An Observation on Irelia's Finalized Design from a Game Development Standpoint

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A Bad Idea

Senior Member

11-11-2010

Or, "Why Irelia's Concept Art Wouldn't Work In-game".

As someone who has worked with game models and 3D character animation, I can understand the changes made to Irelia's final design. Translating concept art into a deliverable product is a difficult, difficult task (I've worked both sides, either drawing concepts or cleaning concepts for production), but overall I'm satisfied with the changes. There are things I liked about her original concept and things I disliked (mainly the proportions, but that is easily remedied during the modeling process). When all is said and done, however, an art team must agree on a design that conveys the character's style, as well as making it possible to model, rig and animate.

A few things that would NOT have worked if her original design was used for the final model:

1. Irelia's Hair
In the original art, Irelia had a veritable curtain of hair, as though she were a disgruntled Japanese ghost... except that Irelia's hair is full-bodied and moisturized, so more like a disgruntled Japanese ghost with hair care awareness. For concept art, it looks great. It's certainly not impossible to model that kind of hair in 3D, as I'm certain there have been characters rendered in 3D who have peek-a-boo curtain hair. However, consider the angle and view that League of Legends is played at; top down, bird's eye view. At the distance a player is viewing Irelia, they would not be able to see her face at all. Paired with the neck-brace from her armor, her face would be completely obscured. You wouldn't even be able to notice the slight lip coloration, which is so subtle and hard to see at a glance from her concept art, and would be lost on a top-down bird's eye view anyway.

Her current hairstyle parts the curtains and lets us see her face. From top-down and from multiple angles, it's immediately communicatable which direction Irelia's face is, and therefore easier to recognize. Also, parting her hair in the center gives her a haircut unique from other female champions in the game. It's about time League got a dekkoko =D

2. Irelia's Sleeves
The character costume designer in me is in love with the sleeves from Irelia's concept art. They are regal, complex, and gorgeously detailed. The character animator in me is aghast with dread at the thought of attempting to animate those sleeves in-game. They are almost like having a cape on each arm. I've designed characters with excessively long things draping from their arms, and it is HARD to pose them without completely obscuring everything on their body. It's almost as if those sleeves were designed only to be visible when Irelia is taking the 'Jesus pose' she's in for her concept art. Now take these complications and put them on small-scale, LoL view. Not only would Irelia be required to keep her arms level at all points in time, but the super-long sleeves would DEVASTATE her sillhouette. She wouldn't be so much a character as she'd be a collection of floating capes. It would be impossible to see what her arms were doing, as well as the rest of her body.

Her current sleeves are much more compact, allow ease of movement, and still retain a bit of the original shape. The shape is graceful, and it permits animators to use a full range of motion when animating her arms.

3. Irelia's Swords
Irelia's concept art swords look like wings made of Chinese Jian swords. That's freaking awesome. The Jian is one of my all-time favorite martial arts weapons. They are thin, elegant, and capable of the most graceful, beautiful arts while still being very lethal. Unfortunately, small swords would show absolutely no detail in the zoomed out 3D view that League of Legends plays at. It would look like Irelia was poking at all her enemies with metal toothpicks. There's a reason why characters with swords tend to have distinctive shapes; because small, thin blades simply would not look impressive when zoomed out far above. The smallest swords in the game belong to Katarina, whose swords are curved in a distinctive fashion, and Shen, whose ninjato are distinctive only in which they are sheathed at all times. A character's weapon is part of their sillhouette and what makes them easily distinguished from other characters in the game. While no other character has a floating array of thin swords, the silhoutte just wouldn't have been strong enough.

Irelia's current array of swords gives us not only a distinctive shape that is culturally consistent with the Ionian Master Yi skin, but now divides her swords into four large blades, and four smaller blades. The large blades look amazing; they have a distinctive shape, allow for graceful animation by creating unique shapes by arranging the blades at different angles and formations, and are ingeniously orbited around an orb, which can be manipulated for even further animations. The four smaller blades take the place of the 'wings' that now float at her shoulders, which emulates the original look. Also they look kind of like Vajra, and that has awesome cultural significance.


So there. This is the long and detailed opinion of a junior character animator who has dabbled in character concept design and character modeling. In the end, I am pleased with the final product and will likely be playing Irelia extensively. I hope to see you all on the Fields of Justice!

TL;DR - Irelia's original concept would have been too hard to see from League's top-down perspective. Irelia's hair would have obscured her face, her sleeves would have made her arms impossible to animate, and her swords were too thin.


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airphforce

Senior Member

11-11-2010

This topic was... a bad idea.


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zeroplex

Senior Member

11-11-2010

I'm a lawyer. This man knows what he's talking about.


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Zelphy

Senior Member

11-11-2010

My opinion of the new art...


Good:

Nice attention to detail, love the ornate look of her armor and weapons.

New "headgear" looks nice.

Fits with LoL's art and other characters much better.






Bad:

Her new art needs to darken the color scheme, she can have Ionian colors without this tacky bright red color. Ionian Yi's skin has a better red.


Her hair should at least have a few pieces hanging down in the front, or bangs imo, otherwise with her current hair, it highlights her forehead.
This would alleviate complaints of her head being too large.

Daggers, why orange? It goes with nothing else.

Face needs to be more badass in general, less young, lips need to be smaller.


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EmissaryShadow

Emissary of the League

11-11-2010

I like this Bad Idea


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Crownface

Senior Member

11-11-2010

Her current art isn't new, it was her original art. I don't know why the concept art that was posted was so different, they had her drawn out a long time ago.


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Kioro

Senior Member

11-11-2010

I'd rather just wait until there's a custom skin for her, and the Chinese make better art than Riot so I can replace the load and splash picture..


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Lady of the Sun

Senior Member

11-11-2010

The hair could probably be successfully done in the same style as Katarina's is, flying about all over the place. As you've stated, the view is from top down, thus does it matter if half her face is obscured? I really like the obscuring of her face a lot and prefer it to the massive forehead we've been shown. Secondly, I know it's concept art, but the stance she is in portrays her standing tall with no battle pose, looking very strong.

I can agree on the sleeves, to a point, they could get away with the flag-like bits hanging down without movement but not the long threads at the bottom of them.

Regarding the swords, i liked the chinese blades too, couldn't they just be upscaled to be seen better?


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Shaella

Senior Member

11-11-2010

this is the best bad idea i've ever had.


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Adelle

Senior Member

11-11-2010

Exellect post. I like how you highlight the importance of silhouette. I'd like to link you to this blog post, which you may have read.

http://dresdencodak.tumblr.com/post/...-silent-killer

Actually everything by Aaran Diaz is amazing, I highly recommend everyone read his blog post about how the medium and content interact (this applies to games as well).

http://dresdencodak.tumblr.com/post/...s-not-optional


Edit: Silhouette is the primary reason why LoL's art is much better than HoN's from an artist's point of view. And because the medium IS the message is the reason why LoL is a better game, imho.


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