yeah i believe i used Maya for this 3d model, then added a spotlight on each side w/ different colors, adjusted em till i got the right decay, cone angle, dropoff, and other attributes. also kept an eye on the shadows casted until i liked it. i also use 3dsmax sometimes. i may even change my avatar to the one i made in 3dsmax soon, i think you may enjoy that one since its clear and plays with light reflection & refraction with the background and itself, as if made of ice or acrylic. i also been playing w/ zbrush.
as for you comment i saw about using tlc in corel, i've already tested the files and basically all of the usual formats will "open" in corel x3, painter, photoshop, illustrator. except for the native .tlc file. just use open, or even drag & drop onto your corel screen and you should be good to go. save as usual.
as for tips i've had lots of practice from school, but i've learned way more from the app books and tutorial vids or online, help files, etc.