Interior Practice + Breakdown

A personal study. Includes breakdown and process.

I was really inspired by this image I found on Behance created by Victor Fuentes. I love the texture of the wall, the shell chair, composition, and colours. I decided to try and replicate this piece for a personal exercise.
Floor board process pictured below:
Downloaded a wood texture from CGTextures.com and imported it into photoshop. Used curves and hue adjustments to get it a nicer brown to my liking. Then I made a 2000x600 area and masked out different areas of the wood. I cropped and saved each of those areas to create six different wood planks for my floor. They have been randomly flipped and brightened/darkened inside my scene to create variety.
Next step was making the chair and unwrapping.
I used splines to get the correct curvature of the legs. I then used the taper modifier and smoothed it. FFD modifier came in handy for the seat cushions. Just simple modeling.
Unwrapping it so that the wood grain matched my reference took longer than modeling it. Along the way I forced myself to try out new techniques and tools that I haven't touch before. Using tools will definately speed up the proces in the future.
From here I blocked out my scene with primatives, then just worked my way through creating what I saw in my reference. In order to get the lighting right I made use of Vray RT quite a bit. I think that my lighting skills have a long way to go and this helped me discover how much light influences the scene.
 
 
Once I got the lighting looking satisfactory I rendered 3500x4500. Render time was 7 hours (FX-8350 @ 4.1GHz). Passes are pictured below.
Here's a breakdown of my Photoshop process.
Things I learned:

1. Always make things in real world units. I saved myself so much headache by modeling in metric because after gathering reference images for the chair I found it's dimensions online. Once I made the box representing the chair's dimensions it was so much easier to model the chair knowing that it had to fit inside that box.

2. Textures make the scene. This is a constant theme for me during my 3D projects. I spend the most time working with UV maps and textures, especially on the wall. For example I combined several different images from CGTextures (dirt, plaster, cracked wall, dust particles) to get the diffuse wall texture. I've found that once I have a diffuse it's a lot of fun making the spec, gloss, and bump maps for the texture since you can fine tune what aspect of the texture you'd like to bring out and highlight.

3. Check the symmetry threshold. I had to model the left picture frame twice because the first time I made one corner of it and used symmetry twice to make the rest. I forgot about the welding threshold option and it looked correct in my viewport. After I collapsed it I started making splitting the the object to get those realistic slices on the corner when I realized that there were both welded vertices and extra ones as well. I think I need to make a habit of going in and taking a 1 second look at the vertices after I make any big changes.

4. One distant light is powerful. Usually I use at least two lights in my scene but this exercise helped me to discover how strong one light can influence a scene. I used a soft box texture on my light so I didn't have any light corners on my objects. It helps the light to seem more natural and not so studio-like. Fine tuning lighting after I texture a scene is fun because that's where I get to see the specularity and falloff of the textures and that really helps define it's form (example: I focused on getting a healthy contrast on small crease on the chair back).
Final image:

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