Lighting and Rendering
For my final lighting setup, I used three area lights set to a high intensity with quadratic decay rates. I had Final Gather on with an HDRI for reflections. The HDRI was color corrected to match what I wanted and the content wasn't that important, I just needed some variations in colors and reflections. I got the HDRI from www.hdrlabs.com. I also had a light board for the eye specular. I rendered with mental ray and had six render passes: Armor, Head, Ambient Occlusion, Fresnel, Reflection, Rim Light and Depth of Field (Fig. 18 - 19).
I put everything together in Photoshop with standard layer stuff. Rim light and Fresnel set to screen, Occlusion set to multiply etc. I also added a touch of chromatic aberration. I did a little color correction, mainly for the skin, and added a simple background. I wanted to have a kind of atmospheric look while keeping that studio lighting vibe. Also, I didn't feel like modeling anything extra for the background! So I found some cool close-up photos of dust particles, added a little blur, and there it is. Here are some detail shots (Fig.20).
The final renders (Fig.21 - 22)!
And that's the whole process; nothing fancy, but it gets the job done. I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I did writing. Thanks for checking it out and to 3DTotal for putting it up. Feel free to shoot me an email with any questions/comments/spam etc.