Cycles specular highlights

Hi guys,
I know similar things have been asked before but I’m yet to really find a good solution to this. I’m using Quick Preferences and I like some of the viewport lighting settings such as “Dark Gray”. Here is a picture of something I’m working on.

When I try to render in Cycles, I never get nice contrast and specular highlights on the edges.
Here is a picture of a render, I was using a HDRI Background for lighting.

I have no idea how to get the lighting more even and the edges to have nice highlights…any thoughts?
Thank you in advance.

That’s a very dark glossy. Although I never use the toon shaders myself, I would think using toon both for diffuse and glossy would make sense. I’m pretty sure the HDRI used is the cause by not having enough dynamic range. Either crank up the areas above a certain brightness threshold, or supplement sun by having an additional sun lamp with matched orientation.

OK I’ll try with a sun lamp and using toon shaders. Thanks, I’ll let you know how it goes!

OK here is what I have got now:

My settings:

and a 1.4 strength Hemi light just above the camera.
This is pretty much what I wanted, the specular highlights are very clear on the edges and there is nice even lighting overall.
Thanks CarlG!

Your glossy color should be white.

I played around with a lot of different settings and I think I like it how it is.
Here is an example of the glossy as white…it tends to wash out the colours a lot. I had to crank the orange up to a super saturated value and still this is the result…

It doesn’t seem to make the specular any more powerful anyways.
There are a lot of cool looks you can get with the Toon shader…I had no idea it could do more realistic looking surfaces. I thought it was purely for Comic book kinda style.