The Medieval Tavern concept was modeled with permission from the original artist, Jarkko Naas (http://jjnaas.deviantart.com/). Very whimsical, almost dungeons-and-dragons feeling, this fantasy-oriented piece was fun to work on, and provided some interesting challenges of its own.
Starting out on this project, the very first thing that was taken into consideration were the proportions. This environment was a bit unusually scaled due to the style of the concept, so taking that into consideration, the reference for scale began with the people pictured in the scene.
Initially, it was assumed that the people standing in the scene were approximately 6 feet tall. Using that rough measurement, the dimensions of the room were estimated to help with the initial blocking.
After blocking out the scene, a quick test render was done, so the blocking could be compared to the reference image, and adjustments could be made appropriately. Using the ruler tool in Photoshop, lines connecting key points of architecture/placement of tables and such were drawn across these side-by-side images. This allowed me to compare my blocking to the reference, and correct my proportions early on.
After getting the proportions in good shape, the blocking continued. The bricks were added in using the script Wall Builder from Scriptspot (found here). The tapestries, shields, and later bottles and glasses were created from splines, while most everything else was created from subdivided standard primitives.
Most of the textures in the scene were created via 3DS Max's procedural textures. However, some things had to be created uniquely for specific objects, such as the banners on the wall, and the textures for the chalkboard and menu board list. After unwrapping these objects and baking out a standard diffuse map, these textures were taken into Photoshop, and painted on to create their unique textures. Later, some custom photo-sourced tileable textures were created to be used as bump maps in the scene to enhance the other procedural materials.
Finally, the lighting was created to really set the mood of the scene. Using a combination of photometric and standard colored lights, the scene was lit to reflect that candlelight-yet-daylight feel given in the reference. A special light was used to light and texture the stained glass window in the back of the scene. A bitmap image was loaded into the image section of a rectangular light, and using an alpha mask, the unique image was projected onto the geometry, the reflected light partially lighting the scene. The rest of the blue light from the window was created with an additional bright blue omni light. I also added in specific lights to help give the illusion of candle glow on the walls in areas where candles were near walls, as well as enhance the candle effects themselves.