To set lighting in a scene, you need to know some photography basics to understand camera settings and white balance.
I started studying as Analyst in Digital Design, this career is focused on learning 2D, 3D, web, etc. In 3D field we were supposed to focus more on VFX & characters, but once I started to work with 3D Viz I discovered my passion for architectural visualizations. I made my first renderings and got a good feedback from forums, that was really motivating to keep trying to continue learning.
I work alone in my studio, but I have several partners in different cities/countries around the world helping me most of the times with the modelling process. I always care about “finishings” in my renderings (lighting, materials, post-production). I usually work with 3ds Max, VRay, Photoshop, forestpack, railclone, multiscatter, growfx, richdirt, after effects, Autocad, sketchup and I use several scripts as well.
I really like and enjoy the lighting process, I love to play a lot with lighting using hdrs, vray sun, ies. I think to achieve the correct lighting in a scene, you have to know at least some basics of photography, that will help a lot in setting up the camera and white balance. And about materials most of the time I check for references and try to use the correct values for example for IOR settings, or reflection and glossines maps.
I would also recommend Corona, is really easy to use and the lighting process and final result is just amazing.
Well… Most of the time I use library plants or cutouts, but I always try to set the materials by my own, using color correction and changing reflections.
I created some plants with growfx, it’s a great tool for modelling and animations, really easy to animate the plants, and Laubwerk is also really good.
My plan is to keep growing, learning about business and 3D. My other dream is to build a big virtual freelance studio with 3D artists working around the world. I strongly think that people produce more working as freelancers than being “slaves” for 9hs a day inside an office.