The Challenge

Creative collaboration takes time, whether your team does it remotely or sitting side by side. Creators from multiple disciplines, locations, and time zones need to coordinate so that the final product reflects a unified vision. At Riot Games, much of that responsibility falls on associate art director Lana Bachynski. Bachynski works in Riot Games’s Research and Development division, where artists dream up and build the next big game players will love.

An uninterrupted flow of communication and feedback ensures Bachynski and her team of artists in character development, animation, FX, and 3D modeling stay on target. Unfortunately, reviewing creative work in a timely manner while making sure artists’ feedback is captured precisely and understood becomes a cumbersome process, especially when working across disciplines. Bachynski and her team wanted a more streamlined approach to creative reviews that would save their artists’ precious time and speed up their iteration cycles.


“Pop it into SyncSketch, and I’ll give you some notes.” That’s how easy the review process is now that Bachynski uses SyncSketch to give feedback to the many artists and teams involved in ongoing projects. SyncSketch is so entwined in the teams’ creative processes that she uses it for pretty much every note she gives. “It immeasurably improved the smoothness of our reviews,” she explains.

Like many creatives, Bachynski loves to mentor up-and-coming artists. She likes the way SyncSketch makes reviews with students clearer and lets them communicate visually. When the opportunity arose to use SyncSketch at Riot, she and her colleagues were excited to get started. Eliminating the clunkiness from the review process has accelerated creative reviews, providing Bachynski with a seamless way to stay in touch with her teams that empowers Riot Games artists to contribute at the top of their potential. 

“Animators really sit at the center of game creation, which means we need to collaborate with each other and across disciplines as smoothly as possible,” Bachynski says. “SyncSketch empowers us to communicate well with other teams and sit at the hub of all the different pieces that need to come together – and do it efficiently.” 

Since starting to use SyncSketch for the team’s animation reviews nearly a year ago, Bachynski’s team has removed the stumbling blocks inherent in collaboration methods. Previously, Lana’s team lost valuable time switching between different presenters or apps, and notes would become redundant because the team wasn’t in sync on the latest version. Now with SyncSketch in place, her team has cut one of two weekly meetings from the calendar and completes all their reviews in 50% of the time – and who doesn’t love getting time back by eliminating extra meetings?

“So much of my work getting alignment among our artists happens through feedback,” Bachynski shares. “Having a really robust feedback tool that works for multiple disciplines, from concept art to 3D modeling, makes my job so much easier.”


  • Halved creative review time
  • Cut two weekly review meetings from artists’ calendars through enhanced productivity
  • Ability to get set up and reviewing collaboratively in less than 20 secs vs 5 mins 
  • Reduced time to review in sync from 5 minutes to less than 20 seconds

Why SyncSketch works for Riot Games

1. SyncSketch makes creative reviews seamless

For Bachynski, the ability to sync smoothly during reviews is the most important benefit they’ve gained. You can share a file, share your screen, try to get everyone on the same frame, or give feedback to one person at a time, but these methods are awkward and involve a lot of waiting around.

“Not having to go through multiple processes is a massive improvement,” Bachynski says. “What makes SyncSketch so special is the ability to have everybody on the same page, at the same time.” Because everyone provides feedback on the same version, there’s a single source of truth to point the way forward.

For a team that spans multiple time zones, the ability to provide feedback asynchronously is critical. That’s especially important as a game shifts from ideation and concept, with just a small team, to full production across multiple departments. “SyncSketch is one of the only tools I can think of that actually leans into the transformation from in-office collaboration to a global, distributed team environment,” Bachynski explains. “Creatives are embracing that – it’s the future for how we all work.”

Thankfully SyncSketch scales readily as new artists join the team, whether that means equipping them with the ability for hundreds of users to collaborate in real-time or allowing managers and creative leaders to keep a close eye across a growing group of creators. “It’s not feasible for everybody to be everywhere at once,” says Bachynski. “I can’t go to every meeting, but I can pop in and add my feedback asynchronously, so we stay on track.”

Despite the geographically dispersed team, performance is not an issue. “It’s never crossed my mind,” exclaims Bachynski. “There’s never been a moment when I’ve had to wait because someone’s connection is laggy or their drawing tools aren’t syncing.” Bachynski uses a Wacom Cintiq Pro 24, taking advantage of SyncSketch’s precise support for Wacom tools, but no matter whether artists use a mouse or a tablet, drawovers appear on screen without stuttering or distortion, so reviews proceed just as if everyone is in the same room.

2: A robust toolset makes communication easier and clearer

SyncSketch’s advanced brush engine and artist-driven features are designed specifically for creative review workflows, so artists can work intuitively, in the way that suits them best. “SyncSketch has a highly robust toolset – basically everything you would ever want to use in a review,” notes Bachynski. She named Compare and Ghosting (Onion-Skinning) as two favorite features she uses daily. Comparing versions makes tracking changes over time or demonstrating how to make improvements easy, and Ghosting allows her to communicate movement and other animation notes visually, right on the frame.

Hot keys are another favored feature, since they are aligned with the familiar hotkeys in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. “I didn’t even realize I could use hotkeys until I naturally started using them,” she explains. “That was serendipitous.”

Accessing all the tools they need in one place helps Rioters communicate more efficiently. If Bachynski is sharing character art feedback, for example, the color-picking tool is a fast and effective way to provide notes on color, with no need to open Photoshop or another application. Doing paintovers to show effects is also much easier than before, so Bachynski or any other member of her team can quickly rough out what they want a movement or dissipation to look like, right in SyncSketch. “That’s something I didn’t do before using SyncSketch. I could do it, but it felt so clunky and just such a hassle. Now I do it at least once a week,” Bachynski muses.

“If you’re on a creative team that does drawover style reviews and you’re not using SyncSketch, you are actively hurting your team. The benefits are that significant.”

Lana Bachynski, Associate Art Director, Riot Games

3. SyncSketch gives teams more confidence to collaborate creatively

Bachynski’s leadership ethos is to empower all members of her team and ensure that they feel ownership of the vision as much as anyone else. She notes with satisfaction that SyncSketch is enabling that culture by making it easier for everyone to contribute comfortably and confidently. That’s especially important for artists who have less experience participating in the review process. 

“My expectation for my associate-administrative-level artists is that they are building up their confidence and not holding back,” she says. “For consistency’s sake, one person has to have the final say, but we should all be in there trying to make things better at every point in time. SyncSketch allows me to build a team with that philosophy.”

For her, the days of the big boss being the only one handling the laser pointer are over: “SyncSketch gives people the liberty to present their own piece of the project and participate fully in reviews. Everyone has a chance to step up and do work at the top of their ability, without waiting for an invitation.” SyncSketch is an integral part of their daily workflows, enabling artists to present their own work, provide context, and highlight what they most need feedback on. Even in asynchronous reviews, an artist can add annotations that help a reviewer focus on the most important areas for feedback with useful information about the current state of the artist’s work. SyncSketch makes the team faster, freer, and more collaborative.

“SyncSketch gives my team visibility into what other people on the team are doing, which encourages people to share ideas and helps gain alignment among everyone on a project.”

Lana Bachynski, Associate Art Director, Riot Games

Both Bachynski and her team members benefit from the transparency and visibility SyncSketch provides. Because team members are empowered to take initiative in their work, artists are free to stay in their creative flow and keep projects moving toward completion.

“People feel comfortable and confident to jump in and give notes to each other or experiment with something new without constantly having to ping me for oversight. They know that I can check in because everything stays in SyncSketch, so there’s one clear spot to see everything,” she says. “They can even go to somebody and ask, ‘Hey, can you upload that video to SyncSketch, because I have a note that is going to make this sing.’ They get in each other’s business in the best possible ways.” That freedom has resulted in a team that can work independently while still harmonizing on the end product. “I want people to feel like they own the vision as much as I own the vision, and SyncSketch helps me create that kind of environment.”