I believe, as an artist, the minute you no longer feel like a student of the trade you're screwed:) I think learning new tools is one of my favorite aspects of my job. Trying to push the envelope in the way things are created for my artwork is so important. Right now i'm switching over to Cinema 4D and Vray. These are more industry standards tools for 3D work (i know Maya or 3DS would be even better) than what i'm currently using (Vue) and I'm already so impressed at Vray and the kind of renders that come out of it.
Typically when i begin a work, i do still life renders of the objects that will be in my final image to make sure they're looking realistic. Right now i'm working on a fairy tale image and there are all sorts of books and items from old stories like Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow White etc. So for this test, i did a quick motion camera test and I'd love to share it with you-