I've been meaning to do this for a long time, so I started on it Friday and picked it back up this morning. A long time ago, the inspiration for this site came from an image I was making for fun. I made the image and built the site's logo/layout off of it, and it's held true to that design concept ever since.
The image was made back in my novice days of modeling/rendering...I built everything haphazardly with no thought towards scale or realism until after everything was modeled...for example, in the above site header image...that map is about 2500 inches tall. Wow.
Since modern renderers and lighting calculations rely so heavily on scale, I decided to go through the trouble of scaling everything down to real scale...Which sounds easy, except for the fact that when you scale something, that scale factor is stored and maintained. so a 2500" piece of paper is still a 2500" piece of paper that is scaled down to 1.9% or something like that...Instead I had to resize everything. resize means to recreate a lot of it at a different scale, and for some things I was able to scale the vertices down while maintaining a 100% scale factor (crystals, bezier curves, etc.) All of this brings me to where it is now. Getting the magical glow and scene lighting to look good.
What you have here lighting wise is two candles off to the right, and one directional moonlight beam coming from the top left of the image. I'm not sure how accurate it LOOKS though, and thats where I need some advice. I need advice on lighting, and glow, and texture.
I'm aware of the tesselation anomalies in the metal textures, and I'm aware of the aliasing on the metallic edges...That will all go away when I do my final render that involves turning the settings way up. What I'm looking for is feedback on composition, lighting, and texture choice. Let me have it!