Here is a summary of the responses to my ARX question that I received so far. First I have re-posted my original question - than the resopnses. The summary in my words is here:
For the most part, the software is not that big of a factor in the results. Getting to decent results does vary from package to package, with Pro/E surprisingly not at the bottom (my personal experiance is w/ Pro/E Photorender (not ARX) and as I mentioned Nugraf. Nugraf is by far less tempermental and stable, but I've heard (below) that Pro/E is easier that Alias or 3DS - I thought Pro/E pretty much sucked but maybe there are worse...) The biggest factor it seems is the knowledge and talent of the user.