For a character in a scene, like my Super WuMan animation, I use something like:
(Buffer shadows, no raytracing)
Sun for main directional light (colour usually warm - reduced blue)
Spotlight exactly matching sun direction, shining on character, set to “Shadow Only”
Hemi Lamp, bluish-purple, reduced energy. Above scene, angled slightly opposed to sun.
Lamp or Sun bounce light, below ground level, warm earthy colour, low energy directed at character. No specular.
A blue reflected/fill light. Usually a spot with no specular and no shadow. Directed to opposite side of character from sun. This gives the shadow side a cool blue tint.
On rare occasions I also attach a low energy lamp to the camera. This acts as a low-level fill to ensure the front of the target object is being adequately lit (this is more for animation than stills)
The biggest problem with the above setup is that spot lamp buffer shadows are a logistical nightmare - even when set to shadow only. Using buffered spot shadows, I find it almost impossible to set ClipSta and ClipEnd to give both accurate shadows on the main character AND even lighting of the surrounding scene. Plus, the ClipSta and ClipEnd don’t work EXACTLY as you might expect from simple descriptions you might find. For best results, the two figures should be as close together as possible while still encompassing the things that you want to cast shadows.
Even when set to shadow only, the area outside the spot lamp’s perimter is darker than the regioninside the lamp perimeter - as if the lamp is lighting anyway. Also, if two shadow-only spots cross a region, you get a similar effect to what you’d expect from two normal lighting spots. It’s odd and a little frustrating.
If you have the power to handle ray tracing, it might be worthwhile using that instead. Alternatively, if you (or anyone) find anything that explains a useful approach to buffer shadow setups without spotlight effects, let us know here.