At first, I tested the Indigo and Luxrender using the glass materials, and it takes ages to render. They are great renderers, and with YafaRay with the right settings, it can also create great images, and fast.

The glass mugs are modeled using Blender and here’s the Direct light setting for me:

Type of lighting method: Direct Lighting with the default AO color at 32 samples, rendered in 13min, size: 960 x 540 pixels (Mac Mini mid 2010 model)

Direct Lighting setting:

Direct Lighting setting for Glass Mugs

Here’s the Photon Mapped render:

Lighting Method: Photon Mapping, rendered in 1hr 55 min.

Photon Mapping setting:

Photon Mapping setting for my glass mugs

For added effects I composite the photon mapped exr image file in Blender by adding glow.

Blender compositing using glow effect in a Blur node.

Therefore, the Direct Lighting can also produce nice render in a fastest time with the right AO settings, and less noise. The Photon Mapping method is more of a bouncing light, thus produce more realism imagery.