Hey TurboDan. About the renders, I'm afraid it's nothing real fancy. Yes, it is Mental Ray. I have a poly sphere wraped around the scene with an HDRI image of a sky on its ambient color. Then I just turned off the visibility of that sphere, and set my render settings to global illumination and final gather. Just make sure to set a light in there with 0 intensity so Maya doesn't make it's default light. And render away. There are some pretty good tutorials on www.learningmaya.com
you can take a look at.