The spider's web was pretty tricky to achieve. It was created on a plane (Fig.04). I used V-Ray dirt as the material for the lantern, as you can see in Fig.05. The spider's web's plane seemed to create a line of dirt where it crossed the lamp and I couldn't correct this by playing with the exclude/include settings. My idea was to solve this by minimizing the intersection area, which seemed to work. I also applied a V-Ray displacement mod to this plane at - 0.5mm (the high map and opacity are the same textures). This did a great job here because it shows the volume on the thin detail, but also shows a nice, subtle highlight.
For the background I used some references from cgtextures.com and quickly modeled two buildings, which you can see in Fig.04. In the final image you can only see a small part of the buildings as I changed the focal length of the camera from 25 to 50, meaning the background was blurred as it looked in original reference image.
The bugs help to bring the image to life. I wanted to make them big, but not look ugly and awful. I made two types of bug; one with open wings and the other with closed. The first of the two bugs was rigged so it could be posed or animated. I then created five variations of the bug, meaning that I could add them to the image and make minor changes to them such as twisting them to make them look unique. The final step was to add some Motion Blur, which was created using the V-Ray physical camera as I feel this looks better than when it is done in post-production.
As you will see in Fig.05, I used Blendmat as the base for the different materials used. The first of the two metals was a black metal covered in rust. The second material was much lighter than the first and was used to create the effect of dust. A Falloff map with a world Z-axis direction was used as a blending mask, and I blended the black and light metal textures using the Invert Normal function in the vraydirt map options. It gives a very subtle effect, but it really helps to make objects look real.
Then it was time to move into ZBrush. This is a great and powerful tool, and it helped me to achieve nice detail on the wall (Fig.06). To do this a base object was created and unwrapped in 3ds Max. In Photoshop I created a diffuse texture and based on it a black and white map that was used as a mask for sculpting (Fig.07). In ZBrush I applied this map, made a mask and, with the Standard brush, sculpted the detail. This technique gave me more control over the level of displacement and was really easy to use.