I started to pose the character in ZBrush with the Transpose tool so that it fitted the initial concept.
Fig.12 – 13 shows you a time-lapse of the modeling progress in ZBrush from the start to the final pose.
When you're working on characters, if you know a 2D/3D character artist, then I'd advise asking their opinion about your WIP modeling. It's very important to get feedback because your self-evaluation can become blinded to minor anatomical mistake after having worked for such a long period of time on your asset. This recommendation is valid for all the creative process steps.
One important thing to keep in mind when you're posing your character is to rethink the musculature and find the anatomical landmark. If not, the model will look unnatural.
When this process was finished I reduced the subdivision level to reach approximately 300k poly and I exported this level in obj. format with UV space. Then I increased to the last subdivision level and exported it without UV space (memory optimization). So, with Xnormal, I extracted the normal map and the lost detail from the high res version.
There are many excellent ways to make a good lighting setup with mental ray. I've tried a lot of different setups, but in this case I preferred to use image-based lighting (IBL). It produces a low contrast picture that makes texture and modeling look well. You can access a great gallery of HDR pictures here.
Make sure you have your gamma correction enabled (Fig.14).
Add a skylight to your scene.
Open the Environment dialogue tab and in the Environment Map slot add the HDR file and setup option (Fig.15)