As I have mentioned, my main concern was the pose because it defines the personality of my character. I tried to achieve a natural pose by shifting the character's weight to his left leg and tilting the hip so that his right leg could advance a bit, while keeping both knees locked, resulting in a comfortable standing position. I also tilted the shoulder line and lowered the head in the opposite direction, while the eyes keep looking to the side in order to give us "that” look. The raising eyebrow is also emphasized by the ears, as the rabbit's right ear, above the bigger eye, points up, and the left ear curls down in continuity with the spine curve (Fig.07).
The rabbit's right hand, which will later hold a cigarette, was also positioned with an exaggerated angle backwards – not only to be more expressive, but also to create a negative space between the hand and the cheek so that the silhouette is clear without any overlapping.
All Pixologic's plugins are worth checking out, but my favorite is definitely ZAppLink (you can download it at www.pixologic.com/zbrush/downloadcenter/zplugins). This plugin projects the image in ZBrush's document screen into Photoshop, where you can use all your favorite tools to paint your model and then project the result back to the model texture in ZBrush!
I started by picking a white image with 4096 by 4096 pixels as my model texture. I then activated ZAppLink (under the Document tab) with Photoshop already open in the background. Choose "Drop Now” and Photoshop will pop up with the ZBrush image. The document has a layer order and naming convention that you will have to keep in order for everything to work as expected (Fig.08).
Add as many layers and blending modes as you want, as long as in the end you collapse all your painting to a layer with the name "Layer1” with the original mask. Then save the image and go back to ZBrush, choose Re-enter ZBrush, select Pick up now, and the painting will be applied to your texture. Don't forget to save the changes to your texture by going to the Texture tab and choosing Export.
To continue painting the model you just have to change your point of view and project the image again through ZAppLink, and keep repeating the process until you're done. You can even hide parts of the model before making the projection in order to paint inaccessible areas. This is how I painted the diffuse texture of my character (Fig.09). The remaining textures (Specular, Bump, SSS, etc.) were fully painted in Photoshop using the diffuse texture as a base.
I exported the high-poly model in OBJ format and imported it into 3ds Max at this stage. The model had about 320,000 polygons and my new task was to cover it with fur. As you may know, when using the Hair and Fur (WSM) modifier, a hair guide spline will be created for each vertex. By manipulating these guides you will define how the hair will grow, as the software will make an interpolation between the vertex splines in order to create the hair strands in the area between the guides.
However, growing the hair on a 300K poly mesh is not an option. No one wants to deal with 300,000 guides – not to mention that the software will not allow it. The only option is to use a low-poly mesh to grow the hair. So, I exported the mesh from ZBrush at a lower subdivision level with about 5,000 polygons.
Using a lower subdivision mesh brought up another issue: the polygons of the high- and low-poly models were not coincident; some vertices were below the surface of the high resolution mesh and others were above. Having hair growing in the air at a distance from the high-poly mesh was a problem, but having the hair grow below the surface is actually desirable. As such, I applied a Push modifier with a negative value to the low-poly mesh in order to shrink it below the high-poly surface. I then turned off the Renderable option under the Object Properties, so that the low-poly mesh didn't render (the hair will render independently from the fact that the mesh will not). I applied the Hair and Fur (WSM) modifier, and the titanic fight for hair control started (Fig.10) …