Monday, May 20, 2013

Non-human fantasy races

Quite a few of the fantasy races that I can think of from the top of my head - other than orcs and elves - resemble animals that we're familiar with: the Argonians and Khajit in The Elder Scrolls series are like reptiles and cats, the Charr in Guild Wars are also like cats, and the Tengu from the series are based on the Japanese legendary creatures from folklore and combine human and avian characteristics.




Even in sci-fi, many artists draw on the 'alien' features of reptiles, birds and other creatures for inspiration and reference. In the book The Art of the Mass Effect Universe it is explained how the concepts of the alien race, the Drell, drew upon combinations of aquatic and reptilian characteristics. 


Similarly, the Turians are very birdlike in many aspects, with added alien elements to keep them unique.


It's interesting to see the vast number of ideas the artists came up with before settling on a final design. It's definitely important to not get attached to a 'look' too early on in the concept-design process, as it's highly likely a more interesting look will result from experimenting with many ideas.

One thing I've taken from having this quick look into fantasy humanoid races is that I'd like to avoid the route of placing an unusual head on a muscular, human-like body (like the Argonian). I'd like to play a little more with anatomy, whilst keeping the species humanoid enough to be relatable and able to speak.

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