I continued with the face details. I added edges or extruded polygons to define the key areas: mouth, eyes, nose and ears. I added a subdivision surface modifier to test these elements in high resolution. I used the Sculpt tool with the Multi Resolution modifier when I was happy with the polygon's base mesh (Fig.05).
Hide geometry you aren't working with. Your software will flow better in the viewport.
Light and Shadow
I did a first simple light rig to test my model aspect. I went with a more accurate light setup to start working with materials. It's very important to achieve a good light set up. All your work on the final image will depend on this.
In this case I rendered the scene with Blender's internal renderer. I used five lights. The number of lights will depend on your scene. Maybe it seems a little complicated at first glance, but it's very useful to have the control with a light rig. Here are my lights:
1. A Sun light as a key light, with a yellow color
2. An orange hemi light as a fill light from the Sun
3. A blue hemi light as environment light
4. A blue point light for the lightning in the raygun
5. An area light to fake the bounced light color from the ground rock to the character.
In the light properties you can select This Layer Only to affect only objects in the light layer. I used this to exclude the eyes from one light (Fig.06).
In the shadows color use the same as in the ambient color of the world. It will help you to make a believable light setup.
The way you create your materials depends on the software, but the goal is always the same. You've got to reproduce the behavior of objects with light. The key words are absorption, reflection and refraction. There are also common techniques in any software. These techniques are very useful if you want to achieve a lot of different variations of materials. In real life most objects are made of more than one material. There are several layers of dust, rust etc.
The Material Editor is very powerful when combined with light setup and composition in CG. I use a lot of falloff ramps in the materials to control how the surface reacts with the light set up. I use a color for the specular reflection that matches with the main light color, and colors in fall off ramps on difuse or specular that match with the environment color. Doing this makes the scene more believable. You will see what I mean on the materials for the raygun and the eyes. The Blender node compositor for materials is very helpful and gives all the combinations you can imagine.
With characters, the eyes are very important. It's the first place a viewer will look so be careful to work hard on this area. A nice shader will help a lot! An example of this can be seen in Fig.07.
Before going with textures for the character or any object it's good to unfold the mesh in the UV editor.
It gives a mesh layout and is very easy to understand in 2D image editors. So you can use all the tools of Gimp or Photoshop to create nice and rich textures.
Blender tools for UV editing are easy to find by pressing T or the Space bar in the 3D viewport. Select UV Editing to work on a UV layout. Any window with the UV/image editor active will show you the mesh when you select it and press Tab to enter Edit mode.
With the mesh in Edit mode you can press Space bar and write your actions if you know them, like Mark Seam or Unwrap. When you are happy with the seams you've marked, choose Unwrap. It gives you an automatic unfolded mesh that is usually very good. If you're not happy with the result you can always mark other seams (Fig.08).
In Edit mode, select all the mesh faces by pressing A, then press U and the UV contextual menu will appear to unwrap your mesh.