It's been a while. I dabbled with raytraying with POVray and had a go at creating an editor to create the scenes with it. I've used 3DS Max and Maya - too expensive and too confusing to use.
After my musical interlude, I came across Bryce again. I've seen it before, but hadn't realised it had changed hands a few times. This time I bought a copy, taking me back to photo-realistic imagery again. Then I descovered Hexagon, a modelling tool, followed by Carrara and Poser.
Here's a scene I created in Poser then rendered in Carrara:
I just love camera effects!