Chess board completely made within Blender / cycles render engine. No post processing, high-poly. This scene is lightened by a gradient texture, materials are Cycles glossy and diffuse shaders, no textures or displacement.
this isn't bad work but there are several chess sets on blendswap already so i'm not really sure what this offers that the others don't.
also, the polycounts seem to be needlessly high for the level of detail in most of the areas of the chess pieces.
i'm kind of a stickler for polycounts not being wasted. i've seen people say "so what my computer can handle it" but even pixar who is pretty much guaranteed to have better equipment than us tries to keep polycounts as low as possible/sensible for any given object.
they let subsurfs and displacement maps handle the rest to give them higher polycounts and detail when they need it but when they don't need it the subsurf is turned off/down so an object's polycount is kept low.
they do it that way because scenes aren't usually made up of a single object or a small set of them. there are all kinds of things that fill out scene to make it feel complete and that usually ends up running the polycount up even when all the objects are kept decently low poly.
it's a gripe of mine that i seem to post on just about everything these days though so it seems to be something a lot of people either just don't know, don't think about, or isn't being taught well to people who are just starting.
I upvoted this chess set and have been having fun testing materials on it.
I think it's just a case of the modifiers having been applied unnecessarily.
The problem with that is that it's fairly hard to decimate cleanly after a
subsurf or multires has been applied. Far better to leave any modifiers
in place (no-one will think less of you or your models, in fact they will
thank you) and it reduces the poly count (and therefore download size)
Personally I wanted to add crenellations on the rooks but held off because
I didn't want to have to deal with all the polys.