3DX Artist Resource

Making 3DX Dialogue a Co-Star, Not an Afterthought

As humans, we gravitate naturally towards light. We need it and we rely on it out of basic human instinct. So it’s not really surprising that it’s one of art’s most crucial elements. Dialogue does for a story what lighting does for art. The story takes something we gravitate towards naturally like speaking and uses it to ensure that you can relate to the characters. They’re human because they think and speak like you do.

Dialogue points out what’s in the front of a character’s mind. Their speech to other characters shows us what’s important to them and it becomes important to us. It helps the author to guide you through a story as light helps an artist direct the gaze. The Dude and I have decided to work together today to bring you a guideline on adding dialogue to your artwork from both a literary and sexy art perspective. Only the best of both worlds for our Affect3D readers!

Comic Format

Bianca: So let’s start with a hallmark of visual storytelling: the comic format. It’s the most stylistically intensive, but it’s also very common. It requires that you have a full script to apply to your set, instead of an outline. Comic format is by far the most complicated. It requires a balance between not letting dialogue overtake your images and not letting your dialogue be so far and few between that viewers forget it’s there.

"This is a comic concept I played around with for my latest release. As you can see, the shots start off as closeups and gradually move out, leaving space for text boxes." - The Dude

“This is a comic concept I played around with for my latest release. As you can see, the shots start off as closeups and gradually move out, leaving space for text boxes.” – The Dude

The Dude: The visual logistics are also a point of concern. Not every render works for this method. If you’re going to go the route of comic-style narratives, then you have to understand a lot more about composition and cinematic storytelling. You have to understand closeups, expressions, camera angles, all these things that can have a different dramatic effects. To take a regular render set full of HD widescreen renders and make a comic out of it will rarely produce a proper result. Maybe this is why a lot of adult comics are actually drawn by hand instead.

"Exact same panel layout, but somehow this doesn't work as well. Why? The shots lack action. They're good porn, but not suited for this. The comic format is mainly visual storytelling." - The Dude

“Exact same panel layout, but somehow this doesn’t work as well. Why? The shots lack action. They’re good porn, but not suited for this. The comic format is mainly visual storytelling.” – The Dude

Bianca: Going the comic route doesn’t necessarily mean you have or should immediately do a full comic book. You can get away with a hybrid version, like renders with speech bubbles or narrator blocks. Using 3DX to make a full comic is a completely different way of storytelling and using your set space. We might talk about that another time, in another place.

Subtitle Format

Bianca: Then there are subtitles. These have different uses in film across the world. They’re useful if the sound and dialogue aren’t balanced, there are many different languages on your continent, or if you watch things foreign to your country. Subtitles can also be helpful to a set. With subtitles, we avoid some of the complications of comic format. You don’t have to worry about that balance. All your dialogue is instead attached to the bottom of the images. However, I think subtitle format is the one I’d least recommend. You separate the words from the images, but without adding any more to them than just a dialogue exchange, it could easily feel disconnected. That is, if all you include at the bottom is the cut and dry dialogue.


“With added text I find it easy to go overboard. So I usually just do one intro panel and leave it there.” – The Dude

The Dude: I’m coming at this from a little bit of a different angle. I see subtitle format work better for a third person, descriptive style. If you’re writing a first person story then subtitles will feel out of place. But what about when you’re colorfully describing what’s going on in the scene as a third person onlooker? That’s probably the instance in which applying subtitles makes the most sense. Subtitles obviously also make sense for dialogue sections, but then without the “beats,” i.e. the parts where you describe character emotion. You can leave that to the renders themselves. So really, it’s about making sure image and text interact with each other.

Silent Movie Format

Bianca: Choosing to insert dialogue as it’s own panel, resembling a silent movie, is a step up from subtitles. In my opinion, it is the best way to do it. You build anticipation this way. Anticipation for the next bit of story or the next erotic image. If you choose to insert dialogue this way, I would suggest that you use full short story or novella format to do it. It’s a two in one set that way and I think it keeps a short story to the point. You’re not including other plot elements, but you are illuminating more than just straight dialogue. 3DZen did this sort of set-up with his latest product, Faelwen’s Encounter, I believe.

The Dude: Given that this has such a pre-WWII vibe to it, it might be worth also getting meta with this style. As in, you use it when you have a set that thematically fits that time. Of course then you also risk turning it into a gimmick, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with taking an old approach and giving it a new vibe. Art is always a bit cyclical like that, so if you become the person to re-pioneer text slides with great success, you might set a whole new retro trend.

Novella Format

Bianca: Erotica has stood on its own for more than a hundred years. But pairing it with a set allows both creative processes to stand on their own. They are companions. The novella is showing you a more detailed look at the thoughts and body language in the set. The set illustrates scenes for the reader and as a lover of both, I know it’s hard to get something like this. Fanart fills that hole for a lot of erotica lovers, but a set that has a great story and illustrates it completely? That’s pretty great. Though, it’s also the most time consuming. And a novella will have so many details that an artist should also take a lot of care to ensure the story and the set aren’t conflicting.

The Dude: An interesting point to note here is that people like their novels without pictures, but there’s nothing they like more than pictures of their favorite novels. If you’ve written an absolutely sizzling erotic novel and you can then visualize it and do it justice, you’re not making people trade one for the other. You make them want to go out and get both things. They can be successful alongside each other, and in fact even enhance each other’s success.

An industry in motion

The 3DX world is still new to the long lived porn industry. What started off as simple animations turned into a professional occupation. We are, in many cases, amateurs turned professionals through sheer love of the craft. So we’re kind of inventing the wheel as we’re driving the car. How to successfully blend storytelling and sexy visuals is something that we’ll figure out sooner or later, so long as 3DX artists step up to the plate and try their hand at different methods.

Adding dialogue to a set can only help us put together that metaphorical car.  Dialogue assists an artist in getting closer to their characters or improve outlining skills or develop a new skill.  I can keep going. But the point is that working words into pictures can breathe more life and character into something already vibrant with it. Weaving a world of fantasy is fun for everyone and the more layers involved through communication, the more we can enjoy it.

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