The Creation of Diana: Art, Story and Sound
Inspiration for a champion’s artistic design comes from many places: gameplay mechanics, champion personalities or a walk in the wilds, just to name a few. Sometimes new champions are even inspired by other champion stories, and so was the case with Diana, Scorn of the Moon. While her artistic motif naturally pays homage to the moon, the art was further influenced by her relationship with Leona and its transforming effect on her personality. The artists, animators, sound designers and creative designers envisioned Diana as a character long before they knew her as the champion we see today. A few of them came together to discuss Diana’s origins and evolution through art, story and sound.
Iain “Harrow” Hendry (Associate Creative Designer)
Kienan “Knockmaw” Lafferty (Associate 2D Artist)
Alex “CaptainLx” Lehmann (Senior Animator)
Mike “IronStylus” Maurino (Senior Concept Artist)
Oscar “shadowMacuahuitl” Monteon (Character Artist)
Adam “BelligerentSwan” Swanson (Associate Sound Designer)
Christina “NinjaChewyKun” Wun (VFX Artist)
Where did Diana begin?
IronStylus: We wanted to design a champion that was a foil for Leona, but we couldn’t really pin down what that character would look like. So, we tried a bunch of iterations and we couldn’t get away from creating a character that looked like Riven or a chick in armor. She was in development in that way for about a year. Then one day I was watching an anime and saw a character that seemed like the right archetype: an Eastern, svelte girl in super heavy armor that kicked a lot of ass. It’s a popular trope in the East and it’s something we don’t have in our game. She should be a very vicious character without showing much emotion. We had a very clear idea what she was from the beginning and that gave us the chance to focus more on fun and translation.
How did the lore and Diana’s relationship with Leona and the Solari affect the art?
IronStylus: I think we have been putting more and more into champions to add more flavor. With the teaser and the splash we showed two parts of her lore and her backstory. We essentially made a two page comic of her origin and the aftermath of her ascendance. We used everything in our arsenal to tell a story. She’s a character that’s connected to another character, but she also stands on her own. If there could be two characters that would have a movie, it would be Leona and Diana. They are so ideologically opposed. Leona and Diana are mortal enemies. We used Leona to create a lot of Diana since they are diametrically opposed characters. They are similar in some ways, but Diana stands on her own. Both are more modest characters. They are more covered up, but still alluring and sexy in a different way. Diana’s intentionally as covered up as possible, but still sexy and strong. She has a different silhouette than other champions and moves differently with motions somewhere between Tryndamere and Akali. She’s got an assassin feel, but the sword gives her more weight. She’s interesting from every game angle.
Harrow: It’s such a subtle conflict. They didn’t really always hate each other.
IronStylus: We couldn’t nail down what she was and Colt “Ezreal” Hallam said, “She’s a heretic”. She’s exiled from the Solari. That turned her symbology, emotions, lack of emotions into something. Wow. Yes. That nails it. It was an internal challenge and after that revelation, the floodgates were opened. We were passionate about this character and that spread to a lot of other people. She’s an awesome lore-based champion..
What was the biggest challenge in creating Diana?
IronStylus: She is cold and emotionless, but she has a cleanliness and preciseness with minimal facial expressions that is present in anime. She can’t look bored. How do you sell detached without being bored? How do you make tragic not too sad? The answer is that complex characters gain something back, even through tragedy.
CaptainLx: So, I had to make her kick ass, but not move her too much. I came off Draven, who is so expressive and big. And she is the exact opposite. Maybe she’s adjusting her armor – no that’s too extroverted. I had huge issues trying to find the right balance of her not doing too much, but still being very much alive.
BelligerentSwan: I had the same issue with sounds. Going from Draven and Jayce with over-the-top big sounds to a more emotional character, trying to sell that power without being over-the-top, was a challenge. Finding the right tones to play off the muted personality was definitely a challenge.
NinjaChewyKun: For me the frustration was trying to make you think of Leona, but not making them the same. The moon can be yellow, but so can the sun. It was hard to find a unique particle look for her.
Harrow: Working with the VO was difficult with her because she doesn’t really say anything half the time. She’s not extravagant, but has subdued emotion. We didn’t want her to sound dead inside. She’s tragic, but still powerful.
How did you end up conveying Diana’s preciseness and cold, reserved personality through the art?
CaptainLx: We wanted her to be tragic without being angry or totally eaten up inside. We introduced slow and chase animations. If you are chasing and being slowed, she reaches out as if she’s trying to grab an enemy and pull them back in. We looked at things like the laugh – it’s more of a scoff. That’s the character.
Knockmaw: She is different. She has all this power within her, but she doesn’t show it on the outside. In the splash art we had her down on the ground with action happening around her, but she is calm, cool and collected. At the same time, she also has to have her own pretty look.
shadowMacuahuitl: I transferred her precision into the structured facial expressions and model. I started off with the shape of her hair and that really defined the character’s personality for me. I was thinking about this a lot and had a dream about her hair. I got up one morning and I sketched what I had seen in my dream, the precise curves and how to stylize it. I brought the sketch into the office that’s how it came to be.
CaptainLx: I hope people look at the splash and project that face on her in the game.
How did Diana’s relationship with the moon affect the art?
IronStylus: We knew we wanted to do an anti-Leona, but we wanted her to be more than a chick that had moon theme stuff. To be a fundamental character she has to stand on her own. It was almost harder because she was based on another character. We were more concerned about the character than working within the iconography. We used the moon for spells, particles and weaponry. The moon’s an iconic, graphic disc. Every phase of the moon is graphic. The moon doesn’t really do anything on its own, so we assigned powers of the moon: a shattering plate, cutting, cold, barren. We used the motif to make her a counter to Leona. We adapted the moon to our purposes rather than making the moon an embodied object. We put moon crescents everywhere: hair, weapon, armor, death animation – everything down to swipes, particles and her death animation.
NinjaChewyKun: The moon helps to emphasize her personality: distant and cold. Of course, it makes sense that she worships the moon.
CaptainLx: The shape of the animations help facilitate the moon feeling throughout the kit. It’s an expression of her personality that she chose to worship the moon. When she is recalling she goes on her knees and prays to the moon goddess. We were more concerned about the personality of the character than with the moon iconography, but with the moon, we had more visuals to dip into.
What was your favorite part of Diana’s creative process?
NinjaChewyKun: Everybody was so excited and passionate about her. There was a very clear direction about what kind of person she is. The concepts were so inspiring. For me the best champions to work on are the ones who have the most direction. Everyone had an idea of what her particles should look like. It was a fun collaboration.
CaptainLx: I think collaboration is a great way to describe her process. We worked a lot together and early on and had a lot of fun discussions. I threw away the most animations I’ve ever thrown away because we were just playing around with a lot of ideas. What if she’s jumping? What if she’s twirling? Finding the right balance – she’s snappy, but also natural. People cared and asked advice from each other, so this character went really well.
IronStylus: No one was afraid of getting feedback or challenging something. Everyone wanted feedback. No one was too heavily invested. It was a trusting collaboration.
Knockmaw: Diana was so . . . internally funded, everyone had so much passion and couldn’t wait to get their hands on her. There’s something to be said about an idea that surfaces within and everyone feels it.
Down with the Solari!
Where is battlecast prime cho'gath
I'm enjoying these in-depth posts describing the choices behind new champion art, lore, model, and design. Keep it up Riot!
Certainly the most interesting champion (lore-wise) to date. Fantastic job Riot.
Edit: Protect the Faith. (via summoner icon pls!) :)
Protect the faith!
so cant wait to get her she looks awesome so want to play her =)
That champion sucks Attachment 501329
By any chance was that anime character Clare from Claymore??
Very, very interesting getting a look into the design process of a champion. I'm very much enjoying these little insights into the work Riot's done. Good read, very cool.
Also, Embrace The Heresy.
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