That's a valid point. There are still several processes I still need to better understand that I could apply to the monster. I have a good tutorial workflow from Peter Konig that will help with that. There are some things that just come with time and experience and I cant really set myself up to rush through things in the name of continually learning. I'll complete this monster as best as I currently can and on my next project I will incorporate more challenges/concepts.
It's worth noting that I have been trying to find a good selection of core tools to work with, ie every program is tailored to something unique. Zbrush is great for concepting and making organic based models. However, hard surface modeling and animating is better handled in Blender/Maya. I've been passively looking into 'what's better' Blender/Maya/3ds. I think I am going to stay with Blender since the results of my searching really just ended with everyone having a biased opinion on the matter. In general though, it seemed that blender has become a very strong program (that is free as well) and while Maya/3ds are the industry standard, it is only that way because the professionals were cornered into it during their time in college and don't generally want to learn something new, why would they? That being said, if Maya did not have a $3000 price tag I would just learn Maya to avoid any relearning down the road... Oh well. I havent worked with both tools together yet, but I am hoping the Zbrush > Blender > Zbrush workflow isn't too complicated or incompatible, at the very least whatever I learn from this flow I can help other people in this community better understand in the future.
Anyway, these are all things I am pondering while I work on Zbrush. The current program learning order looks something like this:
Zbrush, become familiar and comfortable with this, then start incorporating Blender and developing a workflow between the two. Refine that workflow and develop strong models with good topology. The focus for this first part is to really focus on making workable and complete models. I expect that I will become more familiar with painting / texturing through this as a bi-product of the main focus.
Start using Substance Painter to really push the models' textures and colors. Become more familiar with this program as well. By conclusion of this phase I should be able to make strong, workable models, with dynamic textures and features.
Rigging and Animation through Zbrush/Blender. By this point I will be familiar enough with both programs and have developed enough of an understanding on the model side that any issues, whether they be technical or design based, I can (ideally) resolve them quickly.
By the time I "complete" Part 3. I will be able to make detailed and complete models in Zbrush, Blender, and Substance painter, and bring them to life through animation.
I dont know how long each phase will take. I will be working on the first part for a good while before I introduce a third program and of course, all of this is subject to change as I discover better/different methods. This is the long term workflow concept and I believe the workflow provides a very good organic path that allows the strengths of previous steps to become further refined in future projects.