Here's the quote from the CS6 FAQ
ability to use network rendering (aerender and watch folder) without activation of render-only nodes: After Effects CS5.5 had to be activated (serial number entered) on render-only machines due to licensing restrictions for certain codecs. In After Effects CS6, you can now run aerender or use Watch Folder in a non-royalty-bearing mode, activation not required. In this mode, some codec-specific features are disabled—primarily use of MPEG codecs.
A couple of questions arise...
1) Is the 'aerender' available under the Trial Version of CS6 Production Premium?
I have CS5, but I believe I need an additonal license to cover any additional systems, even if they are only going to be employed as the backend 'render farm element'.
2) Mention is made of 'some codec-specific features are disabled'... Is the Main Concepts H.264 codec one of the allowable codecs in the class of 'non-royalty-bearing mode'?
I think the licensing issues in the pass have been the reason why I've never thought about aerender till now.
Also, if 'worse came to worse'... is rendering out to Apple Animation or TIFF sequence, part of the 'non-royalty-bearing modes? And so, while I'd still have to render out to Bluray on the fully licensed machine, I could have The Farm render all the effects to the AA/TIFF sequence.
The trial contains all components, including AErender. Non-royalty formats covers pretty much any standard format, including standard QT. Only MPEG, RED and a few otehrs will not be available. I'm sure there's some detailed list buried somewhere in the online help....