Here is the basic process for the crow. I used a box and shaped it into a desired form (Fig.05)
The feathers were made from a simple plane and UV mapped. Then I simply duplicated it and formed them into a wing. I also used an opacity mask to form a feather, for faster rendering (Fig.06).
For the wheat, I created a small seed then duplicated and rotated it until I got the whole husk. Then I modelled the stem from a cylinder and made it more uniform. To create leaves, I used a plane and properly formed it into the right shape.
Other objects, such as the barrel, wooden sticks, and power plants, were all made of cylinders. For the grass I used paint effects to create small strands of grass. I sowed the grass onto the field mesh by duplicating them (Fig. 07).
Once I was satisfied with the modelling stage I decided to make some parts more detailed, using normal maps for faster rendering. To create normal maps I imported the OBJ format of the scarecrow into ZBrush and began sculpting each piece of the scarecrow individually. Because I had to generate normal maps inside Maya, I kept the poly count at a maximum of 2 million polygons for each piece for easier baking. The idea was to use high polygon geometry on lower resolution geometry, without losing all the detail. I decided to use normal maps instead bump maps (Fig. 08).
In ZBrush, I used a standard brush to define large wrinkles. I used the smooth tool to achieve a beautiful transition. After large wrinkles had been defined, I went into smaller detail using the lazy mouse feature to smooth curved lines. I usually use the lazy mouse at subdivision level 4, to avoid doted lines. Once the sculpting had been completed I exported the high poly mesh into Maya as an OBJ. (Fig.09)