In August, I gave an introductory course in Body Language and wrote about how it affects our interactions with others. Realizing and utilizing body language as a form of communication is important for success in any field. In 3DX, body language is important to be successful within the storytelling aspect of an image or image set. In this month’s editorial, I’m going to talk about using body language as a stepping stone for plot, as well as how to use it to make things more realistic.
Body Language as a Plot Point
Body language can be a subtle affair. Looking away from a conversational partner or walking at a quick pace through a store are strong indicators that those people may not want to be there. It could mean something different but most likely it’s a show of discomfort and it’s common in day to day life. Using body language has a more efficient place in artwork by showing a sudden change, but it’s also useful in displaying character moods or unspoken dialogue. In a silent movie, an actor’s body movements are over-enthusiastic and hyperbolic, but they convey what’s happening in an efficient way. The same sentiment goes for a 3DX set. A running female character is often all flailing limbs and boobs trying to escape, but her capture propels the plot forward.
It gets more complicated when the main character isn’t escaping or running into the situation. If a character is in an unfamiliar situation or unexplored position, her body may display typical signs of tension. The physical display of tension would be clenched fists and raised shoulders, curled toes or closed eyes. If the audience sees the character as initially tense, it will be obvious to them when she gets comfortable. As the tension ebbs out of her with penetration and her gradual enjoyment, she’ll lower her shoulders and relax. She’ll also begin to rely more on her partner and touch them or lean on them. This can be a stepping point for the story, allowing it to move forward and get more exciting.
Life Imitates Art
When body position can’t be used to display emotion – for example if the character is tied up or held by someone – the face can. Facial features can display basic emotions like fear, anger, or lust. Then, there are micro-expressions which are more detailed versions of each general emotion a face can display. Tightening the lips is an example of a disapproving expression, which might fall under anger. Lips pressed together in a kissing face generally indicate happiness and expectancy. But more than these facial expressions, the big ticket in facial expression is the eyes. Your one-way ticket to the soul, eyes express more to other people than we might want them too. Our pupils expand when we’re afraid or deeply aroused. In 3DX, using the pupils to indicate arousal can take a picture a step above another.
There are also things that body language can convey without the actual action from one scene to another. One of these things is breathing. Now, I don’t think technology is good enough to display still frame breathing. Yet showing that a character is taking deep or shallow breaths or a sigh of exasperation is possible. The gestures of breathing, like raised shoulders and chest and the slightly outstretched mouth, are familiar and recognizable to anyone familiar with breathing (hopefully, that fits most people). Crinkled eyes and a head thrown backwards are recognizable signs of laughter. Just like breathing, those movements send the signals to the viewer, with or without words.
Standing Above the Rest
Posture is defined as a position of a person’s body when standing or sitting. But it isn’t just about standing or kneeling without slouching. It’s about how the model holds herself. Are her hands on her hips and does her head have a sassy tilt? Or is she leaning entirely on her hips with her legs splayed? The position of her body tells us a lot about what she’s telling the camera or what the artist is saying about her.
For example, a model is riding a horse. She’s laying against the horse’s back, with no saddle, using its mane to gently steer or relying entirely on the horse’s sense of direction. This could indicate what kind of background she’s from and that she’s in an adventurous or carefree mood. If she’s in the saddle, bow at the ready, riding comes second nature to her and she’s occupied with a much more serious task. Just from her posture astride a horse, we’ve learned a lot about our mystery girl. Either way, a girl gets pretty great thigh muscles from riding a horse!
What can it do for you?
Body Language can tell about the characters in a set without words. People can recognize and respond to tension in a character’s body or dilated pupils and aroused eyes. Just like studying photography for lighting, a popular habit among some of our artists, watching the way people move in old films or in daily life can be useful to making the most realistic 3DX experiences. And as the audience, look for it in the details of an artist’s work and figure out what the character wants to say to you.
Learn more about using body language and other expressions in 3DX through our 3DX Artist Resource Page!
Banner Image: http://www.hentai-foundry.com/pictures/user/DarklordComics/451095/Mad-Maxine
Photo One: http://cubiko.deviantart.com/art/The-Poolgirl-I-301421376
Photo Two: http://bad-dragon.deviantart.com/art/Paragon-254970515