Concept / Inspiration
The main idea of this personal project of mine was to create an illustration of a futuristic warlord. I was inspired partly by Metal Gear Solid art, namely Raiden's design and especially for the pose in one of Yoji Shinkawa's depictions of Raiden, and I wanted to create an elite futuristic warlord with elegance about him, combining styles from the new and the old. As far as the concept design, I only had a general idea in my head but I designed it on the go within Zbrush. In other words I used no 2D concept but just designed the character in 3D as I modelled it, free-form.
In this project I used mainly Zbrush for most of the modelling and all of the sculpting and posing, and I used Never-Centre Silo for much of the hard-edged modelling of several accessories. Finally, the lighting and rendering was done mainly within Zbrush where I exported several layers including lighting layers and special material layers and composited them in photoshop which I also used for the texturing and post-work.
Most of the work for this character was created in Zbrush, which included using the Super-Average-Man base model, some Zsphere work for the base modelling of some of the accessories, all of the sculpting and transpose for posing the character and assembling the pieces together.
However, a large amount of the hard-edged base modelling was created in an external modelling program, in this case Never-Centre Silo which is a great and focused 3D modelling program. Most of the accessories such as the helm and the weapon were box modelled in Silo, and it mostly consisted of starting from a cube, extruding faces, bevelling and adding edge-loops for hard-edges, edge splitting, subdiv-modelling, and assembling different modified primitive objects together (such as cylinders or planes) as components. In any case, the base mesh is very simple.
As I completed modelling each object I exported them as .obj files and imported them into Zbrush onto the Super-Average-Man base model and assembled them onto the model using transpose and using the tweak brush, as separate subtools.
What I then did was to pose the model (in low-res) using the transpose tool and appropriate masking, and I also transposed all of the subtools to fit them onto the model. At this stage, with everything at low-res, the most important thing is the overall form, proportions and silhouette of the model. I did a lot of adjustments on the model using only transpose, the tweak brush and the inflate brush to ensure a good overall form before going to high-res.
The result of the base mesh is as shown: