If you keep reading, you can see my whole process of creating this character from the original concept to this final render! If you are interested, you could click the "Read more" button to see my steps.
I really like the idea of blending together different cultures and even time periods to make a new and unique character. This was inspired by a Japanese Samurai mixed with a Mesoamerican warrior.
I used photo references for the head and made my own for the body. For the head, I wanted the character to have specific features synonymous with a Mesoamerican such as their nose and chin.
The resulting model for the characters head is a mixture of the desired features from each reference image.
Added in all the other parts of the concept like the sword, sheath, bracelets, mask, jacket and so on…
And finally unwrapped the model.
I later found out that unwrapping my low poly after detailing my high poly in ZBrush would keep the textures from stretching because ZBrush tends to deform the surface of the low poly model slightly while detailing the higher subdivisions.
Completed the high poly model by detailing the entire model in order to extract the high poly information to apply to my low poly model.
I rendered out both a normal map as well as ambient occlusion and convexity map this way.
The AO and Convexity map will later be applied to my Diffuse texture in Photoshop to give it extra shading.
With both of these materials applied to the low poly model, it can have almost the same amount of detail as the high poly.
Using my original style guide as a reference, I added color textures to the model trying to stay true to the original concept.
For my purposes, posing the model in ZBrish instead of rigging and posing in Maya is much more beneficial simply because I don't plan on animating the model and it is much faster this way. The model is rendered practically useless as far as game use is concerned but It makes for good presentation.
Before I take the posed low poly into the Marmoset Engine, I give my texture one last touch to make it feel more unified. I do a batch bake low quality ambient occlusion map to overlay on my textures.
This way, all the light and shadows from the entire mesh would interact with each part of the mesh making it look much more unified.
I use a low quality AO render because I like the grainy effect it gives to the model.