At leas I have a couple of days to participate in Lighting challenges. All in all it takes me 12 hours.
About 2 hours spend on to get rid of geometry glitches after exporting from OBJ. May be next time I will spend more on tweaking export settings )))
Layout and basic lighting was ready in next 2 hours. Nothing special but many renders to achieve plausible result. Key and fill light additional light with makes shadows under the desk a bit softer. I used vray dome light with HDRI in it where diffuse emitting was set to off, which help me to cast additional reflection for gold chandelier and doesnt mess with my lighting.
Most of the time spent on developing shaders - 6 hours.
I was try couple of shaders for cloth from basic pattern fabric to cotton and they look exquisite and shiny, but they grab to mush attention. Finally I end up with final rough burlap. Texture I found on Cgtextures.com, apply displace and use vray fur to create spiny look.
For both shells, skull and candle I used vay SSS2. I found useful to create test object like piece of cheese with couple of concave in it , place it in lighting condition in isolate selection to figure out which parameters works best - it render a lot faster and result is highly informative.
Big dark brown vase was another big issue because of size and role in composition. I have a lot of color variation but they all argue with skull until I have made it almost black.
Rendering and final polishing in Nuke and Photoshop takes the rest 2 hour. Render time is about 25 minutes on Intel 4790K 4.00 GHz with 32 Gb of Ram. And as always no matter how many prerender you have done before you are notice something crusial during final render time ))) For output I used 32 full float EXR with passes like reflection, GI, SSS, Z-Depth, mates for every objects and separate lights passes. Nuke was used only for glow and for Depth of field. And yes there is no any DOF because it ruin everything. Next time I will do some test for DOF before going further than layout. And finally in Photoshop I add some thickness to paper, remove overburns from skull and stamp dark artifacts on one of the shells.
Actually it takes 14 hours because to make that description a spend another 2 )
modeling: Giorgio Luciano and BodyParts3D for part of the skull
Layout, Texturing, Lighting, Rendering and Post: Dzianis Karabkou