I am new to 3d animation. I have always wanted to make 3d animation shorts (cartoons) and have now made the plunge. Over the past few months I have learnt to model, rig and animate characters (Maya/zbrush). I want to take it a step further and learn lighting and rendering. After doing research for the past week, I have realised I have no choice but to ask here as several forum posts just mention that big studios use their own proprietary pipelines and softwares, while many indie-animators use all kinds of softwares from NUKE to after effects, V-ray to mental-ray. The thing is that people are using such software for all kind of VFX (like NUKE for live-action and v-ray for photo-realism). Can someone please guide me on the following questions:
For 3d/CGI animation shorts, what it the right lighting and rendering software to learn?
Do you recommend any tutorials out there that I can look at for those specific softwares? I do not want to be looking at a 10 hours video tutorial series on v-ray if they are teaching interior design lighting examples instead of how to light up a cartoon cgi animation. So unfortunately google has been unable to help me find specific tutorials on this.
I do not want to compromise on the quality so difficulty level and price of the software doesnt matter (not yet anyways).