[Note: I am not the creator of these pics]
One of my fascinations is Realistic 3D graphics. Most of my free time, I spend playing with 3Ds Max. Now since I -for 5 months now- moved to Linux, there is no 3Ds Max there -or at least I didn't try using it on wine windows emulator.
I've been trying to use the alternative there; Blender 3D modeler. It's interface is really different than 3Ds Max but I like it more. It is more natural there to reach the control you want. Anyway, since my fascination is not about 3D modeling itself, but realistic renders, I searched for alternative to realistic renderers to use with Blender.
With 3Ds Max, there was the bundled scan-line renderer, the radiosity renderer, and the mental-ray renderer. The latter are the most realistic of them all, and the former is the least. While surfing the amazing renders in the CGTalk-3D Choice Gallery forum, I ran into a scene rendered using another renderer; Nextlimit Maxwell renderer.
I was shocked of the degree of reality those renders had. I kept reading about Maxwell renderer until I found it was an unbiased renderer (I can't find a link to define it you right now, settle for that it is based on physics, physics and nothing else, it uses wavelengths instead of colors for instant! It also simulates a real camera, shutter, film, file ISO, and all those analog-photography parameters that I know nothing about). When I tried it out, it really produced some renders that I couldn't believe it was me who rendered them.
While I was searching for something related to Blender, I ran into Indigo. It does the same as Maxwell, it can run on Linux, and it has a script to convert blender files to its own format. Nothing more can encourage me to get to learn and use Blender.
My problem in producing realistic 3D images anyway is that I am no modeler. If I have models, appropriate textures (like 3DTotal Textures collection), the right renderer, (and maybe a great physics simulator) and enough time/PCs I'd produce the most realistic 3D graphics/animations you've ever seen.
Till then, here is a few renders I found on the internet rendered using Indigo. Enjoy the full collection here.