Hi all, for some of those who requested a project overview from me, well here it is. In this project overview I'm going to tell you how my scene called 'Settled' was made. I assume you have at least the basic knowledge and understanding of 3d. This project overview is mainly focused on user's 3ds max 7 (and its rendered with Vray Advanced) since I'm using this, but do not run away if you're using Maya or some sort of other program, there are a few basics which will help you in your software package too.
Actually I didn't start with any concept sketches or something; I just started creating the house used in my scene, not with any higher purpose in mind, just to test out my new work station. But sketching isn't a bad idea at all, actually it's even better when you're making sketches before you start, remember: changing elements and so on in a 2d sketch is much easier and faster then 3d, so when you making mistakes you can easy correct it, while in 3d it could take up hours and hours. While working on the house, I thought, well I got the house, but where is it located, what's the environment, and so on. So I was thinking how can I make a nice scene around it. Finally I got the idea to make a picture with lots of nature and a warm summer feeling to it, you could see it as the shire where no war will struck. To be honest, I never had done anything like this with so much nature around it (mainly because my old computer simply couldn't handle it). I had no idea how to handle such great amount of nature since nature always provides huge amounts of polygons, so I choose for planes and opacity, later more about this. I had a composition in mind close to the one in the render.
Getting your workspace right
It's very annoying when you don't have a good workspace to work at, like a good desk, chair, and monitor, computer & sound setup. When I got my new computer this was something I paid lots of attention to. So I now have a desk that's 115 cm deep and 215 cm wide, so everything has its own place, and I have space enough to rest my arms, type, work with a Wacom, drink, draw, and still have room for 2 monitors, 1 TV (out), pc, and a tuner. I absolutely can't work without music, so I used a trick I got from my dad, to turn my music harder. A really handy thing to do is when you have external speakers hanging on your PC, amplified by a tuner, is simply to hang them on the ceiling, with chains, above the desk and monitors, this saves awesome amounts of space, but better, its reducing resonance produced by the speakers since they only hang on chains, you can then turn your music harder, without your mom vibrating off off the couch (not to hard off course, if you'll just turn it to hard its going to happen anyway, that's not to prevent). I recommend when you really want to go on in the film or media industry you get yourself a good computer, with a dual display setup. I worked 3 years on a Intel Pentium 3 - 1 gig Hz, with 512 Mb ram with one monitor. I could use 3ds max but I could not make scenes with tremendous amounts of polygons, GI, and complex scene setups, I taught myself the basics of 3d on this old feller just by browsing project overviews I found on the internet and the ones that come packed with 3ds max, so if your starting and you haven't got a really good pc, don't worry, then something like a good workstation is just something for in the future. This how my 3ds max interface nowadays looks with my dual display setup. When you want to make yourself a sort of home studio, improvisation is very important.
The modelling part
The modeling is fairly simple, actually there's nothing hard to it. It's in fact all box modeling. The scene contains around 290.000 polygons (you can check your number of polygons with the polygon counter which is located in the utilities menu, more, there you find the polygon counter. You have several options which are very simple), and the real objects are mostly standard objects, like boxes (with 4x4x4 segments), which where edited with edit mesh, usually I just chamfered the edges, added some noise modifiers for the wooden parts of the building and bridges. When I had one wooden beam, I applied a UVW map on it so that I don't have to do that when I'm al 'settled' for texturing. The UVW is a standard 50x50x50 box, because all the geometry are simply all cubes.
Above you see how I made a roof tile, but it's the same method as wooden beam, they just have other proportions, as you can see a UVW map already applied.
The bridge is build up mainly out of boxes, same method as the rest. The chains where made with a torus for every chain. The torussus where converted to chains as shown below. Also here I've applied an UVW map (box) to it, so that I don't have to map 150 individual chains. The chains I now had, where placed by hand in position as shown below.