With all the work I have done so far, the one thing I've never truly attempted is anything photo-realistic. I've done high poly and always had the caveat of being able to downscale texture res for game use. In this case, no more!
Coming in at a CPU bending 1.2 million in the high poly baked down to a "mere" 300k in the low poly, this Sony D5 was split across 7 texture sets for maximum resolution and UV space, all painted and rendered in Substance Painter. This was my first time using Iray and I've been very impressed with the results as it's often overlooked for dedicated software. I do wish standalone lights could be added when rendering, though that might be somewhat of a pipedream.
In terms of things learned with this 2 month long project, the main takeaways for this project are:
-Pick something you can take apart if needs be, there are only so many references!
-Spread out construction, burnout is a real threat
-It's better to be too detailed than not enough and regretting it.