Holy crap, I almost can’t believe it. Tomas Egger and the Igors have released a new version of EIAS. I cut my teeth on this software for both rendering and animation. It was, and still is, one of the fastest rendering programs out there, and its materials handling & layering is still one of my favorites.
If you have a good modeling program and would like to do animation, this is a program worth checking out. One of the strengths of it is how it breaks out rendering and animation into two separate applications (Animator and Camera) so each can focus on what they are good at, and not hog-tie you into only being able to do one or the other. Chances are, you’re probably tweaking materials and animation while you are rendering another clip at the same time - and this allows you the flexibility to do that. Most programs cut you out of one of your workflows by only letting you tweak/animate/model or render - not both at the same time.
The other benefit to this application is that it comes with an unlimited number of render nodes so if you have other computers at your disposal, rendering animations just got exponentially faster. It manages all the frames of the animation being rendered throughout your office and stitches them back into a single file on the host machine automatically.