I had been sculpting a character in Zbrush when I came across Mixamo’s Fantasy Game Art Character competition on the Polycount forums. With a swift change in design, I gathered reference and began anew. For some reason I retopologised her manually about 3 times in 3ds Max. The competition’s limit was 4000 polys I believe, including props. The original character was a few million polys, started from a sphere for the head and used dynamesh to pull out her body. I manually polypainted her and her props onto a reasonable UV layout. Initially she was sculpted in a T-pose to allow symmetry.
I never expected extracting normal, occlusion and diffuse maps onto the low poly character to take so long. Using the Xoliul shader in Max, I combined the correct 2K maps for a current-gen representation. The ground was done quickly in Max, as well as rigging using CAT and a bit of animation. I used a linear workflow, which I think was worth the time to set up. I had to finish well before the deadline because I was going on holiday to South Africa. I managed to check the results while there on my phone, but other people’s entries were far better than mine!
Here’s the final pic I sent: blog.mixamo.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/FinalRender.jpg
Here’s the forum thread I regularly updated for an in-depth behind the scenes: polycount.com/forum/showthread.php?t=103171
And the other entries are available here: blog.mixamo.com/mixamo/mixamo-fantasy-3d-character-creation-contest-winners-revealed/