BlizzCon 2013 - Shape the WoW Art Panel

100 Night Elf Priest
I'd actually like to know your process for when you do an animation for a spell.
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90 Gnome Warrior
What has been the biggest concept to live game hurdle the team has ever overcome?

What are they most proud of?

What do they think the funniest thing in the game is?

With new Character Models how much are they letting themselves re-design vs. stay true to the original? (Would love to see Horde races stand straighter (sorry Bashiok, couldn't help myself))
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90 Human Rogue
How much work goes into the art design of each zone? What is the development time of say, a stand of bamboo versus a new staff?
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90 Troll Hunter
How will the new character models impact armor design? Will they allow the artists more freedom to broaden the appearance of our gear (open-front robes and coats, 'layered' clothing, hoods and hats interacting with hair, cloaks that are more than just capes, etc.)?

What are your overall opinions on transmogrification and how does its existence affect the gear design process, if at all?

Not a question but I just wanted to give massive kudos to the Blizzard art team who have been a consistent point of excellence throughout the existence of WoW. I especially want to congratulate whomever worked on/designed the Zandalari troll models and culture-kit, which are some of the coolest in the game (totally not biased here...).

Art Panel is Best Panel.
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100 Blood Elf Rogue
I'm a big fan of Blizzard and the art you put out there. When Mists of Pandaria came out, I ordered the collector's edition just so that I could get the art book. Part of the importance was sharing the art book with my daughters - showing them how a simple concept sketch can turn into something so amazing and reach such a wide audience. We were really disappointed to see only one female in the entire art book. She's a Pandaren, and is wearing nothing but her underwear. It was disappointing, and not just for the girls. As a woman I was pretty bummed. Not even Li Li was represented.

Did the art team realize the extreme imbalance? Who decides what goes into the art books and what doesn't? Why weren't any females important enough to be included?

Thank you for your consideration.
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I was wondering how you guys continue to inspire yourselves expansion after expansion, patch after patch, tier after tier, with new ideas for Gear and Armor?

Can you please talk about your sources of inspiration after 7 years? Do you go through old art books, musuems, mythology?
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70 Human Warrior
what is your inspiration behind designing the various tier sets? what I mean is, how do you come up with the idea in the first place? Do you turn to any other artwork for ideas? Are you influenced by anything? Do you have ideas already in your head for the next tier?
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100 Dwarf Paladin
1) Can we hope for updates to the robe models (especially so they might suit high-motion animations like those of melee)?

2) Might we see more art retrospective blogs like we saw with tier 13? I love learning what inspired the various gear items in the game, and any insight as to what went into them would be great. Ideally we'd get snippets on every pike, pauldron, and pig-sticker to enter the game, but I can settle for a blog post every patch.
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100 Orc Shaman
Art Panel is best panel, agreed. It is why I have no problem paying the $40 for the Virtual Ticket every Blizzcon. I wish there was more art panels.


1) It's been shown in the design workflow that zones start out with rough overhead maps and also concept art. Which comes first?

2) Stacking on that, what is the process of meshing those two together? Especially with some of the zones that may not be well represented with an overhead map, ie anything with a lot of verticality to it (Kun-Lai Summit, Storm Peaks).

3) I was incredibly impressed by the village concept art, particularly on pages 69 and 96 of the MOP art book. However I don't feel like in-game was able to achieve quite the same feeling as the art. What engine improvements can we look forward to/do you personally want to be implemented to increase the similarities?

4) The addition of ambient occlusion was very nice in MOP and I noticed in some of the portfolio work that the game has "ambient occlusion maps." Can you guys detail more about the process of fine-tuning these?

Very excited to see what you guys are cooking up for the next expansion.
Edited by Mahanar on 9/16/2013 5:29 PM PDT
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100 Tauren Druid
To what level of completion is concept art taken before being handed down to the next step in the pipeline? I'm talking concepts for environments, props, armour, etc. Is all concept art brought to a finalized "presentation" state, or is there an acceptable level of roughness that the next team (presumably modelers) can work with?

Are all your artists typically multi-disciplined? As in, are all of your concept artists competent in both traditional art techniques as well as 3D rendering, and vice versa for a modeller? Or are your art departments fairly separated by what skills they bring to the table?

Do some of the same artists work in various areas? For example, do some of the concept artists also work as storyboard artists, or prop designers? Or does everyone sort of stick to their guns?

Do your artists all work as one large 'art team', or are they split up to sit with and be involved with each different project that they are working on? If they are divided by project, how many artists do you typically have per?

How involved with the writing are your artists? Is their input considered when generating new lore, or do they typically take a writer's package and springboard from what's been given to them?

What goes into designing a "cultural package" for a new race? Cultural package being their natural environments, architecture, technology, costume, characters, etc.

Do the promo art teams often communicate or work with the concept art teams? Is there cross pollination of ideas at all?

Are you planning on/have you already reached out to some of the same artists that were hired for TCG card art to work on illustrations for the digital Hearthstone cards?

What is it like working with freelance illustrators for such things as card art? What is the revision process like and how much do you leave up to the artists' interpretations?

What is the brainstorm process when deciding the theme for a new Tier of armour design? Is choosing motifs that follow what's going on in the latest patch usually the norm, or has the theme ever been deliberately detached from in-world events?
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100 Night Elf Mage
Simple question:
Could the game ever include animations that involve two characters, such as /hug, /kiss, /highfive, and so on?

Involved explanation:
Emotes like /hug and /highfive give only text, and I think it'd be nifty to make them more interactive. I know some extra animation work would be necessary to make everything line up - a tauren or draenei using these emotes on a goblin or gnome could be awkward or hilarious, maybe both - but I love the idea of characters actually interacting with their emotes.

I've even thought of a way to keep people from having their characters emote something they don't want to. For example, if I want to hug Bashiok, I would target him and use /hug. Bashiok sees "Kefkette holds her arms out to you for a hug.", and others see "Kefkette holds her arms out to Bashiok for a hug." If Bashiok doesn't want to /hug me, then he doesn't have to. If Bashiok targets me and uses /hug, not only do we both see appropriate text lines, but our characters actually hug.

I then cast [Ice Block] on myself because I just hugged someone who's on fire.

This and /highfive would require the characters involved to be close to each other, of course, but I still really like this idea. Especially if taller races pick up shorter races for a /hug, or if shorter races leap up to /highfive the taller races. It's a little goofy, but I think it'd be fun.
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100 Tauren Shaman
As a tauren shaman I would like to ask if we get an update to ghost wolf form and tauren totems. Both models are from vanilla and they linger in our battles?

As a separate question would subraces ever be considered in the character creation screen. The same racials/ classification of a race but different body builds or skins? For example as a tauren it would be nice to have an option to be a Taunka? Others like dark Iron dwarves or dragonmaw orcs?
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-How likely is it that we are going to get more rapier type weapons in the future? I mean not nessisarily the same models we've had since Vanilla wow but like more models like Revilgaz's Cutlass but with a thinner rapier like blade?

-Do you plan on adding accesories to armor like scabards and junk? Cause that world be sweet.

-How likely are new short or medium length hair models for humans and or worgen/Races in general?
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90 Draenei Shaman
How much motion capture do you use when animating characters?

If you look at other games, some of them seem completely mocapped, which creates very realistic movement. It's always seemed to me that you rely on a lot of manual animation, which is difficult, kind of a purist thing, but is time consuming and doesn't produce that great of results unless the animation is completely godly.

So ... more mocap? Status quo? And what is the status quo, out of curiosity?

Thank you!
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100 Draenei Monk
Some of Blizzard's headline artists showcase their work at Since it's not an official Blizzard site, they can show off their own personal stuff in addition to what they've worked on for these games.

My question is, where can we go to find other personal/non-game-related works of Blizzard's many other artists? It would be exceedingly great to see what the people working on the production line, so to speak, are inspired and motivated by, and what they do when not working on game assets. Is it similar in concept, or do they veer into wildly different territory when not on the clock?

I'm looking for DeviantArt accounts, Tumblrs, things like that. Off the top of my head, the only one I know of is this guy: (pretty certain this guy is at least partially responsible for the visual makeover that the Zerg got in SC2).

For the art panel: Could you even take some of the personal works of your artists and show them off right up there with whatever game pieces you showcase?

One of the most incredible things is flipping through an artist's sketchbook and just seeing what kind of random curios, treasures, and even half-baked bits of nonsense pour out of their brains. That's what motivates this question. :)
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100 Night Elf Rogue
Out of all the scrapped art designs throughout the years (such as the Were-Pig Worgen Mounts, Uldum Trogg empire, and The Crane race), which one would you love to see be resurrected or reworked for future content?
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90 Tauren Death Knight
- Will we ever see Jastor Gallywix in game with a custom model that reflects his concept art?
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90 Pandaren Monk
Has transmogrification influenced how you design armor in new tiers/expansions?
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