Hey everyone, we’re back with our 3DX artist tutorial guide to complement our growing video tutorial series. We’re a little bit earlier than planned this month, but you probably don’t mind!
Let’s pick up where we left off
This month we’re gonna talk a bit about something that Bianca Rose covered earlier this month: facial expressions! The reason why we’re talking about this so early on is because this is a habit you want to get into sooner rather than later. If your expression game is strong, your renders will shine.
It’s not always easy to figure out how to produce the expressions your scenes demand, and the pre-made expression packs available at major asset stores are often more a hinder than helpful. Expressions are easy to mess up. If you go too far with them, you’ll make your characters look like psychos. But if you neglect them, your characters will look lifeless and dull.
I will admit to not always being as on top of facial dynamics as I should be, but whenever I am the quality difference is notable. So let’s talk a bit about how a human face works.
And we start with Brad Pitt
For all you ladies who were at one time waiting for Brad Pitt to be found on some porn site, consider your wish fulfilled. Well, maybe it’s not exactly what you were hoping for, but this is the best I could do! Let’s take a look at Brad’s face.
This is Brad Pitt in the movie Fury, where he plays a grizzled tank commander. I specifically picked this character because it’s the most symmetric look he’s ever sported. His head is shaven on both sides, and he’s always had a pretty square jaw that defines his face in a front view.
Ah, but you’re thinking to yourself: am I missing something? This looks like CGI Brad Pitt. And you’re right, it is! This is a render created by 3D artist Sujesh Nair, whose work you can find on ArtStation. It’s an incredible render, down from the lighting to the skin fidelity, to the texture quality on the coat collar, to the stubble on his chin, everything. If I didn’t know any better, I would say that it is Brad Pitt.
Except for one thing: Brad’s face is in a perfectly neutral position. You could say that he is calm, at peace with the moment, or simply posing for a picture. Sure. But when we put this render next to a still from the movie itself, the difference is immediately evident.
What is it that makes Brad come alive here? The intensity of his expression. It’s the way his right eye narrows a bit more than his left. It’s the way his brow isn’t raised as highly on one side as it is on the other. How his mouth pulls slightly more in one direction. There’s a lifelike quality to this that isn’t so easy to replicate in CGI. So we remind ourselves of it, because it can be done. Take a look at the character Varian Wrynn from World of Warcraft, designed by Blizzard Entertainment. In terms of skin fidelity and texture quality, there’s little difference between Varian and CGI Brad Pitt. But Varian comes alive for the same reasons I outlined with real life Brad Pitt.
Because it’s porn, we have to commit
It sounds weird to say. A lot of times people see porn as a medium that requires very little actual effort. After all, so long as there’s fucking and a lot of gonzo shots, we’re good, right? No, we’re not. That belief is a contamination from the era of gonzo porn that we live in. If anything, porn lives and dies with how much the people involved are into the sex they’re having. Again, this matters to us because we have sex. We know what it feels like.
The reason I make a point of this is because posing tech makes it easy for us to ignore this vital aspect of character building. And I’ve fallen into this trap myself. Genesis 3 Female, and also Victoria 4, offer symmetry sliders for us on almost all expression features. You can raise both eyebrows, close both eyes, squint both eyes, raise both corners of the mouth, flex both cheeks, etc. Yes, you can also raise them independently of each other but when you’re getting into the nitty gritty of tweaking your render its easy to forget these poses, and it’s also easy to quickly settle for less because you already feel like your render looks good anyway. Trust me, putting in that little bit of extra effort is worth it.
That covers this month
Next month we’re going to be talking about outfits! A lot of porn genres drive on what the girls wear, so we’re going to be taking a look at how to clothe our ladies, as well as discuss some of the technical aspects of doing so in 3DX. In the meantime, don’t forget to check out our video tutorial later this month, where we tweak Breanna’s face to complement the pose we gave her, and give her a bit of character.
See you then!
Wanna learn more about making 3DX art? Check out our 3DX Artist Resource Page!