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Retard question:

Is a super high quality computer needed to create quality models and animations? Or would render time just be slower?
no, it's not needed...
Yes and no. It all depends on what you have.

Even large-ass render farms at companies like Disney and Pixar can take a few hours to render a frame of animation. But a home computer can take longer if not up to spec.
On my shitty pc I can render, but I can only work with small stuff, can't work with too many polygons and can't simulate physics and shit.
And of course big scene takes ages to render.
no it just takes longer
the more vertices in your model the more lag you're going to get. The worse the computer the quicker that lag kicks in.
you can use browser-based cloud 3d modeling services to outsource the processing power
You might need a dedicated workstation computer if you are planing on running maya. It sucks trying to animate something and not being able to play it in real time.
Tip: You can render the backgroud and the foreground separately, and later you can layer them together.
If you have a slow computer I will be more difficult, but as long as you have enough memory to hold the scene you'll be fine. If you resort to virtual memory that exceeds your physical memory you're going to have a bad time, but still technically possible.

I work in IT and just getting into 3D, the first problem I'm setting out to solve is how a little guy can render big projects quickly and cloud computing seems to be something which is not yet heavily utilized due to cost. Cloud providers such as GCP and Azure have products for preemtible VMs which are crazy cheap but might be interrupted and shut down at any point in time. I've found a way to containerize Cycles and built the infrastructure to allow scheduling work to available nodes. Each node can work on a tile and the final image gets stitched together for each frame making rendering time scale linearly with the container replica count. Regardless of replicas, cost will remain static so this lets us increase rendering speed for the same cost as running one machine to do it.

A fairly complex animation with background scene that takes me a little over 18 days to render on my GTX 1080 TI can be rendered in under 4 hours for less than $20 per render (basically electricity cost you'd pay anyways).

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