AE probably can be used for what you intend, but it would not be my first choice. Don't bother with cc2015 as it's network rendering is disabled. You can get watch folders to work reasonably well, but it is not always reliable also not much in way of management. As long as all of you network paths are setup properly, you can run dependencies for "project only" with watch folder render selected and save it a watch folder that all machines can access. This just makes a new project file and does not gather media. You must have multi-processor turned off on all render nodes and multi-machne settings selected in your render queue.
You should look into a Shared storage solution so you don't need to collect the files, just the projects
Thanks for your reply.
Yes, I'm aware that you can just collect the project file and not the media. We've set up a system where all assets and projects exist on a shared network.
Its just the management of the folders that contain the render project file confuses me.
Will I always have to be deleting old versions of these folders and projects when my compositors update their shots with fixes and tweaks before they want to render a new version?
I believe if you rename the comp with a new version number it will create a new folder. i can't remember if it uses comp name or project name. for maintenance you have to manually delete folders.
AFX Render Engine seems very awkward. I can't understand why just running Render Engine on other computers on your network won't auto detect a render on your main machine and 'hook up' to improve render time. If I have to put the project on a shared folder, and run some sort of script through Terminal, it seems like a waste of time. Also Render Engine can only run on two computers unless you create a .txt file on the slaves? How clumsy. This needs major improvement.