Trying to steal Vray's thunder.
I'm gonna wait for Steam version
Vasily Kokorin from Russia talked about some of his techniques, used during the production of the amazing ‘Forest Musician’ character. He discussed the sculpting, material building and other important elements of the creative process.
My name is Vasily Kokorin. I am an architect from Chita, Siberia. Now I make my first small steps into game industry. I was invited to Trace Studio in St. Petersburg recently. Therefore, I am at very beginning of the character creation career.
A small story about the character was a requirement of the “Beast” contest. Anyway, I always invent a story for my characters. I usually think about their life, their everyday routine for inventing costume details. I imagine myself as them and dive deep in their worlds. Some good fantasy fiction books are extremely handy at point of character development too.
My approach to work is usual. First of all I do several pencil scratches of a figure, pose research, body structure research.
Here is one of the pencil scratches I made.
Then I start making the figure via zspheres in Zbrush finding right proportions and body shapes representing right mood.
At this stage it is so important to find some photos of humans with body similarities. Then I work on each part individually in Zbrush and 3ds Max. I always make pencil scratches of each detail at every stage of my work for best comprehension of detail interaction and their harmonious work for the character. Marvelous Designer is extremely handy for making cloth geometry. One can spend a lot of time having fun with it.
Small details (bandages, bones, rings, strings etc.) was made mostly in 3ds Max with detailing in Zbrush. It is pretty usual pipeline. Polygonal modeling-Zbrush detailing and placing. The most important stage is finding an interesting pose and gestures. I used my mirror in the bathroom with a mop in my hands so many times to test emphasis of the poses I considered for the character and then I made the pose in 3ds Max by CAT system. It was pretty funny.
He has many elements of many world tribal cultures. They are African, Siberian, American, etc. The musical instrument is some kind of African kora. The first inspiration for the instrument was a Finntroll musical video called Trollhammaren. Many interesting musical things was shown in that video. I hardly recommend to watch it.
Texturing is a very important part. I start texturing also by watching refs. There were lots of photos of tribal clothes, ornaments, details etc. Then I define several types of texture sets: clothes, body, attributes. Each part was textured in its own way. Skin and props are textured in Substance Painter. It is very useful for that. I divided the skin texture to separate fill layers based on a certain skin tone and then I blended the layers by generators and paint masks for cleaning generators. Also I have additional fill layers for the bodypaints and veins with certain depth, roughness and color channel options. Substance Painter gives huge opportunities to control each channel individually at any time. For instance, I changed bodypaints several times finding right look by changing masks and channel options.
The musical instrument was painted in Substance Painter in the same way. Several fill layers with different color, roughness and depth options and generators with paint layers for cleaning.
Clothes and hair were painted completely in Photoshop and Crazy Bump. First, I put main colors underneath, then I put all the baked maps (ambient occlusion, curvature) on separate layers. In addition, I used Crazy Bump to generate additional normal map details.
In addition, I recommend you to pay attention to feedbacks and advices at forums. They will help you to make your work way better and not to get confused sometimes. I regarded every reply during my work closely and carefully.