I'm sure you have a decent explanation for it, but I'm curious about your decision on Senjuani's model/art. How come you decided to make a big powerful/independant woman who rides a boar not giving a ****, wear a skimpy outfit? It just doesn't make sense to me, or works well, especially since she's from Freljord, which is supposed to be cold. Where is her fur jacket? How does she stand the coldness of Freljord and ride into battle wearing just a small bikini and loin cloth?
Thanks for the answer#110 months, 3 weeks ago
I appreciate how this question was asked, so here's the deal with Sejuani.
A lot of what I'll say here has had its way paved by Morello in that he owns up to when we gaff up to something design-wise, I feel we did in fact gaff up art-wise with Sejuani, at least in terms of marrying concept with context. I shall explain..
I worked on Sejuani‘s production art, in that I did a turnaround of her after her concept had been fleshed out and approved. Basically, front, side, back, of both her and the boar. I actually wasn't working at Riot when I began working on her. I was a freelancer at the time and it was an assignment to work on the turnaround externally. The concept had been done in-house. I was actually fine with what I saw at the time as I said.. "Hey, it's a sword and sorcery type barbaric girl on a big boar, I can deal with that" We actually made her fairly muscular, but not beefy. Very in-shape, but attractive. We emphasized a very strong core on her and thicker legs, as she'd have to be really toned and muscular to a) control the animal she was on and b) swing that flail. For a barbarian gal, I thought it was in a decent range. At the time I didn't have much context so I filled in the blanks myself.
I arrived at Riot full time not long after I began working on Sejuani's turnaround. When I entered Riot it was actually the very first thing I worked on as it carried over from my freelance term. However, within a day it was interrupted by being tasked to work on the lady of my life, Leona. Sejuani was put on hold for a while. Volty, who worked on Sejuani was also diverted to Leona at that time I believe.
It wasn't until.. I'd have to check my file dates.. but I'm pretty sure not until I finished working on Talon or Xerath that I returned to Sejuani when we had planned to resume work on her. At that point I finished out her turnaround, at least the greyscale version. Another artist filled in the color work. It wasn't until a while later, at a review, where I learned about her backstory. At that point I learned she was Ashe's sister, was from Freljord, hailed from the tundra and... wait... why did we put her in a bikini?
Needless to say that was a bit of a red flag. At the time though, we were pretty deep into the production process for me to give any well-timed feedback. This was very much a crunch time and the last thing I wanted to do was to make anyone’s life more difficult by insisting we change a ton of stuff. The team as a whole had decided to move forward and I am always and will always be 100% with the team in supporting its decisions. We’re all grownups, we all make well-informed decisions. Even if I have concerns I know darn well the team will execute to the best of its ability. This is where my fault lies. I think I should have voiced my concern a little louder and/or earlier. So, I am absolutely responsible if indeed I did not share feedback appropriately if it was a big concern to me. A well informed opinion never falls on deaf ears here, so I fully accept responsibility for not pushing what I felt was important.
Regardless, Sejuani continued into production and was released. She was difficult for a lot of people considering how much work went into her. I will stand by the fact that despite some initial visual choices I find her quality to be good when it comes to polish and animation. I think she’s a neat character where we had to do some interesting things to overcome certain obstacles. It was also a very hectic time as we had a number of things on our plate simultaneously with upcoming champions. Sejuani was one of a few champions which I think could have marinated a little longer.
This is all the story of development though. We iterate, attempt, analyze and learn. It’s all a learning process with its share of successes and failures. Sejuani works in certain regards. In others I think she falls short. Visually, if someone were to give me the assignment today with the lore context, I’d have probably come up with something very similar to what you’ve suggested. Maybe an elegant but armored fur coat, or more selectively bundled up appearance that still shows she’s a strong, beautiful woman. Instead of a boar I’d have probably gone with a snow leopard, or maybe some other crazy beast more suited for a frozen wasteland. These are things we can indeed try in the future with skins. I think she might benefit for an overhaul in this way that could serve the fantasy we’re trying to communicate with her. This is where I emphasize that I think Sejuani works in concept but not in context. Right now, I agree that her current base visual design doesn’t work when you contextualize it with her background story. If she was in the desert, maybe. From the frozen north, not so much.
I think a lot of the artists feel similar to the way I do about Sejuani in retrospect. We’ve brought up the subject when looking back on her as we ideate skins. We think about the design when we’re developing look in conjunction with story,. That’s what’s great about development at this cadence. We get to learn from our experience so that we can iterate differently next time and use our arsenal of design appropriately.
I hope that was informative.#210 months, 3 weeks ago
So when you do concept work nowadays, has this experience led you to be more familiar with lore and other contextual elements before submitting a design or do you allow yourself more artistic freedom before refining your ideas?
My self in particular, I work very very closely with the designers, creative or game, when making a champion. Personally I want to be all up in the mechanics and creative direction including lore and back story. In fact, I'm actually not fond of working on characters which don't have extremely solid lore development. I want to know that the character has longevity and will remain relevant for a long time. I want to be able to theoretically make a movie from the story of a single character.
I might be a little aggressive actually on how closely I prefer to work with other disciplines to make my voice heard. I'm sort of pushy I think.. you might ask Volty and Runaan about such things =)#310 months, 3 weeks ago
#410 months, 3 weeks ago
Is it one of those fire and don't look back things? I don't mean to imply an negative connotation, but it seems outsides of reworks riot is focused on progress. It seems like you guys get the polish done and more polish doesn't come, for good reason, I'm sure many artists look @ their champions and would have constant improvements and no new one would ever get new ones done. But I digress, do you think of these champions as works in progress or simply good experience for the future?
I do indeed think sometimes we focus on learning the lesson and moving on, but that's only because we have a lot of awesome ideas that need to be made, and we have a lot of forward momentum. It's not always feasible to go back and do a salvage operation when there's a number of priorities, new champions on one end and then reworks of really classic champions that are in severe need of love on the other. We always want to make a "10", but we're not always going to be able to achieve that given some circumstances. Again, we learn from that. Personally, I feel that we have a lot to glean from Sejuani-type experiences that are better served by making an upcoming champion work more cohesively as a character than trying to bandaid extensively.
I think a lot can be served with skins, we can bring her to a real level of epic. That's more of a cosmetic option we can give though, rather than a script re-write.
I think most of the artists view "mistakes" as learning experiences which help us arm for future challenges rather than treating a product as a work in progress. It's never a good idea to release something half-baked. At least in Sejuani's case it was a finished cake, but man, it was just a weird combination of flavors.#510 months, 3 weeks ago
I think thats cool but i think im also one of the few who LIKES her as is.
And I love Leona too so this isnt just a *** appeal thing.
Hear me out.
I think the fact shes from the frozen tundra and dresses like that makes her look more badass. More tough. More fierce. I used to go to school in shorts a t shirt and sandals...in a NY winter. 2 feet of snow and I dressed like summer time. It got me used to the cold. She is taking this to much more rediculous levels but its FANTASY. I like thinking that chick was so strong that she can wear a bikini in a blizzard and feel like shes on a sunny beach. That shows a lot of character IMO.
She is who she is. There's no changing that. This is all really a matter of preference. For some this fantasy works. I TOTALLY see what you're saying.. I'm from NY, I know the winters! =D I think that disregarding attitude does indeed fit her. I think there is a story to tell there, and yes, it IS fantasy! I just personally believe it was a stretch. That's just my opinion though!#610 months, 3 weeks ago
#710 months, 3 weeks ago
Yeah and I think a more clothed skin would be cool for her too! I like her as she is but I don't think a more warm outfit would be bad for her. I just wanted you and the others here to see it how I saw it. I mean her personality is COLD and well, in that outfit, she is too. It works rather well.
Also <3 be red quoted by the great parrot and even more <3's because you are from NY and know what I mean by those winters xD#810 months, 3 weeks ago
Why would they let you work on her for so long without filling you in on her backstory?
"Hey IronStylus, work on this champion for a super long time. Then, when it's almost time to release her, we will tell you her backstory and see if your design matches it. If not- OH WELL!!! ."
..so, it's very possible that this had already been discussed, approved, and I just didn't really get context on it until later.#910 months, 3 weeks ago
#1010 months, 3 weeks ago
As much as I like to imagine her revamped and riding a snow leopard in a future skin, I still gotta say that Sej is one of my favorite champions of all time. I mean come on... she's riding a boar and wields a flail. That just oozes awesome.
MAKE IT HAPPEN, COMMUNITY.#1110 months, 3 weeks ago
Hey Ironstylus, all of your posts in this thread have been really good, but there's just one thing you should be aware of. You said a visual design like Sejuani's could work in the context of something like a desert. The thing is, most people in the desert cover themselves with as much clothing as possible. They tend to look like this: http://i.imgur.com/6oXD6.jpg instead of this: http://i.imgur.com/1a2yG.jpg
The reason for that is because when faced with heat, our bodies use sweat to keep us cool. In the jungle or in a kitchen next to an oven you could probably go shirtless (or in a bikini, in Sejuani's case) to make yourself more comfortable from all the sweat. But in the desert the sun is way too hot for that. If you go in a bikini the sun will evaporate all the sweat off your body before it has any time to cool you down. You'll be overcome with heatstroke in no time. Not to mention the wind can fling grains of sand which are more painful than you think. So people in the desert try to cover themselves completely in light clothing which can still breathe/let a breeze through, in order to maximize both comfort and protection from the elements. If you went wearing a bikini you would be laughed at, and then die from heatstroke.
#1210 months, 3 weeks ago