Those examples are instructive, and helpful to illustrate some of the basic points. I would note though that "BDO Shai" would appear to be coming from a pretty different tradition of animation/illustration where the 'rules' are somewhat distinct regarding the approach to figurative realism.

There I think you'd have to look to conventions from Japan or Korea to explain that image, which are different, although they've clearly been in conversation with what was going on in America during that same period and even moreso recently. These days we see a real blend going both directions, but I mean if you take it back to the tail end of the 1980s it would be comparing stuff like Fist of the North Star or Akira or later maybe Ninja Scroll/Ghost in the Shell and that 'style' of figurative representation, to stuff like the Classic Disney princess films, or similar stuff from the Soviet block like the Frog Princess. In contrast to 8 heads tall thing, the Japanese Manga tradition adopted a 'realism' figure which is even more exaggerated. So much closer there to what in the West would have been the preserve of Fashion Illustration, going up to 9 or 10 heads tall. Basically a completely different approach to the facial morphology as well, particularly in the way the nose and eyes are handled, which have different cultural connotations. In short I think they'd have to kinda pick a style there and roll with it consistently, or else it looks odd like a hodgepodge mashup.

I'm also somewhat unclear about what sorts of pictures we can fairly use to discuss this stuff here on the home boards? The only way I've been able to post an image to these forums is by using one of the larger clearing house/hosts like ibb and such, but I hate those places, cause you just know that either they'll eventually go defunct and every image link here will break, or it's just feeding the machine like Lawnmower man hehe.

I really hope they will do a photo mode tool, because then perhaps they could build in some of features like watermarks, which would clearly indicate when we're seeing images of the unmodded game versus modded, and some way to record the provenance.

Only other thing I can think to add, is that I would like them to revisit the faces/morphology of the head for the Halflings. Instead of taking a page from cartooning with the over-exagerated noses and such. It's fine to have some variety there and some heads that lean a bit more that direction, but right now, particularly with the male models, these seem comically exaggerated to me in pretty much every instance.

I don't see a good representation of dwarfism as it presents in human beings here, not to drift into intention again, but if that was the goal, it still fails I think. To achieve that they would need to shorten the forearms and change the morphology of the skulls, but I think that may not be wise. I keep waiting for someone to show up and be like "yeah I'm an achon, and I think such and such about it' but honestly, it'd probably be the most exhausting subject imaginable for them to entertain - like what actual dwarfs think about the depiction of Fantasy Dwarves in popular media. I doubt highly that anyone in that community would be all too eager to wade into the fray here, since I'm sure the subject is super fraught and perhaps just annoying a lot of times. Also things are different now, whereas in the past any sort of representation would probably have been seen as a plus, since it provided some modicum of work and an opportunity to engage with the broader public or at least meet more peers, this isn't exactly the 1980s anymore.

In my entire life I've only known one person who had Achondroplasia to have a conversation with, and that was long time ago in college. But I think you can look to comments made by some of the bigger stars like Dinklage or Davis to get a sense of things in that arena. I'd have to guess that landing roles in procedural dramas or stuff like Nip Tuck would have felt a lot cooler than say, a fantasy show full of old tropes. GOT was an exception, because the writing was nuanced and more empathetic, but you know what I mean. In short, I think it's probably better to leave well enough alone on that front, since the only appropriate angle there would be an alt Human phenotype, but we've barely got 2 phenotypes here for that anyway. I think the readiest solution is to make the Halflings look way more fantastical and way smaller, which would maybe ameliorate or preempt some of those concerns.

For my part, I would prefer smaller skulls with more proportional facial features.

Returning to the Loomis well to draw our bucket from that, the books would be "Fun with a Pencil" and "Drawing the Head and Hands"

These images are like baseline pretty oldschool. What he's actually doing here is teaching illustrators how to use reference properly before venturing into cartooning conventions, which are also covered...

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Also discussed in those tomes are the conventions for indicating age or developmental maturity, which has it's own entire chapter. I believe they are in the public domain now with the google scans for the full text. This is from a period in American illustration when commercial advertisement had not yet been completely overtaken by photography, and when many periodicals still featured drawings and paintings on their covers and insets. Still it's useful here I think, if only to give some shorthands. Clearly they are from a different era, and the examples chosen probably recall to mind the Twilight Zone, but it's something.

The Loomis suggestions are largely prescriptive, meaning his advice was directed at working illustrators who were trying to make an actual living selling work to advertisers and publishers. So he's also parsing the general aesthetic of the times a bit and there are some issues, but it does give us a way to compare what we see for BG3 humans which basically follow that, vs BG3 halflings which are essentially cartooning caricatures with those sorts of hallmarks.

Also a quick headshot comparison I made there during EA to show the angles. They may have cleaned things up a little bit, but I think it still basically holds. You can see what I mean about the degree of caricature being employed here. I think it's more pronounced with the males. Similar to cartooning/animation they always seem to get more variety, (which is it's own issue) but just to have it in the thread, I'll leave that one here too. Again, to my eye they'd all make excellent fantasy Dwarves once they got beards, but for halflings, not so much. Least for me.

Last edited by Black_Elk; 30/09/23 03:44 AM.