Yeah, I know. But the higher quality render made the noise factor go down and I lost some of that "look and feel" I was going for. I'll probably have to use a texture instead of a light. But you are also correct in that the final product was due to many processes of transfering from computer to film, to post production, editing, etc.. But it does give us the look and feeling we associate with.
Why you don't add grain after the rendering? a simple noise filter of aprogram like photoshop or gimp can done this task wery well. Also add grain to the final image make dirty the outline too, so it make the image look uniform and consistent.
And for the shading whitch kind of shading you use? make the material 100 self-lightning and give at the diffuse channel a gradient lightning-oriented: black->orange->orangelight for the chassis and black->greyblue->greybluelight for the engine.
p.s. I want to say something about the strange seeming shadow behaviour that sometimes confuse us to recognize the right geometry by shading. this is very close to a limits that affect old 3d software (professional too, like Topas, in early '90): the shadow generation is made in a second stage in a apposite buffer, and after this composed o the geometry based on the z-depth of the scene, trimmed by a threshold called shadow bias.
If the bias is too high, the shadow looks good in all circumstances but it seems to be too separated from the object(like an offset). If the shadow bias is too low or zero, the shadow position is right but it may appear as a stream or incomplete. Unfortunately (ironically)is not possible to recreate this condition on actual 3d program, the cheapest too, thank to the progress of the render engine.
In the past I damn it like a crazy because in some situation I can't avoid this problem due the nature of the scene, like a incident light.
If I find an image can explain this I post it, but for now i've find a power point file that show this limitation at page 8:
and this(starting from 'shadow bias nightmare')
also this (sliding down at 'Problems' point)
this problem it may be something similar to the artifacts found in some LC sequence.
hope is something useful