The black hilt material is also procedural based, with an Oren-Nayar black diffuse shader and a Blinn specular shader. It uses a scaled cloud procedural, which affects 8% normal bump mapping. It also uses the same image maps as the blade for, 19% colour blend and 10% displacement, mapped using the UV co-ordinates.
Lighting and Rendering
Lighting setup is quite simple; 1 hemi key lamp, 2 hemi fill lamps & one buffer shadow spot. I positioned four white emitting planes around the swords for the blades to reflect, one above the camera, and the others front, back and one to the right.
I rendered at 4000 x 1500 pixels at level 16 Anti-Alilasing. I made the world environment black which was set to render as transparent, this was so I could post process the image later.
I loaded the image into Photoshop and Auto contrasted the image, I then pasted 3 copies of the image onto 3 new layers in a new document.
I made the background white and dropped a shadow from the bottom layer.
For the glow around the blades, I applied gaussian blur to the second layer leaving the top layer un-affected.