This is my 3d entry for the Dominance War Mini Challenge.
This was a lot trickier than the 2d challenge. For starters you were limited to one of three polygon meshes (I picked the middle one, in case you didn’t guess right ). You can’t alter the mesh to change it’s profile or vertex count. Also, all the detail has to end up in textures. That means you can’t change the polygon count (which is fairly low to being with – around 400 polygons). To create the detail you have to create a high polygon version (see mine here – it’s just under 7 million polygons in Zbrush), then you have to transfer those details to what is called a normal map. Then you apply that normal map to your low polygon object. This is fairly common in game engines. That way you get the low polygon overhead with the higher details.
The only real problem with normal maps is that if you see the object in profile, you don’t see all the bumps and indentations – that’s because it’s a lighting trick on the surface of the object. Working through the process is a definite learning experience and it can be frustrating to see some of the loss of quality as you move from your detailed high polygon object to your low polygon normal mapped one.