I did spend some time modeling the stone ground of the courtyard because I really wanted it to feel real. I wanted accurate shadows in the crevices and spec on the edges. There are many ways to do this, but I wanted a quick solution and that was to model a set of stones and create different patterns by rotating them a few times to create a few different sets. Then I duplicated them around the courtyard and took time to make sure that they intersected properly near the edges of the architecture (Fig.03).
Again, I wanted to make this process quick and simple. I used a brick texture from CGTextures.com, and added dirt and grime to give a really weathered look. I created a few different tiled versions of the brick texture, and varied patterns and dirt to avoid obvious repetition as it would be applied to everything in the scene. I also used normal maps and spec maps on the brick texture so that the brick would pick up a subtle highlight kick in some areas. That type of detail really adds to the realism in the lighting stage (Fig.04).
Mapping was kept simple too, and since there was a lot of repetition, it made my work a lot easier. I used the auto-mapping, then moved and sewed UVs. Again, I kept this stage simple and mapped to the camera to save time (Fig.05).
I used Ivy Gen to create the ivy in the scene. It works best with very low poly geo, so I exported a really basic representation of my geo as OBJ files and imported that geo into Ivy Gen (Fig.06).