Update - 15 Jul 2021
I sculpted the leg armor from a high-poly version of the base mesh. I decided to separate the leg into a few different parts. The top main part, along with additional caps etc, the bottom part, the cylindrical shape fitted into the bottom part and finally the foot part.
The top part fits perfectly to the mesh and can follow the movement of the lower leg. The rest are kept as separate parts and can move freely as they would in the real world. I believe this will allow for a more natural robotic movements without deforming, so the character can easily be rigged or re-posed.
I decided to keep the straps very simple as I'm running out of time for this project...
I made the base mesh live and used the Quad Draw Tool to get to a shape I liked. I added a polyloop in the middle, used the Bevel Tool to get a uniform width, converted the two new polyloops into curves, rebuilt the curves and created a NURBS surface from them, converted the NURBS back to polygons and extruded them to to get the thickness. Some edge loops to keep the shape and we have perfect topology!
I made the "belt buckle" from a torus primitive with only 4 sides and bevelled the corners and copied this as an instance. I moved the instanced copies in place and made the final tweaking on the original mesh.
Update - 11 Jul 2021
Choice of character
I decided to enter the competition about two weeks ago. I have made three characters before, all while still learning the very basics of 3D modeling. Today, I feel like I have gained a quite solid understanding of the fundamentals of character modeling. So, I found this to be a great opportunity to challenge myself and create a new character from scratch, within a much tighter time frame than I am used to.
I chose Princess Barin because I think that the character will require a lot different modeling techniques to get right. There is a fair amount of both hard surface- and organic sculpting/modeling, as well as the creation of different clothing and potentially even grooming. Finally, she appears to offer a few interesting texturing and shading challenges as well.
Instead of creating the base mesh from scratch, I started with a base mesh I made in school just over a year ago. Even though that mesh is a succubus's, it is not far from a regular female base mesh and has pretty good topology overall. By jumping between Maya and Zbrush, with a few adjustments, I managed to create a new base mesh fairly quickly.
1. Ear cuffsSimply extruded the mesh around the ear and added a few edge loops before bringing it into Zbrush to refine the overall shape. Back in maya I retopologized this to get a nice subdividable... ear thing!
2. Ear expanderSlightly modified cylinder, done.
I extracted the neck from the base mesh in Zbrush and made a first a sculpt to indicate where the rings would go and how they connect. Using the Quad Draw tool in Maya I constructed a mesh to start with. I ended up making another sculpt to capture the height-details on the back and tranferred these onto my new mesh. This helped me come up with an edge flow that allowed for an easy extrusion of poly loops. A bit of final touches and additional edge loops ended up in nice, subdividable neck rings.