Random Renders: Attempting the Impossible

If I were to make a list of the things I’ve found the most difficult with 3D modelling on World of Warcraft characters, one of the most outstanding entries would probably be “Making Tyrande Whisperwind smile.” It’s her face, really – when Blizzard put her into World of Warcraft, they gave her a facial texture that innately is really only capable of two expressions: A disapproving and/or murderous frown, and a horrid grief. This in large contrast to the facial texture that Nhani Moonfall, Hani Foonmall, Rei “Tiny” Featherstorm and Raene Wolfrunner all share that by default has a much wider range, going from calm or distant smiles to wide, cheerful grins to sarcasm to horrifying, murderous rage.

Which is all a roundabout way of saying that I’ve been working on the latest Tyrande model.

Tyrande is one of those models where progress have more or less stood idle for a significant length of time simple because I haven’t quite been able to decide what approach to take – in the case of Tyrande, it’s all been about her dress.. whether to keep the long skirt she has in-game, to keep it but change the cut to give her more mobility, to incorporate more elements of armor into the look or what. Ultimately, the recent anniversary picture managed to sell me on the idea that she can work with her in-game dress, which instead left me to try to figure how much detail would be reasonable to weave into that.

In the end, I pretty much decided I’m not getting anywhere, so I should just take what I have and put that into use. It’s far from perfect, and as mentioned, the face Blizzard chose for Tyrande has limited expression at best, and for all my best trying.. I haven’t quite managed to get around that. Yet. Still, compared to earlier attempts..

..I’ll consider it an improvement. Not perfect, but an improvement. Her idle face is a bit.. blank, and there’s some expressions from some angles that just end up seeming off somehow. Still.. since I haven’t delved into my self-indulgent track of building things between Nhani Moonfall and Tyrande Whisperwind, I decided to do just that as part of putting both models through their paces.


19 Responses to “Random Renders: Attempting the Impossible”

  1. 1 Fokker
    October 26, 2010 at 18:56

    I think you’ve done a great job on her, actually I’d say that her face in some of the renders looks exactly like on the BattleCry pic. And that is awesome.

  2. 3 Moltrazahn
    October 26, 2010 at 21:49

    Were i dont think Tyrande sadly has the time to go hunt Horde or Demons with Hani, i do agree thats its an exelent render. Your skills in modelling keeps getter better 🙂 And i was like “wooooah” when i noticed how tall she acturlly is compared to other nightelf. Okay, on Argent dawn, most nightelf seem to have in their flagrsp “Is slightly taller then the avrage nightelf” for some reason….

    Still, its an exelent imagde, as humans are anything but equally tall/small in the “real world”. (there is no REAL! only afk! *nodnod).

    Were did you get the glaive model used for Tyrande? is it just the Sentinel standard model? or did you polish it up abit, i cant really tell.

    Anyways, great work as allways, you help to keep the nightelven priestess from wow 3 alive. So you got my uttermost respect as allways.

    • 4 Nhani
      October 27, 2010 at 09:41

      Nhani Moonfall (and Hani Foonmall both, as they share physique) generally take that “slightly taller” and raise it to “about a head taller”; at nearly 7’4″, neither of them are all that short. It’s still just what they grew up to be, though – Nhani’s own backstory even contains a small mention how one of her older brother’s greatest annoyances in the world was how Nhani quickly grew to be noticeably taller than him. Of course, she hasn’t seen or heard of him since the Sundering.

      The Moonglaive is standard; the game has a few texture alternatives, so I picked the one that struck me as having the most Sentinel colours, even if I think the game generally gives her one with a golden hub, rather than a black one.

  3. October 26, 2010 at 22:15

    Have been adoring your work for quite a while now, so I think it’s only fair to comment from time to time.

    What can I say besides the obvious “beautiful beautiful renders”? Honestly, I couldn’t even say which one’s my favorite, they are all absolutely gorgeous and you did a great job on her expressions. *nods nods*

    It’s also interesting that you indeed kept her ingame dress, I don’t know but when I read “War of the ancients” I always pictured her wearing something like the sentinels in Darnassus do. But I do think the dress fits, if she can fight with it, Blizzard needs to work on the skirt/dress/kilt textures, like slice them open for more movability in fight.

    And I’m sorry if my English sounds weird, it’s not my native language. 😉

    • 6 Nhani
      October 27, 2010 at 09:51

      I actually went through quite a few potential ideas what to do for her outfit, whether to put armored pieces or change the cut of the skirt or what. Ultimately, I decided that since Tyrande is rarely ever portrayed outside that dress in any kind of official art nowadays – including a model where she sits (in that dress) astride her Frostsaber ready to let an arrow fly.. it’d be easier to just stick with that look. Last time I tried to bridge appearances with World of WarCraft and WarCraft III with Raene Wolfrunner.. I don’t think anyone caught the inspiration. (I’m part reverting that change, for reference, once the model is done)

      The Warcry image managed to sell me the idea of Tyrande being able to look powerful and martially competent while in a dress; that, combined with that I don’t actually expect to require her model to do much fighting, I decided just keeping to the familiar would be the best course.

  4. 7 Synchronizor
    October 27, 2010 at 05:40

    Some very nice work, makes me wonder when Blizzard will finally make a moonglaive weapon available to players in-game..

    Compared to the other images, the ‘On a Walk” render makes Nhani seem very tall beside Tyrande. Is this just some odd perspective?

    • 8 Nhani
      October 27, 2010 at 09:28

      It’s part perspective, part pose, part that in a few of the other renders I failed to account for Nhani’s new stompy boots which raise her total height with a few more units since they actually contain her feet rather than end where the foot does.

      Of course, we are also comparing Tyrande’s 206 cm (6’9″ – I set her as just sliightly taller than the in-game model) to Nhani’s ~222 cm (almost 7’4″), so there is something of a height difference between them.

      • 9 Synchronizor
        October 27, 2010 at 16:31

        Well, I knew Nhani was tall, It was just odd seeing Tyrande only come up to Nhani’s shoulder in that picture, while Nhani only had about half a head on Tyrande in the other images.

  5. 10 Fokker
    October 27, 2010 at 15:31

    Just noticed that Medivh got robbed once again. Or was it Raene this time…
    Also, I heared that a Night Elf shown on [url=http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/downloads/wallpapers/wallpaper12.html]this wallpaper[/url] by Blizzard is actually Tyrande.

  6. 14 Xel
    October 27, 2010 at 21:19

    Wow, Nhani, these renders, and those in your last post, are absolutely jaw-dropping. Fantastic work with the Tyrande model. I have to admit, I approve of keeping her dress. It has become rather iconic to her figure in WoW, even though I had mixed feelings about Tyrande, the warrior-priestess, in a dress when I first saw her back in vanilla.

    Your renders here and the progression in your comic has been a source of immense entertainment for me. Thank you for being so diligent at this art.

  7. 15 Nirene Feathersong
    October 27, 2010 at 23:33

    It might just be her filly lips making it hard to give Tyrande that “smiling” facial expression, but that’s just me.

    Anyhow, that’s some good shots you’ve got there – actually shows that Nhani and Tyrande not only can walk and talk alongside each other as equals, but that they can also fight side by side in a battle.

  8. 16 LolDrood
    October 28, 2010 at 06:37

    With regards to the last pic:

    They’re cops.
    *Cheesey electro-funk Nelf-sploitation music*
    Oh, E-lUUUUUUUUne, no!
    *Cue sceen of them ruffing up the goblin pimp Sappy Luv for info*

    …sorry, I’m in a bit of a mood tonight.
    Also, the name of that jpg file makes me happy, as I legitimately hate whales. Seriously. Spiders and snakes? For the most part, I’m cool about them. Whales? My brain shuts down in terror.

    I do so enjoy when Random renders updates. 🙂

  9. January 13, 2011 at 11:30

    It’s a very nice render, a huge improvement on her face especially.

    I can’t quite decide if the mooncloth robe is fitting for Tyrande or just makes her look more passive. It’s certainly the robes of a priestess, but Tyrande was supposed to be (at least in Warcraft III and TFT) also a warrior-leader, dressed in platemail. And THEN you take into account that a lot of canon pictures of her have her in the skimpy vanilla-WoW trailer outfit… Yeah, I don’t know.

    One minor nit is that I can’t see Tyrande wearing those sandals. It’s always been a thing that night elf priestesses and druid go barefoot, probably some connection-with-the-earth thing.

    Keep up the good work

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