I saw the movie Eragon the other night. >[review]It is not the book, nor as good. It has roughly the same plot and some character names, but so not the books. However, it is a reasonable fantasy movie. www.eragonmovie.com/ www.imdb.com/title/tt0449010/ and to balance things en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eragon [/review].
One feature of the movie that I really liked was that the Non-Humans were... well Humans. Nobody had prosthetics or serious latex applications or even bizzare makeup. They were all recognizable as Humans. Yet at the same time, you knew they were non-humans.
Arya is our "Elf". Now when you look up her images, you can see her difference. She is a bit paler, her eyebrows are a bit shaped, her hair is a different color than anyone else's in the movie. She does not have pointed ears or even odd colored eyes. Yet, if she was walking down the street, you would not give her a second look.. she is perfectly human. (Okay, you might give her a second look, but it would not be "woah, elf babe", just "woah, pretty girl.)http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1808715990/photo/970408379http://www.imdb.com/gallery/ss/0449010/Ss/0449010/279.jpg?path=gallery&path_key=0449010 http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1808715990/photo/970419773
Looking for more.
The Urgals are our Trolls/Orcs. They are brutal, violent tribals who work for the bad guys. They are all big and heavyset humans, with tribal styled dot tattoos on their faces. Sure they shuffle and are all the same build, but you could see them walk down the street and all you would do is not look them in the eyes.
No net posted pictures of these guys yet.
(Note in the Books, they are more monsterous)
The point I am trying to make is, Not Humans don't have to be Non-Humans. They can be distinct cultural and "ethnic" groups. Now sure I have said this before and all my New Looks have been Humans as other species (Lyrans http://www.strolen.com/content.php?node=1464
and Orcen http://www.strolen.com/content.php?node=1818
most notably). Here is a movie that shows how this can be achieved culture and description, rather than by props and specific non-humaness.
Now do your not-humans have to have pointed ears, fangs, horns, or be oddly short, or be a combination of odd crunchy bits and stat mods? What do you all think?