Travis Henderson did a nice breakdown of the amazing new VFX, which features an unusual take on the classical League of Legends special effect.
Hi, I’m Travis Henderson
, I’m a junior vfx artist at Gunfire Games
. I’ve worked on the Oculus VR titles Chronos, Dead and Buried, and From Other Suns, and I’m currently working on Darksiders 3. For Chronos, I worked on everything from ambient environmental vfx, to creature and interactive vfx. For Dead and Buried I worked on a few shooting interactives, and the rest is unreleased stuff I can’t comment on. On From Other Suns, I worked on weapon, creature, ambient environmental, and ship vfx, as well as some special material fx.
I got started in VFX in 2013 when I was attending GDC in San Francisco. I wandered in on a vfx round table and was very excited and surprised about all the stuff they were discussing. After the roundtable session ended, there were a few vfx people who graciously gave me some of their free time, and went over what vfx entailed and pointed me in the direction of some good learning resources. After that, I dug in to those resources my senior year in college and began learning and building my demo reel.
About the project
First and foremost, I picked something I was going to have fun working on. I decided to make a “skin” effect, or an adaptation of an existing effect from League of Legends, as opposed to something original. I really love the Arcade series of skins in League, and the concept of creating 8 and 16 bit style effects for a stylized PC game sounded like a fun challenge. I really liked Ashe’s ultimate ability, which uses a cool 3d modeled arrow and has a nice impact with lots of different elements.
I started out gathering some reference, looking first at Ashe’s original ultimate ability, then the same ability for her different skins to see if there was much difference in arrow size, and what common elements they all shared that I would need to adapt to a retro style. I sketched out what I thought a 3d version of an 8-bit arrow would look like, using a really low resolution texture size in Photoshop, which helped keep the blocky look of it. After that, I exported the texture into Maya to make the 3d model and matched my grid units as close as I could to the size of the squares in my texture. I set my select options to snap to my grid, and started extruding from a simple cube until I got the final shape. It was a fairly quick process, since I didn’t have to deal with curves and softening edges.