Over the easter holidays I wanted to model a character of my own and try and to learn some more of Maya's features. This part succeeded and part drove me round the bend. I had a sketch from a few years ago when my imagination seemed to be more active which I'd found whilst digging through old artwork, meet Udoo the warlock:

click to enlarge...

 So already a number of challenges to overcome. I had to redesign his face a little so his eyeballs weren't protruding from the side of his head, though I like this, it reminds me of the stylized cartoon aesthetic of Rayman 2.  His hands needed a little work, for example wrists. I failed to find a satisfactory way of modeling his zig zag gash of a mouth. After much trial and error I managed to beat Maya's hair tool to submission and used a hair system assigned to curves to create the hair style. I had a lot of fun tweaking the maya fast skin SSS mental ray shader, experimenting with different extents of sub surface scattering and ending up with a nice waxy look. Mental ray's physical sun light shader was what I used to make nice soft shadows in the final render, though I didnt want tover do it, partly because you have to turn the samples right up to avoid graininess. I failed to create fluid for the potion and vapour emerging from the potion bottle. Though I'm quite pleased with the mia material substitute for a nice glass and liquid refractive thing going on. plus bubbles!

Early SSS:

With the hair I wanted a kind of greasy sheen which I wasnt hard to achieve but I couldnt have the hair moved dynamically because of some nasty collision detection with the head, shame. The first attempt turned out like some russian girl.

Modelling the hand for a rather tanned looking Udoo:

I even had to overcome the horrendous UV unwrapping process in order to add texture, bump, specular and reflection maps. I had the help of a free plug in called road kill which was slightly unstable but powerful enought to save me a long time laying out UVs more than I had to already.
This is a close up of the final textures that are too far from camera to show this amount of detail. I forgot to turn off final gather for the hair so its a nice bleached brown.
Potion close up and the leather of his shoes:

This is the original polygon model before applying mental ray subdivide approximations.
A simple camera move around the finished model (as finished as I can manage):