Aphelios’ base skin has 147 unique FX, Riot says

Riot dives into VFX and how it's used to make champions pop.

Image via Riot Games

From the tornado spouting out of Yasuo’s Q, to the indicator on Ziggs ultimate, these are various examples of how Riot Games incorporates VFX into champions. Each visual is carefully crafted to suit a champions’ traits, give definition to skills, and wow players with stunning effects.

And today, Riot’s FX team discussed how they add these finishing touches to Pantheon, Senna, and Aphelios.

VFX comes in as the fourth step in Riot’s character creation process. Once champions come to life during the animation step, it’s time to add flair to their kits through VFX. This year alone, League of Legends fans have seen five new champions and four reworks.

“The [FX] team completed 24 unique skins that needed some kind of VFX treatment, for a total of 33 exciting new FX skins in League,.” Riot said. 

Leading with Pantheon, the FX team was tasked with bridging the gap between his astral background in Targon with his physical prowess. In his base skin specs of light are scattered throughout his VFX which help allude to the constellation and star shapes seen in Targon based champions. 

The challenge with Senna was to give her shadowy, Black Mist effects while providing clear indicators for players to see her skills. Riot explained that stencil tech was heavily used to help define her E, Curse of the Black Mist. The team wanted players to feel immersed in the shroud without misunderstanding the range of vision it provides. 

Image via Riot Games

As for Aphelios, he posed a particular trial for Riot’s FX team. His five unique weapons meant each would have to have its own attack effects. And individual effects would need to be created for each possible gun combination. In total, this led to Aphelios having 147 different VFX for his base skin. 

Additionally, Riot added several isolated videos of each champions’ base VFX along with a few closeups on their release skins. In Pantheon’s Dragonslayer skin update, the team notes the massive wings and fire trail seen in his ultimate. For Senna’s True Damage skin, attention is brought towards the popping shapes, halftone treatment, and chromatic aberration. And in Apheleos’ Nightbringer skin, Riot points out the tiny hands seen when using his gravity gun to grab targets. 

Riot’s discussion on VFX has been part of its ongoing end of year Art Blast on Artstation. Earlier in the week, various art disciplines went in-depth on concept art, character art, and animation. Tomorrow Riot is ending this mini-project on champion development with a pre-season reveal.