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I've been meaning to do this for some time and finally decided today would be the day.

Below is just about every female head in BG3 available for the female custom PC...

The file was about 10mb with each head cropped at just around 400x400 pixels so I will spoiler it to aid in future discussion (if there are many replies). For a preview header here is the row for female elf heads, which in-game is actually displayed twice (also as Drow) so gives a sense of the doubling.

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

The female heads are shown here all together (you can click in for a higher resolution):

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

I very deliberately selected the same skin tone, eye color, and hairstyle with no makeup for each, to avoid unnecessary distractions and make it easier to focus on the morphology rather than the cosmetic elements like coloration. I used the same crop for each at around 400x400 pixels, and presented them in order by the numbers head 1, 2 etc for each Race. I have excluded Githyanki for now, because unlike the rest, those head models were very obviously sculpted using a fantastical template, rather than being 'scanned' from actual faces. In art terms we'd say that the Githyanki have be drawn from the imagination, whereas all the rest are representational or 'drawn from life.' So it seemed more fruitful for this discussion to set them aside for the time being to focus on the bigger picture. (added Gith at the bottom)

Clearly it is very possible to give a very different impression and present a sort of faux variety by altering colors. The game attempts to do this (as you may have noticed yourself) by choosing a random hair style and color, eye color, skin tone and makeup combination for each race or sub-race as it's first default. It was pretty tedious to undo that randomization, so that we could get a clearer picture here, and also to show where things like complexion and makeup have been more or less baked-in to the heads on offer. So again I used Skin Neutral 6, Eyes Brown 1, No Makeup, and the wild hair in Brown-Black (which conveniently covers most of the ears, while still showing the brow in full focus, and which was also available for all the races.) Just like skin tone, a different haircut can give a very different overall impression too, but in this thread I want to offer for your consideration the actual shapes of the skulls and main features, the structure as it were rather than the surface.

I wanted to begin with the Female heads, because it is a frequent criticism in popular cartooning and animation that female heads/faces are typically approached with a greater degree of formalism and less variety on offer than male heads. While BG3 adopts a different sort of formalism than most cartoons, I believe the same is occurring here, and it becomes pretty clear when you see them presented all at once. Later when I have more time, I will edit in the males as a point of contrast. Also so we can see that, there too, there is high degree of continuity and homogeneity, though not quite as extreme as with the females. So here you go, have a look... hehe

I have proposed many times in various places that the magic number for heads is 250 (or 125 heads for each sex). The number is not arbitrary, it is what is needed at the low end, to create the requisite impression of variety that we see on offer out there in the real world. That 125 number assumes that for each of those heads, the morphology is sufficiently distinct such that there is not a high degree of overlap. Right now in BG3, and for the females especially, we see a significant degree of overlap.

Note just how different the impression is when we are able to see all these heads presented together in rows, rather than cycling through them one at a time. Also how much more difficult it is for the player to find what they want (or at least something close to what they want), when they can't see the heads arranged together for a more comparative selection process. How frustrating it is to have the various cosmetic features reset for each race, and also how there is no way to "clear all" to get back to the default.

Note how all the faces (sans Gith) are actually Human faces, despite Larian gatekeeping them into different Fantasy race categories. Each of these faces would be viable for Humans, even if right now some of them are expressly for Elves or Dwarves or whatever.

Finally, I'd also like to suggest that most users will not have a ton of technical language at the ready to really describe what they're seeing here or what they'd like to see when it comes to more facial morphology or skull shape. I think it would be nice if a game could actually provide some of this language and educate us a little, so users would be less inclined to use inexact analogs like racial language, and could instead adopt terminology that is somewhat more appropriate and fruitful for design elements. For example, the basic face shapes (how the jawline, cheekbones, brow relate to give an overall shape) round, square, oval, kite etc. How the orbital shape of the eyesocket (square, round, trapezoid) relates to the brow shape. How shape of the nasal cavity relates to the width and length of the nose. How the height of the nose bridge relates both to the shape of the nose and the shape of the eyelids. How jaw width relates to the shape of the lips etc. In reality these are not discrete features that can be "slid" independently, they are in fact integrally related to each other. This is why games with sliders tend to fail, because they treat different aspects of the core facial morphology as independent from the shape of the skull, when they are not. There too, players typically will not know what they want and are forced to mix and match at random, then find themselves frustrated that they cannot produce what they want, or end up with odd combinations that look a bit off, because they actually are off. The morphology of the skulls and core features there should be separated from other stuff that occurs on the surface such as where fat is deposited say, or how one might pluck their eyebrows to create a particular shape there, which is not the same as the actual shape of the brow line. Or how any of those various things could be tweaked with a different surface complexation, use of makeup etc to give different impressions. This is where virtually all RPG games fail in the primary goal of allowing the player to create a reasonable approximation of their own face for their PC, and where BG3 is also failing right now. The work so far is admirable, but to attain the highest heights, I'd propose that the modelling team focus on the fundamentals and seek to provide sufficient variety there to cover all the bases before moving to the surface elements which can then provide even further differentiation. I believe this is a necessary first step to producing the ultimate goal of an actual 3d Portrait. So far, no game company has been able to deliver this, but the first one that actually does will be legendary, so I'd offer it as a development goal.

I wanted to do a straight profile view and 3/4 view for each as well, but it was taking forever. Maybe I'll get there a bit later lol
Since the boards will likely do some scaling here there are again in rows by individual race:

Elf (5 female heads)
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Tiefling (6 female heads)
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Human (8 female heads)
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Half-Elf (5 female heads)
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Dwarf (5 female heads)
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Halfling (6 female heads)
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

I believe there is an image attachment limit, so I'll replace these with the Males later, and the profile and 3/4 views if I get that far. But just for now it gives a quick read. I'd be curious to here if anyone has any impressions or thoughts about this stuff. I know there have been numerous threads discussing the various heads, the desire for more heads, different fantasy heads etc. But I thought this might be a helpful way to approach it from a comprehensive perspective.

Best Elk

ps. Here's the Gith row... You can see that Neutral 6 presents a lot lighter there, with an ochre yellow-as-a-toad undertone. Also shows the basic patterning for the baked-in spots and such. The Gith heads have undergone the most transformations and look the most fantastical of all the fantasy races currently available.

Githyanki (7 female heads)
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Last edited by Black_Elk; 07/11/21 06:45 AM.
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Most of them have a case of sameface going on. They don't look anything but human, which works well for humans and half elves, but the rest? Not so much.

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The extreme level of morphic overlap that we see here aside, one thing I've noted repeatedly is that Halfling female head 3 has substantially larger eyes than the others. This has an unforeseen consequence, in that, if you are trying to pick a "cute" face, once you've looked at head 3, it's becomes much harder to accept any of the others after it - it's how our brain are wired, to a certain extent.

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Now here are the male heads...

I updated the thread title to reflect their inclusion. I kept all the variables the same - again Neutral 6, Brown 1 eyes, Black-Brown hair etc. The only hairstyle which even came close to covering the Elf/Tiefling ears was amusingly the Count Rugen trim - you know like from "the Princess Bride." A haircut that's good to know exists, but which probably isn't exactly a top pick for most custom PCs hehe. There were some other contenders as well (the Astarion almost worked for example), but sadly many haircuts are simply unavailable for some of these races. So this one will just have to do for our purposes here lol.

Again with the Elves for a header, since the same doubling occurs with the Drow set.

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

The rest of the male heads available to the custom PC are below (you can click for higher resolution):

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Not again, how some models show complexion and makeup baked-in (and even scars in the case of the halfling dude who I forgot at first but just edited back in). Comparing these with the females above, you'll see that there are about the same number of heads with a slightly different distribution in terms of the races. Again all these male heads would be viable as Human and show many morphological similarities. Another thing to note, same as the female heads, is that the standard close zoom is somewhat different for Tieflings (further) and Dwarves and Halflings (close) which gives a slightly different impression there, but essentially still representational scans 'from life.' The Tieflings and Dwarves show the greatest amount of cartooning and abstraction heavier brows and larger noses etc (much moreso than the females of the same). Again the Gith heads are pushed to an extreme, and so are less useful for comparison. Though I'll try to include them later if I get the time. Again the main consideration is morphological variety, and the differentiation in shape. Clearly we can make these males look pretty different with beards, or different skin/eye tones etc, but for the nuts and bolts, these are the shapes on offer in BG3 thus far.

Elf (6 male heads)
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Tiefling (6 male heads)
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Human (6 male heads)
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Half-Elf (5 male heads)
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Dwarf (5 male heads)
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Halfling (6 male heads)
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Hopefully this makes it just a little easier to discuss what we think about a given head, or series of heads or whatever, since it's often pretty hard to recall what each of them looks like when cycling through them rapidly one at a time. Or just to give something that can be referenced a bit more conveniently.

I think the ideal approach would be to display our choices in the UI somehow via rows and columns. I also would like to see them doing a bit less gatekeeping for the faces, and instead make all of these heads available for use. If for example, a player could first select a human head and then choose a race, where the head then underwent a further morph to make it look all extra Elf or Halfling or (insert whichever fantasy race you like) for their features at that point.

ps. Here are the Gith males. So far they are the largest headset with one more than the female human set.

Githyanki (9 male heads)
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Last edited by Black_Elk; 07/11/21 03:26 AM.
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Originally Posted by Niara
Halfling female head 3 has substantially larger eyes than the others[...]

For the eye itself, my preference would be if we could change the diameter eyeball, and also of the size of the Iris relative to the Sclera (the white of the eye) within a sensible range. I think it would be cool if we could color the Sclera as well, as a feature of fantasy races/classes. For all races it would also be cool to have control over both tones of the Iris set independently.

Larger pupil diameters should be offered for the fantasy races for sure, especially those with vision bonuses. Allowing for larger pupils relative to the Iris or Sclera is a simple way to create a fantastical impression. Using such a feature Tieflings Elves Halflings etc could create a pretty wide variety of distinct looks.

Heterochromia should also be available for any of these options, all races. To allow for Claudia mode as a Human, or to do the one eye blind like Wyll. Using such features one could create many different effects like Fremen style eyes, or Demon eyes all black, or inversions like Zevlor. It could also be used to simulate bloodshot eyes or injury. If the eyes were handled independently, with independent coloration that would grant the widest range of potential looks. It's also relatively simple to do as an independent feature, since unlike facial morphology, the stuff that happens within the eyeball is pretty straightforward, working within the sphere. For the shape of the iris and pupil we could do squares like goats eye or slivers like cats eye or snakes eye etc. Many of the fantasy races or classes could adopt such a look, similar to draconic scales, but made more universal and more flexible. It would be cool to do pupil in stereo as well (similar to heterochromia for the Iris color, but for pupil size/shape). This is useful for all races including human to handle stuff like anisocoria and related phenomena, so another cool option that could go in their along the theme of treating the eyes as distinct. Thinking of possible related options, we might see things like eye patches, or bandages (which we've seen on npcs) or a monocle or wizards specs of the fantasy looking sort, which could increase the variety there even further. The only downside to the effort is that the camera currently can't make much use of the super zoom, but that's more a camera issue than a modelling one. Simple things like sizing shape and color will carry through though. If they put the work in to make the detail worthwhile, then the camera could adapt or headshot avatar view could make use of it. I think players enjoy looking at a face they've created so it could be a window like Char sheet, and I'm sure peeps would pause sometimes just to take in the view there hehe.

Speaking more broadly, if eyes, eyelids and eyesbrows could be handled independently from the main head shape, and treated more cosmetically, that would open up a lot of choices in the minutia. There is a strong relationship between nosebridge height and eyelid shape, but there is also a lot of variety on that one too, so I think it makes sense to be treated similar to complexion beauty marks and the like, as independent. The same way tattoos and scars and makeup are currently treated, more or less. Another popular option I'm sure would be piercings. But all that would be ideally added on top of the Head rather than baked-in.

Again the main goal being to create a system where the player can create an approximation of their own face, and thus anyone's face. But still within the generalized framework of basic heads and basic shapes. Right now I see many repeating motifs where the same or very similar faces are doing double duty, and many others are locked off into just one category, or simply missing entirely. By displaying the heads in rows it becomes easier to organize them and ensure that there is a decent spread and a decent distribution. The priority I think is to capture the human morphology and phenotypes first, then abstract from those into the standards for the fantasy races. Again so there is a through line, and equity, so that one type isn't been favored over another in a given category. More options are available across the board that way.

Last edited by Black_Elk; 05/11/21 05:33 AM.
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First of all, thank you for that! Truly! BG3 inherited that horrible character generator from DOS and if Larian insists on using that abomination, the list they could do is to supply such comparison pictures. (Not going to happen, of course, but one can dream and meanwhile such handmade lists are very helpful).

I do not think the faces a too similar. Should they change them more, and it will be unplayable extremes (even now, like with halflings, there are only a couple (at best!) of acceptable faces per each race). But yes, no difference between the races at all. If they intend to keep it this way, maybe the best solution would be to unlock all faces for all races.

(My gripe with tieflings, though, remains - why only one type of horns?! Why?! It does not matter if they are long or short (or even cut off), they are of the same thickness at the base and in the same place! And after that Larians act surprised that people don't use all that "wonderful racial additions" and prefer humans! Of course, they do, because what's the point?)

Anyway. Yes, a lot of RPGs that allow you to roll your own protagonist also allow much more freedom of customization than BG3. Not all RPGs (!) mind you. But many. I doubt it is physically possible to introduce true shape-morphing into this character generator. But (!) there is a simple way - cosmetics and unlocks. Add lipstick and blush options (just a tattoo for specific areas, how difficult it can be?), unlock all options (faces, eyes, hairs) for every race, and we can get far superior character generator with practically what we already have.

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Hehe right on! Thanks Amirit I honestly wasn't sure if it would be worth the tedium, but it's something I kept searching for and failing to find. So I guess eventually it's like just had to do it. I also had the more heads mod, but patch 6 was freaking out so hard performance-wise that I did a clean install, and that was the other impetus just to make sure the stuff displaying was actually the stuff that's available by default.

Great point about the Tiefs. It was honestly the first thing I noticed and found irritating, because even the "hornless" option shows the bases. Basically both horns broken or poached with saw or something, rather than actually being hornless. For griefing us in early days for not making better use of the horns and such, there's just not a whole lot of variety there honestly. Like there are definitely no Tim Curry in "Legend" horns, nor something that looks a bit more subtle like say Daredevil. There are also no downturned horns, either just the ram variety, and as you noted they are all the same thickness with the bases in the same locations. It's frustrating that they don't give an option to show no horns at all, even if that's less common for Tiefs, it should be possible for Tiefs that heavily favor their non-demonic ancestry.

I agree that they are unlikely to ever get this head scheme working with a true shape-morph. Presets seems to be more up their alley, which is fine for me , provided there is sufficient variety. They need someway to display these heads in groups, as if it were Mombi's Cabinet of many heads, rather than the cycle-athon 1 at a time. That works fine for small numbers, but will take forever if the game actually included enough heads to achieve what I want it to.

Excluding Githyanki there are 69 heads that could work right now for most Races (not to mention the NPC heads that are currently locked away.) To me it makes zero sense, why they would lowball what's on offer for the Custom PC during EA? When the content is this limited, custom PC variety is about the only way to make things feel different in subsequent playthroughs. My fear is that they are going to try to lowball the heads, and maintain these fantasy race divisions. When I say the game needs 250 heads, and that 250 is the magic number, I mean 250 heads for the Humans.

Right now there only are 14! lol

I definitely feel the same, that much could be achieved with cosmetic unlocks. It's not the whole ballgame sure, not by a longshot, but it would certainly help.

Larian has received some pretty high praise for "looking amazing!" and it is true, that compared to many RPGs they have some very nice Faces and Hairstyles on offer, but the overall number there is pretty limited. Like when you see them displayed all together at once, it's fairly underwhelming.

It's all well and good to be scanning faces from real people and wanting to preserve that for NPCs, but when it comes to the Custom PC that's sort of the opposite of what you want. It doesn't matter to me if some random employee and actor face for hire, has their look completely undone by different eyebrows or a different complexion or whatever. The Custom PC should for sure be able to modify the available heads in some fashion to get what they're after. Beyond just picking a different skin tone or a different eye color. Save those locked looks for the NPCs, but give the custom PC as much to work with as possible, so they can get as close as they possibly can to achieving what they're after under this scheme.

Basically they are only at 1/5th of where they need to be, and that's if all these heads were available as Humans. The fantasy races should key off the Humans, it's the only way to make this work without a ridiculous amount of reduplication. It's very obvious that the method for producing Elves, Half-Elves, Tiefs, Gnomes etc, is just to give them different ears. So make that one of the fantasy race morphs, similar to the way horns are handled for Tiefs.

Oh also, just since I meant to do it earlier but forgot, here are the male and female links right next each other in the same post, just for a quick overall impression of what's there currently...

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

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Here's an example of a general Morphology, to go from Human heads (scanned from life) to something else... Let's start with Elves.

To create a simple Elf abstraction from any Human face do the following:

-Morph the basic human face shape from square, round, oblong etc to more kites and hearts and triangles.
-Enlarge the orbitals of the eyesockets by like x1.5 and morph from square or circular to more trapezoid or triangular shaped sockets.
-Enlarge the eyeball, iris, and pupil also by x1.5
-Widen or raise the cheekbones x1.5
-Extend the mental protuberance x1.5
-Angle the jawline a further 10-15 degrees
-Add ears at x1.5 length and morph from round to triangular at the tips
Call this something like "Classic Elf"

To create a Half-Elf or more Human looking Elf do the same, but dial back the morphs and have everything at like x1.25 instead.
Call this something like "Hybrid Elf"

Allow the player to choose either morphology when playing as an Elf or Half-Elf to cover both aesthetic sensibilities.

If the player is playing as a Half-Elf also allow them to use the standard Human head, in addition Classic Elf and Hybrid/Half-Elf looks. That way the player can decide to favor either ancestry or either aesthetic sensibility. Don't waste any of the clearly Human heads that have been scanned already by relegating them to one fantasy race or another. Instead make them all available but use a standard morphology to provide the fantasy racial variation for whichever races the game ends up supporting.

Lets say the game provides 125 scanned Human heads numbered 1-125 for each gender, each face with it's own distinct default features.

To make it workable, launch a separate "Head Selection" window from the character creator, where the heads are displayed in rows and columns so we can select the one we want quickly. Once a head is selected, we re-enter the main avatar screen where we can still cycle 1 by 1 from the selected head to a new position at that point if we want, or re-open the head selection window, working either way. If the player chooses a Race other than Human, they can select a Head Morph from a dropdown menu which will replace the selected human heads with the morphed heads in whatever category: Elf, Tief, Half-Elf, Dwarf, Halfling, Gnome, Tiefling (Half-Orc, Goblin etc.)

Ears could be a separate field depending on the race selected, so that we can choose various lengths and angles in addition to the standard defaults for the morph. Basically everything from near human with just a bit of extension, to Tiefling style wide angle ears, to extra tiny ears. Since this is already being handled as a separate sort of feature that would be rad. Just make it like selecting makeup, tattoos, horns or a beard.

Using the current system, you probably end up with something like 2000-2500 heads all told, basically 1250 for each gender, but that is totally doable. If they displayed initially in rows and columns, and were divided up into initial categories of just 125, the player could easily navigate such a scheme. They could find the basic thing they want quickly by scrolling pages, select a head, then tinker on the margins using the same methods currently in use. Basically just changing colors and selecting from certain cosmetic or surface type features on the selected head.

At this point the game does not need to provide Lip Syncing and animations for everything, since these heads are primarily for use by the Custom PCs, they just need to get the meshes in. It doesn't need to give the cinematography team an instant heart attack yet. But speaking of, when I scroll through an article like this https://www.walterfilm.com/golden-age-of-hollywood-portraiture/ (an obvious pitch, but still gives a nice sweep in the images) it makes me pine for something a bit like that. Or just google, 'classic headshots' to get something with a similar impression - but where we'd get the Faerun Forgotten Realms Fantasy version - you know updated for a more 'new millennium' sensibility, and done up to the nines with the fantasy race morphs!

I wish someone could pull this off for a D&D game. We've been waiting for 20 years for it to arrive, ever since the games all went from 2d portraiture to 3d models, but we're still so far away from the initial promise. Everyone has a famous headshot and looks like someone from some "golden age" somewhere, even if they don't know it yet. The most important single goal I could set for any modern RPG character creator would be something on this order of magnitude. Can the Player create an approximation of their own face using the tools available? If yes, success! Then do the morphs. First FR game to pull it off lives forever in the annals. It's a virtual guarantee!
grin

Last edited by Black_Elk; 06/11/21 10:32 AM.
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While I'm making em blue this weekend, in volleyball armageddon, and since I mentioned the ears above...
Lets check out the Elf ears for a sec while we wait...

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

First thing I noticed is that the Elf ears are actually identical. They are just shaded differently which gives a slightly different take on the same essential shape. You'll notice that in terms of the morphology the only face that's substantially distinct in this lineup is head 2. The ears on that model have most of the shading stripped away, almost like a rough draft or the first iteration of the elf ear. It meets the jawline (which is slightly more severe) at a slightly different point. The bridge of the nose on that model is higher and the nose itself is a different shape/length. For all the rest, the heads are basically duplicates.

The jawlines are the same, cheekbone positions are the same, the lips and the noses are likewise the same.

There are subtle variants in the shading, similar to the way complexion is being used across the entire face to give an impression of variety, but the major shapes are identical.

Other than head 2, the only marked differences we're seeing here are what's going on inside the orbitals of the eye sockets.

Here we see basically a different shading around the canthus, which gives a somewhat distinct impression. It's very similar to cosmetic eyeshadow being baked-in to the head. I'll post the rest when I have time. Making them all blue was a quick way to abstract, it helps to see the values, the tonality, where warmer/cooler hues are in the under-image and what's going on with the complexion variation I mentioned. The same occurs with all the heads currently available to the custom PC in EA. As you see more of them presented together side by side instead of 1 by 1, you will also notice which faces have undergone a kind of mini-morph similar to the one I described in the post above, just on a much more limited scale.

For comparison here is Human female head 1, which is very clearly the basis for the Elf head above. You can tell from the basic morphology of the shapes and the tell tale beauty mark on the tip of the nose. This is carried over into Head 3 as well. The variation in the eyes/eyebrows were were probably added from an alternative scan or reference. Comparing the blues to the original post at the head of this thread. I'd say it went from the Human scan to Elf head 1, then from there to Elf heads 3 and 5 then to Elf head 4 which has the most refinement in terms of detail and complexion and probably a different mashup for the eyes. Or alternatively, it might have began with Head 4, and had the detail progressively scrubbed out to arrive at the others. You can tell by how the jaw was carved out, the eyebrows reshaped, maybe an eye-swap occurred, the highlights around the nose or cheeks knocked back etc but with certain marks still carrying through. All basically seeming to come back to this one somehow, either initially or in the end...

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Last edited by Black_Elk; 07/11/21 08:37 AM.
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Game developers and hideous female faces, name a better duo. I understand people will flip their shit over anything these days but come on. You can literally make a dream waifu in this game, yet only 1 option every 10 isn't fugly.

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This examination really doesn't have anything to do with what one may or may not find attractive in a given face or set of faces, but simply to point out where I see a lack of general variety. Or especially where the apparent variety is more cosmetic than structural.

I'm also trying to point to the obvious, that some of these heads must have been scans, while others are more likely morphs or composited mash-ups or embellishments of those scans. Doing it through comparative analysis, just to give an impression of what seems to be their method, and then to suggest how that might be taken much further to make a more engaging character creation process. The ultimate goal I believe should be the option to create one's own face as a PC for use in D&D, not their fantasy lover's. Though if the first condition is met, then by default you'll be able to find the later as well.

I definitely don't expect Larian to ever announce which heads are raw scans and which are morphs, since that would be the height of folly, especially given how casually cruel and judgmental people are wont to be.

It doesn't actually matter which heads are the real ones and which are the morphs, only that the final results provide sufficient variation to cover what everyone seems to want, which is a kind of idealized version of their own mug to then morph into the fantasy.

I think the goal there is not really an exact replica (since that's probably impossible and too resource intensive), but an approximation or a suggestion of verisimilitude will likely suffice. Meaning one can get say 80% of the way there, and then the rest can be tweaked through cosmetic type variables or just accepted prima facie cause it's close enough.

The point of noting similarities here is not to pick on their artists, or their casting, but to encourage them to fill in the gaps for their human face scans and to save the morphs mainly for the fantasy races.

I suspected at first that what might have happened is that they scanned all the humans heads first, then went from there. But surveying all the heads together, I begin to think that they might have had certain requests, "like I'd really like to be a Tiefling" or whatever, and so perhaps they are more mixed around like that. Another possibility is that meshes are being grafted onto just a few basic actual skull models. In which case it's not really a true 3d scan, but more of a wrap, which could also explain why the morphology is so notably similar in many places. Just a handful of jawlines and cheekbone structures say, but with the eyes and such grafted on top. I don't know enough about the modelling or how it was created in whatever engine they are using. But what I would like is for whatever tools they are using for that, to be integrated into the game itself.

The head mods I've seen are usually unlocks, like providing access to assets which already exist and just making those available for use as a PC as well. What I'd like to see instead is a legit spread that could really service the broad swath of humanity (ie the actual players) and not play arbiters of taste when it comes to this stuff. Alas, it's unavoidable that some people will have opinions on that score. Perhaps I should not have included the female faces at all, or not at first, since nothing is more tired and staid than scrutinizing appearances for imperfections. That's not the goal at all. The idea was to avoid a pixar phenomenon or falling into the old animation pit traps. My goal would be the wide net, because once that's in place everyone can find what they want, to a reasonable extent at least. Not that dude above needs me to spell it out, but for anyone else reading I guess. Kinda tanked the enthusiasm a bit though. Maybe I'll try again tomorrow.

Last edited by Black_Elk; 06/11/21 02:44 PM.
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Ok I rallied a bit, before passing out for the night to finish the female set in Blue. They all use Azure 4, Black 1 eyes, and Blue 6 hair, so the differences in coloration are coming from the under image complexion and such.

Note how unlike the Elves, the Half-Elves actually do show distinct ear models, and also how the facial morphology is considerably more differentiated there like the Humans... I included the rest as well just for overall comparison, and so we could see all the various ears and whatnot. I followed the heads as numbered in-game, but see if you can chart where the main morphs are occurring, or where the repeat pattern exist.

Humans
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Elves
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Half Elves
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Dwarves
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Halflings
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Tieflings
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Githyanki
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Last edited by Black_Elk; 08/11/21 02:15 AM.
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This is really good, that first pic looks like they morphed one face a bit and called it a day. All the lips look almost the same on them.

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The existence of mods is one thing that placates me about the character generator in BG3. That and the familiarity with RPGs with a much worse example of this thing (take Solasta. Love the game (!) but when we talk about their characters "atrocious" is a compliment).

The games are not supposed to rely on modders to fix things, but... well, modders do exist (many thanks to these wonderful people!) and if the game provides some good foundation that mods can expand on, I feel like developers have done their job, and can concentrate on more urgent stuff (fixing bugs, for example). The foundation we have is solid enough. Should developers simply add a few cosmetic adjustments (unlocking more face/heads areas for manipulations) - I, personally, would have nothing more to wish for.

All you are saying, Black_Elk is very true and I wish one day a game like that would come out (DAI was close). Just not sure BG3 can (or - sorry! - even need) be the one. Too many broken things need to be fixed before the game can allow itself more luxury features.

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Lol mods shouldn't be required to fix games(*peeks at my no less than 10 skyrim mods that fix bugs and the engine *).

What else are mods for, if not to fix something wrong missing from the game?

I'm hoping for one that gets rid of dirty faces.

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BG3 has done a better job than many games, and many games which receive a lot of plaudits for variety also don't get much better than this.

The main issue with the whole "leave it for the Mods to kill" concept is that then we are still at the mercy of a UI that was not designed to handle much more than say a 25 head cycling scheme.

We are also at the mercy of random amateur modelling artists and whatever their tastes might be. Then at the mercy of whoever does the eventual compiling and curating, and attempts to put all that stuff together in one place on Nexus. Usually with a name like "The Ultimate Head Mod" or "More Beautiful Faces Mod" etc.

A lot of times it will start small. So perhaps someone will say "Hey, why don't we have an Anya Taylor-Joy looking head yet in BG3?" so they make one of those (I would never complain there, she should definitely be an Elf! lol). And then someone else is like "No no! what we really need is the Zendaya head!" so if we're lucky we get that too. Then maybe it will have some faux It-Girls added into the mix like that. Maybe someone who's older says, "But what about the Angelina Jolie?" or even older "The Phoebe Cates or Elizabeth Shue?" or even younger "the Millie Bobbie Brown?" So you'll get a hodgepodge, with various different levels of artistry or celebrity mimicry, and in the end we might have a few more winners like that, but overall the spread remains limited and arbitrary.

This happens with the male heads as well, though typically with more differentiation there at the outset, because (just like in popular animation) they tend to start with more bases covered, and more tropes on offer. The male heads aren't exactly scrutinized in the same way. People aren't usually freaking out from the lack of Josh Brolin heads, or how all the Male heads are "too ugly" etc. It's just the sad commentary on how these things tend to work differently when it's all gender charged and down to Beauty vs "I want gruff Dwarves with even gruffer beards! And can we get more giant noses while you're at it?" lol. But still, you'll hit the same walls eventually, just with a different sort of emphasis there, for reasons that would take too long to cover in this thread.

The same lack of variety in the end though, when it's all left up to the arbitrary caprices of random Modders. Then on top of that, you get a further issue of content overload with mods, since users don't like to download a bunch of separate mods where one big mod might do the trick. So eventually you'll end up with a gigantic mod with a whole huge glut of available models put together in one spot. This might take several years to create, cause (big surprise) unpaid amateur enthusiasts won't be beholden to deadlines. By the time the work is complete, the game has likely already moved into the afterlife. They don't strike when the iron is hot, and again it becomes very unwieldy as you move from cycling between 30 heads to cycling between 300, and where the tastes of some random contributor to Nexus might be pretty different than your own tastes. This is why it is on the developers, not the modders, to provide us with the fundament and the scaffolding and the support.

People will frequently claim that this is luxury work, that there are more important things to a game. But I know with an absolute certainty, that for whatever RPG one might love the most, if it had a custom character creator, you probably spent more time playing with that than the actual game lol.

It's in fact so important, that the staying power and replay of a game often comes down to how well the character creator is executed. Skyrim was mentioned, that game had notoriously terrible heads/faces initially and still does on consoles and without mods, despite being re-released a bazillion times. SWTOR which is one of the most popular MMOs next to Warcraft, also creates huge a timesink on character creation and relies on it for consistent revenue, trying to bill it all in annoying microtransactions. But even if one spends the money and the time, it still tops out well under that 125 Per number I've suggested many times, and still shows a ton of similar morphology and many missing bases not covered.

D&D is supposed to be the game, more than any other, which leans into this concept of anything you can imagine. It's why the old classics provided custom portraiture (and no surprise again) mods that sought to produce "The Ultimate Portraits" pack were a dime a dozen. (Except for mine of course, which were always legendary! heheh But honestly, everyone has their own sense of taste there right?) This is why I'm trying to help Larian get the leg up here. Of course it is very simple to disguise what's happening beneath the surface by randomizing and recoloring and using mixed up defaults and misdirection. You can get a ton of mileage out of it, clearly. I mean just look at what we have here. We don't really have 100s of heads, as I'm sure many people might have presumed from their initial impression. We probably have something closer to 25 heads all told, and everything else is just a subtle morph - different makeup, change the haircut, switch some colors and presto! Right? But over time the player will come to see that they (the player) don't give equal weight to what's on offer.

Niara mentioned halfling head 3 with the larger eyes. Everyone has one head like that for each fantasy racial set probably - the one that just looks better to them and so they always choose that model and none of the others lol. They habitually gravitate towards the base options they prefer, and give the rest short shrift.

I know it will take me a while to do all the male heads in Profile 3/4, so I just wanted to reply real quick to gives some further thoughts on why modding is insufficient. Also to note that the artists and animators who are responsible for the modelling are almost certainly a different crew than the people doing the code and such, or mapping out the UI, so it's not exactly like one takes away from the other. They all buttress and support one another, but the modelling and UI works tends to be scrutinized more heavily because it is primary, the stuff we engage with first and foremost.

Particularly when a game is in the state that BG3 is in currently, a more robust character creator buys them time. Again, because the more options that are available to the player, the more time the player will sink into Character Creation and repeat playthroughs. It helps the circle to hold, while the other stuff is being worked out and offers engagement long after the point when the game has effectively been played to death and the player should probably move on. But put an Anya Taylor-Joy in there, with a few more haircuts and outfits and makeup designs, and watch players sink another 50 hours into it. That's why its so frustrating that they are obviously trying to save stuff for the full release, and why certain faces are walled off just for NPCs say. They probably think they can get away with 25 heads for now, and another 25 when it goes live later, but that's still only 50. We need 250! And we need an interface that can handle that sort of volume comfortably, so the player is engaged creatively instead of presented with a bunch of tedium or an unwieldy layout for the presentation.

ps. Here are the two views stacked for the female heads...



Elf (5 female heads)

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Half-Elf (5 female heads)

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]


Dwarf (5 female heads)

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Halfling (6 female heads)

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Human (8 female heads)

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

The Tiefs and Gith wouldn't fit with the attachment limit per post on these boards, but gives an overall quick read. I added the front view Gith female row to the bottom of the lead post, and the Gith males to the associated post there just to keep track.

Last edited by Black_Elk; 07/11/21 03:25 AM.
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At first I thought I'd try an ochre set for the 3/4 to give a more traditional limited palette (like a Raw Sienna, Blue-Grey, and Yellow Ochre), but then thought since the game is so cinematic and we're all looking at in on screens that Green would be better for an RBG LED style presentation. 

So all the Warlocks were supposed to show up to the Wicked premier with the 1940s glam hair going. Celebrate their big Part from like the only angle that really still works here. But then when I got like almost all the way finished I realized the Tiefs don't have that one! Alas, they did the best they could on short notice with an updo and some curlers to the horns. Sidebar, and not really the point of the thread, but the Tieflings have very few hair options consistent with the all rest, and just about everything clips through their ears right now. The Elves have more hair options, but a lot of clipping still there. The Githyanki by contrast have many spectacular hair options with no clipping into their ears, but those styles aren't available to any of the other fantasy races yet in EA unfortunately. 

The hairstyle here was chosen to give us a left facing angle of the heads, but the light coming from the left side of the screen is so pronounced that it will blur out the facial features unless there's some hair there to block the light. The 1940's hairdo worked well enough for this purpose, but for half the races the center part is very wide in patch 6. There is still some clipping through many of the pointed ears, but not quite so rough as with many of the other longer hairstyles that could block the glare of the reflected light. You get the idea.

Anyhow here are the 3/4 views for all the Female heads available thus far - as promised... 

Humans
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Elves
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Half-Elves
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Dwarves
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Halflings
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Tieflings
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Githyanki
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Last edited by Black_Elk; 08/11/21 10:44 AM.
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Oh, you do not have to convince me! I agree with every word you are saying. But let's stay realistic. No one ever is going to put 250 presets in the game (though... Do Sims do it? They could and probably should. Maybe even did?) However, in DAI, EVE-online and some Asian MMOs they use grid-shape-morph. Very effective and (judging the technology is used in MMOs) not that impossible to implement.

Still, specifically for BG3, I highly doubt it can be done. The engine was not designed for that. Plus, there are so many mechanical problems, so many bugs, plot issues - what they have now for character creator is already much better than many other games. Beauty mods are the first I always get for the games, but even I will say "please, first fix everything else". Even if the teams working on the CC are different, the money they get could be better spent on bug fixing. We can live with the models we have, we can not play if the game is full of bugs.

They already added a few heads (maybe more are coming?) So, there is hope. And speaking of heads - there is a "lifehack" to get some lipstick:

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

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I'm all for more variety with the CC - and the fact, that they did put in a few more heads already (at least to female presets, don't know about males) makes me hopeful for more options.
I also want all hair options from the other races for tieflings. There is no need for the few hair options in CC, when the tiefling npcs in the game already have every hair option there is in the game.

@Amirit: Chili tone 1 gives your lips color too (see my tiefling lady in the avatar)

Last edited by fylimar; 07/11/21 02:36 PM.

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Hehe yeah I mean, will Larian achieve my ideal? It seems unlikely, though I suppose you could take it as like an opening negotiation - aim high and expect a counter offer much lower, maybe we get lucky somewhere in between?

The reason I mention the ~125-250 number is because people who study facial morphology phenotypes have basically broken down the broader variety we see in the world into categories that round out at right around that number. If you've ever seen that idealized geometric "Golden Phi Mask" (which is supposed to map the "Perfect Face" into symmetrical proportions) there are basically 125 versions of that, when you move from the most reductive possible mask conceivable towards something that actually covers the true morphology of actual human faces. In other words some geometric masks for the many "actual faces" as opposed to one mask for "the perfect face." The Golden Phi is useful in art and in composition, but only as an abstraction and as generic guide. It helps the artist to build some symmetry scaffolding, and tells them when they are way off veering into caricature or disproportion, but it doesn't serve as a particularly useful model for describing the broad variety, since virtually any face can fit into it lol.

Speaking of the lifehack, I'm glad you included that image of the palette! It reminds me of another point I found a bit frustrating while working on this presentation. Rather than using a sensible system for naming their colors like HEX, or Munsell, or something of that sort, they instead went with the names that remind me of House Paints. You know, where instead of giving us a White Tint that has an actual value scale, they'll call it something arbitrary and confusing like "Swiss Coffee."  So we have the same thing going on in this game in many places with colors like "Fey 1, Efreeti 3, Decay 2 etc." Which makes the color swatches annoying to reference. The reason they do that stuff to sell house paint or makeup etc is to confuse costumers with a layer of obfuscating language, so they need to consult a "specialist" to decipher the silly naming conventions and unlock the secrets of the color codex. For people who actually want to understand what's going on, they'll describe colors in terms of Hue and Saturation and Value and use the standardized reference language developed by artists and technicians over the years to describe how color works in terms of either a visible light scheme or a pigment scheme. It's part of why I wanted to start with a limited palette here, but also just because doing that makes it easier to chart the values and see where there are undercolors bleeding through on each individual head model.

Anyhow, below are all the Females in complete profile... I used Ochre 3 for the skintone this time and Yellow 6 for hair. The eye color doesn't matter much from this view, since the Iris will always reflect blue in this position. It's part of the frustration of setting the character creator in an actual scene with restricted lighting and restricted camera angles that we can't manipulate in any way unfortunately, but we do the best we can with what's available I guess.

This Profile view is probably the most instructive for seeing the overall morphology at a glance, but also the least useful in the actual game. This is because the game is so very cinematic, and the full profile shot is pretty rare in that format. Typically the character is shown in some form of 3/4 view, but I still wanted to include it for completion. You will notice that from this view, we get less of the "same face" effect, but again the variation we see here is a bit deceptive, because the game's cinematography doesn't make use of this view very often. What carries through into the 3/4 view is more relevant to our experience. As a final aside, this definitely isn't the amazing haircut thread lol. I'm not really trying to embarrass them or anything, but you'll still see a lot of clipping into the ears in various places. This could be pretty easily worked around if we could just change the ear models independently, but since we can't and since so many haircuts don't work for everyone, I didn't feel compelled to hold back much. The Tiefs again ran into the wall of limited options. For something so important to the initial first impression, they've kicked the can on it quite a bit, and seem to be prioritizing Gith and Dwarves and whatnot, over the Humans, and other stuff over char creation and GUI which is really where they should start for the clean up. I'm not super attached to Larian as a developer, but definitely am to FR and D&D and BG, so I want them to be as strong out the gate as possible just for the love of the franchise.

Humans
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Elves
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Half-Elves
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Dwarves
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Halflings
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Tieflings
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Githyanki
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]



Also, I got a couple attachments left so, here is the stack effect using a more classic limited palette...

Since I gave the Gith such short shrift at the outset I'll use them to highlight. Like a Rembrandt or Vermeer or Rubens! but not really lol. It's more like trying to get this done between waiting for the laundry to dry or running errands or walking my dog. But gives a quick read, and so hopefully is a little helpful hehe...

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]


[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Lae'zel disapproves lol




Last edited by Black_Elk; 08/11/21 03:12 AM.
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