I chose a blue-purple-pink colour scheme for the final render, so those were the colours I used for the maps. The body texture was hand painted - nothing fancy; the clothes were textured using textures from Total Textures: Volume 1 and details were painted using some custom brushes. I baked an occlusion pass for all of the textures and used them to colorize the final maps, and to add darker areas at the same time (Fig.09 & Fig.10). The hair was hand painted in Photoshop.
The materials were very simple (with a very messy shader network): the clothes used a blinn material with a very low specular value and no reflection, and the body used a MISSS_fast_simple (Fig.11). The scatter layers were painted using the body texture as a reference and colorized to a reddish-pink colour.
Rigging & Posing
I used this character, along with another one I had, to learn the basics of character rigging in Maya more than a year ago. It was a long process involving several tutorials and getting help from the Internet. I rigged the two very different characters - a thin, cute bunny and a fat, ugly red devil - with the same system, and both worked very well (Fig.12). The face had just a few blend shapes due the limitation of the face topology, but the result was good enough for my purposes (Fig.13).
Lighting & Rendering
The lighting setup consisted of one area light for the main character, two spotlights - one as a rim light and one for the background - and glowing planes for the reflections in the eyes. The scenario was just a curved plane. The still was rendered in Mental Ray with Final Gather turned on at 3000x4000 pixels. It took about four or five hours to finish. I made several poses, but the rest were rendered at 900x1200 due to time limitations (Fig.14 & Fig.15).
I used Photoshop to add a warmer mood to the final image. First I adjusted the tone with a Curves Adjustment Layer and a Photo Filter and I then adjusted the overall levels slightly, to make the image brighter. I added a slight lens-blur using a depth pass from Maya, which made no real difference to the final render, but a big one to the high-res image. The final touch was one greyscale stock image over the full composition in two different blending modes, and a low opacity value to give a less clean look to the background (Fig.16). The same method was applied to the other five renders I made (Fig.17 & Fig.18).
This is one of many of my dearest works; there are many things I learned from this single image, and of course a lot more things to come from it, I'm sure. The work done on this image involved lots of things I still use in my daily works, and the entire process was a lot of fun too (except, of course, when waiting for the renders!).