So this is a topic I have struggled with for most of my career. Let's suppose you have a scene you are trying to setup in which you have a large office tower modeled (40+ stories). In order to set up a decent night time rendering I have been forced to used a plethora of photometric lights placed within the offices, then set up a daylight system with the sun and sky turned off. I then go through and tweak levels as necessary and then render out a final image that takes an incredible amount of time to finish. I've read through multiple tutorials in which you set up a scene with maybe 8 lights maximum for a tiny scene, but how do you handle a large scene with a vast array of light fixtures?
Is there anyone out there that can simplify the strategy for a large scale exterior rendering in which you would like to see the interior spaces of a building lit from the exterior?
I am currently using 3ds Max 2011 with MentalRay, but I have access to any other versions as well.