Here are a few experiments created in Element 3D V2 with simple lighting and Ambient Occlusion. In these examples I’m using the Ray Traced AO which is a bit slower but creates very nice results.
The other important setting I like to use is called “Lighting Influence” under the Physical Environment. This setting helps blend the shadow darkness with the environment (IBL), to create a nice Global Illumination look. You can also tint the Environment color to change the overall look and mood.
Some other Tips I Use:
But then again, maybe I’m just trying to promote some of the awesome models inside the Motion Design 2 model pack!
Source: Video Copilot