I am planning to create a set of animated mechanical insects. For my first target I choose a mantis. This project is still in development, so my comments would be very restrained. When I finish this object, I will also publish proper in depth description of whole process.
Work IN PROGRESS
I started from conceptual sculpture in ZBrush. That allowed me to feel proportions and play with form. Right now I’m creating upper part of abdomen where folding propeller will be placed. From the beginning of proper modeling I make sure that design is also functional. Plan wast to rig and animate whole model so there’s no place for mistake. I plan to fit whole model in 100 thousand polygons, what gives a mid-poly model. It is probably better not to stick with one UV set. I will use several seamless materials as well on less important parts, to improve overall quality of textures.