I'm going to explain to you how I created my latest personal artwork called "Mama". I did it for the 50th birthday of my mum, which was several weeks ago. Obviously all the things I did can be done in many different ways. The techniques that i have used in this occasion were chosen depending on the circumstances such as the timeline.
Well I'm going to begin telling you I used 3dsmax8, Zbrush and Photoshop, and was rendered using 3dsmax's Mental Ray. Why? Because it has an easy and fast Sub-surface Scattering simulation, which as you probably know also includes a variation that lets you make realistic skin called "SSS Fast Skin".
The head is probably the thing that took the most time to model, although Zbrush, apart from making the job better, it makes it faster. The point was giving the model her characteristic charm, which unfortunately you don't know. The model has 6 subdivisions, apart from the base mesh. To speed up rendering, I just exported the 3rd subdivision (Level 4) inside max, and the rest of the detail worked damn good with a normal map!
The eyebrow was modeled separately
0 = Base model geometry. It's completely flat.
1 = I apply the shell modifier to add depth
2 = Symmetry to X axis
3 = Symmetry to Y Axis
4 = Planar UVW Map
5 = FFD Box modifier of 8x8x2 points (FFDBox=lattice in maya)
6 = I deform the cage of the FFD Box until adapting it perfectly to the shape of the sofa (the sofa
is kinda deformed by the weight of her body, so it's not like bending it)
7 = Turbosmooth modifier, 2 iterations
8 = Noise, small size
9 = Noise, big size
10 = Displacement set with a fabric image & Final look. (It's Difficult to see the diferent with
this image size though)