I learned to raytrace in SolidWorks long before I learned to do so in actual optical raytracing software. For fun, I put together several SolidWorks renderings of the famous Utah Teapot to demonstrate the effects of different lighting conditions and BSDFs. The Utah Teapot NURBS surface was downloaded from GrabCad and converted to a sldprt file. I used the MODO rendering environment by Foundry (licensed as Photoview 360 by Dassault) to set up the raytrace and obtain pretty images.
Illumination modeling requires an illumination source, scene or objects with assigned surface characteristics, and a camera. Here, the camera was preset to a standard 50 mm focal length lens using the pinhole camera model, with an option for depth of field. A 1280 x 1024 detector was set to capture the image. Illumination was not directional, but rather, from a uniform 3D background with a set radiance of 1 W/sr*mm^2. As for setting the shadow, I put a diffusely-reflecting bottom plane 3 mm below the teapot.
One of the options in the rendering studio is between 'good', 'better', 'best', and 'maximum' quality. The difference is pretty intense - 'better' often takes 6x longer than 'good'. This is due to sampling curves for better antialiasing (more samples per unit surface area means curves are less jagged), sampling rays to get sufficient SNR at the least irradiated camera pixel, and allowing for more refractions/reflections (up to 32) for each launched ray.
Not well commented yet, but there's more to come.