3D Character Vignette | Looking for Feedback

Hello! This is my first post here!

I'm Julia and I'm a current master's student at the Guildhall at SMU in Plano. In the near future, I'll be looking for opportunities to help breathe life into unique and compelling characters, but I  know I have a long way to go. Maybe I've just been pressed for time or maybe I'm just making excuses right now -- who knows -- but I need to ramp up my detail skills for characters if I want to succeed. 

I've only been doing 3D Character art for a little under a year now, and while my BFA was in Digital Arts it was a very broad spread of skills and focused mostly on 2D Animation, instead of 3D work. I learned ZBrush last year in July and between school work and commuting, as well as assignments and homework, there's little time in the day to commit to personal portfolio pieces, which is a tragedy. However, when I do get the time, something or other always falls short. There are fundamental character skills that I know I've missed out on, such as proper clothing techniques as well as hair grooming (in any program, tbh) and proper setup of skin in Marvelous (which is undoubtedly much easier than in UE4). These aren't excuses, but I figured having some insight on to where I am in my creative path might help with feedback. 

This is a piece that I did for my summer semester course where we had to take an old character, fix the topology, and texture using Substance Painter in about 3 weeks, so not much time at all. I'm not terribly unsatisfied with the results, but there are some things that just still seem too novice for a real portfolio piece. I have every intention of going back and revising it once I have the time, but I was wondering if I could get feedback outside of a structured educational environment. 

The total retopologized character is 21k tris and the assignment didn't require normals, as it was just to see how well and how far we could take a character with texturing alone. I am also embarrassingly and painfully aware of the unsmoothed polys on the leg that is propped up, and I will be fixing it and re-checking her vertices and UVs when I'm able to (I sacrificed perfect mesh quality so that I could get the assignment done on time since it was for a grade). 

- Hair cards were cheap and dirtily done in Photoshop and that's one of the biggest things I'm planning on redoing. 
- All of the clothing was sculpted in ZBrush since I didn't have the knowledge on clothing patterns in any program 
- Some materials, such as the gold accents, were standard shaders from Marmoset as they were last minute additions, and it shows. 
- The vignette stand had no polybudget, and the chainlink fence was intended to be Alpha cards, but flat baking them was a nightmare. 

This was the first iteration of the character that I did in a span of four days for fun back in March 2019




These are the revised renders from July 2019: 





I would greatly appreciate having some more worthwhile critique than what was given on the day of presentations, which was very minimal and didn't really play into how I can improve. 

While I'm currently unable to post wireframes, I will be adding them on once I'm able to access my work computer for further input, if people so wish. 

Thank you! I hope to gain more confidence in posting WIPS and getting feedback as I continue developing my skills!
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