For instance, lighting is very simple and basic, but the programs load you with all kind of lights and colors that mess things up.
I cant agree with this. The light is most difficult part for a render, and at the same time the most important part. Setting up the light makes the difference in a picture.
I wanted to shopw you images here, but because we have now an own topic and forum for this, we can talk there. I will make a thread there, please have a loot at it.