This image was a personal project I decided to start after watching How to Train Your Dragon. The actual idea wasn't to create a simple image, but rather to study each step of the process in depth. This image took me about five months to complete during my free time, which may seem lengthy but I'm sure that it has really helped me to improve my pipeline. My goal was to create a production quality character, and hence I spent a long time making sure it was right. I devoted a lot of time studying topology, as well as the different hair systems, blend shapes etc.
I usually tend to create a bit of a story behind my character and this was no exception. One night I woke up with this idea in my mind; a Viking with a pink Martini! I thought it would make a funny contrast. Despite the fact I don't draw very well, I decided to try out a few sketches and to set the camera as if the Viking was being viewed through the bar tenders eyes. I also wanted to give the Viking a very specific expression (Fig.01).
I chose to create the character in Zbrush and by using ZSpheres was able to quickly create a base mesh from which to start sculpting. This process (in my opinion) is one of the most efficient approaches because you can focus on the design instead of worrying about the topology which makes modelling more complicated.
To help design the character I used many references from Dreamworks, Disney and Pixar. This kind of cartoon model is very simple and the hardest part is the design. I think having a lot of contrast in the proportions makes the character look more interesting and for this reason I made him fat with small thin legs (Fig.02).
After I had finished the blocking-in I exported the Obj file into 3ds Max and started the retopology process using the Graphite modeling tools. One of the advantages of using 3ds Max is that you can mix the topology tools with the standard polygon modeling tools. With the base mesh of my character done I was ready to start making his clothes and props inside 3ds Max. The environment was modeled with polygons but I also used ZBrush to add the detailing and worn appearance(Fig.03).