On the drawing board: Tyrande Whisperwind update

It’s been awhile since I’ve done any actual model work and not just played around with existing models, and while I technically don’t really have the time to do any now either.. I’ve been down with coughing fits for about a day or two, so I figured I’d direct my scattered concentration and try to channel it into something I’ve been wanting to get back at for quite some time – the revision 2 Tyrande model.

Those of you who have been around might remember the last attempt with the added armor and cut dress, elements that were brought about through my wishing to bridge her WarCraft III and World of WarCraft characterizations – an appearance that could be both the warrior and military leader, as well as the refined High Priestess and chief of state of the Night elven people. While the Mooncloth Robe the game puts her in tends to represent the latter, it never quite did the former for me.

But then.. Blizzard released their 5 year Anniversary BattleCry Wallpaper, and I found myself promptly blown away. I’ll post a cut here for reference, but if you’ve missed the full thing, Blizzard has it available here.

There’s just something about that rendition of the dress, of how she carries it that suddenly just completely sold it to me; it just worked, it was all there. And part of my immediate reaction was something like man, I wish I could make her model like that. Now obviously, I can’t – I’m only so good, there’s only so many details that can be worked with, and I have no idea how I’d even start with some of the elements. Still, it set me on the idea that the dress could work, somehow; it’d just be about the proper emphasis, about finding the right details, the right adornments.. suddenly, I couldn’t wait for the time and inspiration necessary to start tweaking again.

First off, in the least, I wanted the facial markings back in; trying to mimic the subtler colouring of the official art rather than the very visible ones the game throws at us. I also wanted to make yet another attempt at eyes; Hani’s revision 4 ones aren’t that bad, but I wanted to see what more could be done with them – if there’s a way that ultimately works better still. I have no idea how to even begin with the hair, if there’s anything I really can do beyond sneaking some leaves in there. The various ornamental armbands are simply things I’d have to save for later, same with the various feathers and whatnot, and the dress.. there’s just far too much detailing for me to make use of; I simply aren’t that good a texture artist.

It’s not much of an update I know, still means I’ve actually been getting somewhere as opposed to getting nowhere at all. I’m still trying to decide just how much I can do and what I could expect to be capable of; I don’t expect to be able to go quite as far as Blizzard’s current Sylvanas or Varian models, but the Tyrande model I’ve been using so far is painfully out of date, and really needs a replacement.


42 Responses to “On the drawing board: Tyrande Whisperwind update”

  1. March 19, 2010 at 14:50

    It just amazes me how you do this….absolutely incredile and I wish I had your talent.

    Looks like it will be some amazing work when done ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • 2 Nhani
      March 19, 2010 at 14:56

      Well all I’ve done so far is some mild texture tweaks, and some topology changes and.. well.. half an hour or something just tweaking self illumination values up and down. I wish I had anything near the ability of Blizzard’s painting team; they can do some really gorgeous art as the cut from the BattleCry poster shows.

      Actually, I wish I had even half the talent of their texturing and modeling teams too – some of the Wrath gear is so detailed and gorgeous it’s amazing. The best I can do is some cut and paste tweaking and altering model topology.

      So can’t do anything even near what they can, unfortunately; with luck, however, I should in the least be able to make a better and more expressive Tyrande than I’ve had so far.

      • 3 Gordrake Thunderhoof
        March 19, 2010 at 15:12

        As I nudged in the last post, though, perhaps this wallpaper is a hint that they’re planning to rework the leading characters from the ground up and make them actually look the part they play. Personally I would love for these specially named characters – who’ve been a part of Warcraft since it’s initial forging – to have a distinctive, impressionable look and feel to them that truly sets them apart from everyone else. And if they can make the High Priestess look THAT good on canvas, I’d love to see what they can do to the in-game incarnation.

        Hey…wonder if, with the new expansion, they’ll let us have similar equipment with the look and feel of these icons? I think that dress Tyrande’s wearing would look equally brilliant on Nhani too if the robe had an updated version. Sadly, though, your clip also shows the ‘possible’ future king of Gnomes. And that worries me, because he looks more like something from Futurama than Warcraft.

  2. March 19, 2010 at 15:27

    What I mean’t was I wouldn’t know where do start..

    Do you use special software to do this? Does it take a lot of training etc etc. It just amazes me how you get suck good clarity and such a great resemblance but then again me and techology bah!!!!

    • 5 Nhani
      March 19, 2010 at 15:48

      I use a 3D modeling and rendering application of which there are several, depending on your needs and preferences; along with a typical graphic editor.

      To be perfectly honest, the things I do are actually very much on novice level when it comes to 3D graphics, with my image/texture editing being more towards intermediate but not by much. Most of it is actually not that hard, you just need the tools, the know-how and some sense for what looks good.

      A whole lot of what I know is really just self-learned through online tutorials and experimentation, heh. That said, looking through the history of Beyond the Tree shows I’ve gotten better at it over the years through sheer experience, so your mileage may vary.

  3. March 19, 2010 at 15:53

    Still, it’s very interesting to see the process. You should not be so down on yourself.

  4. 7 Illidan
    March 19, 2010 at 16:49

    What about the earrings? Can u do those?

    • 8 Nhani
      March 19, 2010 at 17:39

      Just simple rings should be fairly easy; they might attach a bit weirdly to the ear “bones”, but it should work so long as there’s no long or dangly bits.

  5. 9 Skyll K. Chagorantis
    March 19, 2010 at 16:58

    the eyes really scare me if they stare that strongly. should they not be a bit weaker?

    • 10 Nhani
      March 19, 2010 at 17:34

      There’s a very careful balance in intensity – too much and they loose any definition and are just bright white, too little and they don’t have any shine to speak of. That said, I think in this case it isn’t really the eyes as it is the expression – if her eyes weren’t quite as wide open, I think the impression would be a great deal different.

  6. March 19, 2010 at 22:41

    I find the small pupil very…unnerving, almost ghost like scary.

  7. 13 Loldrood
    March 20, 2010 at 05:37

    Damn, she’s built like a Olympic swimmer; tall, slender, and will crush you like a snake.
    I look forward to seeing how she turns out. The WoW engine really isn’t conducive to the amount of detail, but if you can nail the eyes and get her a bitchin kick-ass bow, you’re half way there. Dunno if you can play around with different nelf faces; I was looking at my warrior, and she has similar facial structure, narrow cheek bones and pronounced chin.

    I’ve always been sad I didn’t get the Tyrande box art for my copy of WC3. Stupid orc…

  8. 14 Sanaje
    March 20, 2010 at 11:51

    I can just imagne her saying “Naughty Secrets”(Vishas style) with that expression.

    Also, what a terrible band-aid on her lower arm in the dualscreen version of the poster. รด_o

  9. March 20, 2010 at 13:21

    At least she’s not in battle bikini’s….the cover of WotA archive was…Well…she cant sit probebly down cant she? And for a priestess she does wear very revealing clothing.

    Glad they fixed it here.

    • 16 Nhani
      March 20, 2010 at 13:37

      Ah yes, Blizzard’s promotional night elven leather.. eh.. “armor”; I’ve gotten the impression Blizzard loves that outfit but are unable to decide what exactly they want to use it for. Some early pieces of promotional art uses it as Sentinel gear, while the original intro sequence for World of WarCraft uses it as a Druid outfit. Then they put Tyrande in it for the cover of that collection, as well as put Sylvanas in it (along with making her look completely like a Night elf and nothing like a high elf) for the third book of that graphic novel thing about Anveena.

      • 17 Myrion Starblade
        March 20, 2010 at 15:28

        That’s actually one of my favourite outfits. I wish it was obtainable, I’d roll a Sentinel in a second. I’ve never got the impression that Night Elves were too concerned about covering up. Their society isn’t prudish about that sort of thing.

        • March 21, 2010 at 18:03

          It’s a battle bikini, it doesn’t stop arrows or blades now does it?
          I understand that most of the people that play WoW are young males that probebly bang night elves in their fantasies on the side, hence the revealing armor, but come on! I dont know why the feminists haven’t thrown a media fit over it.

          • 19 Nhani
            March 21, 2010 at 19:28

            Well arguably, if we’re going to go on the topic of realism here, the Harness and short pants your average Horde Guard wears isn’t really going stop any of that either. Even so, there’s the hilarious matter that the two units in WarCraft 3 with the highest armor were the two (Orc Blademaster and Night elven Demon Hunter respectively) who only wore pants.

            In essence, Style over Function; and in this case, the pretense of mobility over the pretense of heavy armor.

            As an aside though, there’s a point where such character design can actually become highly empowering, depending on how it’s carried and portrayed. A friend of mine gave me a very good example (which I’ll promptly steal) comparing pictures of athletes versus pictures in swimsuit specials; in both cases we have people wearing very few (and often very form-fitting) apparel, but the former is far more empowering imagery. There’s a very stark difference between a character carrying their clothes and the clothes carrying the character.

            If you think about it, Wonder Woman – one of the greater fictional feminist icons out there – runs around wearing a strapless one-piece swimsuit. It’s not really about how much she wears, but about how she wears it.

            • March 21, 2010 at 23:29

              -rubs chin-
              Point taken….

              Though to my defence orc skin is a lot thougher then Night elf or human, but I agree on the Grunts armour being somewhat underprotected.

            • 21 Frostsaben
              March 27, 2010 at 11:40

              I hate this discussion but still, some things need to be said:

              First of all, why do night elves wear less covering armor? well let’s think a little outside real life.
              We are in the War of the Ancients, and you are wearing a full plate suit, that covers all of you except a small orifice for you to see. You have low mobility because of it, but you took it considering ranged weapons and all that so it’s ok, you gave mobility for resistance.
              Now, suddently a warlock focuses on you and throws a spell and… you’re dead, your full plate useless, and since you moved slow you couldn’t get out of the warlock’s sight when you felt that burn that was your doom.
              Ok, let’s say no warlock focused on you, but a fel guard, a creature two times your size weilding a mace. One swing of that and your armor bends like paper. Now there could have been a chance you survived if you could move out of his hit, but no, you got hit, and since plate doesn’t return to original form, even if the hit didn’t kill you, you now have problems breathing from the plate armor pushing on your lungs.

              This is why night elves wear more revealing armor, because plate armor sucks against these kinds of enemies. In these battles you need to move fast to avoid their spells and killing blows, not sit there and try to absorb, that would be certain death. They could as well be fighting naked, but for females with a more generous bust, their breasts would bounce thus make problems for said person, so they need a bra. Well besides that their mini-skirt isn’t very protective either, for males they need to wear pants or such to protect their most sensitive part.

              About arrows, what difference does it make if you are in a plate armor and you get hit where the armor pieces come together or if you are almost naked? well the difference is that in first case it will be even more difficult to get the arrow out because of the mail under that is keeping it.

              Also, how do you know night elf skin is less resistant then an orc’s? do you know any night elves in real life? Do you think that even if 10 000 years ago their skin was softer, after spending so much times jumping around trees it didn’t get harder? you never know.

            • March 29, 2010 at 09:41

              @ Frostsaben

              I have to disagree though.

              What may have worked 10 000 years ago will not work now.
              They are fighting Orcs and Ghouls now.
              Ghouls in fact are more likely to bite through leather then let’s say plate armor.
              In the defense of the arrow argument, it’s best to have SOME protection then running at your enemy half naked and screaming your heads off.

              However i can see your point dude and for some parts I agree, but i dont think running around half-naked NOW against other foes whose weapons can be stopped by plate is not a good idea.

  10. 23 Thalis
    March 20, 2010 at 15:27

    She looks absolutely gorgeous, and I look forward to your revision. The only thing I miss, are eyes with a “thousand stars-like look”.

  11. 24 TheNic
    March 20, 2010 at 23:50

    I am going to have nightmares after looking into those eyes xD but I think the hair color on your model and the wallpaper too…as if you have not noticed that….xD

  12. 25 TheNic
    March 21, 2010 at 08:49

    But one thing I do notice in Blizzards picture, is that they have suceeded in making her look both fierceful and beaufitul at the same time. In Warcraft III, well I don’t blame blizzard, the graphics are very good for the time it came out, but she looked pretty much like a crow :p And in WoW she looks like any other Nelf.
    On this picture though, she has a beauty that is hard to explain, she is rough, and while she looks like she has run a thousand miles through bushes, she still manages to have some grace (not sure if that is the word) and hey…That bow would make Deathwing plead for his life

    • March 21, 2010 at 18:04

      Hey Thrall’s Hammer looks way more bad ass.
      Have to defend Horde Honour here.

      • 27 Gordrake Thunderhoof
        March 22, 2010 at 16:11

        On that argument I would have to agree. Of all the characters on the wallpaper, Thrall does stand out considerably more than the others. He just has that aura about him in the picture that shows him as powerful but reserved with that power, like he knows when the right time is to strike. Varian, to be fair, just has the epic armour and doesn’t carry it well at all.

        Now if it was Thrall and Tyrande on the front row…that would be a tough choice.

        • March 23, 2010 at 13:40

          The Noble savage fits Thrall more then Varian.
          Honestly i want Varian/Conan back!

          Jaina: My king, what is best in life?
          Varian: To crush the Horde, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women.

          I would be so happy to have him back….

  13. 31 Moltrazahn
    March 22, 2010 at 09:27

    you also have to realise that if you manage to pull off this great remodelling, you HAVE to make more dream sequences so we can droll over it ๐Ÿ˜‰

  14. 32 Grannd_AD
    March 25, 2010 at 16:52

    Loving the Tyrande work. Although I have two things to add –

    I hold Thrall in contempt, it’s pretty obvious Metzen loves him, which is why he’s in the foreground more than Varian. A snubbing of the Alliance I think and it annoys me for some unexaplained reason. Horde sucks. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Second thing – The Magni art on that wallpaper looks really pro, can’t wait to see it ingame, since it seems to me Blizzard is going that way with the revision of character models.

    • 33 Gordrake Thunderhoof
      March 25, 2010 at 20:57

      Though I resent your remark of the Horde, I’ll agree that this looks to be an omen of updating the present leaders in Azeroth and making them truly stand out. And I hope they do, too – a lot of them could use an update to make them not only look the part but also BE the part. As awesome as Thrall is there, I’ve grown weary of being told he’s easy to take down – he’s a Shaman, for chrissakes, he should ACT like one! Spirit Wolves and all!

      • March 26, 2010 at 07:58

        Dont get me started on Drek’thar…..
        Yes i do hate Alliance players who are so smug to telling me that they downed Thrall and tell me he’s lame.
        Ok, so i’ve done ‘For the Horde’ but that doesn’t mean i’m dissing Varian, or god forbid Tyrande.

        Thankfully we do see Thrall’s abilities in the ‘Battle for Undercity’.
        I hope Magni, Velen and Tyrande get some action come cataclysm, those guys/gal deserve it.

        • 35 Grannd_AD
          March 26, 2010 at 08:13

          There’s something I love about watching Magni shoot a whole Horde raid into the air when they raid Ironforge. World leaders should be buffed to Lich King level before Cataclysm. Suprise any Horde raid who tries. ๐Ÿ˜€

          Anyways, yes. I forgot to mention the Tyrande art is utterly kickass. Another thing I noticed is that Lor’themar has a new get-up, Sun King perhaps?

        • 36 Nhani
          March 26, 2010 at 08:21

          I’m quite convinced that the faction leaders were severely undertuned for Wrath – likely to cater to the masses who simply wanted their free warbears. After all, the pre-Wrath patch re-statted them for level 80, and even so most of them were struck down by level 70:s post that change before Wrath even came out.

          It doesn’t help that as far as me knowing, Tyrande and Velen are the two easiest alliance faction leaders about; guess which ones were pretty much always the only ones to get struck, without fail – especially pre-achievements when there was no material rewards and only a pure ego boost. As you might imagine, part of the result is that I’ve said many not so charitable things about Horde bravery over the last five years.

          • March 26, 2010 at 17:15

            I allready said sorry for Tyrande T.T
            I have to admit, killing the leaders was easy..if you have an good raid.
            Magni and Varian were the funnest ones to attack really, because they were clearly harder to take down as were their guards, so i hope come Cataclysm the other two faction leaders, and Mekkatorque, get a boost as well.
            Question to Alliance raiders, did you lot miss Vol’jin, my raid let the Gnome be.

  15. 38 Thalis
    March 27, 2010 at 17:28

    I have a personal question: “Just who exactly is Anadra?”

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