What are the basic differences between Flamingo, Brazil, and Penguin?.
Flamingo is a mid-range renderer with a slant towards architecture. It is intended to be nearly photorealistic but not purely so. Typically the architect will use an actual image behind their proposed design and they want their work to be discernible from the image. It also has tools for trees, plants, etc. It is designed to be easy to use since the customer will not pay for a lot of rendering work. We automate the process and turn on features (like soft shadows, ambient occlusion, etc.) automatically so the designer does not have to become a rendering expert.
Brazil is intended for people that produce images as their final product. It is very complicated and very feature rich for images that go beyond photorealism. If you use images to sell a design like an architect does, then Brazil is the wrong tool. You'll spend tons of time learning and using the tool, none of which your customer will pay for. This is the sort of tool a rendering firm might use to generate poster images for a Dale Chihuly blown glass exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art.
Penguin is a cartoon and hand-sketch rendering tool when you want to generate a very preliminary image. Many times a clean CAD image looks too finalized for less sophisticated customers. A cartoon look rendering conveys the early design stage.