Ornate lettering isn't anything new. It's been around for centuries and there are many ways to create it. You can get out your pens, pencils, brushes, rulers, French curves and a compass, but I can almost guarantee that most young designers today would rather just use the computer than create it by hand.
Although we're going to be using the computer, we'll still start with a sketch. We'll scan it into the computer and use Illustrator to create a vector version and add some additional detail. Then we'll use 3ds Max to give it some depth. We'll take it back into Illustrator and Live Trace your 3D render and then finally take the lettering into Photoshop to add the finishing touches.
The purpose of this tutorial is to give you an insight into my workflow and inspire you to create your own lettering. Have fun!