Fall Directed Study - Week 2

My sculpting on my Addict will be done by the end of the weekend. It's almost there. I just have a bit of tweaking to do on the fingers (the fingernail details and overall finger positions particularly), a bit more tweaking of the facial expression (particularly so that the flesh of the face interacts with the fingertips), and refinement of the two forearm sleeve pieces (I've only just blocked the divisions of those pieces in so far). Other than that, his sculpting is finished:

I thought that the sculpting of this model would be a "piece of cake" because nearly the entire thing was just refining the lines that I initially blocked in, but it was actually surprisingly difficult to get the defined areas to look right. I added volume to many sections that looked fantastic from the angle that I was primarily working from, then, when I turned the model, I'd notice that from another angle parts of the section would look flat or, worse, bumpy. When that happened I'd have to spend quite a bit of time inflating and smoothing, all the while going back and forth between subdivision levels to smooth and then check the progress. I don't think I've ever switched between subdivision levels as much as I had to while working on this model. I though that the smoothness of the shapes in this model would make it easier to sculpt, but it actually made it more difficult by leaving very little room for error. It almost had the feel of trying to organically sculpt a hard-surface piece, if that makes any sense.

I'm very excited to see it finished. I'm also a little nervous because I know that I'm going to have a hard time baking out the normal maps for the piece: there are a lot of areas where the geometry gets very close together and will likely cause errors during baking. I suspect that I'll have to break up some of the model by UV sections, bake the maps out piece by piece, then composite them together in Photoshop. I may give this model a short break after I finish the sculpting and wait for some feedback regarding my concerns from my instructors before I waste too much time in trial and error: perhaps there's an easier way that I'm just not familiar with. I can always spend a few days blocking out my environment model instead of moving on to texturing immediately. That way, I can still make progress on my thesis overall while waiting for advice on this particular model. I also wouldn't mind getting some opinions on the sculpting before I fully and finally commit to it by baking it into normal maps...