I actually find that taking screen shots with jing with "enhanced realism" on works pretty well with out becoming a huge time sink. I rarely actually "render window" to truely render.
Adjusting the "scene" or "Room" can help. Also light sources/color/vectors can really help.
Probably most important are:
*your APPEARANCE.DMT file (with model color/textures)
*your texture files (jpgs/etc) taht your appearance point at is very important
*be sure that your config.pro points included texture search paths to each folder containing textures that your appearance.dmt references.
I can send you a ZIP file of my textures and appearance.dmt if you would like.
Peter Gibbons...um...I mean Wayne Falco...starting with WF5 the rendering with Photolux got much better. Play around with it a bit with Enhanced Realism on and a few differnt "out of the box" environment scenes.
I'd give Keyshot a try too. I did some renderings using the trial version when one of our engineers wanted good pictures to explaina design to the customer. The renderingslooked real enough that the customer thought they were pictures of prototypesand we'd be able to quickly deliver samples.
Been a while since I tried Bunkspeed, so the interface might be better than when I had done some renderings using it. I just remember that when I tried Keyshot last year it was intuitive &easier to use than earlier versions of Bunkspeed. If I recall, one is a spinoff of the other - the guy who wrote some of the original code for Bunkspeed left and started Keyshot or vice versa, something like that - both give great results, far better than anything I've ever gotten out of a PTC product.