I used 3dsmax in conjunction with PolyDraw to organize the topology as it is important to pay attention to the placement of three, four and five sided polygons! If you are not careful the mesh will result in an unreasonable number of overall faces. I then use UV Layout to acquire the UVs which is very fast.
The texturing is a very important part in the process, and a rich texture will add much to the model with the key being to use a variety of colors to create a rich sense of volume and light throughout the mesh. To achieve this all of the maps are hand-painted and adjusted until satisfactory. When painting the Diffuse map I try not to pay attention to shadows and lighting because it affects the rendering. However at the same time it can help darken the recesses and lighten the brighter areas, generally adding contrast and emphasizing the details across the model.
The lighting is a very interesting aspect, which heightens the atmosphere and plays a vital role. It is worth noting that in order to more quickly and accurately render the test lighting, I applied Mental Ray materials to the entire scene (Fig.10). Due to the nature of Arch&Design materials, I turned off the highlight reflectivity and avoided using a pure white. I then used Mental Ray to do a test render.
There are usually two ways to choose from when rendering, one being layered rendering and the other involving an overall rendering. Both have advantages and disadvantages, but to increase productivity, I test rendered specific layers, e.g. testing the lighting in relation to the unit measurement which could be in millimeters, centimeters or inches and sometimes need the use of auxiliary objects as a measuring gauge. The depth of the characters skin has an intrinsic relationship with the lighting.
As a final result I wanted a photographic quality and so added a Lens Blur and darkened the corners to help focus on the visual center in the form of the female boxer. Color correction was very useful and indeed necessary to expressing the sensation of an underground ring. To do this I reduced the saturation to create the smoke-filled room and also took advantage of Fume FX effect to calculate the smoke. Once again I rendered the edge light to heighten the sense of volume and then composited everything in Photoshop (Fig.11).
I enjoy the fact that each idea requires its own process, and the associated problems these raise. When an idea cannot be perfectly realised it requires repeated deliberation and reflection, often resulting in numerous tests. Art comes from life and if ones ambitions are artistic then life will become the relentless pursuit of an artistic outlook.
To see more by Yang Guang, check out Digital Art Masters: Volume 7