During the freelance work that I've been working on for the last couple of months I had to do a lot of long renders of animations. When I'm doing a really long render I tend to use the command line to do a 'background' render so that Blender's UI doesn't have to be visible (which apparently saves a bit of memory), and as with most things recently, that caused me to write an another add-on...
The Manual Way
Before I get onto the add-on I'll take you through the manual rendering process I used to do. To do a 'background' render (more commonly referred to as a 'command line' render) you open up a Command Prompt (or something similar for non-Windows users), navigate to the Blender installation directory and use something like this:
To break things down, that's:
If I want to render multiple files then I would create a Windows Batch file with the following commands (I've simplified the paths just so they would fit on the page nicely):
I would then just double click the Batch file, which would automatically open a command prompt and start rendering.
To navigate to Blender's folder and open a command prompt or to create a batch file with the updated filepaths and parameters each time I wanted to render became a bit time-consuming - I wasn't even doing that many renders at that point - so I decided it might be worthwhile (and fun) to create an add-on with a UI to handle this for me.
Out of the primordial code came:
Batch Render Tools
It's available to download from Github, here. One caveat is that at the minute it's still Windows only.
The 'readme' over on Github is quite extensive (and if I say so myself, quite excellently formatted) so head over there if you want to know how to use every little feature, and given the amount of time it took to create that 'readme', I really suggest you do.
'Batch Render Tools' also has a small secondary panel which serves as a shortcut for opening a Command Prompt in the Blender installation directory, which I also find quite useful: