3. I went to Photoshop to work on the hair textures and created 1 diffuse and 1 alpha map for this using a quick custom brush. Later on I realised that I should have added normal/specular maps to the hair to achieve a better look. I made a few different strands to use for variety.
4. I went back to Max and assigned the new texture to all the hair strands and then started tweaking each hair strand UV manually to get the desired effect.
5. Just final note. Good hair = good amount of time. There's no escape and no "quick and dirty" way to get it done. This applies to everything else but even more to hair. Nevertheless I feel that hair is one of the most important pieces of the character after the eyes. If you shave everyone's head and just settle with that, well... just look at your local military camp. Everyone looks the same. So even though it's a pain in the butt, just spend extra time and make it look nice. As usual, the more you do, the better you get. This was my second time working on hair and first time doing real time hair, so I feel that there's still a long way to go before I can master it. Also, the more polygons you use, the better it will be.
I won't go too deep into this. Basically what I used was a combination of Biped and custom bone rig which I made. It's good to know that even at this stage, if you have problems with deformations in your model, you can still add edge loops so that the deformations will work better. As you work on more models, you'll start to spot areas where you need more/less polygons to deform properly.
Lighting & Rendering
This part was quite simple. I did not use anything special, just a simple 3point lighting setup. No GI or anything fancy. This will also represent the model more accurately as it would be seen on the game engine. After that I went to Photoshop and did very slight touch-ups such as adjusting the levels. But overall the final render (excluding the background) is 99% as it came from the renderer. Let your textures do the work. A simple light setup will do with good textures.
This was my first game character project; my first project using normal maps or ZBrush; my first time working on most of the stuff mentioned above. I think what I want to share the most is the
fact that never be afraid of doing something that you think is really hard. Never doubt your ability to learn and to tackle problems that you might face in your projects. In fact, you learned most When you work on something that makes you go "how the hell am I going to make this work?". I am just a beginner myself so you might notice a lot of mistakes and things that could have been done better. However, I was glad to be able to share something here with you, be it my workflow, techniques or even my mistakes.
Any feedback is welcome and if you have any questions, I'll try and find time to answer them. If you are interested in my work, then just hit me with an email.