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 391 Comments
  1. sys01's Avatar
    Amazing job! Hats down to Blizzard once again! I wonder what the "same-face" naysayers have to say now... I really wonder...
  1. Aberrict's Avatar
    It's all looking fantastic!
  1. Seiklis's Avatar
    Glad they picked that orc face for the preview since it's what I use on my DK. Now only to see what it looks like in the black tint
  1. Farora's Avatar
    This pleases me.
  1. mmocd7303e2187's Avatar
    Now people can shut the hell up about "same face hurrr durrrrrrr".
  1. Odile's Avatar
    I can't believe they actually did it! Really nice I wonder- will these different faces just change the expression of the faces or will they also for example change lip size per face? I think my Draenei female has too thin lips now
  1. Count Zero's Avatar
    And that's that. Can everyone shut the fuck up about "same face" now ?
  1. mittacc's Avatar
    Looks very promising. Any ideas on when the new troll models may be viewed? I'm really eager to see them since my main is one. Maybe I'll re-join in WoD after all?
  1. Kryos's Avatar
    This still does not change the size and form of the nose/lips... but it's much better.
  1. Nillah's Avatar
    Wow those look a million times better. My favorite female human face is back!
  1. mmoc5b249aa738's Avatar
    This shows how much Blizzard make their decision from what they hear from the community. If there hadn't been the giant outrage over "same-face", they'd probably have released only the one goemetry they spoke of in the blog. Mad props to blizzard for this decision. And cya all in WoD at December 20th xD This is going to take a lot of time
  1. mmoc56a2a40693's Avatar
    Marry me chris.

    Please.

    Our children will look amazing, and they'll all have individually rigged faced with updated textures and animations.
  1. mmoce04a3b2ccc's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by sys01 View Post
    Amazing job! Hats down to Blizzard once again! I wonder what the "same-face" naysayers have to say now... I really wonder...
    Why does it wondering you? Blizzards intention was it to release the models with the same faces, people intervened them with their complaints. Should we now shut up and say nothing, or what do you want? People like you are cancer for every MMO.
  1. Concatto's Avatar
    Looks really good.
  1. Joey Ray III's Avatar
    better.

    where's the fucking gnomes though?
  1. mmoc56a2a40693's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Epsi View Post
    Why does it wondering you? Blizzards intention was it to release the models with the same faces, people intervened them with their complaints. Should we now shut up and say nothing, or what do you want? People like you are cancer for every MMO.
    The problem was the amount of people who complained assuming that the lack of unique faces was going to be a permanent feature, rather than an update that would be rolled out eventually. It's one thing to suggest that Blizzard release it all before the expansion launches, it's another to complain without taking into account the fact that we're in beta.
  1. xact4's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Epsi View Post
    Blizzards intention was it to release the models with the same faces, people intervened them with their complaints.
    Source or gtfo please. Why would you believe your complaints had anything to do with the decision to go ahead and finish up the poses?
  1. Snes's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Count Zero View Post
    And that's that. Can everyone shut the fuck up about "same face" now ?
    Well... Yeah.

    That's kind of the point of FEEDBACK and BETAs. People gave their feedback, Blizzard responded to said feedback. That's how these things work.
  1. azurrei's Avatar
    Looks good - but the REAL test will be the female Gnome faces...
  1. demosthen3s's Avatar
    Honestly this is the kind of "It is a lot of work but we can't allow the deadline to ruin the quality of the game" mentality I've been waiting for.

    Thanks guys for doing a great job so far.

Site Navigation