Mel was originally sculpted in Zbrush 4R6. Then re-topologized to have clean and animation friendly geometry and imported into 3ds max 2011 (Final version of ZTL file is included).
Rigged there using ‘biped’ plus ‘skin’ and ‘skin morpher’ modifier to control problematic joints deformations. Biped has three twist links everywhere: upper arms, forearms, thighs and calfs. Blended morph system with graphic user interface is used for facial animation.
All textures were painted by hand in photoshop in sufficient sizes (up to 8k (found in additional archive, originally 50%-sized maps are loaded)). Most textures come in lossless tif format. For displacement OpenEXR format, generated in Zbrush, is used. Generating any other format is a question of minutes, but OpenEXR works slightly better. More information about textures and more is on the last preview image.
Special Zap’s SSS fast skin shader is used, and has to be installed prior to rendering (file and instructions are included). The idea of it is to have better reflections on skin.
Hair, eyebrows and eyelash are native3ds max’s ‘hair and fur’ modifiers.
The simplest lighting scheme is used to render the preview images – three shadow mapped spots, ray-tracing is disabled; thus a 1200x1200 picture takes from 2 to 5 minutes on intel i7 with 12 GB of RAM depending mainly on antialiasing and hair buffer oversampling quality settings. Hiding hair speeds rendering up. And the other way around, facial close –ups with hair take 4-7 minutes. Some different lighting setups are saved as scene states.
Only one iteration of the ‘Turbosmooth’ (modifier that any subdivision 3d model contains) was enough in every rendering case. Some images also show the model without subdivision (turbosmooth modifier is off).
Some more data about the main mesh (‘body’ object) :
7033 polys, 7059 verts, All quads except two small tris inside the nose.
Units are centimeters. Mel’s height is 172 cm.
All images are rendered in single pass, no compositing or any other post is used.