I've been working on this model off and on for the past 2 months or so; The original artwork was done by outstanding concept artist Paul Kwon (www.paulsketches.com) while he was working an internship at Blizzard. I'd like to send out a huge thank you to him for letting me bring his excellent artwork into the 3D realm.
I feel like every time I work on a new model, I discover a whole new list of ways NOT to do things in the future and this one is no exception. But overall I'm pleased with how she's coming along, and I'm happy that this project is helping me understand some things that I didn't before. I've learned a lot more about shading and creating maps for nearly every aspect of the texturing (as in more than just a diffuse map, spec map and normal map). I'm talking about glossiness maps, reflectivity maps, transparency maps, illumination maps...a whole bunch of neat stuff. I've also kind of decided to make the move over to the mia material x shader exclusively...there's just much more control over things with that shader. One thing that used to frustrate me about the mia shader is that you can't see it's effects in the viewport. You must render an image to see what the shader is doing, which can be time consuming and frustrating. With Maya shaders (Blinn, Lambert, Phong, etc), you can see the textures update in real time, but, if you make decisions about the shader based on the information that the real-time renderer is telling you, it can lead to more frustration when your mental ray renders don't match what maya's real-time hardware renderer is telling you in the viewport. The mia shader forces you to render, which is good, since renders is what you're eventually going to end up with anyway. Plus it's a mental ray shader, so there's no need for MR to do a behind the scenes conversion.
But most of the modeling was done in Zbrush, which was by far the most ambitious sculpt I've undertaken thus far. The retopology for her was sickeningly complex and time consuming. Yuck I hate just thinking about it!
Most current render 1/20/11:
Model with normal maps from Zbrush, wireframe: