Giyon: The Gossamer Acolyte - League of Legends Fan Champion

Giyon: The Gossamer Acolyte is an Ionian fan champion concept for League of Legends. I worked on this old geezer for the past 5 weeks in order to strengthen my portfolio for the '21 Riot Games Concept Art Internship. League of Legends, a game that has grown alongside me since I started playing in 2012, is missing a cool old man champion (sorry Zilean). So, therefore...
MY GOAL was to design a champion that veers away from the popular "young and beautiful" stereotype while STILL being able to appeal to that intended audience.
This was a difficult endeavor seeing as I've never designed older characters before (Giyon is only 58... it's not really THAT old, Kelly). The MOST difficult hoop for me to jump through was trying to make a relatable champ out of a niche that isn't popular right now to begin with... wise and wrinkly boys!!! Despite this, I believe I learned a lot while creating Giyon. My execution is much more refined and my knowledge of character tropes, motif usage, and beginning to end project development is stronger too. I am thankful for the experience and am proud of where I stand after wrapping this up! Cheers to future personal development and I hope as you view this project you might learn something new too!
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A HUGE WARM thank you to those that helped me prepare for the Intern Application and to those that helped me develop this project. Thanks for aiding my journey and providing me with unconditional support. And a special thank you to my mentors who continuously push me beyond my limits! Credits where credits are due! I couldn't have created the beautiful project formatting without observing the fan champion projects created by Leon Ropeter and Natalie Pellman. Visit their Artstation to view their projects if you haven't already... wonderful work!
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DISCLAIMER: The League of Legends franchise and Runeterra universe are owned by Riot Games, Inc. The game, story, backgrounds, and some other graphic elements shown within this project belong to Riot. Giyon: The Gossamer Acolyte is a fan champion created by Kelly Daley as fan art for League of Legends.

Giyon: The Gossamer Acolyte Promotional Poster Art. Overview of the entire League of Legends fan champion project. Buckle up Summoners... you're in for a ride! PS: Giyon is pronounced gee like in geese... GEE-OWN!

Giyon: The Gossamer Acolyte Promotional Poster Art. Overview of the entire League of Legends fan champion project. Buckle up Summoners... you're in for a ride! PS: Giyon is pronounced gee like in geese... GEE-OWN!

Giyon Promotional "Trading Card." Functioning as a preview of the model sheet to get Summoners excited about scrolling through the rest of the project.

Giyon Promotional "Trading Card." Functioning as a preview of the model sheet to get Summoners excited about scrolling through the rest of the project.

Starting from week 1, this was the beginning of creating Giyon. I wanted to understand who he is in writing before I began to visualize him. I also read the Realms of Runeterra book before beginning to ensure this champion would fit in the LoL universe.

Starting from week 1, this was the beginning of creating Giyon. I wanted to understand who he is in writing before I began to visualize him. I also read the Realms of Runeterra book before beginning to ensure this champion would fit in the LoL universe.

The next step towards visualizing Giyon was to grab references of Ionian characters, textures + real life clothes, and images of "old man" characters that successfully exist across entertainment. This aided in starting my ideation process.

The next step towards visualizing Giyon was to grab references of Ionian characters, textures + real life clothes, and images of "old man" characters that successfully exist across entertainment. This aided in starting my ideation process.

THE FIRST exploration sketches of Giyon. I began with silhouettes because I was truthfully scared of starting. Once I felt more confident, I began taking those silhouettes and exploring with line. These felt both too extreme and basic at the same time.

THE FIRST exploration sketches of Giyon. I began with silhouettes because I was truthfully scared of starting. Once I felt more confident, I began taking those silhouettes and exploring with line. These felt both too extreme and basic at the same time.

I realized I needed to further understand Giyon past just his background and story. I made a keyword list to quickly describe Giyon. Picking three words, I found images that best represented them and extracted shape motifs.

I realized I needed to further understand Giyon past just his background and story. I made a keyword list to quickly describe Giyon. Picking three words, I found images that best represented them and extracted shape motifs.

Early headshot explorations. With my newfound motifs for Giyon I ideated and decided that it would be best for me to find his face identity first.

Early headshot explorations. With my newfound motifs for Giyon I ideated and decided that it would be best for me to find his face identity first.

Luckily within the first iteration of heads, I felt a strong connection with one. Funny enough, I only made small changes to the original head despite all the variations. I wouldn't have known this was the best direction without all these iterations!

Luckily within the first iteration of heads, I felt a strong connection with one. Funny enough, I only made small changes to the original head despite all the variations. I wouldn't have known this was the best direction without all these iterations!

Exploration of body types. I already knew Giyon's general type through the writing prompt I created at the beginning. But I wanted to see how I could push it within these set limits. I chose the one I did because it felt both strong and fragile.

Exploration of body types. I already knew Giyon's general type through the writing prompt I created at the beginning. But I wanted to see how I could push it within these set limits. I chose the one I did because it felt both strong and fragile.

Costume explorations. Although I kept my motifs in mind, I wasn't hitting the Ionian concept just yet. After the extensive critique, I realized that my ideas were leaning too fantasy. I needed to reevaluate my writing prompt to push these further.

Costume explorations. Although I kept my motifs in mind, I wasn't hitting the Ionian concept just yet. After the extensive critique, I realized that my ideas were leaning too fantasy. I needed to reevaluate my writing prompt to push these further.

Taking the critique in mind, I created more costumes. This costume resonated with me the most and was the one that felt right for Giyon. **I also planned the values from light to dark in order to make it read well from a MOBA angle (and during PVP).**

Taking the critique in mind, I created more costumes. This costume resonated with me the most and was the one that felt right for Giyon. **I also planned the values from light to dark in order to make it read well from a MOBA angle (and during PVP).**

Bang iterations. (A bang is a Chinese staff).  I knew I wanted it to consist of both manmade and natural Xaolan wood material. I chose the one I did because it's function was the most clear and it fit the motif the costume was holding.

Bang iterations. (A bang is a Chinese staff). I knew I wanted it to consist of both manmade and natural Xaolan wood material. I chose the one I did because it's function was the most clear and it fit the motif the costume was holding.

Turnaround sheet that was CLOSE to a final. There were small changes I made comparing this with the final in order to make for a clearer read for 3d character artists.

Turnaround sheet that was CLOSE to a final. There were small changes I made comparing this with the final in order to make for a clearer read for 3d character artists.

Color exploration. I had a general idea of the color palette he would have. I knew it would be an earthy base combined with sky+cherry blossom colors. Again, I kept the value gradient the same for the sake of readability in a MOBA setting.

Color exploration. I had a general idea of the color palette he would have. I knew it would be an earthy base combined with sky+cherry blossom colors. Again, I kept the value gradient the same for the sake of readability in a MOBA setting.

The final sheet showing the costume that I decided to settle on. Including some callouts to make the design choices more clear and readable. I both simplified and made small adjustments with the thought of "could a 3dmodeler understand this?" in mind.

The final sheet showing the costume that I decided to settle on. Including some callouts to make the design choices more clear and readable. I both simplified and made small adjustments with the thought of "could a 3dmodeler understand this?" in mind.

Weapon function examples and turnaround. This was a sheet to understand how the bang's strap would lay across Giyon, and the 3dimensionality of the weapon.

Weapon function examples and turnaround. This was a sheet to understand how the bang's strap would lay across Giyon, and the 3dimensionality of the weapon.

Expression exploration! This was fun especially because I already knew who GIyon was as a person. I could easily envision him making each of these faces because I did the early brunt work of solidifying his personality.

Expression exploration! This was fun especially because I already knew who GIyon was as a person. I could easily envision him making each of these faces because I did the early brunt work of solidifying his personality.

Movement Exploration! Trying to display his weightless and flexible gestures. This was the first step in identifying how he would interact with the Rift.

Movement Exploration! Trying to display his weightless and flexible gestures. This was the first step in identifying how he would interact with the Rift.

Final Render + story exerpt for Giyon.

Final Render + story exerpt for Giyon.

Isometric model mockup- Render and callouts. My main goal was to ensure the seams were visible so that character artists would know where to cut materials. I also skewed the perspective slightly to show off more of the model.

Isometric model mockup- Render and callouts. My main goal was to ensure the seams were visible so that character artists would know where to cut materials. I also skewed the perspective slightly to show off more of the model.

Ability mockups. My priority was to represent his flexibility and personality through his VFX and movements. I had huge help from a D3 player to conceptualize these making them both familiar and fresh. I kept Giyon grey to better show the VFX and colors.

Ability mockups. My priority was to represent his flexibility and personality through his VFX and movements. I had huge help from a D3 player to conceptualize these making them both familiar and fresh. I kept Giyon grey to better show the VFX and colors.