When the model was complete I opened the final model in 3ds Max along with the UVs and organized them into a basic layout, one for head and eyes, one for the torso, one for the skin and one for the legs and hair (Fig.04).
For the head I used 3ds Max to create a base mesh and ZBrush for the final sculpt. I used references from a few Asian actresses like Lucy Liu and Bai Ling. It's really important to break the symmetry at this stage, even if it's subtle (Fig.05).
With the modeling and UVs finished it was time to go back into ZBrush and add detail. This time I used some specific brushes in ZBrush to create the cloth and metal scratches. This is a fast and easy stage of the project, because on this character almost everything had already been built in 3ds Max.
Following on from this I added a few colors in ZBrush using Polypaint which I would use later as a guide to create the final textures in Photoshop. I re-imported the model from ZBrush into 3ds Max again and exported the Normal and Displacements maps from ZBrush. It's important to create as much detail as you can on the topology of the model in this kind of project in order that the Displacement and Normal maps are reserved for the small details. This way the final model will be ready for production. I usually use a mix of Displacement and Normal maps. I use Displacements maps with the Displacement modifier in Max to add small changes to the topology and Normal maps for the small detail enabling a faster render at the end.
I used the color guides from ZBrush to create the final textures in Photoshop using a combination of hand painting and photos. A Diffuse, Specular and Bump map were created for each layout. ZBrush was used again at the end to fix seams and make a few color corrections. When not making models for games I usually don't bake any shadow or light information onto the textures (except for an Ambient Occlusion map that I generate in 3ds Max). I create the realistic final effect using shaders, lights and render settings.
I created the hair using planes that incorporated Diffuse, Opacity, Specular and Bump maps, commonly seen in game models (Fig.06). The shader and modeling in this case helps to create a realistic look. I usually create six plane variations in one UV layout and organize the planes on the head, always using hair references as a guide.
After this I add a new Edit Poly on top of all the objects and worked on her pose (Fig.07). I usually do this in ZBrush, but in this case I achieved it by way of max pivots.
The lighting in this scene involved four simple point lights, one main light, two fill lights (with cold and warm colors on each side) and one big backlight for SSS.
The model was rendered in V-ray.
To see more by Rafael Grassetti, check out ZBrush Character Sculpting
and Digital Art Masters: Volume 7