I made a brief animation using the Thea render.
After much study, I purchased a license to the Thea render engine. A simple comparison can be found on the tools>renderer>discussion page.
Now lighting and rendering should not be an issue with obtaining near photo real results. Rather, the limitation will be on modeling and material details. Thea has an excellent material management system and a growing library of ready-to-use materials that I can use directly or learn from.