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 512 Comments
  1. AltimitEin's Avatar
    I hope the skin tone will go a little paler than that, as they're using the palest but seem to have tanned it a little.
  1. Xilurm's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Planetdune View Post
    Looks pretty bad
    You mean the old one right?
  1. Merawen's Avatar
    Hype, Hype, Hype... and then... one Model "First Look", no Animations...

    Blizzard as its best.
  1. Mkgego's Avatar
    Those new models... Gonna going to love to strat a brand new lvl 1 from scrach !
    Wait a sec, I get a free 90, screw old content !
  1. arandan's Avatar
    This site and internet in general reinforce my belief that people will bitch about _anything_, especially when given a forum to do so. What a shame we can't use technology and freedom to share information virtually between everyone in the world for better things than moaning all the time, isn't it.
  1. Merawen's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Miuku View Post
    From 2003 graphics to 2007 graphics.

    Maybe in 2020 WoW will look like 2010.

  1. MrCodexCY's Avatar
    this is an amazing work! good job blizz!
  1. Triggers's Avatar
    Wow, This is amazing!

    And to everyone saying they don't like her facial expression, you do understand that the model they're showing isn't rigged up yet, right? That's her rig stance, completely blank. When they add animations they will be much more lively.
  1. Farora's Avatar
    I'm not a fan of it to be honest. The new face has a completely different look. It looks a lot better technically of course. But I can imagine people playing that character could be upset by the change. Also, why no rear shot?!
  1. heerobya's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Merawen View Post

    Looks 10x better than the human female in EQN.
  1. Faroth's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by heerobya View Post
    Looks 10x better than the human female in EQN.
    10x better? Not remotely. It looks different. That's the good thing. EQN looks like a Pixar film, and that's what they're going for, but that doesn't make it bad. I prefer the stylistic design of WoW better myself too, though.

    I notice a lot of people seem disappointed in the face seeming bland. Want to the blog entry that goes with it. The face is specifically discussed.
  1. Tenjen's Avatar
    cant wait to see them actually fixed to their animation skeleton so we can actually see them as fluid and organic rather than fixed as they are now in the base image model
  1. Azgraal's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by MrCodexCY View Post
    this is an amazing work! good job blizz!
    You DO realise WoW (and Warcraft in general) has always had this cartoonish look. right? That's its signature. If you've been or are expecting WoW to reach last instalment of Tomb Raider's (as an example) realistic female model, you're wishing for something that will never happen.

    OT: I'm really, really happy about how this female human update is looking. I mean, it has muscles like a really fit woman, yet retains the curves of a feminine body. The art team perfectly captured the essence of how a heroin show look.
  1. Somebody's Avatar
    I hate to be one to say this, but the model looks a little lazy, but for one reason only.

    The hair models act like lego pieces on the body model itself. If you look at the bare model (the one with the least amount of hair) you will see the hair line looks like it has the hair pulled straight back. Now when the hair model is applied, like the one that has the comb-over, you can still see that the hair lines look as though they're pulled back, not pulled to the side as the hair would suggest.

    Now I'm not initially mad about this, but part of what separates good things from great things is attention to detail.
  1. StrayFox's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Dura View Post
    She looks good.

    exept for one thing. might me just me but. her eyes. There abit too oogly for me..
    she be closed a little more or something? i dont know...
    There are no expressions or animations in her yet, they make her look that way on purpose because any emotion they put into the base model will carry over with the animations and make her look strange.
  1. Igzorn's Avatar
    man cant wait for the n11 ones i hope they will look more like the conzept arts (more feral and fierce)
  1. Gospels's Avatar
    THAT is what was hyped for 3 weeks? A few screen shots of 1 model? No animation, nothing? LMFAO Blizz is gonna lose soooooooo many subs with how far behind they are in developing wod lol!!!!!!!!!
  1. UcanDoSht's Avatar
    All the teasing for one sex of one race? And not even animated.

  1. Somebody's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Gospels View Post
    THAT is what was hyped for 3 weeks? A few screen shots of 1 model? No animation, nothing? LMFAO Blizz is gonna lose soooooooo many subs with how far behind they are in developing wod lol!!!!!!!!!
    Character models aren't going to hinder the expansion's release.
  1. Tenjen's Avatar
    cant wait to see them actually fixed to their animation skeleton so we can actually see them as fluid and organic rather than fixed as they are now in the base frozen-pose neutral model

    any uncanny valley is only because the models arent fixed to their proper animation skeletons yet. The skeletons allow for the organic and flowy feel to come out.

    I quite like the changes. there wasn't a lot to work with from the original models but thye managed to pull it off quite well

    their bodies have some muscle sculpting and are reasonably shaped, not ridiculously sexualized

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