Digital belles, but no beaux

30 May 2005

While browsing through the wonderful Beyond Words bookshop on Cockburn Street yesterday, I spotted an interesting Taschen title, Digital Beauties (a slimmed-down version of a much larger edition) – a book showcasing computer-rendered virtual models. While flicking through the books, as well as being slightly disturbed by their appearance (I think I have uncanny valley in spades) it also struck me how they were all “women”.

Now, it would be quite easy to say that this is a simple consequence of male geeks, unable to interact with real women, are instead making them of their own (and given that some of the ladies depicted have unfeasibly large norks, this theory has some credence). But there are female geeks out there, and gay geeks, so you’d think there’d be some people out there making male versions. But there aren’t many, and not in the – there’s some stuff out there for anatomical models, but not for facial closeups – is there just no demand for it, or are male faces (stubble etc.) intrinsically harder to model?


3 Responses

Otis

I think a large part of it is simply due to hormones, like you say. Computer graphics (and from that, computer games) are largely male areas, and quite visibly testorone-driven at times. Of the detailed graphical models I’ve seen, if they’re not women, they’re sports cars, or guns. I guess it’s not a great deal different from the way men always seem to refer to inanimate objects by female pronous. We’re just a bit odd like that. I don’t think women really have the same biological desire to do that in reverse.

However, to answer your last question, I did come across this a few weeks ago, which is not only a male CG model, but also incredibly detailed. The facial hair in particular is amazing.

I used to do male modelling with Poser, Bryce OR Animation Master. To get them ‘incredibly detailed’ I used to use a ‘skin’ made from a photograph of whoever it was.
Of course you could elaborate or make the person more muscular or thinner than they really were, but the finished image was a good likeness. Also after the image was rendered I used to take the finished image into photoshop to airbrush out any imperfections.

Iain

He may not be in the book (which is unsurprising given the title implies a female-only sample set), but I know a few female gamers who have commented approvingly about the Prince in Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time.

Though they were all disappointed to see him turn into a sulky Aragorn ripoff for the sequels. Even the ones who fancy the pants off Viggo Mortensen.