Well, aside from trying to throw in a few images into our monthly challenges, I've been working on a side project the whole time, mostly for leisure and research (which is mostly the reason why I haven't been consistent with the challenges). Here are some WIP's for a full character I have been working on, from concept to rigged, a longer project that I've been using as a test for new things I learn at work, things I read, etc.
I've always had a thing for stylized / propaganda / pin-up / fantasy art, and this character is sort of a culmination of it (yes, she is a fairy-warrior-fantasy-babe you'd probably find in a comic book for teen boys... with the recent talk about Rob Liefeld, I'm almost hesitant to show this, but hey, stylized anatomy to a certain extent can be rather interesting within its own genre). Anyway, here are some of the aspects of it:
- Sculpted the low-res mesh in Zbrush, but used the displacement and normal maps as a reference / template for the color map. The color image you see are in fact what you see in the viewport within Maya, no rendering or high-quality mode. I wanted to develop a certain look that emulates that old pin-up feel.
- Planning to use hi-res details from Zbrush for armor. Probably will attempt a composite render to create a unique feel to the armor. Looking at references for semi-translucent insect carapaces for the armor.
- I have several other characters styled in this fashion so I kept in mind aspects of modularity. Hair can be swapped, clothes / armor are modeled separately, etc
- Tried a lot of rigging techniques / approaches that I didn't know about before. I did a blended dual quaterion weighting for the whole body and made some blendshapes for the mouth and eyes - planning to focus a lot more on these subtle deformation-related techniques to get a compelling character at the animation phase.