Now we're getting somewhere...at least I hope so.
Once you are satisfied with scene illumination it time to have fun with texturing.
Petal and leaves
Textures were painted in photoshop. There is a really cool tutorial written by Jacob Johnson (‘complete projects' tutorial section of 3D Total: "Flower Bug" ) on creating really nice petal tex, so I will skip explaining any of that, because I followed the same tutorial when creating my image.
Rusty ol' chain
Has a simple blend material using procedural maps as diffuse, mask and bump maps. material#1 is metal and material #2 is rust and the mask is noise map. Beautiful thing about procedural maps is that they don't need uvw mapping coordinates hence no stretching can ever occur.
Wood map for diffuse, same image but desaturated and slightly increased contrast for bump map (bump value is -9).
diffusemap bump map.
Mix of wood and ‘dirtmap' for diffuse and the same as above for bump (bump value is -80).
dirt map wood map
Hit ‘render scene', wait for about 30 mins (my case) and here is the result:
Hmmm something is still missing. Depth of field maybe? Well yes, but I am not patient enough to add it now in MAX, do the test renders again, wait for some time...Photoshop? why not! Blur tool (shortcut key: ‘R') is quite a timesaver. Just a few strokes here and there and you have it...for parts that are closer to the observer (camera) use a lower ‘strength' percentage, for the far parts raise the value.
It would also be nice to add a subtle soft glow to the brightest parts of the image. Use the select>color range and pick the most illuminated part of the image (in this case that would be the tip of the most left petal). Play with the fuzziness value until you select just the brightest part if the image. Copy the selection to a new layer and use some blur. Then decrease opacity of the layer if necessary, and guess what...there's your glow.
Minor color correction (image>adjustments>Hue and saturation, green and magenta channels) were also done.
And that would be it...here is the result.
All the things that I've done in photoshop can be achieved in MAX as well, I was just too lazy to set up DoF in Brasil, to change the color balance on textures and to use glow inside MAX. I would loose much more time and get the pretty same result. On the other hand, by using photoshop I saved time just this once. If I ever need a higher resolution picture than the one I made, I will need to render it in hi-res and then repeat the whole post production process (unless I recorded a macro...and guess what...I haven't :) ). So it really depends from situation to situation which way of adding effects you should choose. Also you might consider this type of post production just as a guideline for the things you want to do in your favorite 3D software.
So, grab a mouse and start working!