Generally, I like to think ahead and plan my models, but with this one it was different. When I started this model I was very busy at work doing army type characters, trying to improve our pipeline, and I was dealing with lots of constraints. At one point I wanted to do something at home that would be fast and personal, just to refresh my mind more than anything. What I had in mind was a smiling monster with two pairs of horns and two pairs of eyes looking at something peaceful. If I had to redo it now I would change a lot of things, especially the render and the skin, but all the same this piece was fun to create and work on!
I started modelling rough geometry in 3ds Max; two pairs of horns looking down and very simple geometry for the head to leave more freedom whilst sketching in ZBrush. With the base geometry I started sculpting in ZBrush until I had the general shape I wanted (Fig.01).
Once the sketching was done I exported the model and took it into 3ds Max. I applied an optimise modifier on it, and using Polyboost I started retopologising it. This step can be done in ZBrush but I personally prefer doing it with Polyboost as I find it easier and quicker (Fig.02).
The next step was to unwrap the UVs of my model; I also did this step in 3ds Max using the Pelt mapping tool and I adjusted the result by hand and by using some relax options (Fig.03).
With the new edge flow now fitting the model with UVs on it, I could start detailing the model slightly in ZBrush. For this step I mostly used the Standard and the Inflat brushes. I created two models for the big horns, the first one wasn't satisfying and I found the small spikes on it too aggressive for want I intended to use the model for (Fig.04).
I started over but kept the general size and curve and ended up with something that was more fitting for my idea (Fig.05).
I wanted the neck skin to be different than on the rest of him. My idea was that the monster could elongate his neck slightly when he wants to catch fireflies, so the skin would need to appear more folded in this area.
The monster lives in a cave so rocks will be likely to fall, which is why I made the top of his head bonier and harder, to protect his brain from the shock of any falling debris. He can also use his horns to scratch the rocks to detach the salt crystals, which are also part of his alimentation (along with the fireflies).
For the textures, I wanted something very simple – again the idea of the whole thing was to get something very quickly. I just used some noise textures, the cavity maps were generated in ZBrush and some quick highlights were added in Photoshop (Fig.06).
I put some veins in the subsurface textures, along with some skin stains, to get more variation (Fig.07).