As promised, here's the process I used to render shots for my Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time reel. There's nothing fancy or complex about it. In fact, it's about as basic as you can get, but it gives really nice results very quickly.
[CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO TUTORIAL]
-Create Render Camera [Create> Cameras> Camera]
-Set region in render settings:
-Name render camera "RenderCAM_01"
-Set RenderCAM_01 to desired location and lock channels
-Highlight all info in channel box, right click, and "lock selected"
-Set RenderCAM Environment color to white
-Create ground plain [Create> Polygon Primitives> Plane]
-Make sure the ground plane is big enough to absorb all shadows
-Turn off "Casts Shadows" [GroundPlane_01Shape1> Render Stats> Casts Shadows]
-Create a new lambert [Rendering tab> Lambert]
-set color to solid white
-set Diffuse to 1.0
-Create two directional lights [Create> Lights> Directional Light]
-Light one, name "DirLight_Shadows"
-Point relatively toward camera
-Turn on Ray Trace shadows [DirLight_ShadowsShape1> Raytrace Shadow Attributes> Use Ray Trace Shadows]
-Light two, name "DirLight_Filler"
-Point relatively away from camera
-Set Intensity to 0.5
-Open Render Settings
-Render Using: Mental Ray
-Image Format: Targa
-Frame/Animation ext: name.#.extension
-Frame padding: 4
-Start frame and end frame
-Renderable Camera: RenderCAM_01
-Width SHOULD already be set (See above)
-Indirect Lighting tab:
- Min Sample Level -1
- Max Sample Level 1
-Filter size SHOULD set to 3.0 by 3.0
-If you are using elements that might reflect or refract (glass, for example), you might want to tweak these settings. Otherwise leave as-is.
-Wherever you want the render to output to
-Render> Batch Render
I'd love to hear other people's rendering techniques. Link in the comments!