Red Post Collection: Skins Team Concept Artists Q&A, IronStylus on Cho'Vu - "Yes. But not right now ", and more!

Posted on at 3:42 AM by Moobeat
This morning's red post collection features a massive summary of the Skins Team Concept Artist Q&A, IronStylus with his thoughts on a Cho'Gath VU, Nome on what team Clarity has worked on in the past, and more! You'll also find some silly MSPaint drawings Rioters whipped up during the Q&A!
Continue reading for more information!



IronStylus's thoughts on a Cho'Gath VU

When asked about his thoughts on a visual update for  Cho'Gath, IronStylus commented:
"My feelings. 
Short answer: Yes. But not right now. 
Long answer: It's going to depend exactly what the scope of Cho is. Because.. ****.. we could scope creep the hell out of him. Because he a) has a lot of real estate, that model has tons of crazy possibilities. b) he has a great, clear theme behind him, and c) all of his abilities are ripe for pumping up to 11.

All in all, as I've said before, Cho'Gath is what I would consider one of our biggest potential successes if we manage to pull it off effectively, efficiently and build in the time for the scope we're going to want to tack onto him. He has SO much possibility and potential. Some ideas that may or may not ever happen: 
- A model with the cabability to expand/extend/bulk as he gets stacks.
- Anatomy that supports all of his abilities, like how Kha'zix's has biological aspects to his spells.
- SIZE. He should be a terrifying Kaiju-type thing. 
I'd love to hear some crazy ideas. Throw 'em at me. 
He probably won't happen any time soon. My hunch is maybe sometime next year but that's assuming a LOT. I want to get concepts on him ASAP just to map out how big of an investment we're talking. He has the potential to be really epic, my hope is that we can hit him sooner than later."

Speaking of VU threads, IronStylus also flew by the Taric VU discussion to comment:
"Thanks for all this feedback guys. It really is informative and insightful. It both confirms and challenges some of the things we've thought about internally. While we're still not in the pre-production phase with him yet, a lot of what's said here is what I'll have in the back of my head as we approach concepting him.

The conversation will continue both here and in the studio. I'm excited at the prospects and ideas that we can leverage when his time comes around officially."

Team Clarity 

Following the earlier dev blog on gameplay clarity, Nome chatted on reddit about the other projects the "Clarity Team" has been working on besides the Summoner's Rift update:
"Different teams! We have different teams working under different initiatives. I work on two teams: Environments and Clarity. Environments put out the update to Summoner's Rift, and Clarity has been working on jungle timers. I am the only resource shared between the two, and otherwise our priorities and resource utilization are determined separately. Champion, Live Gameplay (balance), and Relaunches are also under the gameplay initiative umbrella along with Environments and Clarity, and likewise they do not share resources with us. For Clarity, this just happened to be something we were passionate about."
He continued:
"Yep! It's an exciting thing that we're taking this very seriously. We're a small strike-force composed of multiple disciplines--UX design, game design, engineering, QA, and visual design. Our mission statement is "To make LoL more clear and satisfying by tackling clarity issues that impact most players, most of the time." Ironically a somewhat unclear statement, but it gives us purview over a lot of aspects of the game. In general, we act as stewards of game clarity--we find things that aren't clear, and we fix them! 
Things that we've worked on:
  • The minion VFX you see on live.
  • The champion health bars you see on live.
  • The aggro indicators.
  • Summoner Spell VFX, sounds, and icons.
  • The new objective health bars on PBE, that you can see on the update to Summoner's Rift.
  • The floating text and last-hit ceremony you see on live.
  • And more to come!"

When asked if the Clarity team would look at the LoL Website and fix up the ability descriptions and ratios/CD/costs listed on the champion pages, Nome replied:
"I don't know that it's something anyone is actively working on, but yes--this is something we'd like to get eventually."

Skins Team Concept Artists Q&A

After summoner's voted to kick down the Blue door in the "Doors of Fate experiment", several of the Skins Team's concept artists rallied together to answer your questions!

Here's RiotBaconhawk with the intro:
"It's a cloudy, foggy day here in California. 
tips hat 
It's a good day for a Q&A. 
blue card cuts the mists, they swirl in protest 
a splash of mana, a bit of magic, and several mystical figures emerge 
The Bravo Ray, Senior Concept Artist
RiotPenguin, Evil Concept Artist
RiotZeronis, Concept Artist
RoadkillsRevenge, Concept Artist
Paulewog, Concept Artist
Other skins team minions such as RiotMindbullets, Dev Manager; Riot Baconhawk, QA Analyst; Riot Whist, Animator 
they stand side-by-side, armed with Cintiq styluses, watching silently, waiting 

Suddenly the Announcer calls out loudly over the Rift: 
"CONCEPT ARTISTS HAVE SPAWNED" 
It's time for Q&A! 
Rules:
  1. Universal Board Rules in effect. (Read 'em here).
  2. Wheaton's law. (Don't be...rude.)
  3. Understand these guys are concept artists on Skins team. Try to keep your questions centered around that topic!
  4. Please understand Concept Art is at the beginning of our production pipeline, so there will be some questions we either cannot answer or prefer not to. Be kind to the artists. (But still feel free to ask).
sizzles expectantly 
Ask away! 
Edit: Here we are, beating The Bravo Ray with the official mascots of the Skins Team, the dolphin and baconshark. Gotta keep his love for Swain in check~"
On to the questions, which I've attempted to sort into similar categories for MAXIMUM READITUDE.

Design

When asked what the hardest champions to design skins for are, several Rioters chimed in!

Riot Whist replied:
"Champions with multiple forms is the easy answer here. 
Champions like Shyvanna are essentially double the work to create one skin."
RiotZeronis replied:
"Champions with a lot of assets like Zyra. Even Zac because of the complexity of his animation."
 RoadkillsRevenge added in:
"To me the most challenging champs are ones that are small and slender and share similar body shapes to other champs. It can be tough to make them dramatically different enough to be exciting while still retaining the recognizability of the character. Someone like Fiora for instance can be tough because she doesn't take up much visual space in game and if you make too dramatic a change to her costume she starts to be hard to recognize. Someone like Alistar on the other hand, you can do a lot too and hes so big in game it feels like it has a dramatic impact."

When asked how long it takes to whip up a concept piece, Riot Zeronis noted:
"On average, it takes about 2 weeks to hand the concept art off into production. However, it really depends on the tier of the skin and complexity of the skin. Champions with tons of model assets like Zyra would take longer than that since she has plants, seeds, and a lot of particles to re-concept for the skin."
He also noted:
"It really depends on the amount of assets that the champion has and the tier of the skin. 2 weeks is sort of the average time it takes to complete a concept before production. Legendary and Ultimate generally takes longer than that."
The Bravo Ray added in:
"It varies, some take about two weeks for just a concept production asset for 3D to make the deliverable. The concept will go through a lot of iteration, and polish. 
While other characters say like Swain and Zyra, scales in the time frame because of the complexity of the different models needed for concept."

Riot Penguin also gave an overview of what the general process of skin creation is from start to finish:
"No problem! 
So the general skins processes looks something like this: 
Ideation/Concept: So we start with a wide spread of quick sketches that could work for a given thematic. Once we have a direction we are excited about, we refine it down until we have a clear, final 2D concept, complete with abilities, etc. 
3D/Rigging: Now that we have a concept, it's off to the 3D guys to build out the concept, texture it, and prepare it for the tech artists integrate into the game. 
Animation/VFX/SFX: Now that the character is running around, the animators, VFX, and SFX artists start working their magic to really bring the skin to life 
QA/PBE: Once the art side of things is complete, the skin is tested, vetted, and sent to PBE, before being green lit and shipped live! 
Even though each step is done by a different discipline, the entire process is highly collaborative - so it's always a back and forth, and no one person is solely responsible for any one element :) 
Duration of each step changes based on the complexity of the skin, but it generally takes about two weeks for each step (concept, 3D, animation, VFX, SFX, QA, etc.)"

RoadkillsRevenge commented on the common theme of seeing small details not translate from the concept art to the finished, in-game product:
"Yeah, more toggles! 
Ultimately we are designing for things to look good in game, and since we have an RTS style top down camera we are very much designing with that in mind. A very detailed piece of concept art might look awesome on its own but a lot of that detail might not read well from the games camera so it needs to be adjusted."

When asked "How far can a skin go from the base model", Mindbullets explained how the team decides what parts of a champion stay for each skin:
"One of the most important things is a champion silhouette. As long as the champion is still recognizable, we can break out of traditional design, but it is very much a gut check. The goal when making a skin is to find out what, at a glance, screams "this is 'x' champion" and try to play up those elements. The thing we really try hard to avoid is having the instant reaction of "Wait, who is this again?" because that is very detrimental to gameplay. 
One of the tricks the team uses is to squint at the screen so that you can't make out fine details and see if you can still recognize the champion. When we can add interest with things that thematically make sense like the winter Scarf on the new Varus skin then we're all for it as long as it helps them pass the test!"

In response to a summoner asking how they decide who to make a skin for next ( citing  the lack of Skarner skins! ), Mindbullets stepped up to the plate:
"Weighing in on this question, probably won't be super elegant but it's a small insight into our mindset at times:
  • First and foremost, for every skin, we want an awesome idea. Champions like Urgot and Malzahar are examples of champions we continue to ideate on, but just haven’t come up with that knock-out idea yet.
  • We definitely look at champions without many skins or that haven't gotten anything in a while. This is something that’s on our minds at all times--Rumble FINALLY got a skin this year, but we took our time to make sure it was the right one. And we've got Skarner on our radar, we just want to make sure we get them something they deserve.
  • Complexity of a champion can impact our ability to make something we feel is awesome too. Champions like Kha'Zix and Zac are awesome, but they're a little more complex to make skins for so it takes us some extra time to sort out some of the issues. Zyra/Rumble were in this category as well. We're really happy with the way Graveyard Zyra and Super Galaxy Rumble came out, but they encountered a bunch of road bumps along the way. They were totally worth overcoming, but we need to make sure we leave room to conquer those challenges effectively.
  • Popularity does factor in, but it’s not the only factor. There are a lot of variables that go into our champion selection, including time from the last skin the champ has received (as mentioned above!), number of skins the champ has so far, upcoming relevant holidays and events, and many more! We also have to balance this with what some of the other teams are working on too—occasionally, we’ll be ideating on a champ internally that’s getting a VU soon, so we’ll coordinate with the other team to maximize our efforts.
Popularity is just one thing that helps us understand what you guys as players are finding most relevant to League at the time. Sometimes, we’ll come up with an incredible idea that trumps this as well. Again bringing up Rumble here—he was way towards the bottom of most played champions. When we feel like we've got a killer idea we want to get it to players that play that champion, even if they aren't popular at the time. 
As a Malzahar main I know what it's like to wait a while for a skin; it’s tough. We want to try to minimize this as much as possible, but unfortunately sometimes it doesn't work out. Main thing I'd like to get across is that just because a skin hasn't come out doesn't mean we've given up! We're usually working through the issues we encounter to try to get some awesome stuff out to people who play that champion as quickly as possible."

Current Skin Feedback

When asked why champions like Yi, Ashe, Teemo, or Ryze get so many skins, Baconhawk replied:
"Also see Riot Mindbullets' post about this~ 
If you think about those champions, what do they have in common?
  1. They are older champions, so they will naturally have more skins (not always the case--but that brings us to the next point)
  2. They are easily recognizable tropes. Yi - samurai, Ashe - archer, Teemo - satanically cute yordle, Ryze - mage. That makes them easy to create simpler "outfits" for, since their theme is already apparent and doesn't have to be sold through clothes/weapons/armor/etc.
  3. They also don't have secondary models (like Zyra's plants), difficult spells (Rumble's ulti), or death passives.
  4. They don't have much in the way of special effects or particles. Yi is very simple, Ashe has arrows, Teemo has satan shrooms, and Ryze has... magic electricity bolts. Those are pretty easy to deal with from a particle standpoint.
I hope that makes sense. Sometimes those considerations just come together to make it so we have low-hanging fruit and just can't resist picking it, especially when there are amazing concepts just sitting there, begging to be made. That doesn't mean we don't want to make skins for other champions! Sometimes the concepts are just too good and we may not have a really good/compelling one ready for a more complicated champion."

In response to a comment about SKT T1 Zyra's plants not having a unique skin, Riot Baconhawk noted:
"Totally valid question! If you noticed, these skins were priced lower than skins we've released recently that have particle changes and custom animations. We are hoping to make sure there are awesome skins available at many price tiers, not just the highest ones. (I personally LOVE Zyra, too--especially being a blonde myself!) That means they will usually come with just a model change and not much else--but will still look really cool."
Riot Penguin later added:
"So skin lines like SKT and TPA are meant to be very simple, fun skins, that we intentionally kept very low scope so more people can enjoy them :) 
We do sometimes make minor projectile changes for the sake of consistency on skins like SKT Zed (because it'd be weird if he threw different blades than the ones in his model) - but Zyra's pants involve much more complex animated models, that would have significantly bumped the scope of the skin - which would have then required equally new content for the other SKT skins to match...Ultimately it would have ended up in a sort of content arms race, that would have the upped scope of the whole skin line...and as I say, we really want to keep these skin lines simple and accessible to everyone. 
Now, that said - We did actually explore the idea, but at the end of the day, we didn't come up with any thematic hook for the plants that was so overwhelmingly awesome, that we felt provided more value to you guys than keeping the skin simple. 
Hope that makes sense!"

Skin Ideas

When asked where the team gets it's skin ideas from, Paulewog commented:
"Good Question, 
The truth is we artists on skins team get ideas from all over the place! for example: our favorite games, movies, fanart, and our personal life experiences all go into our creative mental library so to speak. 
One really cool thing we do here at Riot is get a bunch of people from different teams into a meeting-room and just toss out ideas until our "whole wall" whiteboards are literally packed with skin theme ideas complete with pros and cons for each. Often times the conversations sparked from said ideas go of on tangents that are so hilarious and absurd I can't decide if the amazing people I work with are brilliant or absolutely Looney.....probably both!"

When asked if there will be more skins for the various skin series like Headhunter or Commando, Mindbullets replied:
"We've typically got a pretty extensive backlog of how we could apply current skin lines to more champions in our game, but we want to make sure they make sense. 
I don't exactly have a "yes" or "no" but more of a "if the thematic fits the character and we think players will find it cool, then lets do it!""

As for how the team comes up with the various different skin sets, RiotPenguin explained:
"First off - For ever skin we want to make sure the thematic works well for the champion. We never try to force a skin onto a champ. In fact, most skin lines actually started FROM a really cool skin idea (like Battle Cast, Pool Party, Riot, Arcade, etc). 
Now that said - Once we identify a skin line we want to expand, we give it a clear design language and thematic to tie future skins together (and prevent confusion with other skins). That doesn't mean they all have to look exactly the same, it just means they should have similar qualities. 
So sometimes we'll say "Ok Quinn needs a new skin, what would be coolest for her?" and then brainstorm some ideas. Once we decided Woad would be a strong theme for Quinn, we established what the look and feel of Woad skins would be moving forward, and used her to help flush that out. 
Other times however, we have an established line that we use for events (like Pool Party or Riot) and say "Ok what should we do for this year's Riot skin?" And then brainstrom which champion would be a really good fit for the Riot skin line (based on design and ability ideas). 
As far as giving skin lines love - Skin lines like Vandal, are really old, and so obviously wont have the same quality bar as newer skins...Plus some of our strongest skin lines started with really old skins, and thus have some inconsistency since we've flushed out the line. Other newer skin lines like SKT, TPA and World Cup, are purposefully low scope, as to be more accessible to more people. But there are other skin lines like Battlecast and Head Hunter that are some of our most elaborate and complex skins...They just aren't complete teams yet because it takes a LOT less time to make 5 SKA skins than it does to make 5 Battlecast skins ;) 
Anyway, TL;DR - We always want to make sure the skin theme fits the champion well, while trying to create clear consistency between different skin lines :) 
Hope that helps!"
The Bravo Ray also added in:
"Yes we would love to explore more five man comps and team based thematics." 
He continued:
"One of the many things we want to do going forward is explore and expand more of the skin lines universes. This is something we are really excited about."

When asked if the team ever looks into making fanmade skin ideas even if they aren't the popular ones, The Bravo Ray commented:
"We are always reading the forums for great ideas. If one is really strong, we try to analyze the concept, figure out why it is working and where areas it is not. 
This does not mean has to be the most popular, just that the thematic can work well for that champion."

As for a western sort of "Rodeo" skin for Thresh, Mindbullets noted:
"Pretty sure this idea came up in one of our sessions where just come up with what we think are cool skin ideas for a champion. It's a pretty cool idea. Not sure if it's one we'll actually make (maybe we've found something we think Thresh players will think is even better :) ) but we've thought of it!"

When asked about a Volibear skin that doesn't "just change his armor", Paulewog replied:
"Volibear is one of my favorite champs. I also cant wait for the type of skins we will create as a team in the future for "da Bears". But your opinion has been noted fellow Bears fan!"

Personal

Paulewog also answered a question regarding which skin he is particularly proud of designing, saying:
"Another tough question, 
I enjoyed the opportunity to work on Heart-seeker Ashe the most! the tone of the skin was definitely not subject matter I would normally be into drawing but that's what made the challenge so fun! Seeing great cosplays of the skin was one of the most rewarding experiences here at Riot for me!"

When asked about his enjoyment of making evil skins and if he ever does anything else, Riot Penguin commented:
"My mission in life is "Evil skins for all champions" - And I prioritize benevolent champions...but obviously I want to support the team as needed, so occasionally I'll work on something not evil...Like the gingerbread and snowman Snowdown ward skins... 
(...I just cry a little afterwards...)"

Clumps

[ These are big clumps of questions, covering various topics, that were awkward to break up! ENJOY. ]


Riot Penguin with clump #1:
"Quote:
Hey guys, thanks for doing this Q&A! Without further ado: 
1) What's the very beginning of the conceptualization process like? Do you find yourself working more from trope ideas, basic visuals of what a possible skin could look like, or perhaps maybe just trying to fill in the blanks as far as characteristics of certain champions go? 
2) What goes into the translation from splash art into the actual in game model? It's very interesting to see the relation between 2D and 3D, so how much do the two tend to work off each other, and in what direction? 
3)Penguin, my bird bro. Remember that time we were talking the high res ward art you have posted up? I'm curious, are those really only used just reference, or do they get put into use where needed eg. If a cinematic like Twist of Fate needed a ward somewhere? 
4) How did Primetime Draven start out? 
Lastly, thank you guys so much for bringing us great skins month after month. As someone that aspires to work at Riot, or at the very least, a company with Riot's attitude to making things fun, I admire your hunger for perfection and innovation. Keep up the great work!
1) So in general we start with a loose concept and a broad spectrum of possible ideas, and then narrow the design down as the team hones in on elements they are excited about.
But in general, each artist has their own way of approaching concepts. I like to start with really quick speed sketches, I know Bravo Ray prefers really clean linework from the beginning, and Zeronis sacrifices to the dark heathen gods of old, to absorb the souls of other artists and keep him young. So...you know, to each his own. 
2) Actually the splash art is one of the later steps in the process. The splash art starts once the model and abilities are all in progress, so the splash artist can get a full understanding of how the skin will look and feel in game. Then they roll all that together, and try and really capture the mood of the skin in one snapshot of glory! 
3) Those pieces were just done for the community, because people had been asking me for detailed ward art for fan art reference :) 
4) So we explored a lot of different "Shoutcaster" themed skin ideas for different champions, and Draven was the one that really stood out from the bunch because. You know. DRAAAAVEN ;) 
It's our pleasure!!

RiotPenguin with clump #2:
"Quote
so,  A few questions that I am curious about when it comes to conceptualizing skins.
  1. Where does the idea come from? Is it just time for a champ to get a skin or does someone come up with an awesome idea that everyone says "yup we gotta do this"?
  2. How many passes/recreations does it typically take before everything gets finalized and is ready to go onto the next step?
  3. Do multiple people get tasked for conceptualizing a single skin to increase the sample size or is it delegated to primarily one person to hash out the idea and others come in later to flesh things out further?
1) It depends. In general, the producers work their black voodoo majik to figure out which champion is up for a skin, and then the team will get together and brainstorm a thematic for that champ. Othertimes however, it goes the otherway. We have a seasonal thematic (like the Harrowing or Riot skin line) - and we will brainstorm which champion(s) will best suit that event. 
2) We try to get a concept ready within two weeks, but sometimes a champion has a lot to design (like Zyra with all her plants, or Kha'Zix with all his evolutions) and it will take longer. That said, we'd sooner delay a skin, than force an idea that we don't have full confidence in. Remember, we're not trying to mass produce a product here. We're trying to provide you all with the best value we possibly can, and if that means taking more time to flush out a concept, then that's what we'll do :) 
3) Each concept has a point person who's responsible for delivering the final design, but that doesn't mean they do it alone. Every concept is a massive team collaboration. That means getting paintover suggestions from other concept artists, but also general feedback from any Rioter who's passionate about that champion or skin line. (For example, I got a lot of awesome feedback from BackonHawk on Woad Quinn, because she knows a heck of a lot more about Quinn than I do)"

RiotMindBullets with clump #1:
"Quote:
Awesome! Thanks for doing this
  • Are there any big epic skins coming up that you're excited for
  • Did the splash artist behind Dragonslayer Pantheon take liberties or was he looking at concepts ( because the model is definitely not the same). And are there plans to change that skin into the splash art when he gets a VU
  • What is your favorite skin that you have produced
  • Are there already existing skins that you would to get your hands on and touch up? Could be any skin, even a classic
  • Do you ever help the VU Team with skin updates
Thank you guys again for this. So cool
Caveat again: I'm not an artist so this is strictly from the standpoint of someone not well versed in art. 
1) Yes, one comes to mind for me particularly but unfortunately I can't and won't say anything about it until it is announced :) . 
2) He was working directly with the team. We usually try to allow the splash to expand on the fantasy as long as it doesn't feel misleading. When you have someone on the team with a crazy amount of skill like alexplank (the splash artist) does it is very exciting to see them go above and beyond. We talked about this splash a lot but ultimately felt like it delivered on the core fantasy, even though it is definitely more detailed than the in game model. 
3) I haven't actually done any of the creative work on the skins, but I'm personally a huge fan of Warring Kingdoms Xin Zhao. The team did an incredible job on this skin, and I think it is still my favorite skin in the game. 
4) I'm from Minnesota and LOVE hockey so I'd love to get my hands on Hockey Jax, but I think that effort is probably better served making something new and more awesome for newer skins. 
5) I used to work on the VU team, but since I'm not an artist all I did was help with scheduling, process, planning, etc. I've seen the artists get inspired by each other and I can say it is definitely hard NOT to also get excited and inspired by what the dudes around you are doing.
Hope those answers suffice even though they aren't coming from one of the artists!"

RoadkillsRevenge clump #1
"Quote:
Hey fellas, glad to see you come out to an answer some questions
With that in mind, here are some things I'd like to pick your brains on:

  • Has there ever been an amazing concept or idea that you put aside because of a champion VU or said champion having too many skins?
  • How deep does your concept art go? Do you make a skin and be done with it or go further with example particles and the like? For an example, let's say you were working on a new Heimer skin. Would you draw the skin and only the skin or the turrets, rockets, etc?
  • What's the most challenging skin you guys have worked on?
  • Say I have a skin concept but I'm not artist. Do you guys only look at concepts if they're drawn up or do you read everything in the realm of skin ideas? (Griddlesticks, Fiddle but he throws burgers instead of crows and his scythe is a spatula and he's basically working minimum wage)
  • Why the lack of finished skin teams? We got hodgepodge groups of 2-3 and the occasional solo skin but man it's been ages since we had a finished skin line.
-Yeah, we definitely try to coordinate with the visual updates that are going on.
  • We go as deep as possible, so yeah, for someone like Heimerdinger we would also sketch ideas for his turrets, and other abilities.
  • The ultimates like Pulsefire Ezreal and Spirit Guard Udyr stand out in memory partly because the extra features they have but also because theres a lot more eyes and feedback on a skin when you go for that higher level.
  • It definitely doesn't need to be a great piece of artwork to sell an idea for a skin. We get ideas from every department in the company as well as fans which could be quick little sentence, to goofy photobashes, terrible ms paints, etc. Its all good.
  • Tell us which skin lines you are most interested in seeing more of! We don't really set out to make each skin theme a full team but if we see a cool opportunity and we think it will have a lot of community excitement then hells yeah."

Paulewog clump #1:
"Quote
  1. When in the process of making a new skin does the skins team get involved in drawing concepts? Does it always start with you guys or does someone tell you that you have to make this idea?
  2. On average how many concepts do you go through to get a skin completed?
  3. How many concepts do you do for skins that are cancelled at some point? What percentage of concepts never make it to the game?
  4. Do concepts for one champion ever get switched over to someone else in the process? You might start with an idea for Diana but it'd look so much better for Riven or whatever?
  5. Do concepts ever get pulled aside because that idea might be a good one for a new champion?
  6. How does doing ideas for skins differ from the process for a new champion or doing a VU? Of the three teams, who has the easiest and hardest jobs?
  7. How many skins concepts (like Popstar Ahri) would you say come from fan suggestions, even if it doesn't make it to final how many suggestions do you guys try out?
  8. When making skins do you all do a few ideas and then the best one is the next skin to be done?
  9. What are the odds you'll ever do Sakura Soraka?
  10. When are we getting Pool Party Ahri or Pool Party Divine Soraka?
Awesome Questions Linna,
here goes, 
1: usually unless there is a piece of inspiration art for us to riff off, we concept artists on skins team create the first rough sketches for each skin. sometimes a theme had already been chose, and sometimes we have room to suggest themes in these sketches. 
2: So as I mentioned in the first answer we start off with creating a batch of ideation sketches. the goal of these is to explore unique takes on a given theme. Then we pick our favorite elements and do a batch of variants. We continue to narrow the designs until we are pleased. Even after the concept phase is over and the skin if modeled in 3d we make small tweaks. Its quite an organic process and we usually end up doing a lot of revisions per skin. 
3: I can't really answer this question adequately since I don't know any numbers related to that. 
4: This does happen occasionally and not without good reason. 
5: We generally do not like to work that way because we always want to provide the best possible product for the player. It would be a disservice to all our players if we pulled punches on a really cool idea that makes sense for a skin because there might be overlap with something slotted for release far off into the future. 
6: What are you trying to do here, get me beat up! Every team here at riot faces vastly different challenges and has different problems to solve, so comparing who has it easier is pretty much impossible, but what I can say is that we have a very rigorous interview process so everyone definitely brings their A game! What I can say is that I personally love skins team so much because of the possibilities to create off the wall alternate fantasies like Arcade, Snowdown, Heartseeker, and Pool-party! 
7: I'd love to answer this one but unfortunately I'm not a numbers guy. I just draw pretty pictures! 
8: We have experimented with this technique and it is definitely useful for generating a wealth of ideas in a crunch! Whether multiple artists ideate or only one, each skin is tweaked by multiple team members through either verbal feedback or paint-overs. That intensive feedback loop is one of my favorite aspects of working with such a talented team! We are a truly tight-knit skin producing machine. 
9 and 10: I plead the fifth!"

Other

When asked about the idea of skinning the in-game cursor, Riot Whist replied:
"I can't say I've ever heard anybody talk about cursor skinning but I'll be sure to mention it if we ever move forward on ideas like UI skins!"
When BEGGED for hints about the next ultimate tier skin, Mindbullets replied:
"We've got an idea and we're definitely working on how to make it happen. It's totally fun but a lot of work. 
We want to blow everyone away with our next one, but unfortunately no hints or clues to leak just yet!"
When asked to describe the next ultimate skin in two words, Mindbullets replied:
"Ultimate skin"


MS Paint Fun


Within the Q&A thread, Riot Baconhawk also initiated an MS PAINT skin idea thread, which several Rioters joined in on!
"Also, it looks like it's time for an MS Paint skin idea thread! (Keep it PG) 
I'll start with Baconivia!!
cawws 
NOTE: THESE ARE NOT OFFICIAL SKIN IDEERS YO"
Baconhawk came back for seconds with her "Short Order Bristle" :



Mindbullets also revealed his "concept" art for "Meowkai":
"As someone with 0 artistic talent,  Igive you my rendition of Meowkai"

Riot Whist contributed his "Crazy Daisy Teemo" concept:

Our beloved RiotNurseFlan submitted her "Flan Zac" idea:
"oops, reposting here! BEHOLD! FLAN ZAC"
Riot Ve1vet delivered with her idea for the Reverse Hecarim skin:

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