MMO-Champion - Artcraft - A First Look - New Human Female Character Model
Artcraft - A First Look
The new Human Female character model is here!



Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Hi, I’m Chris Robinson, senior art director of World of Warcraft, and this is the first in a series of articles we're creating to bring you all closer to the development of the player character model revamps we announced at BlizzCon. In this series, we'll give you an inside look at the process we go through to do one of these revamps, discuss the kinds of art issues we're addressing with the new models, and provide a bit of insight our future plans for their continued polish.

We're happy to begin our series by sharing a first look at where we're at with the Human female. While future articles won’t always be about revealing a new model, we thought this would be a great introduction to the approach we take for every one of these redesigns.

We’re looking at these model revamps as a sort of “spiritual update” to the art content that currently exists in-game—except we’re completely redoing them from scratch. That includes the base model, skin tone variations, customization options (e.g. wrinkles, scars, moles, earrings, etc.), hairstyles, and any skin variations for NPCs you see out in the world, like Iron Dwarves or Leper Gnomes. We’re pretty excited about some of the ideas you've given us for new customization and skin options you’d like to see, but our first goal—which is already a monumental endeavor—is to make sure that the visual content that currently exists is brought up to or surpasses the level of quality you see in current boss models, the Pandaren, and central NPCs like the new Vol’jin model.

With the revamp, we’re completely overhauling every aspect of the player models, but our goal is to do so while retaining the core look and feel that has always made them your character. We'll feel like we've succeeded if you see the updated version of your character and it still feels like you’re looking at the character you’ve been playing for the past however many years—only someone has finally focused a lens.

To achieve this, we’re increasing the polygon count significantly (in some cases going from less than 1,000 to over 5,000), more than doubling the texture resolution, increasing bone count significantly to support updated animation and facial expression, and retouching nearly every animation for all of the characters. For animation alone, that’s roughly 180 animations per character, times 10 races in both male and female variants, equaling approximately 3,600 animations. We’re also incorporating the rigging technology we introduced with the Pandaren into every character to provide better posing, smoother animation, and the ability to pull off some fantastic facial expressions. In the weeks and months ahead, we’re going to be bringing you in for a closer look at some of the processes, challenges, and results of this revamp process.

What you’re looking at here for the Human female is a single face option and a single skin tone on the base model without any animation or posing. When developing the base model we keep the expression on the face as devoid of emotion or expression as possible, as that allows our animators a greater range of motion when they start posing and morphing the face into different expressions. If we were to put any amount of expression—even a slight smile or mildly angry eyebrows—in the base model, that would carry through to every animation, and we'd end up with some very confused-looking characters.

Joe Keller is a senior character artist on our team and was responsible for the lion’s share of modeling and texturing the Human female. Here's what he had this to say about this challenge:

“Everyone is pretty familiar with the Human character models in WoW, but working on these updates gives us a chance to embellish and fill in the blanks. For the Human female this meant we could give her more muscle definition and personality in the face while still staying true to the overall look and spirit of the original. Hopefully this will also help show her as more of the capable fighter that she is.”

This process has been a welcome challenge for all of us on the World of Warcraft art team. We’ve all wanted to address the player models and bring them up to a more current fidelity for some time now, and we’re as excited as you are to get these models into the game. We hope you’ll enjoy this series as we invite you to meet the team and see more on our development process.

Thanks so much, and see you next time.

Previously Previewed Models

This article was originally published in forum thread: Artcraft – A First Look - New Human Female Character Model started by chaud View original post
Comments 514 Comments
  1. TheShultz's Avatar
    I literally cannot wait to see what my no-jaw undead will look like.
  1. Jagoex's Avatar
    I wonder how many in the WoW community have already photoshopped this recent release to meet their expectations?
  1. Mormolyce's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Jagoex View Post
    I wonder how many in the WoW community have already photoshopped this recent release to meet their expectations?
    Sounds like a job for shoc :P
  1. Ammeg's Avatar
    It looks great but DAMMIT I wanna see more 3D models appearing xD
  1. Wilian's Avatar
    I still want to see how they solve the fact that faces for many old races are actually real alterations to the model itself rather than texture re-paint as with past few new races.
  1. Diggasson's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Jagoex View Post
    I wonder how many in the WoW community have already photoshopped this recent release to meet their expectations?
    Sounds... dirty
  1. grexly75's Avatar
    Gotta wonder about those bagging the new human female model especially when all we are seeing are static pictures of it.. 9 years we have had the current ones and as soon as they change them some folks are not happy..

    I know what lets tell Blizz they can keep the new models and we will all stick to the old ones.. /sarcasm

    Amazes me how many people are still not happy with the new look models, need to remember that the game is 9 years old and we are lucky this is happening at all.. But then again I should not be surprised this is the MMO Champ forums the Mos Eisley of the WoW community sometimes..
  1. Airbag888's Avatar
    It's an improvement. Yet still miles behind what's in Guild Wars 2.

    Don't get me wrong. I'm a fan of both games and yes they're different games, still I don't think they should make such a big deal out of revamping the character models after that much time when a non subscription based game clearly outmatched them from a technology standpoint.



    Edited image since it wasn't resized..
  1. grexly75's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Airbag888 View Post
    It's an improvement. Yet still miles behind what's in Guild Wars 2.

    Don't get me wrong. I'm a fan of both games and yes they're different games, still I don't think they should make such a big deal out of revamping the character models after that much time when a non subscription based game clearly outmatched them from a technology standpoint.



    Edited image since it wasn't resized..
    Maybe so but you are talking chalk and cheese here, WoW is 9 years old and using a 9 year old graphics engine.. GW2 is relatively new and using an up to date graphics engine there is no way you can compare the two and doing so is unfair.. And bare in mind that when ESO comes out that will be better looking that GW2 and will be a sub model game, and from what I have seen even Wildstar will poop all over GW2..
  1. Airbag888's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by grexly75 View Post
    Maybe so but you are talking chalk and cheese here, WoW is 9 years old and using a 9 year old graphics engine.. GW2 is relatively new and using an up to date graphics engine there is no way you can compare the two and doing so is unfair.. And bare in mind that when ESO comes out that will be better looking that GW2 and will be a sub model game, and from what I have seen even Wildstar will poop all over GW2..
    You know, I'm not saying GW2 is the end of all MMO's at all. I'm just saying GW2 is doing better with less money. Indeed WoW is running on a 9yr old engine but in the time WoW took to go from Vanilla to where it is now GW1 came (already looking better 9 yrs ago than WoW does today btw - particularly water shaders, shadows and light fx not to mention armor models and characters - maybe that's a fairer comparison for you) AND Arena net found the funds to put out GW2 with its new engine etc.

    The reality is Blizz could've developed a new engine and fitted that in WoW during an expac launch. Engine compatible with current assets but with more capabilities (if that's the real reason they get to brag about new character models) for the future. Instead they band-aided new fx over time (water, shadows, fire, lighting) That's their choice.
  1. Libertarian's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by grexly75 View Post
    Maybe so but you are talking chalk and cheese here, WoW is 9 years old and using a 9 year old graphics engine..
    That's not true. They updated it in cata for dx11 and added many features over the years.
  1. Woakerio's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Airbag888 View Post
    You know, I'm not saying GW2 is the end of all MMO's at all. I'm just saying GW2 is doing better with less money. Indeed WoW is running on a 9yr old engine but in the time WoW took to go from Vanilla to where it is now GW1 came (already looking better 9 yrs ago than WoW does today btw - particularly water shaders, shadows and light fx not to mention armor models and characters - maybe that's a fairer comparison for you) AND Arena net found the funds to put out GW2 with its new engine etc.

    The reality is Blizz could've developed a new engine and fitted that in WoW during an expac launch. Engine compatible with current assets but with more capabilities (if that's the real reason they get to brag about new character models) for the future. Instead they band-aided new fx over time (water, shadows, fire, lighting) That's their choice.
    Blizzard intentionally does this to keep WoW accessible to people that have bad computers or integrated graphics.
  1. mrgummage's Avatar
    Really loving how these came out, it's refined without without taking away the spirit of the original. I'm also very happy that they didn't over-sexualize the models like Blood Elves and Dranaei.

    Looking forward to seeing my paladin in Warlords, just hope her armour doesn't look out of place on her.
  1. Phurox's Avatar
    I am impressive with most of them. I am a Forsaken favored player, and I really do not like the new Forsaken model, it looks nothing like the old one.

    You can see relations to the old models in Humans, orcs etc. But Forsaken has lost their charm.
  1. Airbag888's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Woakerio View Post
    Blizzard intentionally does this to keep WoW accessible to people that have bad computers or integrated graphics.
    New engine does NOT equate with higher specs. Particularly if it's a requirement of the game studio. They could've had an engine that scales perfectly from their lowest system requirements to the highest end machine for the purposes listed in my previous post. That's not at all unheard of.
  1. Gnu's Avatar
    I hope they won't modify too much the posture and animations of UD males (my 4lvl 90 toons are undead males)
  1. mrgummage's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Phurox View Post
    But Forsaken has lost their charm.
    And not your standard, lame, charm. No-no proper, hardcore, balls-to-the-walls, jaw-falling-off-show-your-knee-caps charm.
  1. coranial's Avatar
    Am I the only one that thinks these models look shit? they still look like they're 10 years old. Maybe they look good if you haven't played anything since WoW.
    Compared to any of the newer MMO's, Tera, GW2 etc they still look incredibly dated.
  1. Foxhoundn's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Woakerio View Post
    Blizzard intentionally does this to keep WoW accessible to people that have bad computers or integrated graphics.
    How does that change the fact that WoW is running on 9 years old engine? You can tweak is as much as you want, its still the same 9 year old engine.
  1. tankbug's Avatar
    I don't think Blizzard has any plans of making the models look life-like. The direction seems to be more Pixar-y. If you want Skyrim, look somewere else.

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