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Guild Wars 2 Sylvari Prototype by haikai13 Guild Wars 2 Sylvari Prototype by haikai13
The Sylvari were easily the most problematic of all races in Guild Wars 2. Everyone seemed to have their own ideas as to what they should look like. I was part of a team of artists to create this prototype of the Sylvari in a different style. This was one of the projects I was most proud of during my time at ArenaNet even though I knew from the start that it had almost zero chance of going through. It was a lot of hard work for seemingly nothing, but well worth it for me.

I can only take partial credit for this. Although I established the initial take on the model, our concept artist, Hyojin Ahn ([link]), did most of the hard work finalizing the face and body after we showed him the ropes on how to use the 3d software. I learned a great deal working with him about just how much you can, and SHOULD, push your model to be the best it can be.

I made the armor as well as a variety of poses and additional modeling support. Danny Yeo ([link]) made the hair, and my brother, Donald Phan ([link]), rigged the model in addition to helping with a lot of the technical issues (we even had this character running around in the game at one point!). Hongman Leung also helped out by animating this pose- it was really cute, but you'll have to use your imaginations for it!

The image seen here was rendered with Marmoset Toolbag ([link]).
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TheMoriArtistMika Featured By Owner May 8, 2016  Student General Artist
Honestly I like your design a hell of a lot better than what they have currently. 
Stu08 Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2015
Very beautiful -wondrous!
Nina3dgirl Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
yeah i prefer this design myself
PhedraSolace Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I knew from some loading screen art that the sylvari had a bit more of an elf look to them than they decided on. I appreciate they did something different than normal, but I would have preferred this much more. :3
Theodren Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2015
yeah i prefer this one
KinasLastResort Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Super adorable :3
tnguye3 Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2015  Student General Artist
I like the way Male Sylvaris currently look, but dislike the female models.
If the female Sylvari would look like this - I'd roll a female Sylvari Mesmer immediately!! :>
Saiiza Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
If they looked like this, I would of played a Sylvari in a heartbeak but I'm not fond of the final designs for this race.
Weblawless Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2014
I don't care! I want to play that adorable thing!
Tbh, that armor would totally fit though. I want it.
SaintlyPants Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2014
I think they should have used this style! One of Guild Wars main draws was it's pretty girls, imo. Just look at the box art of the first games and you know what i mean.

Now ANET complains about people playing humans too much, but I think that's because the other races just aren't cute enough ;)
yuumisempai Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2014
Its perfekt *-*
DoggySpew Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013
Yours might not been used in the end, but I do think that the clothing went the right way toward the final product.
Kyruto-Chan Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Sylvari is such a beautiful race to play as <:
Usagi-dono Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2013
I think she looks amazing but simply doesn't fit with the rest of the game. Looks more like something from a game like Perfect World (asian style rich color contrast environment)
iRawred Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2013
Oh my god, are there any other prototypes?
haikai13 Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
If you look at some of the earlier trailers of Guild Wars 2 you can see the initial version of the Sylvari.  They were kind of like yellow-skinned elves.  The prototype I worked on came after this, but before the version that exists in the game today.  There were also a lot of other concepts and ideas for them, but none that really made it to the modeling stage.
shallon444 Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2013
I love this so much, cute! 
Wish it was in the game. 
skyline4400 Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2013
I like this about 1,000x more than what they ended up being :/
SamanthaRusso Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Wow phenomenal!! I love the leaf texture on her thighs/legs :) 
How could this not go through?! It's amazing haha.
Cillias Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
so happy you used another sylvaris at the end xD this is just too cute desu desu thingie thing. just nope :B the ingame one is waaay better, it suits the style of guildwars2 way better than this. :3 :heart:
haikai13 Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks... I think... haha :)
drgnlrd Featured By Owner May 20, 2013
To be honest, I like this version better then the in-game one, but I do kinda understand why they went this way.
misterinnocence Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2013
That looks incredible! Really unfortunate that it didn't make it the final product.
rcoma Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
*-* i want this on my Elementalist ^^
haikai13 Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
It probably won't ever happen, unfortunately, but I'm glad you like it!
aelynn000 Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Love this. The males are good as they are ( I ) but I think at LEAST the female Sylvaris should have been more along this line of style... I can hardly tell the difference between the male and female in the game sometimes...
haikai13 Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks! It's one of those things that's so difficult to please everyone. I know this version definitely has its share of detractors! Still, it's fun to let players see the kinds of steps that were taken along the way.
ArkaneXXI Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2013
Recently playing Guild Wars 2 and I would like some models like this in the game.
Joshels Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Ha! Only recently occured to me to dig up official GW2 art here on dA. Amusing to see these original concepts ^^ As previously observed, this face definitely is more 'cute' than what ended up ingame, actually a little more like an Asura to be honest. But can't say I don't find it enjoyable on a Sylvari nontheless! However, I can see how and why the rest of this model got adjusted to its final. This looks an awful lot like a pink humanoid wearing a bunch of plant-like clothing and styled hair, as opposed to how it ended up being as the species itself resembling plants in their own anatomy as well as their garb. That eventual idea did end up being more original and interesting, but I can't deny I still find it artful and fun. Great work, all of you!
haikai13 Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks, I think that was the consensus of most of the decision makers as well.
Knobelbecher Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I like this design very much, it looks really sweat :)
Hamtoilet Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2013  Student Artist
All of your stuff is amazing! I have a long way to go before I get my stuff to look that good. I actually hope to work at ArenaNet one day!
haikai13 Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks, and good luck!
Sonnenkeks Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2013
so beautiful ^-^
nimbus21 Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013
I really like this one. You get an odd sense of spring,summer and fall, all in one. Warm and earthly. It's not very traditional when your talking elves, but I think this one would have been very popular if it'd been chosen. She looks very welcoming.
haikai13 Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks! It would have been fun to see if it had made it into the final game.
Icewolf883 Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I like this concept, it looks really cute! But I also love the current ingame one. When I saw one of the first trailers to the game, I noticed that the sylvari looked very human. I'm glad they changed that.
haikai13 Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks! Yea, the first pass on the Sylvari were much more traditional elf-like.
bathorya Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
love looks.. I wish Sylvari would actually look like this then I would be able to play them :p Atm they are pretty ugly for me.
Usagi-dono Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012
i would wear that armor
looks great
KuraiKaze Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2012
I like the current Sylvari ok. I'm not exactly drawn to them, but they're very obviously supposed to be the "Elves" of the game. This model doesn't exactly mesh with the rest of the visual look of the game, but I much prefer this model to the version currently implemented. This seems wholly more original and thought provoking. It evokes the concept of what the Sylvari were supposed to be.
haikai13 Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks for your support! ArenaNet probably made the wise decision in the end with the current Sylvari, but it's nice to hear that some like this version too. :)
ZORIFOUR Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I wish it was like this now.
Eaglshadow Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Wow, amazing. I actually datamined the gw2.dat file a few a week ago and found this same model, and I was like "omg this is such an epic find" (proof: [link]) . Having followed the development process, I easily concluded that it was the early sylvari concept that we'll never see ingame, which saddened me a little becasue the design and art are so amazing. I love to see the model you posted here is with much higher resolution textures. As an aspiring game artist myself, I'm very interested to know how long it took your team to get this from concept to the point where you had her running around ingame.

Also, we have something in common, we both modeled the prototype sylvari that will never be used in any game :) Except I did it for practice. I used this [link] as a concept art, and this is my recently finished game model [link] (8733 tris)

I find you are probably the most qualified person on the planet to give me feedback and criticism on my prototype sylvari attempt :) I would appreciate it a lot if you do!
haikai13 Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Haha, you know I actually saw a link to your datamined images before. It's a little embarrassing because sometimes the models can look quite bad when removed from all of the shaders and lighting that make them work in game. I was already long gone by then, but it's funny because the prototype really should have been removed from the public game builds! I guess it's cool for fans to stumble across things like that though.

Our concept artist started the prototype project first with some cool concepts that he has yet to show. I was probably working on it for about three weeks with not just modeling, but a lot of the technical stuff of getting it to work in the game and setting up other tests. Other people also pitched in their own time. It's a huge effort just to get something like this working and to a presentable stage, and there were a lot of long nights for all of us. We can't even really show a lot of the stuff that we did such as her wearing other armors from the game, different skin color variations, animation tests, and more.

I was actually scheduled to make that same exact armor set you made except that the general art direction for the Sylvari got shifted to the plant people and this got canned. I don't think anyone ever got around to making that officially in the game which is unfortunate because it's so nice, and honestly it was one of the armor sets that I was most looking forward to making.

You got some good stuff going on in your model, especially on the modeling of the armor. I think the thing you would need to work more on is the general anatomy and pay particular attention to the face. I know that's one of the hardest parts, but it's also one of the most important. As it is now though, I think you can take what you have a step further by trying to differentiate the materials more. The skin and the clothing look similar and only really differ in color at the moment. I would work more on the specular maps so that each responds to the lighting in a different way. The specular could be tighter or more broad, and the texture to the specular could help define how rough or smooth the surface is. Painting in some natural color variation that occurs in skin would also help. It looks like you have a good handle on getting the right technical results though. Going forward it will help a lot to not worry about that and just focus on fine tuning your artistic execution.
Eaglshadow Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I can definitely understand why you looked forward to making this set :D
Wow that's a great feedback! I'll focus more on the things you mentioned, thanks a lot!
Kal-aMari Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2012
I like it, but...I definitely think the current Sylvari is the best I've seen out of the "plant people" genre. This prototype is really adorable, though.
exdragon47 Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2012
That is fantastic! The armour is amazing, skin design is great, face is cute.
UnholyNero Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2012
>It was a lot of hard work for seemingly nothing, but well worth it for me.

even if the sylvari look diffrent know, i think there still is a lot of influence of this prototype in it. And even if i like how the silvary look atm - i still think your model looks amazing!
haikai13 Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks, I appreciate it!
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Submitted on
September 9, 2012
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