This script will help you speed up rendering of a single frame by having multiple computers render parts of it.
There seem to be plenty of options for the distributed rendering of animations, but far fewer options for sharing the task of rendering a single frame amongst local machines (and none that worked quite how I wanted), so I wrote one in Python 3.4, you can obtain it from here.
It's easily configurable and run from the command line: in the config file just add the IP addresses of your render nodes, image resolution, Cycles seed and frame number. No complicated master/server arrangements to maintain, everything is done over ssh.
- It's pretty tolerant of being interrupted, and when run again will restart without losing any tiles already rendered
- It benchmarks the supplied nodes (caching the results) to work out the right number of tiles needed to spread the load fairly over the available nodes, minimising idle time towards the end of the render.
- It handles distributing Blender files and supporting textures to render nodes, collects rendered tiles, and seamlessly stitches all the tiles together into a png file at the end.
The script was developed on OS X, but should run on any *nix system with Python 3.4, it should be able to use any *nix type system as a render node. The script is still under development, but it's pretty usable in its current form.
Give it a try and let us know how it works for you!