For the render I used Mental Ray with the regular skin shader. The geometry inside 3ds Max was quite light so I used a normal bump to get all the detail information from ZBrush, and I added a noise bump to get some finer skin pore details.
The textures used for the head and the horns were 2048*2048 because my PC at home wouldn't support larger textures (Fig.08).
I'm not a lighting specialist so generally I just put my lights in the direction I want and then I do all my tweaking inside Photoshop (Fig.09a – b).
I usually work with separate renders for all lights, but to continue with the "fast" idea that I was going with for this piece, I made just three passes this time: the complete render, object colour (for selection in Photoshop) and the occlusion pass (Fig.10).
And then it was all just 2d work to finish up. I added a blurred picture of a cave for the background, I tweaked the colours and contrast, and so on. I also painted in the fire flies. One idea I had was that the monster was emitting some kind of ultra sound to attract the bugs, but then sound isn't something you can show, so I added some blue circles around his head to illustrate the idea – it's subtle but I like the effect (Fig.11).
Fig. 11 - Final Image
Overall this piece took me around 8 hours from start to finish during my free time. I'm happy with the overall feeling and colours; the purpose wasn't to go into too much detail, but more to enjoy doing something personal and to take a break from work.
Thanks for reading, I hope you've enjoyed this article.