So, for Harriet Fell's graphics course, we're writing a raytracer. my efforts at this have not exactly been entirely successful, but the failures have certainly been spectacular.
This first one was an attempt at refraction and backplane reflections. The big sphere in the upper right isn't transparent, it's reflecting the environment. And it looks downright weird. note the nice specular effect, though. trés realistic, if your version of reality involves a lot of plastic spheres floating in space.
you know, in the days before computers, this sort of thing just wasn't possible. the disco-ball effect here was created by an overenthusiastic application of perlin's noise function. i liked it so much, i bought the company.
I'm guessing that staring at these things for too long will cause you to buy an amiga or something, so you'll probably want to blink at some point.
still, in all, even a tiny amount of success is pretty nice.