Concept - This project started as an entry for the Sculpting Challenge. The brief of the challenge was to create a female amazon warrior and I thought about doing something with the proportions of comic book characters, a tall young woman with slender figure but at the same time looking like a strong warrior.
So first task was to gather references and Google's image search was great for this. Amazon warrior and native women images were my primary research goal. This gave me some ideas for the design of the character.
Creating the Base Mesh - I usually start working on a base geometry in Max, but this time I decided to use a different technique. ZBrush gives you different methods to create a base mesh and one of these ways to do it is using ZSpheres. With ZSpheres you can create easily structures that can be converted into a basic form. It uses the Adaptive Skin feature that creates a surface of polygons around these ZSpheres structures. Well, I started selecting the ZSphere tool and drawing on the canvas. Then I went to the Edit mode and added more ZSpheres building up the structure of the body. Once it was completed I used Make Adaptive Skin to convert the figure to an editable mesh. Although the distribution of this geometry was not the best, it was a good starting point.
I used the same method for the hair, but it was created as an independent Subtool. An important thing to note here is that by creating separate objects, the memory resources are used in a better way. This give you the possibility to increase the subdivision of each object much more than using the whole model. Thus, each subtool can have a different subdivision level and you can work with a greater level of detail on objects that need it.
First Stage of Sculpting - After the base mesh is finished, I started searching the overall proportions using the Move brush. As the idea was to achieve a slender figure, first I extended a little the neck and trunk and adjusted the limbs according to them. The key to a well-structured body is to pay special attention on the proportions and shapes. Here for example, I used as reference the joints of the arms and the waist to shaping out the legs and the overall body.
When I was happy with the shape I exported a version of this early model to Max to optimize and retopologize. There I adjusted the distribution of geometry and created the base mesh for the accessories starting from primitive objects. Finally I exported the model with clothes and accessories to ZBrush.
After getting the overall shape, I increased the level of subdivision and began to adjust the overall details of the body. For this task I used mostly Move and Standard. Later I added a subdivision more to refine each area of the body. Here, I used the Standard, Clay and Smooth brushes. Then I divided the model one more time to get more definition on the face and chest.