The staircase was one of the things I couldn't find a good reference for, so I 'designed' and modelled it myself. Nothing special really, I made the most of it from splines and just made them renderable. The spiral shapes are made from helixes, the bottom one which connects the staircase to the wooden stairs has also some height set up, so it looks like a spring of some kind. The balls are spheres, which sit at the ends of some spiral elements.
Picture 7: The staircase
The ceiling light is made from some lathe objects, spheres, cones and splines. For the basic shape of the element which connects the light to the ceiling I used a spline and then added the lathe modifier to it. The spherical part of the light is made from two spheres, cut in half in the sub-object mode. For the small curved details, that start at the bottom, I used path deform. I made a cone, that had a few height segments and a spline (I had to use snap to get it on the surface of the light), that I used for the path. Then I applied the path deform modifier to the cone and selected the spline as the path.
Picture 8: Making the ceiling light
The curtains were made with the help of the cloth modifier. I started with a plane, which had quite a few segments, applied the wave modifier to it and then converted it to editable poly, so I could fix the shape by moving some vertices with the soft selection method turned in. The next step was adding the cloth modifier - I could have used the garment maker to make the cloth behave in a more natural way, but the result with a simple plane was good enough for me in this case. I simulated the cloth and added some wind, ran simulate again and stopped it when it looked the way I wanted it. To give some thickness to the curtains, I used the shell modifier. Finally I put a noise modifier on top of the stack, just to make the curtains look a little more non-uniform.
Picture 9: Process of making the curtains
That covers the modeling part of this tutorial, I'm not going to explain how I made the remaining objects, because it's just basic modeling and it is similar to the things i wrote before.
Texturing and Lighting
Texturing played a huge part in making this image. I changed my mind a few times during texturing and replaced some of the textures I didn't like, so this part took me, I believe, more than half of all the work.
The textures are mainly based on photo-reference, combined with custom made masks and lots of corrections in Photoshop. The shaders are all basic Vray materials with corresponding bitmaps.
Picture 1: Texture examples
Almost every object in the scene is unwrapped and has its own material with textures applied to it. I think there are about 20 or so different shaders used for all the parts of the image. I had to put a lot of effort to make the textures exactly the way I imagined them in my head. The fact that the scene is an old room, made the task even harder, considering all the dirt and wear.
Preparing the images in Photoshop
All the bitmaps are either high quality jpegs or tiffs with LZW compression to keep the file size smaller (LZW doesn't affect the quality that much so it's useful if you work with tiff files). The average file size for a texture is about 1 - 1,5mb at 72 dpi and around 1500 - 2000 size in pixels, but some of them are larger in resolution and size as noted below, so the maximum file size for the textures was around 4mb, I think.
Picture 2: Saving options for jpeg and TIFF files
The main textures (for example the wall and the floor) are in a bit higher resolution (about 120 dpi and 3000 x 3000 size in pixels), just to make sure the quality doesn't decrease, when rendering a larger resolution. This also helps to keep all the small details in your bitmaps, for example the small differences in the bump maps which can make quite an impact on the final result .
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Picture 3: Average and higher resolution for textures used in the scene