hey guys while making making an animation i found out some more benefits of baking which i didnt expect, i just wanted to share them
the obvious one is that it is far faster, on my scene the rendering time went from 3:50 to 0:56 which is about 25%, meaning i can render 4x more frames in the same time.
but wait theres more
the most unexpected effect for me was that bokeh Depth of field looks far better in less lit areas.
rendered without baking
rendered with baked material
now if you compare the both you might notice that on the bottom of the frame the not baked image is still noisy while the baked one is smoother and shows the bokeh effect which gives the image more depth (both are rendered with 100 samples)
this leads to another advantage for an animation: rather than having the noise on the camera (especially if you use a dynamic seed), which makes it look kindof of odd and fake, the noise moves with the object and is actually on the surface, therefore makes it look more rough but in the end isnt hurting the realism. i even liked the effect in this case.
now if it wasnt for the dof in the scene i could even use far less samles (about 20). so if youre having a sharp diffuse lit scene, baking is awesome.
then, you have a far more precise look of your scene in the 3d view where you can playback your animation in real time which is nice
textured 3d view
of course you can only bake diffuse materials (or the diffuse parts) as long as the camera moves but still it saves me a lot of rendering time