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 509 Comments
  1. CheeseSandwich's Avatar
    Reminds me of
  1. PuppetShowJustice's Avatar
    I like it. Though I kind of cringed at the "in the months ahead" line. I know WoD is far out but it's still saddening every time something reminds me of the fact.

    My human DK should look super slick in WoD at least. I wish they would have shown more hair colors and styles off though.
  1. Mirishka's Avatar
    WOW! Looks amazing - I just leveled a human female warrior to 90 a month or so back, this makes me that much happier I did!
  1. Dispraise's Avatar
    Totally Tits! I love it!
  1. Awe's Avatar
    This looks OK. Human model (both male and female) was probably the biggest fail of them all (maybe becouse you could easily compare that to human models from other games). It already looked kind of "meh" back in 2004 let alone 2013. New version is not spectacular but it is good enough for modern standards. Finally.
  1. shesta's Avatar
    Those dead, staring eyes. o_o

    Also, someone really likes Katy Perry.
  1. Dantos's Avatar
    Cool hairstyles, wtf face.
  1. Richardbro's Avatar
    Holy FUCK, looks incredible.
  1. Austilias's Avatar
    Looks good. Hopefully we see more than just Human Females though.
  1. Raptor With a Saber's Avatar
    Meh, like the old model better.
  1. Heladys's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by CheeseSandwich View Post
    Reminds me of
    And there ain't nothing wrong with that!

    I like it.
  1. JuKe's Avatar
    Now i can play with my protection female human warrior Kateparry.
  1. Bluesftw's Avatar
    lets hope they resize weapons on human females aswell, most of them are like 2x too big
  1. samuraiAce's Avatar
    omg, such an amazing work. cant wait to see more models!
  1. mmoc0ba67a0b63's Avatar
    Very good job! LF human males!!!!
  1. Dnusha's Avatar
    Great work blizzard, great work.
  1. Forumchibi's Avatar
    I think it's better, but that face... I think it's mostly the eyes (the nose is a bit too defined or wide as well), but her eyes should not be open that much. She more than halfway to that deer in the headlights look. It freaks me out a little.
  1. heerobya's Avatar
    I think I have been COMPLETELY underestimating how HUGE of an impact these new models are going to have on the entire game (graphically.)

    New models, new animations... for every NPC in most every city, town, village, many dungeons, world + quest NPCs...

    I just hope the player/NPC characters don't stand out too much when compared to the "old" NPC/mobs that still remain in the cities/towns etc.
  1. Huntingbear_grimbatol's Avatar
    Looks amazing!
  1. ChaosWolf's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by shesta View Post
    Those dead, staring eyes. o_o

    Also, someone really likes Katy Perry.
    The "dead staring eyes" are part of the neutral expression for the sake of crafting animations. Rigging is more complex now, they can't just paint angry brows or cocky smirks on the faces directly without screwing up how the animations look.

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