Denis Olivier rendered this image, called "Room," as a demo scene for realistic lighting through radiosity. Sophie Mouton contributed to the design.
Denis Olivier has been working in 3D and 2D since 1990. He is an Art Director for an Interactive Society in Bordeaux, France, and continues to produce his own 3d renderings when time permits. Denis is the author of a 3D Modeller for POV-Ray called POVLAB (http://www.povlab.org) and produces all of his pictures with it.
This rendering uses radiosity to calculate the illumination of surfaces, which allows indirect lighting (light bounced off of other surfaces) to contribute to more natural looking ambient and reflected light. This scene was rendered on a Pentium 166 windows machine, with 64 Megs of RAM, POV-Ray 3.02, and Denis Olivier's own POVLAB 4.0 SP2 for modelling.
Radiosity is a procedure that is not yet built-in to most 3D animation packages, but is becoming increasingly affordable. As seen in the image above, radiosity is often used in combination with ray tracing, so that ray traced refraction and reflections are also used, in addition to radiosity for the diffuse reflection of light. You can see the difference in parts of the image whose shading is more dominantly influenced by raytracing, such as the glass of liquid. For more information about radiosity, use these links:
Recommended Reading: on Lightscape's site is a technical overview of the process, including better descriptions and diagrams of how images are rendered with ray tracing and radiosity. (Lightscape is a renderer that supports radiosity for Windows NT.)
BMRT - Larry Gritz's Blue Moon Rendering Tools is a shareware, renderman compliant renderer that supports radiosity, and runs on a variety of platforms. The site has more information about radiosity, even including specular-to-diffuse illumination, which is not supported in many renderers.