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. Coronius's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Hircine View Post
    No Blood Elves on release? Well, this saddens me. Here's hoping that they release them before the first major content patch.
    I wouldn't bet on it. But it won't be too long before the first patch, I think.
  1. Gonder's Avatar
    Perfectly done, looks like Blizzard went and started nailing this issue down. Good to be able to see my Orc Hunter's face in action, too (the angry, red/brown eyed face), looking very much like a match up now. Either way, I wasn't a part of the "same face" group, and would have actually tolerated it, but I can't deny that the large diversity is much, much better.
  1. arthar77's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Abbzow View Post
    Draenei getting updated before launch and Belfs not? Omg this Alliance favoritism ^^
    you know what is favoritism ... having #$@?ing 2 and half expansions concerning if thrall or garrosh will take a dump
  1. RoWR's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by taylor20k View Post
    Eh Draenei needed to be updated first, or at least right after orcs. They're too important to the story in Draenor and you see them everywhere.
    Oh, that'a good point.

    Know what's kind of funny (switching gears...) is Pandas have sameface like crazy -- but Blizzard got away with it! And now, they can't change them. At least not without risking a lot of unhappy people. But I kinda wonder what it would look like if they were given some variation in the facial rigging.
  1. SecPro's Avatar
    The same face solution is tremendous. Well done, Art team.

    Quote Originally Posted by Josch View Post
    Finally a good message, I was a little afraid, that Blizzard would go live with the same face models. I really love what they did with the Orc and Dwarf, but the human female still looks very weird and totally different than the old one. It's always easy to overpaint the stuff with photoshop, but I just wanted to point out, what makes the current new face so different from the old model (which is probably the most popular human female face):

    http://i.imgur.com/vtiCfix.jpg
    Now THAT is exactly how the updated version of that face should look like. Please tweet that to Chris Robinson.
  1. Toby451's Avatar
    I love how Blizzard announces Blood Elves won't be ready for launch and suddenly 90% of the playbase favorite race is now Blood Elf.
  1. Skikkelig's Avatar
    Haters gonna hate, and today it's my turn. I really enjoy the work the art team does. A hughe fan tbh. But come on: Last time I checked, blood elves are the second most played race after humans, and now we won't get our updates 'till friggin' next year? Why you update the the female trolls (that no one plays) and the female cows (that no one _really_ plays) before our beloved belfs? This might seem like a minor thing, but my subscription will stay frozen till my pretty belfs are up to par. :/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toby451 View Post
    I love how Blizzard announces Blood Elves won't be ready for launch and suddenly 90% of the playbase favorite race is now Blood Elf.
    Well, they are MY favourite race Been since WC3
  1. Exploitbat's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Skikkelig View Post
    Haters gonna hate, and today it's my turn. I really enjoy the work the art team does. A hughe fan tbh. But come on: Last time I checked, blood elves are the second most played race after humans, and now we won't get our updates 'till friggin' next year? Why you update the the female trolls (that no one plays) and the female cows (that no one _really_ plays) before our beloved belfs? This might seem like a minor thing, but my subscription will stay frozen till my pretty belfs are up to par. :/

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    Well, they are MY favourite race Been since WC3


    I think it's more fair to choose not to update a race that is the most popular + looks better than all the original races.
  1. snuzzle's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by RoWR View Post
    Oh, that'a good point.

    Know what's kind of funny (switching gears...) is Pandas have sameface like crazy -- but Blizzard got away with it! And now, they can't change them. At least not without risking a lot of unhappy people. But I kinda wonder what it would look like if they were given some variation in the facial rigging.
    Not for lack of trying though. There were several threads imploring them to fix it, and tons of good edits, even just texture edits (not paintovers) showing how Blizz could fix their sameface. I think the playerbase, and Blizz as well, was afraid that changing it would lead to another female worgen fiasco. Which is silly, because her main problem was being a rushed model, not being changed. It's awful that female pandaren had to suffer due to the Blizz pendulum (we listened to feedback last time and it was a disaster, this time we will not listen to any feedback).
  1. Instructor Soki's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Rafe View Post
    looks like a little smiley face on the Orc's nose
    Nothing.
    The problem was solved.
    I don't know why you're trying to imply that the complaints were at all unreasonable. o.o
  1. lopane's Avatar
    human girl is just awesome & cute ^^ thx blizz(bella messicana)
  1. Zebuthecow's Avatar
    The fake outrage over this issue really has caused me to avoid most forums. Here it is again.

    I am calling you guys out. You ENJOY being outraged as much as possible. I hope no one ever leaves kids alone with you.
  1. Endelikt's Avatar
    The best MMO in the world, don't have the founds to make it better...amazing!

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    This is awesome...they now actually make WoW look like it was made only 6 years ago...amazing!

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