Redesigning Raene – a Retrospective

The redesign of the Raene Wolfrunner model for Beyond the Tree could be an epic tale on its own – I went into the project with all manner of wild ideas on how I wanted to try to make a new Sentinel look that – while sharing simularities with the one we have in World of WarCraft – took a great deal of inspiration from the one in WarCraft 3. I had this grand idea how I could possibly adapt the look later to encompass all Sentinels in the Beyond the Tree world if I figured out how to make a makeshift WarCraft 3 Sentinel helmet and how I could sneak in this supposed “great recall” of the World of WarCraft-era armours in favour of the older ones.

The WarCraft 3 Sentinels had a very specific look to them, one arguably closer to more traditional female fantasy armour than their World of WarCraft equivalents. Needed to be small and low on polygon count, they were they were quite evidently designed to be vibrant and visually distinct, though there’s an overall feel of a unitform design that I always felt got somewhat lost in the transition into MMO-land. For one, the old versions have a single design while the World of WarCraft sentinel look is quite obviously a cut and paste combination of two completely seperate armours – one leather and one plate – with the latter simply put on top of the former.

With a redesign I wanted to take a step back into something more uniform, still looking armoured but being more streamlined about it, emphasizing on the Night elven army being stealthy and mobile rather than a solid wall of steel.

Raene is the first model I’ve had that’s essentially been designed by committee – while I obviously did all the model and texture work, I had a sum total of four different people I kept showing various work in progress images for input on what worked and what didn’t. After failing to get a plate chestpeice to work, I was suggested basing it around an Imbued Netherweave tunic, which it basically still is. The choice in shoulderpad was also a suggestion I was given, as was the short cape she has hanging from her waist that was added partially to help cover her up somewhat.

Naturally, as part of the design process Raene gained just about every upgrade invented for the latest Hani Foonmall revision – plus a few more; the presence of the cape necessitated it being able to move – I came up with a solution that I’m actually experimenting now to carry over to larger peices of cloth (skirts) to eventually be used in a model revision for Te’len.

I’m quite happy with the end result: the asymetrical design, the double belts and a pouch stolen from Medivhs’ model, the short from-waist cape, the leg guards.. I think it’s rather suitable for the personality Raene’s grown to have within the Beyond the Tree continuity.

Ironically enough, my main worry is actually that she’s ended up with a bit too much sex appeal – while Raene’s certainly an impressive woman, the intention is for the role of “the sexy” to actually belong to Te’len Nila. It’s not too late for recalls, of course, but I’m hoping to reassert that particular balance with Te’lens’ model revision instead. Though I don’t expect Te’len to change much in overall look, I’m hoping to introduce a few subtle details to shift things in her favour.


5 Responses to “Redesigning Raene – a Retrospective”

  1. 1 bbr
    November 3, 2008 at 09:50

    Very nice, good work.

    Could you post some shots of the hands as well?
    If you look at : https://nhani.wordpress.com/2008/10/30/sudden-character-twists/
    You’ll notice the thumbs on the old model are a tad oversized, they look strange.

  2. 2 Nhani
    November 3, 2008 at 09:57

    That’s essentially because I use the Blizzard model as base and their hands aren’t entirely.. well.. proper – for one the fingers have one joint rather than two. Raene uses the hand model from revision 2 of Hani Foonmall however, while the Nhani and Tyrande model in the link you have is based around revision 1, so there’s some differences.

    Due noted, though – I’ll try to remember to give a post on hands specifically when my current model experiment is done, since I’m experimenting with changing the bone for the thumb a bit to be a little bit more like the bone structure is in an actual hand – not yet sure if it makes things better or worse however.

  3. 3 bbr
    November 3, 2008 at 12:47

    I never did manage to get bones working in QME… I guess I should have spend more time figuring out milkshape 😛

  4. 4 Nhani
    November 3, 2008 at 14:26

    I rely nearly completely on the Biped structure 3ds Max offers myself, which leaves it up to a whole lot of trial and error where exactly each bone should be and how long it should be. It’s a learning experience, and in general.. each iterative model revision tends to work better, pose more accurately and make it utterly breal less often. It’s very much a continous work in progress, however.

  5. 5 Lorthaiel
    November 6, 2008 at 15:59

    You’ve done an amazing job here! I cannot say I know about all the processes behind making 3d models, but the fact that you’ve managed to take the not too-smooth WoW models and tranformed into this.. It’s enough for me to be impressed. I know it sounds silly, but you have managed to keep the Blizzard feeling of the model but still made it look alive and original.

    I look forward to seeing Raene more in the story, I find her to be one of the most touching characters this far. 🙂

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