In Art Spotlight, we invite Sketchfab artists to talk about one of their designs.
Hello! I’m Justin Ethington, an aspiring game artist and designer. I will be attending the Savannah College of Art and Design soon. Otherwise, Google has been teaching me everything I know for the past six years.
I need to mention real quick that I am not affiliated with Riot Games or League of Legends. Credit goes to them for the original Fizz model.
The model I have chosen to create is a skin concept for Fizz. This character is a champion from League of Legends and designed by Riot Games. The whole process took about two years, and the 3D model took about a couple months. My personal goal was to create a skin for my favorite champion and make it as if it were a real asset from the game. I wanted to achieve a “Riot Games” quality level of art to challenge myself.
There were three models that I needed to design specifically: Fizz, the dragon shark (Chomper), and the staff.
First, I began with lots of concept art. After a year, I completed a splash art which in turn finalized the design.
Sketches, Concepts, and Splash Art Video
Volcanic Fizz Orthographic Perspective and Staff
After a year hiatus from the project, I began the modeling. A very old version of Blender was used for the modeling and posing (call me stubborn), and GIMP was used for the texturing.
A while back I was able to extract the Fizz character model from the game using a third-party program. I knew that I would be opting for the same shape and proportions as the original Fizz model, so I used it to my advantage. The final model is a result of heavy modification.
First, I projected the Volcanic Fizz Orthographic image onto the 3d model of Fizz using Blender’s UV-project modifier. I also set the picture behind the model so that the picture would be visible beyond the silhouette of the original Fizz model. I used the mirror modifier for ease.
I then modeled using this image as reference. Since the picture was only for the front of Fizz, I had to experiment with the top, bottom, and sides using my design concepts. The design underwent some slight changes in consideration of balance and silhouette such as the removal of the green gem at the chest.
After doing the same with the staff and trimming/merging some polygons, I unwrapped the UV’s. Like the original Fizz model, the staff and the character were unwrapped together in the same texture space.
Upon having the UV’s all mapped out, it was time to start painting! I baked the Volcanic Fizz Orthographic image onto the model as well as the lights and shadows, and this helped give me a foundation of paint to work with. By this point of the design, I hadn’t had any color reference on the staff. In the end, I chose to use a dull, dark blue to complement the oranges of Volcanic Fizz. The staff was the most difficult part to design.
As a last step, I lowered the visibility of seams by using Blender’s texture paint tool. Upon finishing the painting, I pulled up an armature from a previous project file and modified it to fit Fizz. The model was then rigged up to the armature and posed.
AAfter finishing Fizz, I began work on the dragon. I hadn’t had a good modeling reference for it, so I decided to make one. The dragon itself took much less time than Fizz did, as it used a texture half the size as Fizz: I didn’t have to worry too much about tiny details.
The modeling for the dragon was done by using simple primitive shapes like a cylinder and extruding them out until achieving the same shape as the concept art. After having the sides done, I tampered with the front, back, top, and bottom until I was satisfied with the results. In the same manner as Volcanic Fizz, I projected the concept art onto the model, unwrapped the UV’s, and painted the model.
Lastly, the models were posed in the way that they are seen in the finished product.
There’s a little bit more to the skin idea, you can find it here.
I had a blast making this! Big thanks to my friend Misty for helpful advice and suggestions, and to Sketchfab for being such a handy resource for showcasing 3d content. I am very happy with the way the model turned out, and it is my hope that Riot Games considers the design for their own game!
You can see more of Justin’s work on his Sketchfab Profile and on his deviantArt site.