Update - 30 Nov 2023
For now, the last day of my process:
The blockout is ready, and the colors are generally in place, but the owl still lacked details. So, I started adding folds using alphas, which I sourced from various internet locations.
After that, I delved into the use of the path tool. This is a very handy tool that allowed me to add procedural details such as seams and creases.
I am very pleased that through this competition, I have learned this technique and will certainly benefit from it in my future projects.
Update - 28 Nov 2023
Day 2 in the competition:
Today was primarily about improving the shape. Because I didn't create or use any concept art, I wasn't immediately satisfied with the forms. I found the owl too plain. Now that I felt more comfortable using displacement, I dared to create a jacket as well.
The collar was definitely a challenging part because it's actually beneath the head. The head has negative displacement, making the collar visible. As a result, I removed the ambient occlusion and used generators to create a new ambient occlusion in the base color.
I also felt that the head didn't look lively enough, mainly due to the eyes. So, I treated the owl to a nice pair of new eyebrows.
Update - 26 Nov 2023
The first steps into this competition:
I tried to figure out how to work with displacement. Like many others, I'm used to making a high-poly mesh in ZBrush and then baking it onto the low-poly. However, now I had to deal with all the mid-poly details of the prefab.
So, I did some research, watched a lot of Substance Painter tutorials on how to start, and had a look at the previous entries from this competition to get an idea of the limits. In this case, I felt that concept art was not going to help me due to the limitations. I wanted to feel how it goes in Substance Painter itself, so I immediately started blocking out on the mesh.