Determining the right render settings

Is there any free or paid training/tutorials on an advanced systematic approach to setting up rendering, lighting and scene settings to suit individual requirements?

I’ve followed lots of advice from tutorials and online manuals over several months and made lots of regular adjustments to my settings but as every scene and lighting etc is different and the finished result is often subjective I am no longer sure whether I am using the best setup for each of my animations. I’m sure I now have a mixed up combination of settings that are possibly incompatible with each other and maybe affecting render times or image quality.

What I am hoping to find is a default setup that every animated scene should start with followed by a structured method to step through adjusting the various settings (and by what increments) to help find the right balance of image quality and render times for each specific scene to suit my personal requirements. What I need to look for. What to avoid. How does one setting affect other settings etc

I’m tired of hearing you MUST “clamp this” and “bounce that” by the many self proclaimed online experts who have found something that has worked for them in one particular project and present it as a solution to every problem. Now I am at the point in my journey where I need a method to work out what works for each of my different scenarios in every new project but I need some guidance to help me find my own answers.

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