It all started with a lighting test on a blank version of this awesome character model. I mostly paid attention to the feeling of the light rig and the texture on the main part of the head. Didn't have the chance to do much unwrap so far, so I was indeed pleased!
This is going pretty well! I added another part of the head and tweaked most of the existing ones. I also looked for more image references of Grievous and found some concept art with a design in the lower part of the face, which I tried in my own way. We can note a subtle new blueish light coming from behind the "mouth" area to define a tad more the darker elements and accentuate the metallic look. The flesh still looks bad, bleh..
Main maps used for the face, in a mix of shiny metal and SSS2 organic-like material (the "bone" look).
Maps for the eyes
In addition to the diffuse/beauty pass, I like to work with those six in blending modes:
> ambient occlusion (more definition to the geometry)
> matte/shadow (moar shadow?!)
> global illumination (light accuracy)
> specular (oooh, shiny!)
Enough with the head for now, the neck/torso is on its way! The missing parts covering the spine make him look a little like an ostrich but eh, I'm still not done with the guy. I chose to go on with the tribal elements, and I did -for the first time here- some colour corrections on the whole image. At first, I also intended to create a background set from scratch, but I found an interesting landscape of Coruscant and decided to pimp it with some matte painting and depth of field. I have to admit the whole thing blends together pretty well, so I may keep it in the end.
The final image is DONE! Every aspects now shine in this MoreThanHD-32bit-ImageBaseLighted illustration. LOT of work here in the textures and post-production. I mostly wanted to get an ambiance out of this scene more than a sci-fi typical artwork with all the lasers and spaceships and stuff (couldn't resist some flares though.. it's 2011 after all!). I decided to keep the out-of-focus Coruscant background, which I started all over again to enhance the lighting; I thought the last version was a good start, but a bit mushy though. I also spent a lot of time in Photoshop and 3dsmax to FINALLY get the flesh around the eyes right. Some details to come, but first: