MMO-Champion - Artcraft - Updated Facial Customization
Update (7:30 PM EST): Added new information about Blood Elf and Troll models.

Blood Elf Character Models Delayed
It looks like Blood Elves will not be ready for Warlords launch, but Draenei will be.



Artcraft - Updated Facial Customization
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Hello, and welcome to Artcraft! I’m your host Chris Robinson, art director of World of Warcraft, and today we’re going to tackle something I know a lot of you have been looking forward to: facial customization options.


When we began working on the updated character models, we knew it would be a huge project, and we weren’t sure we could do it all at once. The idea originally was that a few races would be available at launch, and all the others would be patched in throughout the course of the expansion. While it wouldn’t have been ideal to see a mix of lower-quality and higher-quality models running around side by side, it did seem like the most realistically achievable solution at that time. Since then, though, we’ve committed ourselves to getting all of the original character models in by launch. It’s been a monumental challenge for us, but we think the effort is worth it, and the finish line is nearly in sight.


Our next big focus is doing justice to the facial options. With the original models and their simplistic geometry and low-resolution textures, a lot of facial expressions were simply painted on. Now that we’ve moved to higher-polygon models with lips, teeth, and fully articulated faces—not to mention higher-resolution textures—recreating those same facial options isn’t as simple as painting them onto a flat surface. Previously, to get a sneer out of a model, you’d just paint a sneer on its face, and that was that. To do it correctly now—and make it look great—we have to fully pose a sneer, create a custom texture, and mesh that base pose with all of the existing emotes and animations.

These more detailed face customization options were also originally part of our earlier “update-as-we-patch” rollout plan. Our initial idea was to release the new models with their base face, and then add additional options in updates over the course of the expansion. Again, that plan was based on the sheer amount of work involved in creating what are effectively all-new races (art-wise) on top of all of the art a big expansion like this one generally requires. But stepping back, we came to the conclusion that it just wasn’t going to be a good experience to have everyone playing with the same face geometry and a slight texture change, not knowing what their character would really look like until some later patch. In the end, we decided it would be best to tackle all of a race’s facial options at once. Up to this point, you’ve seen one facial geometry set, but very soon you’ll start seeing more finished products for each option in upcoming beta builds.


The original Dwarf model (left) has his teeth painted directly on his upper lip to give him a snarl. With the new models, which have fully modeled and textured teeth, a simple paint job just isn’t an option—it would look terrible. In the middle, you can see what that same sneer looks like right now in the beta test; on the right is what you’ll see in an upcoming beta build.


On the left, we have a pair of original Orc faces. The second column represents what you’re seeing right now in the beta build, showing texture variation but the same facial geometry. The third column shows a posing rig to demonstrate how we’re customizing each of the face appearances further. On the far right, you can see the final product.

We’re working hard to ensure all of the updated character models have the high level of quality you expect from us, and that we expect from ourselves. This revamp is a truly enormous project that we care deeply about, and we know you feel the same. We’re looking forward to seeing all of these new, high-quality, awesome-looking models running around Azeroth, and we hope you enjoy seeing the characters you know and love in a whole new light.

Thanks for reading, and see you next time!
This article was originally published in forum thread: Artcraft - Updated Facial Customization started by chaud View original post
Comments 393 Comments
  1. Granyala's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Rorcanna View Post
    Being smug about it now is one thing, but please don't forget the worgen and pandaren females.

    People were right to be concerned. Hell, I was as well.
    I find it really disturbing that people don't seem to grasp that it was their intention to ship with sameface and then update later (whenever that might have been).
    It says so right there in the Artcraft.
  1. Trassk's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Howard Moon View Post
    Well, this puts most of my "same-face" worries to rest.

    Looks good, Blizz!
    Give it that, it does do that. At least that's one less disappointment from this expansion
  1. Rorcanna's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Granyala View Post
    I find it really disturbing that people don't seem to grasp that it was their intention to ship with sameface and then update later (whenever that might have been).
    It says so right there in the Artcraft.
    And they chose to do it now. Your point being? I can't believe that people are actually complaining now that they WON'T be shipping with sameface...

    And intentions are nice and all, but I think people feel better now that they've seen proof instead of just good intentions.
  1. Trassk's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Granyala View Post
    I find it really disturbing that people don't seem to grasp that it was their intention to ship with sameface and then update later (whenever that might have been).
    It says so right there in the Artcraft.
    Yeah, which further tells us that this is only happening because the community would not back down from telling them it's not good enough.
  1. Homnar's Avatar
    yeye they look great, now give me my man troll model!
  1. MaraStarfury's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Keristrasza View Post
    I don't think anyone should be thanking you, the entire same-face crowd has been annoying and pushy from the start. Blizzard had intended to do it in patches, but same-face crowd wanted it "Now now now" instead of waiting. Game play, features, dungeons, raids, etc are a little more important than "same face" to be fixed right off the bat. I do NOT want a repeat of Cataclysm because someone wanted their characters to be "pretty" right this second.
    In the second half of your post you kind of just did exactly what you blamed others for doing in the first half. "Its wrong of others to demand how to make this game, it should be made this way"
  1. Granyala's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Trassk View Post
    Yeah, which further tells us that this is only happening because the community would not back down from telling them it's not good enough.
    I'm not sure if the discontent was the only reason they changed their plans, but I think it had a part in it.
    That was my point @ Rorcanna.

    Anyway: I'm happy they changed their minds. The faces look so much better with the rigging in place.
  1. Zathrendar's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by smrund View Post
    I really hope this satisfies the "same face" people.

    My remaining concern is for the Blood Elves. Obviously with Draenei playing a big role in this expansion, they must be updated, and obviously are, but the Blood Elves aren't part of the "original character models", and we've heard nothing about their status so far, but I would think that, as skinny humans with pointy ears, they wouldn't be that difficult to create.

    FIY Blizzard guys: your original plan was dumb, I'm honestly surprised you took that idea seriously.
    The "skinny human" thing neglects the concept art. They look different to humans. They've never been portrayed as hugely skinny (well, maybe the females), just leaner than humans, as were NE for the most part, with some exceptions. They are my favourite race though, so I hope Blizzard takes care in updating their model and takes on board the feedback about the issues plaguing them re some of the emotes, the idle stance and some of the animations. I have no doubt that they'll update the muscle definition to do away with the "smoosh" that came with their "beefing up" (in reality, the beefed up models are closer to how they were portrayed in the concept art, anyway) and bring back some definition.
  1. Lincoln Lawyer's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Granyala View Post
    I find it really disturbing that people don't seem to grasp that it was their intention to ship with sameface and then update later (whenever that might have been).
    It says so right there in the Artcraft.
    A thief always apologizes for being caught.

    Give me a fucking break, and stop apologizing for them.

    They made all this fuss over new character models and over the fidelity...

    fildelity ...

    FIDELI-FUCKING-TY
    ...

    ...they would have to the old models, and now in typical actiblizzard fashion it's "actually" "huurrrr noooo you seee, what we aaaaaactuuuaaallllyyyy mean was...".

    Yeah yeah, sure.
  1. Zathrendar's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by smrund View Post
    Personally, the Blood Elves should present the least challenge to design. They're slender humans with no defining racial traits other than being really pretty and having pointy ears. I know several 3D artists on DeviantArt who could roll out such a model, with textures, in about a month. I rather expect Blizzard artists to be somewhat more capable than that.
    I think they are actually a challenge, in that they do have defining racial features, particularly facial, and need to be kept distinct from the humans at that level. You could really just say NE are purple, attractive humans with long ears, orcs green, very bulky humans, draenei are pretty, demonic looking humans, dwarves stumpy humans, gnomes child-like humans etc etc. It isn't that simple and glosses over the differences between the races and the challenge in keeping them distinctive. In fact, from what I have seen of many DA artists is that they fail to capture the distinctiveness of BE, that the concept art often does succeed in delivering, so much so that you could accuse them of looking like little more than humans with mildly pointy ears. So I can't agree with much of what you said.

    There's plenty of easier models to implement, like that of gnomes, where they have done a very good job so far. In reality, the less human-looking the race (and very few truly fit this bill), the easier it probably is to design, insofar as it is easier to make it distinctive.
  1. Doomaz's Avatar
    not even sorry about whining about the same face
    cuz of the cry out of the fans or their intentions the goal was reached, that is all that matters internet heroes

    now, what about dem troll models? :/
  1. Dat Guy's Avatar
    Cool. Good to see.

    I am temporarily content (;p)
  1. ComputerNerd's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Granyala View Post
    I find it really disturbing that people don't seem to grasp that it was their intention to ship with sameface and then update later (whenever that might have been).
    It says so right there in the Artcraft.
    Or could it be not everyone is so damn petty.
    Those of us not being so damn obsessive often tried to convey that it wasn't a trivial matter on the new models, but we got a barrage of "fanboy" and similar insults.
    Not that an official post like this will change anything, for anyone not getting the answer they wanted will simply accuse blizzard of lying.
  1. Kavoo's Avatar
    Oh yeah ! No more sameface !

    Now send me them Trolls !
  1. Howard Moon's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Ickz View Post
    ROFL. Are you kidding me? This was obviously their intent from day one. I'll admit they should've said something earlier. I remember posting in one of the many sameface threads saying that they were just going to set the base positions of every face to match their classic counterparts and I don't know why everyone's freaking out - and look what happens.
    Then explain Pandaren's and Worgen's same-face problem.

    I for one think it is because of our feedback that they made the extra effort to prevent the same-face issue to affect the new models. IMO anyway.
  1. Velkhan's Avatar
    Humans looks still unfinished. Fix it.
  1. Amsden's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Howard Moon View Post
    Then explain Pandaren's and Worgen's same-face problem.

    I for one think it is because of our feedback that they made the extra effort to prevent the same-face issue to affect the new models. IMO anyway.
    The obvious difference is that Pandaren didn't have a variety of faces to begin with. They have said from the beginning that they want your character to be recognisable, they were going to add the faces regardless of the whining.
  1. vexew's Avatar
    Be happy, it only cost you, your capitol.
  1. arc343's Avatar
    Increasing the size of the iris/pupil of the human female would decrease weirdness of the face a little. You can see way too much of the white of her eyes.

    Here's a quick edit.

    i.imgur.com/2iVB7Yu.jpg
  1. Mirishka's Avatar
    Hell yeah! I'd say that's a pretty damn nice answer to 'same face'.

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