Designing a character or practically anything these days is very problematic - most of the great designs have already been used and processed. In most cases, there is some similarity with an existing and well-known design. This usually leads to a strong criticism of copying/duplicating/plagiarism. There is no other way than to use all of one's skills, get all the inspiration possible and try to come up with something more complex, interesting and new for the audience (client, CG forum etc). However, there are clients demanding a specific style (Gears of War, for example) and at that point there is no more creativity.
What is your typical workflow when creating a new character?
I think my workflow is pretty standard. My first ideas and visions of new characters start with a search for particular elements on the internet. These elements are usually essential for the character - armor, weapons, hairstyle, historical drawings and the photographs of old civilizations and their technology. I always try to think first about the reasons why the characters should have this and that in terms of logic. I would say the essential thing is the historical background; what the character has been through and has experienced. When I'm inspired enough I start with the 3D base modeling, UV, ZBrush detailing, maintaining UV for stretching and sculpting, generating all the maps, exporting models into 3ds Max, light setup, basic shaders and then after all this the texturing can start. I like to do everything continuously and move on to the texturing part of the model/shading when I am happy with the quality. Then I can move on to another model.
If you had the opportunity to work on any film, what would it be and why?
Rather than being interested in the film itself, I am more interested in the company and the bunch of people working together, sharing their know-how and growing together. I prefer darker fantasy/sci-fi movies like Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, Aliens, Predators, Event Horizon and Pandorum.