If you’re not thinking about your work beyond CityEngine, you probably should be. This means looking at and learning about visualization/reality tools like Bentley’s LumenRT and gaming applications like Epic Games’s Unreal Engine and Unity by Unity Technologies. What’s the difference? You will get real-world looks from these products you cannot get in CityEngine. To get a taste of this, I exported one of my CE models into Unreal Engine (File > Export Models) and simply opened it. You can see the difference right away, some atmospheric haze and true daylight coloring.
There are two advantage to Unreal Engine: First, you can download and use it to learn for free at unrealengine.com. Second, ESRI has partnered with Unity Games so there will be ongoing compatibility between the two. I’d love to have LumenRT, but I’m not ready to drop a chunk of money yet. No problem, because Unreal is quite up to the challenge.
I’ve started my learning with the “Unreal Engine 4 Tutorial for Beginners” by You Tube’s Online Media Tutor. No particular reason I started here, except maybe its a nearly 4-1/2 hour video broken into lesson segments which you can also watch in individual videos. I’m halfway through it and I’ve learned plenty. Some of your knowledge from CityEngine, particularly uv paths for texturing, will be applicable here. I have not yet looked for any workflow tutorials between CityEngine and Unreal, though they are out there and that subject is on my list.