Did you think that Worlds in China would not surprise with anything during the finals? Well, you were wrong, because during the Opening Ceremony of the Finals, a dragon flew into the stadium! And not just any Elder Dragon himself. This may be a bit unrealistic because it wasn’t 35 minutes yet, but dragons don’t have watches.

Elder Dragon during the Finals Opening Ceremony

Summarizing the situation, the anthem of this year’s Worlds resounds on the stage, i.e. “Legends Never Die” (if you live without electricity and internet in a cave, so you couldn’t listen to it, I’m pasting a link especially for you), suddenly you can hear something that was clearly not there before song, the camera directs our eyes to the sky, and there … DRAGON! He flew into the stadium, circled over the stands, and landed on the stage in front of the Summoner’s Cup. But you have to see it with your own eyes:

If you were expecting a fair-haired beauty on the back of a beast, the only explanation is that League dragons are strong and independent, so they don’t need parents. For those who expected Nidalee or another Chinese javelin thrower to slay the monster, I also have an explanation: dragons are worshiped in China, so spilling the blood of one of them would not bode well for the people.

But how?

Are there any nerds among you who wonder how a computer generated dragon (unfortunately, this one wasn’t real) was thrown into the real scene? Great! In that case, I invite you to a short lesson in 3D graphics!

To make people’s dreams of seeing a flying reptile come true, the artists needed a 3D model of the stadium and the Dragon itself. Then, it had to be animated so that its position corresponded to specific places in the stadium.

Then, when the stadium camera is 100% aligned with the software one, it’s time to render. Then the visibility of the building model is turned off, while the shadows that other objects cast on it are preserved. Thanks to this, effects can be superimposed on the image we saw before the start of the finals. To increase the realism of the lighting, an HDR image of the sky was most likely used, so that the sun would be more or less where it would be in real time. Thanks to this, the color of light and bluish reflections, among others in the body of the dragon, which will be given to us by the sky, are preserved. Easy? For me yes!

Did you like this part of the opening ceremony? Would you like Riot to deliver a similar experience every year? If so, I have good news for you because they plan to “raise the bar”, so who knows, maybe in a few years, the Dragon will not just be displayed on the screen, but will become a hologram? The development of technology will certainly not disappoint!