Hello artists on Sketchfab, my name is Duy. I am a character artist working at Riot Games in Los Angeles, California, United States. Ever since I was a kid, art and video games have been my favorite topics and I grew up developing a passion for both. In my home town of Saigon, Vietnam, there were not many career choices for artists. Limitations of internet access also made it difficult to look for further art education focusing on entertainment. After finishing my bachelor’s degree in 2D animation, I was lucky enough to get a job in an outsourcing company and be trained in 3ds Max, Maya, and Photoshop there. That experience helped me decide to get my master’s degree in Game Art in San Francisco, US. I learned a lot about creative thinking, concepting, and improving my craft during that time. I am now a 3D character artist at Riot Games, in Los Angeles, California.
I’ve been working on many skins for League of Legends and have come to understand the established style well. League of Legends (LoL) is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game with a stylized aesthetic. What makes LoL characters unique is the hand-painted texture with a specific top down lighting to make the character stand out from the environment. That is crucial for game play.
Senna is one of the newer characters, recently added to LoL. Making skin for her is challenging and fun at the same time. The best part is figuring out the “hook” for the skin, what makes it special. In this case, we chose High Noon as skin thematic and made her big gun transform into a metal horse for the unique feature. The whole process required a lot of teamwork and collaboration through different disciplines, from concept to 3D, rigging, animation and VFX. I will introduce my process of creating a skin for a LoL character, using ZBrush, Maya, 3D-Coat, and Photoshop.
The general character workflow for LoL varies and is up to each artist. My personal process is sculpt, retopology, UV, bake maps, and texturing.
Texturing is the combination of Baked maps + Photoshop adjustment then paintover. I would like to share a small tutorial for another character I made, Eclipse Leona, to help explain the whole process.
Before starting work on a skin, I spend some time looking at the concept, comparing it with the existing character and planning out what needs to be built and what can be recycled. Making a Champion skin is different than making a whole new character; the time given is also limited, so optimizing is very important. In this case, there are 3 big assets: Body, Horse and Gun.
For the character, I started with Jason Namgung’s sculpt. I would eventually build new pieces and remove unused parts.
For the final sculpt, I mostly use ZModeler, starting with low poly and then subdividing and detailing.
Retopology and UV
Retopology is done using a combination of 3D-Coat and Maya. I keep the polycount relatively low, about 13k for her body. Maximized use of UV space also helps to achieve the best texture look in-game.
There are a lot of polishes and subtle adjustments in the final textures. Here are some notes.
And the final results:
Presentation plays a big part. I want to make Senna stand out using a great pose and some fixed VFX.
Sketchfab is a great platform for that. LoL aesthetic is stylized hand painted and the presentation needed to capture that without relying on physical lighting. Although Sketchfab provides a wonderful shader system with PBR, it also allows users to turn off lights (Shadeless) to show only the diffuse, and that setting works perfectly to present LoL characters.
Doing production works can be fun and challenging. On top of that, I also learned quite a lot by pushing the texture quality. I am pretty happy with the end result. Another fun experience with the LoL team. High Noon Senna was a challenging project.