This process took several days on Qev as it was my first attempt at formulating my approach into a repeatable, production-ready technique. Once this was done we had a face and likeness around which we could start to build the character.
For his costume design we decided to develop the idea of sports leisure wear by clothing him in a tracksuit and incorporating a cybernetic exoskeleton used to augment running (presumably from the police while carrying a recently "discovered" HD TV). This contrast of cloth and hard surface structures would allow us to test out a pipeline for multiple high resolution texture tiles across both displaced and subdivided geometry, as each have their own specific requirements and foibles (Fig.03).
When sensible UVs had been assigned and we could apply a measured checkerboard map, it became clear that we'd need to spread the UVs over a number of pages to maintain the desired texel resolution, whilst keeping individual textures at a workable size in Photoshop.
Materials in 3ds Max can usually only take a single bitmap as a texture input, but we wanted to avoid duplicating our shader networks to handle the multiple source textures. Consequently, we laid out the UVs to cover multiple tiles (0-1, 1-2 etc in UV space) and used a Composite texture node, along with the Offset controls of each referenced bitmap node, to assemble the individual source textures (bitmapDisp_u4_v2 etc) into a single "mega texture" (bitmapDisp).
Instances of this mega texture could then be plugged into a material in the same way as a traditional single-map texture (Fig.04).
Once this was done we set up a fairly straight forward mental ray scene with area lights and Final Gathering. We ignored passes on this occasion and just rendered out a final render of Qev with an alpha channel in order to composite him into a fairly abstract photo of an urban environment taken in the area around our studio, which is in Old Street, London, England (Fig.05).
With some final color balancing, hand-painted environment effects and smoke rising up from his cigarette, as well as the addition of his favorite alcoholic beverage, Qev was complete and ready to cause trouble.
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