In this 'making of' article I will try to explain the techniques that I used to create this image. I will focus mainly upon the creation of the character. I wanted to learn "new generation" tools, like ZBrush, and this project gave me the opportunity for exactly this.
I made a basic model in Maya, taking care to ensure that all of the polygons were 4-sided (Fig.01), and then exported to ZBrush.
I could have generated the UVs here; this would have been a good moment for projection mapping. But I decided that I would use UVLayout later. With this software the "pose" of the geometry doesn't matter, and so I decided to wait for more detailed meshes from ZBrush.
I imported the OBJs into a ZBrush file using SubTools. I created some reference objects, like the table and cigar, and then posed the character using Transpose Master (Fig.02). Using the Standard and Move brushes, I began the process of adding detail and the refinement of the meshes. I continued this until I had something similar to the geometry that I wanted, still with a low number of polygons (Fig.03).
I deleted the polygons that were not going to be visible, like the torso and the interior of the shirt. I then had 3 different meshes: head, arms and shirt. I exported these meshes to OBJ format to create the UVs with UVLayout. In UV layout, I made some UVs shells for better distribution and less distortion of the UVs. I tried to place the seams away from the view (Fig.04).