Lighting Club #02 – LoL Cinematic

Hullo everybody !

Here is the Lighting Club #02 ! We will talk about another kind of short this time : a game cinematic for League Of Legends. (Just for you information all concepts art I putted here are done by Jason Chan, Senior Concept Artist at Riot Games, feel free to have  a look to his awesome Artstation :


I guess most of you know this video game but “League of Legends (abbreviated LoL) is a multi-player online battle arena video game developed and published by Riot Games for Microsoft Windows and MacOS. The game was inspired by the Warcraft III : The Frozen Throne mod, Defense of the Ancients.” > Thanks Wikipedia.

The Climb lighting analyze !

The League of Legends’s cinematics are really famous, they are most of the time done by Blur Studio or Digic Picture for the ‘‘biggest/badass/cgi’’ ones, and by Fortiche Studio for the 2D style ones. In this Lighting Club I will focus on The Climb, done by Digic Picture then, but if you are curious, do not hesitate to watch the others LoL’s cinematics, even if you are not interested by the video game they are really cool with a lot of technical/artistic research. I know this one is a bit old (january 2018) and even if a lot of people watched it already I think it is still a good idea to talk about the lighting in this short.

First thing to know is, in League of Legends they are a looot of characters. Each with a story, a background, a gameplay, a universe… As we know the lighting is there to highlight a character and enhance the spirit, the mood of this character.  Some of theses character has a part of story together and makes the gameplay evolve in the direction of synergy. Thus, I believe they try to show that in cinematics, and then in the lighting as well. The Climb is a two minutes one shot sequence so we can imagine the difficulties in terms of lighting… They managed to show completely different moods without ‘real’ cuts. Awesome !  Here is the full cinematic, re-watch it and let’s analyze it together !

First, a close up, little speculars, as we like, on the armor *wink* and then a beautiful sunset, big rim light in the hair. Okay okay we all know this is the worst character of the video game but this cinematic beginning is definitely cool in term of lighting and colors : bit of pink, orange, purple, blue.. Simple but effective ! In less than 20 seconds they show a spell of Yasuo, first to show the gameplay for sure but also because that bring blue to your  eyes, that prepare the next mood : Taliyah. They choose for this transition to used a big blue smoke. That makes the trick. The camera and the characters animation help a lot to accept the difference of lighting.


Now we are in a blue/orange lighting, a bit of dynamic lighting with the blue thunderbolt fx. And from the shadowy/blue mood we progressively come back in the orange with the sun. We can see the sky, oh wait, it looks a bit green isn’t ?

jason-chan-ss2018-taliyah-conceptjason-chan-ss2018-keyart-taliyah03005006Hm perhaps because of the next mood is green ? Yup indeed it is. Once again that makes the trick. Our eyes are not shocked when they switch from Thaliya to Ekko and his blue/green/dark universe. I really like this part. We are in a completely different mood, darker and rich, there are a lot of details. We were outside, we are inside, was a natural lighting now an artificial one. The green is obviously the main color until Blitzcrank (the grab arm robots) arrived with his yellow/gold/blue ambiance.


For people who’s played at League of Legends a few times the spells from each character are really obvious/readable, and for those who never played they are simple to understand. The colors, the lighting, the shadows, the contrast help a lot to read what we see and to avoid to lost the spectator, even if there are a lot of details in the image. Then we are in a kind of  ‘‘paused time’’ – referring to a Ekko’s spell – (holy shit look at this awesome animation of Ekko..) where every shadows are now bluer, plus the blue fx ”echo” of the character as well, that will help one more time to bring the next mood : underwater one.


A bit of yellow, a lensflare and boom we are underwater. Green and blue, auto-luminescence from the Kraken – so cool – for a few second and instantly we are in another ambiance, blue/dark/outside one.


Badass shot on Lucian dashing-shooting everywhere and a big green lighting in the deep : Tresh is not far away. The cinematic finished on a slow motion of Lucian with green bounced from Tresh, amazing !


As we have seen in this cinematic, the lighting take a huge part of the work and impact a lot the story telling. Obviously, the layout, the animations, the designs, the fx and every others steps of creation are awesome-useful ! I hope you liked this 🙂

In the meantime I’m writing this article, Riot just released a new cinematic, done by Fortiche Studio (Paris) and I have to link it to you.. It is cra-zy-awe-some-cool ! I let you watch it, I’m so fan of the artistic direction !

Let me know what do you think about theses two cinematic ! See you soon for the Lighting Club #03 😉




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