Here is my first high poly full body sculpt. I wanted to challenge myself so I decided to create a tribal octopus warrior. This was also my 2nd attempt at sub-surface scattering (SSS) after gaining a bit more experience.

Both human and octopus anatomy was referenced and key features of both were integrated into a final concept. Unlike a real octopus, I wanted to create more of a biped with 8 limbs (arms, legs, and tentacles) so I went with a more human that creature design. The design was very simplistic which made the final sculpt both functional and believable.

After a design was decided, a basic base-mesh was then blocked in Maya. During this process, many of the techniques for blocking a character was utilized. Using minimal edge loops to outline the basic features, individual components were created and then attached (torso, hands, feet, and tentacles). After completing half of the character, the other half was then mirrored over to complete the basic body. To save time, since this character’s head was asymmetrical, I wanted to work as symmetrical as possible before breaking into asymmetry. Half of the head was first blocked in and mirrored over to set the basic base-mesh. Then specific areas were altered to finish off the features. Finally, the head was attached to finish off the base-mesh.

All of the geometry was then exported into UVLayout for UV flattening. For this project, I decided to take all the components and place them within a single 4k (4096) map.

The final base-mesh was then exported into ZBrush for sculpting and detailing. For this project, both standard and HD subdivisions were applied to add basic and tertiary details. Again to save time, everything was done symmetrically at first before breaking into asymmetry.  Now the tentacles proved to be the most time consuming area (more specifically the suction cups) and had to be sculpted individually without any mirroring. Finally the new base-mesh was exported back into Maya and displacement and normal maps were created.

At this point the character was still in ‘t-pose’ so a basic skeleton with a forward kinematic and inverse kinematic control rig (FK/IK). then everything was bound and weighted for proper deformations. A basic pose was then created to complete the sculpt.

Then it was onto texturing. The 4k map was first textured in Photoshop to establish a basic overall texture. Next it was into Mudbox for texture refinement and seam fixing. The final map was brought back into Photoshop to generate the additional maps for the SSS (diffuse, overall, epidermal, sub-dermal, etc.) along with a bump map. As for a gloss and incandescence map, those were painted and exported from Mudbox (the incandescence map was then modified in Photoshop to create the desired effect).

Once everything was completed, the other elements were created in Maya (turntable, clothing, spear, etc) and were textured either procedurally or in Photoshop using separate UV maps.

For lighting, a basic image based lighting (IBL) setup was created along with a directional light for a key and an area light for a rim.

Everything was then rendered out in layers and passes for post production in After Effects.

Check out the gallery for some final renders and texture map layouts. Also feel free to check out the interactive base-mesh model (with wireframe) along with a turntable animation of the final character below. For ‘SketchFab’ controls, click on ’3D Viewer Help’ (the ‘?’ icon).

Software Utilized: Autodesk Maya, Pixologic ZBrush, Adobe Photoshop, Autodesk Mudbox, Adobe After Effects, Headus UVLayout