Much like with animation, lighting is also getting easier and easier . Through trial, experimenting, reading on tips, it reaches the point when you are actually getting creative with it in maya , even if it is not as simple as making few brush strokes in photoshop. Light linking is used extensively to emphasize some of the set's and particularly character's aspects.
Lastly, I think this picture summarizes the work of past few days: the needed other elements are built and brought in ( outer environment) the lighting is set up, rendering (render settings, passes and effects) are adjusted.
Now I started working on show reel's element, and personal branding. Hopefully these will take no more than few days.