Interview originally released in Chinese here at Duowan.com: [link]
The interview is also released here on 163.com: [link]
Here is the English Version!So, at the very beginning, say hello to our Chinese wow players and say hello to your fans?
Hey everyone! I'm Evanel Vaanel Intaanis. But you all probably know me as Vaanel the guy behind the fan made Warcraft models.
It is so great to hear I have so much fans in China. Really it is amazing and I was happily surprised when I was asked for this interview. I. About World of Warcraft：
1. When did you start playing WOW? How do you think of this game?
I started playing World of Warcraft when the first expansion, 'The Burning Crusade' released. Before that I was more interested in playing Warcraft III, building my own maps with the wonderful WorldBuilder feature. But with the coming of the new playable races in WoW, I was really excited to start playing WoW.
For sure I made some 6 Bloodelves! Haha. My main character was named 'Feranel' and was a Bloodelf Mage. I really loved playing WoW. Mostly because of the interaction with other people. But besides that I liked the fantasy theme, the huge world you can explore, the lovely mounts and the amount of effort you had to give in order to get something really epic which made you stand out more from other players. 2. What do you play in the game? PvE or PvP?
I have always loved PvE more than PvP because first of all, I'm really bad at PvP and there are plenty of reasons why. Haha. Second of all, I enjoy PvE more because with PvE I am able to learn more from the story of Warcraft during an adventure through beautiful and scary dungeons and raids. Besides that I just love battling bosses and fill in the DPS role in groups. 3. How do you think of Role Playing (RP)? Are you a faithful RP player?
I am not much of a Role Player, probably because I'm not as dedicated as others. When I think of role players I think of people who really know what they are doing and how to interact with fellow role players leaving enough space for them to express their own roles as well. That sounds very much like the rules for being in a raid. Haha! But I mean with roleplaying everyone wants to express their character and sometimes you have to make some room for other people to stand in the spotlight. Well that is how I imagine role playing anyway. I have not really tried it before so perhaps I should! 4. How do you like the WoW story lines? And compared with other games, what do you think makes WoW so attractive and unique?
Hmm.. honestly at first I was not a fan of the Warcraft Universe. I didn't like the races, creatures and the art style. But after some time looking over the shoulder of my brother while he was playing the Warcraft Campaigns, I slowly started to fall in love with Warcraft.
Though quite some ideas for Warcraft were inspired by mythologies, I think the brains behind the Warcraft lore made some good inspiring decisions. Honestly, I have not read the Warcraft novels by R. Knaak but since I started creating some characters from these novels, I tend to look up their background stories and details on their physical appearances. Doing this thought me a lot of the War of The Ancients novels.
What I like about the Warcraft storyline/universe more than other fantasy games, is that Warcraft has great characters, the world of warcraft is immense and it keeps evolving due to the events (for example the Cataclysm which ripped some lands apart or not to forget the Sundering which created the continents) and the base story involving the betrayal of Sargeras and the eruption of the Well of Eternity is just inspiring. 5. There have been 4 expansions of WOW, so which do you like the best? And why?
Probably Wrath of the Lich King. Burning Crusade was also a great expansion which made me play WoW, but I enjoyed playing WotlK more because I was able to raid more seriously (maybe because raids were made easier than in BC), I enjoyed the environments and details of Northrend and the quests were more interesting and fun. 6. How do you think of the latest expansion, Mists of Pandaria?
I can't say much about it, because I have not really played The Mists of Pandaria. Probably because this time the story was not really interesting for me. But I have to say that the graphics, the detail and the environments look stunning! Also the animations of the Pandas and the new Monk class look very well made! II. About your models:
7. Why made you decide to make wow character models? Just simply to support your friends to make a movie?
Sometime after I quit playing WoW (some weeks after the release of The Cataclysm), I found some information that it was possible to edit/create WoW models and import them in the World Builder of Warcraft III. Very soon I realized how much fun this could be, being able to create your own armor on the characters you wish. So the first months I was making some characters for my Warcraft III maps and for friends on some Warcraft III forum. For others and me it was interesting to see how some epic characters would look like if they were in the game. So it was really fun to make some unique famous characters like Xavius, Azshara, Broxigar etc.
After a while some person contacted me and told me he wanted to start making a Machinima featuring the story of The Well of Eternity. We talked about the project and soon started to work together on this challenging project. So as of September 2011 we have been working together on this movie. My job is to create all the character models and doodads (buildings, structures, furniture etc.) and my friend (Keytal) takes care of the recording, script, putting it all together. So the latest models I am building are mostly for the Machinima. But every once in a while I like to work on some side project, a model which my fans like to see. 8. Could you give us a little more about the movie? Is it totally based on the official novels or do you and your friends want to add something special in it? When will we get the chance to enjoy this movie?
The movie features a part of the story of The Well of Eternity written by R.Knaak. Originally Keytal and I wanted to cover the whole story, but during the development of the movie we noticed that the movie would be too long and finishing the project would take much more time. By cutting the story in 2 parts we were forced to make some adjustments to the story. So don't be surprised if some events occur in a different order than is written in the novel.
So about the story. The Well of Eternity is a beautiful and interesting story! It is the story of the Dark Titan Sargeras influencing the Elven Queen Azshara to open a portal strong enough for him to enter Azeroth. During the movie a lot of ancient characters will make an appearance. Some which will be familiar to you (Tyrande, Malfurion, Illidan etc.) but plenty which you have not met before (Lord Ravencrest, Hakkar the Houndmaster, Dath'remar Sunstrider and many more). As the movie progresses, the characters in the movie will form two groups. One which support the arrival of the Burning Legion (mostly the elves of Queen Azshara together with the demons) and the other who will try to stop the invasion.
Alright enough about the story, I would like to tell you more of our work.
Since the events around the Well of Eternity occur thousands of years ago the world looks different from what we see in the current World of Warcraft game. So the environments you will see in the movie are all new and created by us. You will see new cities like Zin Azshari, home of the Highborne and Suramar home of Tyrande, Furion and Illidan. We love to put detail in the movie, so most of the sceneries feature some nice details like unique objects in the background or critters just minding their own business. Haha. Sometimes when Keytal and I are working on a scene, during the development we suddenly get some great ideas which will give the scene a little bit more detail. The detail I work on with my models are probably not even noticed by the viewer. I like to put small details like the Suramar Emblem I developed for the soldiers in Suramar, Azshara's Javelin placed behind her bed or Varo'thens facial scar. I love creating these 'sneaky' details and I think people will appreciate them. I really try to make the movie look more convincing.9. To make a model, what part do you think is the most difficult?
The hardest part is without a doubt, designing the model. This includes the armor design and putting all the stuff together until the concept looks promising. After this process the fun parts starts, which is editing the placed armor pieces and recoloring the textures. 10. As we have noticed that your models have something different with the official ones. How do you treat these differences?
What makes my work different from official models, is that mine are more detailed. I am a person that enjoys having detail in art pieces. I started drawing on a very early age and until this day, detail has been a ruling factor in my works. 11. How long does it take to build a model?
This really depends on the model. Sometimes I can finish in 1 day (for example my Warchief Thrall model), but most of the time (with the models I make right now) it takes up to 2/3 days.
If a model has more technical difficulties or my inspiration abandons me, then it could take some more time.
Obviously background models (unnamed) take a lot less time. But even those I try to make unique in some way.12. Among all of your models, which do you like the best? And which is the most unsatisfied? Why?
The first part of this question is hard to answer. My latest models feature even better quality than the ones I did before. I haven't had time to look back at my work to pick a favorite. I like how my latest Ravencrest and Hakkar the Houndmaster based on Blizzard's TCG turned out to be. For sure I will never regret the decisions I made for putting them together. Also I'm very pleased with my Azshara's renditions. I think they all feature something unique and 'queenly'. Her latest outfit was a huge challenge as 90% of her outfit is 3D. Having cloth separated from the body of the model means that when the model moves the cloth has to move together with that certain part of the body where its placed. So for the cloth to flow perfectly with the body I had to spend some time fixing the movement of the cloth. Besides the technical difficulty of this model I love the design I made for this outfit. There is nothing like this in World of Warcraft.
The model I am most unsatisfied over is Shandris. This was a very early project I did over a year ago. With my new skills I have now I am confident I could make something much more interesting than this old rendition I did. Maybe in the future I will remake Shandris Feathermoon. 13. Could you tell us what the newest model is you are making? More details?
Right now I am busy making some background models and objects for a scene playing in the Night Elven city Suramar. The largest temple of Elune is situated in this city and part of the scene plays within the walls of this temple. For the past few days I have been sketching some designs of how the temple looks from the inside. The model I am working on now is a statue of the Goddess Elune. It will be a huge statue placed in the center of the Temple. 14. Have you ever considered making some Pandaren models? Like Chen Stormstout?
I have been asked before to make Pandaren models and yes I have thought about it. But I do like to make some characters which are rich of lore or just without an official Blizzard (unique) Model. Chen Stormstout already has a unique model by Blizzard. So I would not be interested in making him. About other popular Pandaren I'm not really familiar with. 15. Have you ever considered making your "digital" models into "real" ones? For example, like paper model or polymer clay, to make them look like more vividly?
I don't really have much time to extend my work area. It would be fun to create some models with clay, cause I really loved making some art with clay before. But I just don't have the time for that now. Besides, people mostly enjoy seeing the models in 3D performing animations as if they were in the game anyway.16. In China, there are lots of wow fans which also enjoy wow character model making, any advice for them?
Get inspired by the character you wish to make. Do some research to find out what kind of person he/she was and what appearance would suit best. Either have a great sketch of the outfit in your head or put it on paper. Think if your ideas are realistic and achievable. If so move on.
Stick to your own style, don't rush the model making and be patient with developing your skills.
Also if you're not sure about an element in your design, ask for a second opinion. Sometimes when you're too focused working on one model you just can't see some conflicting elements in your work. Haha. III. About your life:
17. What kind of person do you think of you are? Funny? Rigorous? Or something else?
Hmm.. Probably better to ask people who know me in real life. Haha. I guess I'm a nice person? Can I say that? Haha. Alright, I think I'm a calm and serious person but when you really get to know me, I can show you a crazy goofy side of me. I love making jokes and just be happy all the time. Besides that people often tell me I'm a perfectionist. I like detail and unique things. 18. What's your future plan? Will you be engaged in some relevant work like Art Design or else?
I don't really have a 'future plan'. Right now I'm finishing the last bits of my education (Business Economics). After finishing that I will try to find a nice job and still work on some Art in my free time. I got my degree for Graphic Designs as well but I wanted to explore the other side of me too. Which is why I studied Business Economics. I'm not sure what I will end up doing in the future. I'm a simple person when it comes to life. I enjoy the little things and don't ask for too much. Just being happy and healthy is enough for me. 19. How about your family? Do your parents and friends like your models?
I don't share much of my model making with my parents and friends. Just a select group of friends are aware of my Model Art. The friends who do know about my models are very excited about it and are looking forward to the Machinima. 20. Have you ever been to China? If not, do you wanna get a chance to have a look at those real Pandaren?
I have not yet been to China but for sure I would like to visit this interesting country someday. The great culture and architecture are one of the most interesting for me in the world. I think China is very different from what I am used to and therefor is a country that I must see and feel with my own eyes and hands.
And for sure I would loveeeee to see those amazing Panda's in real life from close. I think they belong to the group of most rare and precious animals in the world. Really a 'must-see'.
Thank you very much for showing such interest in my work and life. I appreciate your support so much.
It really warms my heart just to hear from my fans in China.
And please if you want to stay updated on my latest projects/updates and exclusive Machinima news, follow me on my Facebook page: Vaanel. [link]
Thanks again and greets from The Netherlands!