The UV step in Blender is a fairly simple and direct workflow. In organic models, usually the best way is to use Unwrap, which works based on the seams you need to create in your model, and then you can choose between two methods of unwrap: Conformal or Angle-based.
After that you can keep improving your unwrap using the stretch-draw method, which shows the distortion between the faces in the 3D view and in the UV editor. Pure red means very stretched and pure blue is without distortion.
Making the UV layouts in Blender
In the texturing step I like to apply materials with basic colors and bake them into a texture. I did this here with the mouth, eyelids and overall color of the skin. This is fairly easy to do in Blender – you can just click one button. I also baked a Dirty Vertex Color, which is very useful to enhance your Diffuse map or to use as the start point for a Specular map.
Dirty Vertex Color baked into the UV texture
Painting in Photoshop
So I have colored areas where I can make fast selections or masks to start painting in Photoshop.
Next, I start painting the color tones of the skin. I prefer to use solid color layers and paint onto the mask, so you can tweak the color later if needed. I painted the reddish tones, which are placed in the more fleshy areas like cheeks, tip of the nose and ears. Next the yellowish tones in the bony areas, like in the jaw line, arch of the eyebrow and nasal bone. I also added a little bit of purple around the eyes.
Creating the diffuse texture in Photoshop
For lighting Betty, I used a three-point light, but with one more light turned to the background. This very common technique consists of a Key light, usually positioned about 45 degrees from your model, another Fill light on the opposite side also at 45 degrees, and a Rim light placed behind the model.
I only used Area lights for this, except for the background – for which I used a Spot light. This last Spot light was used to create a kind of radial gradient effect that helped the model 'pop out'. I like to set up each light separately first and then make fine adjustments with all the lights together.
The lighting layout used to enhance the model
I really enjoy the shading process in Cycles (a rendering engine built into Blender). The node-based system allows you to create very complex materials in a very intuitive way.
The SSS shader in this version of Blender was used in its very first development, but still works very well. The most import setting of the SSS is to adjust to the right scale, otherwise your model can look very waxy and you will lose a lot of detail. My goal here was to create a very soft skin look and yet retain translucency, so one trick I used was to preserve the volumes of her face while using SSS, mixing a falloff/colorramp above my diffuse texture with a blend mode set up to Multiply.
The render preview shows some of the shader settings
The post-production step was done inside the Blender Node editor. There, I did the compositing and put together all the render passes. My intention here was to emphasize the contrast of her hair and her clothing in relation to herself and the background, to accentuate her silhouette, and also emphasize the reddish tones, which I think is one of the charming parts in Maly's drawing.
I used a Beauty pass, a ZDepth pass, an Ambient Occlusion pass and a Material Index pass.
Various render passes used for compositing
In the Node Editor, I mixed the Ambient Occlusion pass and also did the color grading. After that, I started creating some effects like depth of field using the Z pass, a little bit of chromatic aberration and vignette. I used the Material Index to tweak the colors of the flower.
The compositing nodes setup
The final image
This is the final result!
Check out Lucas Falcao's website!
The final result!
Lucas Falcao's inspiration, the illustration from Maly Siri, can be found on her site
Blender's newest version here