PROJECT: Aphelios may not be real, but it should be. He’s got the edginess and Alune is basically a hologram. It seems like the perfect fit for a League of Legends skin line based on a cybernetic universe. Freelance illustrator Zoe Zhu placed Aphelios into the PROJECT world today and the results are a match made in Runeterra.
The artist posted the concept on Twitter and included her creation process on Artstaion. The final splash art is filled with a mix of vibrant blues similar to what we see in the PROJECT: Ashe splash art along with a hint of pinks and purples to highlight the background. Aphelios’ five weapons hover around him as holograms waiting to materialize in his hands and Alune has been reimagined as a wispy green gridded sentinel. Aside from the splash itself, Zhu outlined her process and some of the challenges she faced when creating PROJECT: Aphelios.
Zhu highlighted broad details like the pose Aphelios should be in. One of her earlier renditions was “very stiff and centered.” To solve this, Zhu made finite adjustments to the tilt of Aphelios’ head and position of his body. Zhu noted seemingly minute problems as well, like how she could make Aphleios’ weapon look like it was materializing in his hand rather than appearing as a hologram.
Zhu further expanded on the process by including mock-ups of Aphelios’ weapons and an image of what the splash would look like in the champion loading screen. Zhu even added his face to the in-game League HUD. As a final add-on, Zhu posted a timelapse video going through various sketches and pose concepts until landing on the final product.
This isn’t the first time Zhu has created amazing concept art for League, either. Last year, she released an idea for a puppeteer skin line that featured Xayah and Rakan as marionettes and her Twitter is filled with champion art.
Considering Riot Games releases new PROJECT skins each year, there’s a chance we could see Aphelios in the next batch. For now, however, he remains a fan-made concept.