Reaching New Heights – Hani rev 4 model test

Having been worked on off and on for over a week with conceptual thinking going back much further, the now much showcased Hani revision 4 model is finally at a point where I could actually start making use of it. There’s the odd morph I’m thinking about whether I might try to add or not, but so far it seems to work rather well without any major deformity issues. While it’s too early to tell whether the change will be a significant help to overall visuals, a minor tweak or something that ends up largely reverted over time remains to be seen. Thumbs are still a bother, but in a much different way – I think I simply need time and practice with it to decide whether it works better or not.

Not counting what’s essentially bug fixing, the main goal with the rev 4 model is to give Hani Foonmall a stronger and more feral impression – the earlier size comparissons show how much more bulk she’s gained, and it’s definitely noticeable. The new hands with very pronounced nails and a new, slightly more ragged tip to her ponytail all are intended to make her look more like a natural predator, as disposed to the hunt as any Nightsaber would be. Hani comes from a very different part of night elven society from Tiny and Te’len, and with rev 4 I’ve really wanted that to show.

For all the changes, the biped really didn’t seem like it needed much change – the shoulder bones had to be widened, the arms a little adjusted and the fingers lined up, but other than that there wasn’t really all that many issues present – just line things up, attach, adjust envelopes and done. To some degree, it seems like the added bulk might even serve to prevent, rather than create, catastrophic deformities. Seeing how I was worried it might have the opposite effect, that fact was quite welcome.

With a new model revision comes new morph targets – not because the old ones were faulty but because changes in the model invalidates the morph targets it used to have, excluding the fact that the polygon breakdown of the face has actually changed too. The difference between the rev 3 and rev 4 morph targets should be relatively minor, except for one little change. Hani now has a tongue. Why? I actually don’t know! If all else fails, I can probably blame the Legacy of Kain game series – Soul Reaver 2 and Defiance both had articulated tongues for the characters and it added a great deal to the overall impression, so I thought if anything, I could atleast try. The textures for the tongue I essentially took straight from Blizzards’ own interior mouth textures, so from that it seems like night elves might have tongues coloured a discreet black.

Bare, without meshsmooth, the new base rev 4 model weighs in at a full 2197 polygons, which goes up to a full 8018(!!) when Meshsmooth is enabled, which is another step up from earlier polycount, and not including additional models like hair, weapons, backpack and soforth. The skeletal structure is largely the same as before, with obviously the arms tweaked for the wider shoulders and new hands. There’s also a few added bones to articulate the added tongue that lay seperate but are otherwise attached to the head. Like this you can also see the plates I’ve added back in rev 3 to form bones for the ears.

The final thing I said I’d mention – envelopes. Envelopes are basically the area of influence around each bone so the model knows which vertices move with what bone. When I first initialize the Physique modifier, I do so with the Deformable bone type, though there are a few I change. Notably the lower arms, lower legs, feet, fingers and head I change to Rigid. There’s a few other details to take note – with females I generally change the one spine link that aligns with the chest to rigid, and extend its influence slightly lower (parent overlap) to make sure there’s no strange deformities when the model leans back and forth. I also have helper bones (hidden here) assigned to just influence the eyes and chin and nothing else, set as rigid with a very high strength (usually 20) to prevent those parts of the head from deforming during some morphs. Another minor detail to note is the upper arms and upper legs – these I usually have both bone types – Deformable at the top, ranging from 0.1 parent overlap to -0.5 child overlap, then Rigid at the bottom between -0.2 parent overlap and 0.1 child overlap. What this does is avoid a few odd deformation issues that rigid creates at the very base of the limb, while still using rigid for most of the limb to prevent it from bending in very fluid ways.

I’m not decided yet whether to phase in the rev 4 model as soon as possible or give it some time to fully test it out first. I guess we’ll simply have to see what happens there.


19 Responses to “Reaching New Heights – Hani rev 4 model test”

  1. 1 Lahis
    June 27, 2009 at 23:27

    Heh, you were right about the arms and shoulder area. They don’t look bad at all when posed in a more natural way 😛

  2. 2 TheNic
    June 27, 2009 at 23:38

    okay, I might be tired, but I didn’t understand a thing xD abit to technical for me, but I am sure you know what your doing, been great so far and don’t see why that has to change 😛

  3. 3 Ilyara
    June 28, 2009 at 01:13


    Arms ^^

  4. 4 saila aka wester
    June 29, 2009 at 20:52

    you know what i would love to see is Hany or Tiny in an source runed game or other game that use rag doll Physic man what an laugh that would be especially when they dies and get in weird positions like lying again an wall dead but they look like they are sleeping.
    happen to me on an mod and my squad leader was like “what on earth are you doing sleeping?” yelling in in the mic and two guys was like how did he do that.
    (reads throw what i have wrote) i think i got an bit carried away there.

  5. 5 Moltrazahn
    July 1, 2009 at 07:30

    Good good, before we know it youll be posting CGI-Cinematic quality art ^^, looks great!

  6. 6 Frostsaben
    July 1, 2009 at 17:32

    I think it looks really good, although I feared at first her arms muscles (spelling?) might look weird, seeing the finished product, I want to say they look preety good and she really does look feral.
    One thing though is that the tongue might be too black, when I looked first at the picture with her poses and with her licking her hand, I thought that she had grabbed a piece of the glove in her mouth, not that it was her tongue, I realised only after looking really careful.
    Overall, I like the new model though.

  7. 7 Ragefury
    July 2, 2009 at 01:58

    Uh, I didn’t bother to real through all the stuff you wrote, but I took a good look at the pictures and scrolled down to her facial expressions – and man does she look like a beast when she’s angry – all her different poses looked good aswell – I wonder if she’ll ever use that “jump them from behind”-attack. :/

    As I’m not that good with 3D modelling (yet) I’ll leave the technical talk to you pros. 😉

  8. 8 saila aka wester
    July 5, 2009 at 11:16

    just two question Nhani one will you make an movie or something simulare to the dead fantasy?
    two and I think I asked it before are you an girl/male in Real life.
    exept that great work as alway and Hani sure dose look fearsome.
    and one more thing i looked at the

    and noted that she had fang like teath.

    • 9 Nhani
      July 5, 2009 at 15:48

      I’ve done the odd animation test, but little more than that – technically the rigging and everything is all set for animation already, I’d just need to actually.. well.. animate it. Last try was rather poor, so I’m saving a retry for when I feel ready, have a good enough idea and am in the possession of enough time, as animation is a rather slow process.

      As for the teeth, canonically night elves have fangs, though they’re more pronounced in the males. With Hani in general being a more feral example of night elf compared to the much more civilized Te’len, I’ve taken the liberty of making Hanis’ a little more pronounced for visual effect.

      As for gender, I generally don’t bother answering. Not because it’s a big secret, but because over the internet it tends not to matter. Besides, some people just use that to shove you a political stick, and quite frankly I’d rather keep them guessing.

  9. 10 Algorithmix
    July 5, 2009 at 19:27

    Id hate for my first post here to be nitpicking, so let me start out by saying that I really enjoy your comic, and that I have been reading it since page 6 or so. WoW comics made with in-game or ModelViewer images are usually not my thing (for some reason), but yours is in a whole league of its own 🙂

    With that said, I noticed on the image where Hani is standing on one arm that while her pony-tail is hanging straight down, the rest of her hair is not. I imagine though that realistically rendering hair using CG is hard (Ive read some “horror-stories” from The Incredibles)…..

    • 11 Nhani
      July 6, 2009 at 06:05

      The simple reasoning is that the hair isn’t hanging down because I never taught it to – I actually don’t use cloth or hair simulation of any form due to the large amount of added work (and time) it would require. The hair model is just a static model tied to a skeleton just like the body is, and I’d never really considered an upside down scenario before. The reason I tried it this time around was because I wanted to see whether the model itself could handle it without looking deformed.

      All that said.. one thing I decided to try after this post was adding a few morphs to the hair model so the hair down her face can move a little in different direction – one of those being up. The rest of her hair still remains glued in place, of course, but it is a start.

  10. 12 saila aka wester
    July 6, 2009 at 20:33

    well you caan always ask some one else to animate it for you.
    but that puts your model at risk. i ment who will miss use the power of the done models.
    *looks around* and no i didn´t meant like that.
    ehh forget what i said.
    or something
    and yes i one of thouse that write the text way before im done thinking (usually)

  11. July 12, 2009 at 13:04

    I remember seeing a very close-in shot of Flintlocke’s mouth once (no, I don’t remember which of the comics it was in), and dwarfs, too, have black tongues. I think the reason Blizzard did it that way is that the inside of a mouth is almost always in very deep shadow, and brightly colored tongues would make them look too much like Muppets.

    The reason that human lips, gums, and tongue are colored more red is because the skin there is so thin that blood shows through, though skin pigmentation still matters. From this, I’d suppose that Tyrande and Te’len actually have _less_ skin pigmentation than Hani, presuming that night elf blood is still mostly colored by hemoglobin.

    Human pigmentation is a always combination of varying levels of red, white, yellow, and black. I would suppose that for night elves have a much broader palette, including red, (some have VERY ruddy skin), white, blue, green, and purple. Still, the red might ONLY be from blood because it never shows up in the hair. The duskiness that some of the men have makes this whole thing even harder to fit together. Anyway, this is all just stuff to think about if you ever decide you want to fool with it.

  12. 14 saila aka wester
    July 16, 2009 at 09:38

    yee i know about that but i to can´t remember which of them it actually was.
    and about animation maybe ask montyoum maybe he can help you….
    although something tells me that he might be bussy at the moment.
    and if you dont know who Monty oum is then goggle for it.

  13. July 23, 2009 at 14:20

    What I’d really like to see updated in a next version is the texture.
    I’m sure you agree that there’s a lot of improvement to be gained by increasing the resolution on those.

    Perhaps a fan – experienced in photoshop could work some magic on that?

    • 16 Nhani
      July 23, 2009 at 15:15

      I doubt I could, atleast – mind you, I’d love to get my hands on Blizzards higher resolution textures (not sure if there’s a version of modelviewer out that can export them?) but that wouldn’t fix the armour as it’s all pre-wrath gear and isn’t made in high res.

      If I feel steady enough with texture editing at some point I might give it a try, but right now I think it’s a wee bit above my own capabilities at least.

      • July 24, 2009 at 20:50

        Yeah, you’ve already said as much before.
        I wonder if someone experienced in such could grab one of the low res textures and make it into a high res version that you’d be happy with though.

        Should certainly be within the scope of possibilities.
        I suspect it’s fairly time consuming however.

  14. July 23, 2009 at 14:22

    In specific the armor and gloves. the sword belt seems quite alright already.

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