Another good thing to have for your character is a base for it to stand on. In this case, I modeled a big platform of a rocky/muddy surface. Starting with the rough shape in max, I modeled a simple starting point and marked the areas where footprints would be by pulling the areas down. I imported this mesh into ZBrush and sculpted away, creating more detail from the impact of Thrull's footprints and definition for the veins in the ground. After I was done sculpting, I imported the model into Max (it was fairly high resolution), gave it a planar projection that I altered slightly and slapped a dirt texture onto into. I made a basic lighting setup and baked the the texture and lighting information. I took this image into Photopshop and painted more detail onto the texture (colour variations, grass bits, darkened the veins in the mud, etc.), then saved this image and used it as the texture on my pedestal. I also created a transparency map that I applied to my pedestal that would help feather out the edges' opacity so that there wouldn't be hard edges from the base and the image's background and so I wouldn't have to keep doing in in Photoshop (erasing out the edges of my pedestal.)
It was fairly quick and dirty, but I think it added a lot to the final presentation even if it wasn't overly complicated.
Lighting and Rendering
My lighting setup was fairly simple. I used 4 point lights: 1 strong nearly white light towards the back left, 1 weak slightly orange light by Thrull's right hand to highlight some of the details on his body, 1 strong orange light positioned above Thrull to act as the main lighting source and then, finally, 1 very strong blue light to his far left (our right) for contrast. I had shadows activate don his main light source and the backligh tbut not the others. For rendering I just used Max's basic rendering settings. After I rendered Thrull at an angle that I liked, I saved it as a PNG and opened it up in Photoshop. I cleaned up any minor areas that there were (artifacts, for example) and saved it at the size that was requested.
This was a very fun character to work on as it is an extreme change from my day to day work. I hope that this article has been at least somewhat helpful and would like to hear any feedback you may have to help me in future characters and "Making Of" articles. I would also be up for discussing workflow and different techniques. Give me a shout!
To see more by Gavin Goulden, check out 3D Masterclass: The Swordmaster in 3ds Max and ZBrush