Random renders: In Preparation for Cataclysm

With Cataclysm on its way, I’ve been wanting to touch on ‘ol Nhani Moonfalls’ place in all of it, especially in terms of Blizzard trying to ramp up the standing conflicts. One of my fellow nubs who first convinced me to return Nhani to the Lights of Elune a few months back basically sold me with the reasoning that when the whole world is going to hell, they’re not going to be comforted by a few elite night elven women sneaking around a forest – they’d more want to see said women armed and armored, walking in and kicking evil in the arse.

So I’ve been wanting to make Nhani renders in that direction for awhile, and then another of my fellow nubs spent a night showing me all this fan imagery a few days ago, and I felt rather taken. Unfortunately.. I can’t draw – I’ve simply never been good with a pen, drawing or writing or anything. Fortunately.. there’s 3D.

So I set out to assemble an armored outfit with the main intentions of it fitting Nhani and looking sufficiently impressive. By chance, with 4.0 Blizzard removed most of the raiting requirements on PvP gear, which introduced me to the realization that the highest ilevel warrior pvp outfit not only looks good but actually is very much in the earthly brown/orange-ish colour scheme that old Moonfall tends to favor. So using that armor as base, I took the recentmost Hani Foonmall model, did some kitbashing on it to incorporate the latest hand and eye designs, tweaked a bit further and added some details, and.. well.

I really wanted to show an aspect of Nhani Moonfall that feels like it’s gone rather untapped thus far – the warrior aspect of her, the ancient former Sentinel who have lived longer than most cities have stood. The part of her that’s the reason her description generally tends to allude to her looking potentially intimidating.

I actually rather like the result, as you might guess from the amount of various images that resulted. I still have a few more ideas I want to try – notably I want to come up with a good in-combat shot, but I’m still deciding on the circumstance. As there’s quite a few of them, I decided to crop the preview images down to a fairly small size so they’d be easier to scroll through; as usual, click one for the full size version.

Of course, with a new Nhani Moonfall model comes yet another possibility to fiddle around with images of her along with her favored Draenei – especially seeing how one of the key changes with this particular model revision is her gaining another 5% height compared to earlier models to take her up to the intended height she and Hani Foonmall share, meaning that while she’s still shorter.. she’s a little less so now. I really wanted to see how well they lined up after that, so.. yeah. Same as above; enjoy.

Aaaaaand that’s it for now. Whew.


41 Responses to “Random renders: In Preparation for Cataclysm”

  1. 1 Synchronizor
    October 22, 2010 at 06:52

    I must say, that’s some beautiful work, Nhani. I wasn’t sure I liked the new direction you were going with your Kaldorei eyes when you first mentioned it, but the finished product here really looks very nice. They keep the spirit of the old eyes, but add a lot of expressiveness.

    One sticking point for me is the headband, the lower-resolution texturing on that kind of clashes with the level of detail present in the face, especially in close-up shots like the second image.

    • 2 Nhani
      October 22, 2010 at 08:21

      That headdress is actually probably the most enduring piece of apparel for Nhani; she’s been wearing versions of that for years, it’s really a part of her look. Unfortunately, the texture is.. very old. I might actually try to push up its resolution and see if I can make it look better, but with my lacking artistry skills I’m not sure if it’ll succeed.

      As for the eyes, it’s actually interesting – I didn’t really change the new ones compared to earlier versions except for one thing: I separated out the eye texture to its own material and added a post-processing glow to that material. It really seems to have done all the difference.

  2. 3 Thalis
    October 22, 2010 at 06:55

    After getting myself blown by the sheer awesomeness of this, I realised there is only one description: “I am your lady of war and ferocious goddess of combat and I will lead you from the front and never from behind.”

  3. 5 Gordrake Thunderhoof
    October 22, 2010 at 07:26

    This is going so sound like a random request, perhaps, but why not make a random render (or several?) concerning some of the people who have got to know Nhani better in-game and such? I know there’s quite a few memorable RP faces who are close associates to Nhani now and I am sure they’d appreciate a little nod to them. It would be nice, too, just to see Nhani in other situations – if the High Priestess can be found in the halls of King Varian Wrynn, I’m sure Nhani could be in other places too, visiting old friends and such, you know?

    Anyway, having gone off of that tangent, these are looking spectacular. I’m still trying to find out how to get the model viewer working again so I can work on what outfits I’m going to rustle up with my other characters, but we’ll see how that goes…

    There’s no doubting, though, that when Cata hits, Nhani’ll be kicking ass again.

    • 6 Nhani
      October 22, 2010 at 08:36

      I might try; the problem with this is that importing a new character can be a fair bit of work – more so the more performance I want out of them. The Nhani model shown in these images, even with reusing almost every element from earlier attempts, pretty much took me an entire day to put together. (actually, it’s more like two – I ended up making a mistake and having to re-do the rigging and the facial expression morphtargets, which took most of Thursday)

      Assembling people she knows and putting them in a scene means I generally need to hunt said person down, discreetly snag a few reference screenshots so I can note exactly what they look like, convince Modelviewer to hand me all of that (sometimes piecemeal out of necessity), and possibly spend some time cleaning said model up if it’s a difficult pose, or a whole lot of time making a quick rig if I need some kind of posing performance out of them.

      And this not counting whether it’s in a scene that is difficult to discreetly screenshot or ends up needing to be extracted. So it’s actually a whole lot of work involved.

      As for Modelviewer, they actually have a working copy available in their repository (the DEV WORK one), it can’t assemble patch files on its own so it won’t work with anything but the raw 4.0 data as I understand it, and the model exporting is.. temperamental (as always).. but it works. The people currently maintaining the Modelviewer are rather impressively dedicated.

      • 7 Gordrake Thunderhoof
        October 22, 2010 at 11:49

        Yeah, I can imagine the work that has to go into making and fleshing out the models. I’ve only covered a few basics of 3D design in a local uni “snippet” course, and it’s not easy. And that’s just talking about basic shapes, so I’m estimating myself to be over ten years’ away from what you’re capable of. Still, been playing with Bryce and just seeing how things work around and such, so maybe I’ll get to do something with it sometime. Maybe.

        And thanks for the repository link. I’ll have a go at it…hopefully get somewhere with it.

      • 8 Nirene Feathersong
        October 26, 2010 at 11:18

        Honestly, I wouldn’t pass on the opportunity to let Nirene stand in the spotlight in one of your random renders – although it’d be quite A LOT of tweaking on her part; she’s 8 feet tall – it’s one of the many mysteries of her past.

  4. 9 Ilyara
    October 22, 2010 at 12:30

    I love her pennant, the new eyes, and the pretty kissing scene ^o^

  5. 10 velocity
    October 22, 2010 at 13:50

    well i like the eye textures the modified glave,but i think your bump map or something is bugged cause it looks like there some stuff on the neck and hands on some of the renders

    • 11 Nhani
      October 22, 2010 at 14:19

      That’s actually essentially due to Blizzard’s high res skin textures being rather heavily dithered – you can see that sort of effect in-game too if you look closely enough. The times I end up assembling the textures myself I try to counteract it somewhat; this time I elected not to – to a point I think having a slight rough quality might help the overall impression.

  6. 12 Fokker
    October 22, 2010 at 14:41

    Moon priestess and heavy armor. Mmmm.

  7. October 22, 2010 at 14:55

    Have you come up with a idea where Nhani and her lvoer will be when Deathwing re-enacts his thingy from the cinematic cutscene? Stormwind, Darnassus?
    I bet both of the would be frightend to say the least when that big burning dragon comes their way.

    • 14 Nhani
      October 22, 2010 at 18:59

      Not sure yet; I’ve really been taking the ramp up events as they come and reacting as things change; like said earlier, Nhani technically is presently around Stormwind attending Tyrande, so her location is fairly fluid depending on where she’s needed.

      That said, I doubt ‘ol Moonfall will really have the time to be outwardly frightened – I think she’ll be too busy trying to deal with the situation and trying to help people to have the opportunity to cower somewhere. She’ll save it for when she has time for it.

      Her friend on the other hand is only a few decades from having seen Draenor collapse and.. maaay find it a little more difficult to deal with.

  8. October 22, 2010 at 14:57

    Oh also do you have any thoughts of the new ‘The Shattering’ novel from Christie Golden?
    Tyrande and Malfurion have a cameo there.

  9. October 22, 2010 at 22:52

    I would just like to add that I like the way you’ve done the eyes this time as well. ^_^
    Carry on! 😀

  10. 20 Tailed
    October 22, 2010 at 22:55

    Nice look, I rather like it on Nhani, is works a tad better then the previous style. Not to say I disliked the whole armour and skirt design, I just think that this look suits the whole Warcraft setting a tad better. Rather like the details too, both the tabard cape and, dare I say I noted it, her freckles? Stupid thing to notice, but to me it looks that besides living for gods-know how long Nhani Moonfall has freckles.. Intentional yes/no, either way it looks fun.

    These awesome renders kinda make me wanna learn how ta rig 3D models, but I have half a feeling it’s a rather steep learning curve.. Either way, love yer work, and I know this ain’t the best place fer it, I love yer comic too.

    • 21 Nhani
      October 22, 2010 at 23:13

      The freckles are essentially a part of the facial texture she’s had since.. well, the World of Warcraft public betas, basically. To be honest, I hadn’t actually noticed them with the old, lower resolution player textures and they never really stood out until Wrath came along with higher resolution ones offering greater detail.

      So it’s not intentional in terms of that I specifically intended or added them, it’s simply a side effect of the face I picked for her.

      As for her age, she’s passed some ten thousand by now – she was halfway through her childhood when the Sundering hit.

  11. 22 Lorthaiel
    October 23, 2010 at 14:47

    I absolutely love the one where Nhani has her back to the watcher, and I also love what you have done with the sword (and I’ll admit you’ve inspired me to sneakily gather some of the Nightelven Tournament weaponry for my recently 80’d huntress…)

    Beautiful work, as always, and an inspiration.

  12. October 23, 2010 at 21:06

    If we asked real, real nicely… any chance at seeing Areen renders? Especially in the Paladin tier sets? I’d love to see her in Judgment or Lightbringer or Lightsworn… it’d be so neat. 😀

    • 24 Nhani
      October 25, 2010 at 16:21

      Admittedly, I haven’t thought of it much – I specifically picked a very toned down and practical look for Areen when I designed her Paladin appearance as that was my vision of her; unfortunately, my experience with Paladins is still in part coloured by people in super-shiny gear who had far greater dedication to their own narcissism than the Holy Light. With Areen I aimed for a direct contrast by making her look very plain and down to earth, yet wholly dedicated to the Holy Light.

      I might try, actually; Areen’s model is a little complicated to work with because Blizzard didn’t give Gnomes a straight-standing idle/handsclosed pose, which makes them difficult to export properly. That said, if I find an armor that I feel just works with her, I might try to wing something.

  13. 26 Moltrazahn
    October 24, 2010 at 02:58

    Im still waiting for Darkwing Duck/Areen now that you mention it Dallanna…

    • 27 Nhani
      October 25, 2010 at 16:22

      Yeah.. I did a try of something similar a few years back.. I just need to remember to look if I still have any of that and if I might be able to reuse any of it for the purpose.. And see if I can somehow do away with Areen’s gloves without breaking her model entirely.

  14. 28 LolDrood
    October 28, 2010 at 06:07

    Holy zomg, love the eyes. You get the luminescence, you get the expression; they’re the best of both worlds. You have, as they say, won the internet.
    I wish you could go back into BtT with them, but that would sure be a colossal project.

    I’m pretty sure I logged in one day to find out my drood had freckles all along, too. Fortunately, my drood is adorable, so it works for her. 😀

    Just got internet up and running today, after the move, and these posts totally make up for the 8 hours and counting 4.0.1.blahblahblah download and install time.

    And, if I may add caption to 51.jpg, “He was trying to climb the fence and kept falling off. Eventually, the guards stopped laughing and just beat him with night sticks.”

    • 29 Nhani
      October 28, 2010 at 08:47

      Actually, part of the reason I’ve been experimenting with them is because I’ve been wanting to do a major model overhaul for the key Night elves in BtT; the problem is that I want all of them done before I actually introduce them, so most/all non-NPCs/non-Extras use that eye type. Along with a few other tweaks or modifications I’ve had in mind.

      The above bodes well for Hani’s eventual upgrade when I get to it, and Tyrande already got her render post, so just Tiny, Te’len and Raene to figure out.

      And to do all the work, of course.

      • 30 LolDrood
        October 28, 2010 at 22:04

        Ah yes, the chasm between, “hey, this is a cool idea” and “now I have to actually do it”. I know it well.

        I wasn’t very coherent when i posted that, but I was talking about going back into already posted-BtT strips. It’d be cool, but soooo much work.

        Also, that IS pretty much the best leather hat from vanilla. I love the floppy bucket hats too, but that’s not really the same thing.

        • 31 Nhani
          October 28, 2010 at 22:24

          Ah, yeah.. I’m not going back to re-do old posted pages.. waaaaaay too much work. And as embarrassing as some of the earlier models, renders and writing is.. it’s a nice sort of time capsule to see just how far things have evolved over time.

          It’s sort of funny to take the first page and the last page and just compare how much different Hani’s model is between the two.

  15. 32 Yunaris
    November 13, 2010 at 15:03

    Its amazing that you’ve managed to make that dagger from ATG so much better than what Blizzard produced. Its always really bugged me that we have precious few decent looking Kaldorei weapons.

    Good show!

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