Retopology finished, I started sculpting wrinkles and other details and I created a displacement map for details of the head (Fig.05).
Then I imported everything into Maya. I did the texturing with the aid of polypaint in ZBrush and Photoshop (Fig.06).
I chose these textures to help set the historical period in which the story takes place.
An important decision was the choice for the background of the window: I tried a dozen before deciding what the most suitable one was (Fig.07).
Lighting & Rendering
An important phase in the development of the character was the feathers. I tried various methods to create these, analyzing the pros and cons. In the end I used a system of instances through Shave and Haircut. I created different systems of hairs with their respective instances, depending on the length of the feather. First of all I brushed a version of hairs and then I converted them as an instance of a simple mesh. I wrote my own shader to simulate the feathers. The long feathers, designed as hands, are a shaped mesh.
Working mostly as a Look Developer, I tend to avoid the three-point lighting setup. I prefer, instead, to create different lighting points, helped a lot by the openGL viewport. I decided to render without Global Illumination or Final Gathering, using direct lighting only. A clever arrangement of lights highlighted the various important points of the scene, giving importance to certain objects that tell the story of the character and the character itself.
I used a Spotlight converted into a mental ray Area light for the main light of the window and many spotlights for the rest of the scene. The exclusive use of direct lighting made it possible to have a faster render time, only a few minutes per pass. I like rendering in many render layers so I have more control when compositing. I divided my render layers into six different steps: background, clothes, vulture, feathers, desk and items. Each render layer was divided into 8 - 10 render passes, broken down lights, for a total of about 70-80 render layers (Fig.08).