And then Te’len got a render post

I’ve been rather busy with 3D model work this week, as one might guess from this being the third Random Render post in a rather short span of time. One of my standing – if often back burner – projects I tend to maintain is a continous effort to keep working over the models I use for Beyond the Tree: locate problems with them such as clipping, deformities and lacking expression. There’s several characters I’ve wanted to give a workover due to one issue or another for some time, but haven’t quite gotten to.

You might guess whose turn it is.

Te’len Nila is an interesting character – she was the first direct group member outside the duo themselves that I decided on, and over time she’s gone a steady journey from expository extra to damsel in distress to a core member of the group dynamic. I’d initially planned to leave her in the Stormwind Cathedral because I thought she might put too much of a dampener on the duo’s capacity for chaos as they were bound for Westfall.. but by the time I got to there, she’d become too important a character to leave behind and instead ended up with her own set of development and her own part to play.

Originally, she was based on a character contained entirely within the backstory of the character Tiny was originally based on – a kind-hearted, if naive, childhood friend whose profession was left described as “gardener”. For Beyond the Tree, I took that idea and aged her up to young adult, making her a novice druidess in the process and basically set her up as the normal person – someone who could see and react to all the events and violence the duo got up to as an ordinary person would, to show that they aren’t normal, and that some of the mayhem they cause is nowhere near as good a thing as they might claim it is.

She’s since expanded beyond that, and – hilariously enough – might be described as being “the girl” of the group, in spite of it so far being all female. Hani is a warrior and (former) Sentinel first, Tiny is a rebel first, Areen is a paladin first.. Te’len starts with being a young woman – for her, being a druid largely comes second to that. Her visual design much follows the same principle, forgoing the very plain and utilitarian approach of the rest of the group in favour of something that looks good. She’s meant to be both cute and pretty and still able to have some degree of innocence to her, not to mention offer a stark contrast to the other two night elves in the group.

Ultimately, I generally tend to think that the three Night elves we have in the group all represent one aspect of their people and society – Hani Foonmall is the Sentinel, the warrior, and.. in spite of her peculiarities.. the traditionalist. Rei Tiny is the rebel, the youth forgoing millenia of tradition in favor of being contrary for its own sake. Te’len, by comparisson, comes from the ordinary people; the crafters and gatherers that the Temple exists to guide and the Sentinels exist to protect. Though obviously, her calling – and her current path – requires her to eventually step beyond those origins to become a protector in her own right, but she never had any of the wanderlust that afflicts Hani or Tiny.

Which brings us to this update. There was a fair bit I wanted to do with Te’len’s model – for one, her prior one had some segmentation issues; which is to say that when I designed it, I figured she’d always be wearing it constantly and segmented it up in what seemed the easiest way – which meant that the Head, Torso and Skirt was one model object, the Tunic and Arms were another model object and the Legs were a third model object. This proved problematic when I suddenly found myself in a situation where she needed to spend the night in a bed and I had no way of removing her tunic without her arms also disappearing, or how hiding the skirt meant I had to keep finding ways to hide how there was a rather large, very visible gap between where her stomach ended and her legs began. So with this revision I wanted to fix that – her body is now one, single, continous model, with the tunic and the skirt both being separate model objects of their own that can be hidden and/or replaced as necessary. It meant I had to change the way her sleeves looked, but I actually rather like the result. Another problem was how the torso and the tunic would constantly clip in the old revision.. it can still happen, but the tunic is a tad larger now, so it’s less likely, and generally less major when it does happen.

There are likely some elements I’ll phase in, like the adornments – actually see if I could possibly show or at least hint of them being obtained, as opposed to Hani’s early trouser change. It’ll likely take awhile still before this model actually ends up in Beyond the Tree – I’ve wanted to get the eye overhaul done for the entire main Night elven cast before I introduce it there, so the change looks more uniform rather than having just one of them with those eyes and the rest sticking with a diffuse glow. Still, since I prefer to try around with a new model upon completion to see how well it works and if there are any major flaws.. you get a random render post out of it.

Like always, click for biggies.

Aaaand.. this following one I wanted to especially mention as you essentially get it as bonus – I rather liked the phonecall gag I did for April Fools’, so I decided I’d just take that basic idea, play around with it and basically see how much I could get her to emote. It was actually rather fun to do – it doesn’t really make any sense as such, but it was nice to have a context where I could throw almost any facial expression and it’d still.. well.. make sense. Of sorts.

Extra bonus: Super Huge (4000×2500 pixels, 2.6 Megabytes) version.


41 Responses to “And then Te’len got a render post”

  1. 1 Ilyara
    October 29, 2010 at 00:48

    *STORM! Black Clouds fill the sky..*
    #1: “Hi, who’s there? I’m due on set in a mo'”
    #2: “Jarod? Oh. How have you been?”
    #3: <so bloody predictable; can’t guys take a hint>
    #4: “Ahaha…you can’t be serious?”
    #5: <oh good grief he is>
    #6: “Well, I’m not sure what to say, really, Jarod. We had a good couple of months, for what it was worth”
    #7: <Elune, what a child…>
    #8: <Oh Goddess. You are kidding me. Not this again!>
    #9: “Well, maybe it was because she always had her eyes on someone else!”
    #10: <Self centred little muppet: As if.>

  2. 2 LolDrood
    October 29, 2010 at 01:27

    Gasp! A shirt and skirt/pants that look like they’re being worn, rather then been painted on! Now you’re just spoiling us, Nhani. I love all the earrings and bangles, too. And a beautifully rendered dagger and reagent pouch. Your characters are officially better looking then the in-game ones.

    One of the things I pick up on regarding Te’len, especially in random renders, is that she was probably a very bitchy, cliquey teenager back in the day (or whatever the nelf equivalent of that is. Like the Terrible Bi-Centennials.) but now that she’s out in the world, where no one cares who your friends are, she’s struggling a bit without that social net, trying to reinvent herself into something better.
    That and the lesbian thing.
    But that’s just me.

    Also, she’ll cut you, man. She’s a blade girl, man.

    If we’re going to play the ringtone game, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtbtiKdXBUk Areen all the way. 😀

  3. October 29, 2010 at 03:56


    …i had words…but i lost them…wait…what were we talking about?


  4. 4 Synchronizor
    October 29, 2010 at 06:22

    Looking great, I always love to see female Kaldorei with proper teeth. I can’t wait to see what you have in the works for the other cast members.

    I noticed Te’len doesn’t have her earring in a few of these images, did you add that partway through doing these renders?

    Also, your talk of Hani, Tiny, and their collective mayhem brought to mind the following quote:

    “No, I’m Chaos, and he’s Mayhem. We’re a double act.”

    • 5 Nhani
      October 29, 2010 at 08:26

      Oh her earring is there in all of them, but she just has one of them and it’s fairly close to the base of her right ear. So.. we don’t really get that many cases of the pose and perspective necessary for a clear, unobscured view of the right side of her head.

  5. 6 Fokker
    October 29, 2010 at 09:33

    Omg… YAY! Totally awsom.
    Can’t wait for the new model to be implemented into BTT.

  6. 8 saila AKS Wester
    October 29, 2010 at 16:15

    when I was looking at the uber dubber size I couldn’t help but feel an bit Simish from it.
    ((quick some one make an Te´len Sims model.))((wait dont))
    Also just something where dose she store her cellphone/IPOD.
    also https://nhani.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/telen-rev3-channeling.jpg (next last one)
    was just plain beautifully I wish it could look like that Ingame.

  7. 9 Gordrake Thunderhoof
    October 29, 2010 at 19:08

    Image three…the facepalm.

    That’s exactly how Enyon does it, actually, when he facepalms. Which is often.

    That causes headaches too, sometimes. So either naming is appropriate.

  8. October 29, 2010 at 19:42

    I love the fangs and the pupils you gave the eyes, it’s awesome. Proper fiercesome, yet when you know Te, she isn’t that bad.

  9. 11 Moltrazahn
    October 30, 2010 at 04:47

    The posts above me, says it all.

    Amazing, amazing, amazing.

    Her clothes, look like a material worn.
    Her bust precisely delivers a fantastic contrast from the normal body-paint, to the tone and shape of an actual body beneath the clothing.

    Te’len is becomming more curvy aswell, and were im may sound like im oogleing her, well, id ague that its hard not to, but from a more artistic view, if youd believe that. Her body and “glow” really seem to get somewhere were you’d see some reality behind it.

    Nhani… i hope blizzard someday looks towards your renders, when the vanilla models needs updating. Becauss your work, is nothing less, then fantastic. And i cant wait to see what next surprise you can pull out of that talent of yours 🙂

    … also, did she break up with her BF in the phone one? 😛

    • 12 LolDrood
      October 30, 2010 at 05:56

      “when the vanilla models needs updating. ”
      *uncomfortable silence*
      You clearly don’t have any human female toons XD
      Though, tbo, the biggest thing most of the vanilla models need are facial expressions. Nelfs somehow managed to get them, but humans, gnomes, and dwarves have the exact same faces in every situation, with the occasional shifty eyes. Horde is probably the same way, but I could never stand their quests long enough to get to know the horde models very well.

      She IS rather +3 huggable, isn’t she? ❤

  10. 14 Xel
    October 30, 2010 at 17:33

    Well, I’m a huge fan of Te’len (my favorite character), so I’m not sure if I can properly express my excitement over these newest works. They are superbly done; I concur fully with all the above statements of praise on the developments for this cast member. It was really quite interesting to read her character design origin, too; thanks for that extra info.

    I can’t wait to start reading a BTT that looks better than the game it’s based off of. Well done, as usual, Nhani; keep it up!

  11. October 31, 2010 at 20:22

    Well, your goal of making her cute, pretty, and attractive (something that most women value) has succeeded fabulously well.

    In ALL THOSE RENDERS, I have but one nit to pick: if you’re going to hold a single edged knife in a reverse grip (with the blade coming out the back edge of your hand), you do so with the edge on the outside, away from the arm.

    And by the way, I fully approve of her having a single-edged knife. The one you’ve given her works just fine for a thrust, and has far more uses than any dagger would have.

    • 16 Nhani
      November 1, 2010 at 02:38

      That’s a point – it’s one of those things I probably should’ve picked up on myself if I’d actually thought about it, but haven’t, really. I actually spent a fair bit of thought into just how proficient I felt I could show her since she hasn’t quite had the same degree of combat training that Hani Foonmall or Areen Lightspark have; but not really about how she held the knife.

      Still, good you pointed it out; would’ve been somewhat embarrassing if I hadn’t noticed and ended up doing the same mistake with, say, Hani; with Te’len I can in the least claim it’s due to inexperience!

      As for the choice in knife, I actually chose that design because I felt it looked like it could be a tool as well as a weapon – I felt the main reason Te’len carries it is utility, rather than self defense.

  12. 17 Elnória
    November 1, 2010 at 16:29

    This really takes Miss Nila to the next level. She’s a lot of fun, even — or maybe especially — out of context. I’ll admit she’s also very pleasant on the eyes, especially with, well, those eyes. They look splendid!

    The phone call gags are priceless. I’d eagerly look forward to more of those. Keep up the good work!

  13. 18 Nirene Feathersong
    November 2, 2010 at 01:38

    All I can say is those new kind of eyes you’ve introduced gives a way more natural look to the nelfs, rather than a pair of eyeballs with an extreme, unpenetrable light emitting from them, which made it impossible to tell the pupils from the rest of the eyes. If Blizzard intends to implement those kind of eyes for their in-game nelf models, or whether they’ve already done it, I don’t know yet, but they sure should take it as a good example as one of the many model changes they should make.

    Apart from the eyes, I like the bling-bling you’ve added to Te’len’s model – or maybe they were already there – I honestly haven’t noticed. o.O

    • 19 Nhani
      November 3, 2010 at 16:06

      Oh that’s all new; it started with the ankle ring which I just randomly felt she should have – one of those spur of the moment things that just struck me as right. And then when I’d added that.. I felt it wasn’t really all that visible, so I added the two bangles and an earring to the mix.

  14. 20 Alessia Starshine
    November 3, 2010 at 07:31

    Do you accept character ideas? If so i have a great one, if your prepared to listen.

    • 21 Nhani
      November 3, 2010 at 16:08

      Well, first off, how do you mean character ideas? For what purpose?

      • 22 LolDrood
        November 3, 2010 at 23:53

        Wrong ‘you’re’. Does not bode well.

        And if you’re idea was a Dwarven mariachi band, don’t bother; it’s a no go. 😦

        • 23 LolDrood
          November 3, 2010 at 23:57

          -_- shut up.

          • 24 Nhani
            November 4, 2010 at 00:16

            Ah, we thought there might be more than one within. The staggering multitudes seek to thwart their combined progress through vehement verbal viciousness. Why would one of many sow such deviant discord.

            Also: you are not prepared. In this you have failed the iron one.

  15. November 3, 2010 at 10:38

    Little off topic Nhani: but did you read ‘The Shattering’?
    Can we expect a Thoughts for Food topic on that one?

    • 26 Nhani
      November 3, 2010 at 16:04

      Actually no, I haven’t even taken the time to read Arthas yet. I’ve heard a few scattered things about what happen in it, and a friend of mine described it as fairly meh as just a novel, but fairly grand for a warcraft tie-in novel.

      Besides, I still occasionally go into tirades over the drunk napkin scribbles that is Stormrage whenever warcraft novels come up 😐

      • November 3, 2010 at 18:06

        Odd, I thought this was the best novel of the bunch. Anduin’s storyline and Thrall’s are very good, and the night elves do get a mention here and there.
        But I can understand your point since it does mention ‘Stormrage’ quite a bit.

        • 28 Nhani
          November 3, 2010 at 18:30

          As I was told it, the Night elves sole contribution to the Shattering is essentially needing to be rescued – didn’t really endear me to the prospect of reading it, Golden or no.

          And well, for the meh comment.. let’s face it, I think we can agree that the warcraft tie-in novels most likely wouldn’t really sell much at all on their own if you stripped out warcraft but left everything else intact; Golden is a good writer (especially compared to the trainwreck that is Knaak), but Warcraft ain’t exactly the highest echelons of storytelling, or even current day fantasy. Doesn’t mean people can’t enjoy them, but it largely means that much of that enjoyment will come out of it being Warcraft.

          • November 3, 2010 at 20:09

            True, then again this is not ‘The Wheel of Time’.

          • 30 Synchronizor
            November 5, 2010 at 20:38

            Actually, most of the Night Elf plot elements happen “off-screen”, so to speak. The novel is really about Humans and Dwarves on the alliance side, and Orcs and Tauren on the horde side, there are only a handful of Kaldorei characters in the book, and all of them are very minor. However, the Night Elves do have an important part to play in the overarching plot. The book is meant to set up Cataclysm and the renewed conflicts are triggered largely by a couple key (and rather brutal) incidents in Ashenvale.

            As for needing to be rescued, I don’t think that’s accurate. As the only real alliance neighbor to the Kalimdor horde, they were the logical choice to antagonize, and the events really do not present the Kaldorei as weak or unable to fight back on their own. These aren’t even real military conflicts, more like surprise ambushes or raids meant to rile the alliance up rather than actually accomplishing anything strategic.

            I was a little disappointed that the Kaldorei didn’t get more screen time, I think it would have been interesting to see their reaction to the events in Ashenvale (I know my character would probably have to have been dragged bodily off her frostsaber to keep her from riding off after news got around). Hopefully there’ll be some follow-up events or questchains in the game.

            Apart from the lack of Night Elves, and the slightly after school special-ish resolution to the Dwarf storyling, I absolutely loved the novel. I ended up busting through it in less than a day because I just couldn’t put it down.

            Golden is excellent at drawing in the reader and making them care about the characters, far removed from Knaak’s bad fanfiction-esque style. Anduin’s story was engaging, and Garrosh was even fleshed out and made interesting. From humor (ever had your sunburn slapped by a dwarf?) to tragedy (I actually punched a wall after the druid meeting), the book was a very enjoyable read, right up there with Lord of the Clans (Also written by Golden) as my favorite Warcraft novel. I would recommend this to anyone who intends to play in Cataclysm.

            • November 5, 2010 at 22:50

              The Aerin bit did pull my heart strings. I think the Anduin bits were the best bits of the novel next to Thrall.
              Ok fanboy speaking here but….I love Thrall having a mate.

            • 32 Synchronizor
              November 6, 2010 at 01:15

              For me, the most striking part was the broken cup and pipe. After the events that preceded it, the image of the priceless Kaldorei cup and the Tauren peace pipe both lying shattered on the ground somehow really drove home the impact of the incident.

    • November 6, 2010 at 13:02

      Cairne’s runespear being broken also was a bit of an impact in my opinion, espcially if you know it was passed down from generation to generation ever since, like the cup and the pipe, the first sundering.

      • 34 Synchronizor
        November 7, 2010 at 13:03

        I think the book said the runespear was only twenty generations old (not positive, I loaned the book to a friend, so I can’t confirm that), so it wouldn’t date back to the Sundering, but yeah, that was another part in the book where an object getting destroyed represented a tragic blow to it’s race.

  16. 35 Alessia Starshine
    November 4, 2010 at 06:58

    When i say character ideas i mean ideas for possible additions to your webcomic.

    • 36 Nhani
      November 4, 2010 at 09:49

      In general, Cameos and Extras are the only characters I tend to pick up on the spot because they’re the only ones I don’t have to plan (years!) in advance. Small standing around roles or providing some expospeak that’s tied to a certain character type or role type or faction rather than an established character.

      In fact, I have a list of cameos I’d love to sneak in but haven’t because I haven’t found a place in the quite frankly monolithic plot where I felt they fit in.

      And since it might come up.. I don’t really take additions to the main cast, for the simple reason that the main story arcs and main character arcs are things I try to define and plan far in advance; for example, I had a rough outline for how the Deadmines would end and even several lines of example dialogue that I was hoping to get out of it long before the group ever reached Westfall. I’ve actually had a few main characters I’d intended at some point early on that ended up axed because their place in the events didn’t feel solid enough. However interesting, they simply didn’t have enough reason to be there. By the same account, there was once this stop by Blackrock Depths that I really wanted because I had some great ideas with it, and I was sorry to see it go when I finally realized there was nowhere I could really fit it in.

      At the end of the day, the problem with any kind of character suggestion of any type is that they sort of need to preempt the plot to find a place where they fit in, and very few people outside of myself know the plot well enough to do that.

  17. 37 Fokker
    November 4, 2010 at 17:39

    Slightly offtopic. Beta news.
    Wowhead posted some new content, including worgen flight form. But that’s not the point.
    There’s a load of new icons. Two of them represent… pet moonkin. Both Tauren and NE version. Sounds familiar.


    • 38 Nhani
      November 5, 2010 at 01:00

      I think MMO-Champion datamined the existance of summon pet moonkin spells about a month ago, and Blizzard confirmed.. either pre- or during Blizzcon that they’re going to introduce the pet Moonkin as a purchasable charity pet in the same style as the Pandaren monk pet earlier.

      That said, I thought they said they wanted to introduce that sometime in November already.

  18. January 13, 2011 at 11:25

    Hello there.

    Stumbled across your blog(s) by some accident while googling around for WoW stuff. I must say I like your renders quite a bit.

    Keep up the good work!

  19. 40 Zeenaa
    March 4, 2011 at 14:00

    First off I think you did a beautiful job with rendering Te’len. The one thing I though was very neat about the night elves that set them apart from the other races was the facial tattoos. It give the night elf race a clan like structure and its too bad Wow only has a few designs to choose from, unlike the guild tabbard. I feel the tattoo should reflect the personality of the night elf. For example: Te’len is a Druid and is one with nature.. you’d think she would have the leaf or crane instead of the Blades…. for Rei, her face marking (the claw) fits her well, or maybe the serpent. I understand not all the elves have the face markings. males don’t have them with the exception of Malfurion. Nhani, you are always saying you like to step beyond the limited boundaries of wow to improve the appearance of your characters and surroundings. lets see some unique facial markings on the next night elf you introduce to us, whether it be long term or short term appearance, I think it will add some uniqueness to Beyond the Tree. It can also help dialog between the characters… To Characters with like markings will get along better, where as 2 characters with different markings may not get along as well because maybe their clans had a dispute at some time in the past.

    Just food for thought for you Nhani as you continue to evolve this fine comic for all of us to enjoy.

    • 41 Nhani
      March 4, 2011 at 14:41

      Honestly, while having facial markings that mean a particular something is all well and good, it would actually work contrary to what I’ve used them for so far – to help frame, accentuate and enhance the actual face. Facial markings add a lot to the general look and feel of a particular face, and to change them drastically alters the perception of the actual shape of the face.

      With Te’len, for example, her markings helps accentuate the roundness of her cheeks and gives her face a very distinct look which would be much different if she had different markings, or even no markings.

      Beside all of that, there’s next to no information at all on what purpose the markings might serve, and whenever I’ve seen players attempt to imbue them with a meaning, it usually ends up seeming odd at best, highly inconsistent at worst. And since the Night elven society generally seems organized around abilities and duties rather than anything else, coming up with a fanon excuse to play with them doesn’t seem to me like it’d do much more than confuse people.

      Additionally, it’s actually quite a difficult thing to work with – there’s a complicated set out outlines, highlights and whatnot to follow the shape of the face, which means that it’s not something I’m likely to try and alter unless I have a very good reason for it, and so far there’s really only been one case where I felt I had.. and that was Tyrande Whisperwind, and my attempts at making her facial markings look more like how she was visualized in WarCraft III promotional art.

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