Following a 6-month public beta phase GRAPHISOFT has released its intelligent Grasshopper–ARCHICAD Live Connection.
I dropped out of school when I was obsessed enough with Max and render engines, spending 12-14 hours a day just testing every area. After some time I started getting contacts via the forums where I had posted my renderings to share with others.
For achieving photorealistic results general taste in design is far more important than just a technical knowledge of the software.
Be self-critical with your work: try to find the balance between the time spent on a project and the quality.
The biggest problem that I faced was a long time that is required for a computer to process renders. The obvious solution will be to develop the hardware and buy new hardware, but I also use online render-sites as well.
Lot of my inspiration comes from various architectural websites. All the time I try to keep up with the latest projects and news in area of architecture and engineering.