On the drawing board: Tyrande Whisperwind

If there’s one character model that really is long due a revision, it would be that of High Priestess Tyrande Whisperwind. Her model is comparably very old – her hands are a much older structure, she can’t move her eyes.. if any model is in need of an upgrade, it would be hers. Though while I could defend the lack of upgrade with the infrequency of her appearances, the truth is that it’s something else that’s kept me back for this long:

Uncertainity on how to do her justice.

Having played a Night elf on a roleplaying server for over four years now, I make it little secret that Tyrande is one of my favourite – if not the favourite – heroes in the Warcraft setting – if there’s one character I’m set on trying to treat reverently, atleast in the comic, then that would be her. As a result, I’ve spent a great deal of time every so often thinking about what to do with her model and how to combine both the force and strength of her warrior prowess while maintaining her radiance and all but inner glow of being the High Priestess of Elune.

(old to the left, newest to the right)

So far, I’ve only been looking at the actual texture work – specificially, one of the things I’ve really wanted to do is remove the permanent scowl that particular face texture has; while I have no question she’s burdened by the (second) loss of Malfurion Stormrage and the weight of her position, I do believe her capable of smiling. The particular face she has in the game.. well.. isn’t. Secondly, I’ve been wanting to bridge something of a gap between the High Priestess and Warrior aspects – something she can realistically stand about in during ceremony, but still give someone a serious beating in if called upon (though still not being a full combat attire).

Further things I’m planning on a (mostly) pure texture basis is potentially adding a moon emblem to her circlet and possibly shortening her bracers to about half length. The example with sleeves was something I tried – though it looks more armoured, I think she needs bare shoulders – it adds something to her impression.

Things I haven’t gotten to yet is modelling – akin to Hani I’m considering making her limbs somewhat bulkier to emphasize her strength a little more. Appart from upgrading her face and hand models to the latest standard (which’ll be Hani’s rev 4 model, once it’s completed), the one main case of debate is the skirt. I’m torn about what to do with the skirt. I don’t want to split it open like the one Te’len has – it works great for Te’len, but on Tyrande it seems quite a bit less dignified. I’m not sure I want to raise the hem up to knee height – I tried that with Nhani Moonfall – it looks fairly good, but to quote a friend of mine, it makes her look a bit like a schoolgirl.

If all else fails, I’ll probably just have to run with it as-is and just make sure it can move with something other than the leg bones, but I’d love to somehow make it more flexible without losing the overall image and impression.


18 Responses to “On the drawing board: Tyrande Whisperwind”

  1. 1 TheNic
    June 21, 2009 at 08:56

    hehe could call about the face, in that close pic to the left she looks somewhwat like a zombie 😛
    and I was thinking the same, a jewel or a moon on the tiara would make her look stronger, atleast more powerfull,
    and with her dress, on this part I am very pissed with Blizzard, cause the 2 major female heroes, Tyrande and Jaina, wears dresses like any other lvl 20 player in the game, it looks so ordinary, and while Jaina might want that, I would more prefer something that looks abit like the ones she had in W3, I can’t really remember the looks or Tyrandes W3 outfit, but I doubt it was a simple Mooncloth robe,
    even Lady Kastrana Prestor ((the Onyxia lady in SW while Wrynn was gone, might have wrong name)) also had a pissy casual dress, while the male heroes, they mostly have something unique, Thrall wears his old W3 outfit, black and yellow spike plate, Wrynn wears his black plate with 2 very long swords, and Bolvar Fordragon used his Stormwind outfit, while not unique, it gave him a character…
    and the few female characters they made speciall outfits for, they just wear some platet panties, plated bra and then shoulderpads, long boots and such…in other words, sexual outfits, made to “turn players on”

    • 2 Nhani
      June 21, 2009 at 09:17

      Well in the defence of the Mooncloth robe – back before the expansions, it was actually rather high level and took quite a bit of mooncloth to craft, so it was a fairly special robe as such. Atleast for awhile. Though I definitely want to take a few more unique turns with her. There’s multiple things she has to acomplish at once, in one outfit, so I’m still doing alot of thinking what to do with some elements of her look and how to design some things to acomplish what I want.

      • 3 TheNic
        June 27, 2009 at 23:47

        hehe I wouldn’t know about the Mooncloth robe, I was only lvl 30 at the release of the Burning Crusade, and just hit 70 about half a year before WotLK, now I got some 80s but thats not the point, when I first got my main to be able to tailor up a Mooncloth Robe, it was way simple and the mats were cheap and most people had it, and if they didn’t it was caues they had something better… 🙂

        allthough, wouldn’t a “wider” skirt work? I mean the princesses in fairytales have wide skirts on their dresses, and while Tyrandes may not have to hit the floor, it would be classy, and abit easyer to fight and at the same time not have problems to run, it could maybe be abit shorter and she was wearing leggings? jsut an idea, and came up with it very quickly so maybe not a very good one xD

        have to say though, a similar outfit to Sylvanas sounds great though, but white/light blue with a hint of pink in it…

      • 4 Nhani
        June 28, 2009 at 06:42

        Those wide skirts actually aren’t convenient at all – they’ve got some skeleton of their own of a stiff material to keep them that large, so while you might have leg space (wouldn’t know), you’d also be all but wearing a kodo on your legs.

        Since Tyrande needs to be able to sit up on her frostsaber without issue, whatever skirt she has needs to be good for that while still looking classy.

        At the moment, deciding Altaïr isn’t really all that classy, I’m actually thinking Freya instead.. /plot

  2. June 21, 2009 at 09:35

    I must admit, i was not a big fan of Tyrande during WC3 and WoW, but i do have to admit she needs a better model in WoW to represent her Warrior side.
    I do loved her charecture in the ‘War of the Ancients’ trilogy (If you haven’t read them, do so NAO! ) and the author goes to great extent to describe a priestess/warrior armor.

    I think Blizzard should bring her, Magni and Velen into the world more since i do belive she would at least have a few words on how Varian is leading the Alliance as of now.

  3. 6 TheNic
    June 21, 2009 at 09:53

    I agree, I was really thrilled when Varian came back, not that I ever knew who he was except for a king who was gone…but now I realise, Fordragon was a way better rueler, I say put a paladin as king! the head of the Holy Order! I mean warriors seriously can’t do the jobb…
    And the 2 without doubt best humans in warcraft ((IMO)) was paladins, well actually not, I still think Jaina rules too, I would not say no to her as a queen, Uther the lightbringer and Bolvar Fordragon was the 2 most, don’t really know the word, something about knowing, great leaders and stuff, but they where the 2 most “that” male humans in the game, but Jaina should be queen now though

  4. June 21, 2009 at 20:01

    Uther was a good Paladin, but i dont think Paladins themsleves make good kings.
    Kings need to be one with their people, life among them, paladins allways elivate themsleves above the crowds.
    Varian is to revenge ridden on the Horde and acts 20 years to late.
    He believes the Horde is just as evil as during the first two wars, but it isn’t.
    Hez uses the Wrath Gate as a excuse to get his war machine going at the wrong target.

    As for Jaina…she does a good job and is one of my fav WoW women, next to Valeria Sanguiar (the blood elf friend of Varian).
    She showed she can lead and Theramore is a thriving city/port thanks to her efforts.

    Tyrande , for the sake of staying on topic, has led her people for 10 000 years through war and peace. But after all those eyars, people can still make wrong calls, which i beleive she did with Hani and Te’len.

    • 8 Ilyara
      June 22, 2009 at 10:21

      I think she has a long term plan this is all part of: I’m sure Tyrande can make mistakes, but the concept of 10,000 years of experience/knowledge is such an alien prospect to us that I am sure we should not be too hasty to assume.

  5. 9 Frostsaben
    June 22, 2009 at 16:58

    A new model for the High Priestess, that sounds great!
    s you know I have been a supporter of this for some time… still, as I said before, a model with a long dress is not good in battle, you can’t sneak through the woods even on a nightsaber wearing a long dress, it can get caught in branches, get torn and limit your movement.

    If I look at the Warcraft 3 model she wore pants there and the plate chestpiece very similar to what you put on her, I like the chestpiece. Now if you say that by giving her pants you’re making her less… impressive, I don’t agree with you because she is a leader amongst her people, not above them. What I mean is that she wants to make an example for the priestesess and sentinels by battle style and how she dresses, I don’t belive she would wear something that would make her look very diffrent from the others; she wouldn’t wear a normal sentinel alfit either, but something similar yet looking more eye-catching.

    For example, if you’d make her wear pants, you could make the chestpiece shine more, more silvery, like the moon, symbol of the Goddess.
    Well, this is just an ideea 🙂
    Anyway, no matter what you choose I hope she’ll look better then the in-game model in the end, because that one is totaly unrealistic. The fact that you live in a city(even one built from and in the forest) doesn’t mean you can wear a long dress hoping infernals won’t drop from they sky and you won’t have to worry about going into battle into something that limits movement.

    • 10 Nhani
      June 22, 2009 at 17:26

      Actually, as I recall, in WarCraft 3 she pretty much wore her cat as there was no seperate model for her legs, just some texture, and I can’t recall it being clear enough to say with any certainity whether she was wearing actual pants or something more akin to a split skirt (mind you, I could be wrong).

      The problem with Tyrande is that she isn’t just one thing like, say, Hani is: Hani a combatant, she has very rugged and utilitarian gear that lies somewhere between hiking and combat. Tyrande is so much more – she’s a highly capable warrior, but she’s also a military leader, a spiritual and religious leader and a chief of state. Her presence is both utilitarian and ceremonial all at once. If I merely swap one aspect for another, I gain nothing.

      All that said, I’ve had lengthy debates about proper skirts both in terms of model topology and resonable function with someone I know and hopefully the end result will be something of a working compromise. It’ll still be awhile before I can start trying around with it, but I’m working on it in slow increments.

      • 11 Frostsaben
        June 23, 2009 at 22:44

        You might be right though, by looking again at the model I see it can be a split skirt too, as well as pants… hmmm… well, I don’t think Blizzard thought to make the graphics so that we’d see if she’s wearing a skirt or pants in the end, maybe I just liked to see that because I think a skirt is not so good.

        Indeed, if you swap one with another it’s not good, but I hope you’ll manage to find that “middle point” what is both one and the other in the same time.

  6. 12 Frostsaben
    June 22, 2009 at 17:00

    By the way, forgat in the first post, I just saw she has a glaive in her right arm in the title picture, looks good!

  7. June 23, 2009 at 21:07

    I’ve just might have a suggestion on the robe as i see what youre getting at.
    My suggestion would be to give her normal and give her some sort of wide cape, a white one with the texture similar to the robe. The cape would be starting slim at the start around her neck and then become wider soon enough. I think it would be rather the same as to what the Sylvanas model has only large and well, white.

    Just a suggestion though, do something with it or don’t, hehe.

  8. 15 Ishnu'elithana
    July 5, 2009 at 21:22

    I don’t know if this is of any use as an observation, but the image of Tyrannde in her simple robe, with her bow struck me very powerfully (page 100 – when she was looking for Hani as a child). It brings out both the different aspects of what she is, and the strangeness of those aspects occuring in one person.

  9. 16 Nerit
    July 13, 2009 at 22:14

    I don’t know if this is too specific, but I vaguely recall her novel incarnation being described with “dusky blue hair” and silver in it. That could definitely make her stand out well if done right.

  10. 17 *cough* excuse me...
    July 3, 2010 at 16:55

    i think a greek togo-skirt themed attire would be realistic. Theres no way shes sprinting through forests in that long dress…

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