However, the production of this character and sculpt wasn't with out short comings. Although very rushed to get the concept done, I could have done a much better job. The basic idea of the character design was present for the most part. The execution was sloppy. Anatomy was not as accurate as I would like and the color/rendering was a bit off. I could have done better in the time given if I would have had a clearer work flow laid out. I unwisely decided to try and experiment with a new concept approach on the fly. This was a mistake. I tried going away from the comic style, didn't like it then tried to swing back to the comic approach. This swerving led to neither approach coming out the way I would have liked. Luckily, ZBrush allows me to compensate and I had a strong vision for the character. So I was able to recover.
The concept is based off of a Japanese ghost story I read, but I could not find the source. It was the myth of a one legged, one eyed ghost who roamed the forest. It carried a rusty sword and an umbrella. Legend was that if you roamed the forest on foggy nights and run into the ghost, your end was guaranteed. If you look around at some Japanese videogames, you can spot this characterization in exaggerated form. For my concept I tried to ground it a bit more. Making the character a fallen rogue samurai, I turned the umbrella into a wide brim sun hat. The rusty sword was still rusty but I left pieces of past victims on top of the blade. Instead of hopping one leg, I had his foot cut off so he limps along with only one full functional leg. In reference to the single eye, I simply gave him some more damage and rot which destroyed his left eye, thus having only one functional eye. However, he still roams the forest and you will meet your end if you spot him, Another render below includes a brief write up I used to clarify and provide some motivation behind the character.
Below are some renders of the sculpt with and without paint. Painting is fun, but maintaining the look and feel of materials is key. I am getting a little better but still have some work to do. It was a challenge to get the feel of dead skin while still making it feel organic (a lot of unpleasant Google searches). Same with stylizing the colors of blood without it looking too shiny or cartoonish. Painting also takes focus and subtlety to maintain the sculpts level of detail. Sometimes you can wash out details that help define the smaller details.
The sculpting process was a slow incline. Again sculpting under the gun it was fun to see how quickly I can put together a final piece. The sculpt really came together in the last few days. I had been playing around with proportion and posture for quite some time. Once that clicked everything else fell into place. I was then able to properly identify points of tension in clothes and skin (for the most part). It is no where near perfect but I am satisfied with the end result, as well as how much i learned from the process. I would go into the poly paint process but this post is running long as it is.
Finally there is the pay off of seeing the thing printed and painted. On top of that it will debut at C2E2 which is definitely exciting. As I mentioned before if you are at the conference keep an eye out for the Box O Zombies booth.