BlizzCon 2015 World of Warcraft Cinematics: The Road to Legion panel transcript

 

Browse this article:
Concept
Previsualization
Art Direction
Textures
Modeling
Surfacing
Lighting
Animation
Environmental Modeling
Motion Capture
FX Team
Assets
Digital Matte
Read other panel transcripts at our BlizzCon 2015 coverage page.

 

Surfacing

Sandrik: Even though Varian is very fantastical in terms of proportion and facial features, we still needed this grounded in reality so that you would believe him when you saw him onscreen; and basically that meant for us basing his texture maps, his shading on real people.

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Basically, for reference we went around the office and we took as many pictures as we could of these many 40-something-old white guys as we could.

Marc: That’s a beautiful forehead.

Kelleher: I’m gorgeous.

 

Sandrik: The closest photos I have ever seen of myself. It is hard to look at this close, but the beauty of these photos is about 6000 x 4000 pixels of only a portion of the face. It captures all the wrinkles, the pores, the zits, the pockmarks, the chicken pox scars, all that stuff.

 

Kelleher: Hey, hey, hey…

Sandrik: Hey. And basically, that’s what makes skin look real, and that’s what we basically did. Then our texture artist here, [name] and Wei Wang took these photos and projected those on our Varian model, and then did extensive clean up afterwards in order to fit the actual facial proportions.

blizzcon-2015-world-of-warcraft-cinematics-panel-transcript-00089

 

But if you zoom in here, you can see all of those sorta busted capillaries and beard stubble and the discoloration of the skin. A lot of the art is not hand-painted. A lot of art is coming from these photos, and then we clean that out afterwards.

blizzcon-2015-world-of-warcraft-cinematics-panel-transcript-00090

 

That face took a ton of time. That also makes it look more believable, because we are starting from a photo. Here is just a little of the resolution that is on Varian. All of those textures, there are 20 there, those are all 4000 x 4000 pixels, and those are only the color mats that go on the head. There is actually as many texture maps on Varian as there is on the entire gunship.

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Here is a quick look at the hair layout for Varian. Varian has got about as many hairs on his head as a real person. That way it seems in the animation more realisticly. We did do one sheet where all of the hair that is growing off the scalp ends in a ponytail-hair-holder, and then we grew up new ones out of the back end; and that guarantees that when he is animated, it is always lock-in there.

blizzcon-2015-world-of-warcraft-cinematics-panel-transcript-00092

 

Here is Varian all put together. Just like the gunship, this is a very heavy render. These take about 4-6 hours a frame, and take about 20-30GBs of memory to render. Very heavy. That’s not only because of the heavy model, and the heavy textures; but we have hair all over it.

 

All that adds render time, and then we retrace everything. Everything is reflecting everything else. Even the skin is reflective, so we have that skin glow that you see on real people; and basically all of those things combined you create something that is believable when you see it onscreen.

 

Next: Lighting.

 

Browse this article:
Concept
Previsualization
Art Direction
Textures
Modeling
Surfacing
Lighting
Animation
Environmental Modeling
Motion Capture
FX Team
Assets
Digital Matte
Read other panel transcripts at our BlizzCon 2015 coverage page.

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Tomas Hernandez is owner of Blizzplanet.com since 2003. I post news about World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard Careers, and the Warcraft film.

Blizzplanet is a leading fansite covering news about upcoming Blizzard Entertainment licensed products. I also post previews and reviews. I have interviewed book writers and Blizzard game developers.

I was previously an employee of the OGaming Network (2003), and IncGamers (2008-2010). I was a guest newsposter for GosuGamers (World of Warcraft) a few years ago and for Diablofans.com (formerly Diablo3.com)

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