(NOTE: this project was completed 7/15/16, prior to Riot's release of the official Star Guardian Lulu skin in October of the same year)
League of Legends is a multiplayer online battle arena video game developed and published by Riot Games that follows a freemium model and is supported by microtransactions. Purchasing in-game cosmetic alterations (or "skins") to player characters (or "champions") is one type of microtransaction.
While some skins are one-off designs, many skins are part of a thematically-related series. In 2015, Riot released the one-off "Star Guardian" skin for the champion Lux. The following design imagines what the champion Lulu might look like as "Star Guardian Lulu." Since this skin would feature a new model, particle effects, animations, and sounds, it would be sold as a 1350 RP ($20 USD) skin.
Below is how the skin would appear in game as well as some of the skin's particle effects. The left shows how her "Whimsy!" (W) spell would affect enemy champions.
Ideations for this skin were done in the top-down perspective of the game so the design would be visually clear. Sketches were used to work out form language and silhouette (left), then values were added to set a guideline for the colours (right).
Both internal research and external research was used to arrive at the design above. The internal research below was found in-game and is the property of Riot Games.
The left corroborates all of Lulu's current skins to understand what major shapes identify Lulu in-game. The right examines the values on Lulu's default model to identify the points of highest contrast, which appear to be her hand and the hand that holds her staff.
The internal research below pertains to the one-off "Star Guardian" skin, aiming to better its iconic form language (left) and colour choices (right).
It was important to make "Star Guardian Lulu" feel thematically similar to "Star Guardian Lux" without being a complete copy, so the internal research above was supplemented with the external research below.
Mirror's Edge is an action-adventure platformer set in a quasi-futuristic dystopian society. The player guides the protagonist through brightly-coloured urban environments, negotiating obstacles using movements inspired by parkour.
This art museum presents the player with two distinct classes of set-dressing: objects that reward interaction and objects that punish interaction with the sounding of an alarm. Hidden rooms provide opportunities for secret items.
Colour keys (left) and value thumbnails (right) are a great way to work out the most effective composition without sweating the details of the scene.
The empty indoor pool presents the player with three possible ways to traverse the space: through the pool, around the pool, or over the catwalks along the glass roof. The objective is to retrieve something from the locker room opposite the entrance while possibly being pursued by enemies.
The following is a ZBrush model of the Amazonian queen, Hippolyta, from a re-imagining of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream as a sci-fi space opera. She is an intellectually-advanced alien warrior kidnapped from another planet by a human colonialist leader who forces her to marry him.
Below is the process leading up to the final design. From left to right: mood collage to establish tone, palette derived from mood collage, and thumbnail ideations.