Lighting and Rendering
Even though I wasn't planning to put a crowd in the final image, the location that I had imagined was a soccer stadium, where there are many light sources. I worked with a main and a secondary light to reproduce this. Besides that, I used several spot lights to highlight some of the detail, like the eye specular and the shirt material.
One approach that I used was to use auxiliary geometry light sources with Final Gather to obtain a soft rim light and ground light bounce. I put two surfaces behind and one below the model, filled them with a bright incandescence color and disabled Primary Visibility. Turning on Final Gather meant that these surfaces behave like light sources, creating nice soft lights (Fig.12).
To render the scene I used mental ray in Maya, and separated some render passes. The hair and fur I rendered in a totally separated pass because it increased the render time so much. I like to render a normal pass to use in Photoshop to help when making corrections later. In this image I used it to improve the rim light in the final appearance and to highlight some unwanted dark areas (Fig.13).
I composed the final image in Photoshop, making some color adjustments and adding some post effects like glows and depth of field. For the background I choose to use a Bokeh effect representing a crowd full of flashing cameras.
This illustration was a very enjoyable and instructive experience. The final result could do with a lot of improvements. Every time I look at it I see something that could be better, but I am also very proud of it. Most of the people that look at this caricature have the reaction that I hoped for. There are also people who feel disgusted. This is nice too though, because I think that this work is disgusting. I think my tribute was to use disgusting work to show that I am a big fan of Ronaldo.
Thank you very much for taking the time to read this article! I hope you enjoyed it.
To see more by Bruno Hamzagic, check out Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 6
and Prime - The Definitive Digital Art Collection