming along with this specific hardware should be considered when someone critiques in this section of the forum. That’s a good and valid point.