Diablo IV Announcement Cinematic Insights

Diablo IV was officially unveiled last year with the “By Three They Come” trailer. And if there’s one thing Blizzard Entertainment has managed to maintain over the years, it’s the outstanding quality of their cinematics. With that in mind, you may want to check out this ArtStation Magazine article, where Blizzard’s artists discuss the making of that grand reveal cinematic.

A couple of sample paragraphs:

For the overall look and feel of the characters, the team was careful to push and stylize where they could to break away from photo-realism. “At Blizzard, going back to Warcraft, we’re always pushing it way more. StarCraft . . . no, StarCraft proportions are whack too,” Jason explained, laughing. “They have, like, massive shoulders. So, a lot of that stuff is what a lot of our IPs work with—very stylized but a realistic sheen. If you take Varian, the forms of his face are realistically rendered, but if you were to squint your eyes and look at him as a silhouette, he’s got huge shoulders, his chest is like a barrel. It’s not realistic. On Diablo, that’s where I would pull back—from the broader forms and proportions to the details like wrinkles, minuscule details. Let’s work with more subtlety.”

All the animations in “By Three They Come” were handcrafted, including the close-up facial animations. “We redid our entire facial system for that show, and we really upped our game in terms of the model fidelity level,” Shannon said. Jason agrees and says the show wasn’t without its challenges for him as an artist. “For every show we have done, there are different technical and artistic challenges that arise,” he said. “People are scared of the Uncanny Valley, but personally, I am scared of characters not being convincing or believable. They don’t have to be realistic, they don’t have to be live-action, but they have to be convincing enough that the viewer is not taken out of cinematic because there’s something off about the character. As long as these characters are believable in their world, in the way we are presenting them, then I am good with it.”