Sunday, 6 September 2009

That sickly smell

I use a software package called Poser 7 to make character portraits for the game I'm developing. I bought it about a year ago, having played around with the demo briefly.

I also have a copy of Poser 3 floating around, and in some respects, the program's quality is much improved: the monochrome-terracotta skin of the Poser 3 figure models has been replaced by a much more believable texture, and the rendering engine has been upgraded to a proper ray-tracer.

But there are certain issues. A lot of the newer systems integrate very badly into the program's core functionality. For example, while I can edit the shape and colour of a figure's face, the changed colour does not get applied to the rest of the body, making the feature semi-useless.

Adding clothes is hit-and-miss, with a lot of the pre-supplied clothes 3D models being impossible to fit onto the figures properly: the figure's flesh often extends further out than the cloth, leaving random patches of nakedness. In one case this is even visible in the thumbnail picture of that clothes model.

But the most distressing thing about the program is the amount of sexism that it manages to contain:

By default, Poser 7 comes with a male and a female figure (3D model) called "Simon" and "Sydney" respectively. Simon comes in two major variations: naked, and clothed in jeans and T-shirt. Sydney comes in one variation only: naked.

Let me repeat that: the male figure gets a version with clothes on by default. The female one doesn't. Of course, in both cases, the naked figures can then be clothed by adding clothes to them, but why this asymmetry? What if I just want a quick 3D render of a clothed woman? I can do it if it's a man.

This ridiculousness is compounded by some other things:

Simon comes without genitals by default. This is perhaps not so surprising. Sydney doesn't have nipples by default. The figure's breasts are just nipple-less flesh-coloured domes. You have to load in an alternate texture to get the nipples. So here we have sexism intermixing with a tiring shame about the human body.

The default set of clothes models supplied with the program is rather interesting as well. Simon's and Sydney's wardrobes are similar in some parts (tennis shoes, sandals, jeans) - but while Simon has a suit, Sydney has a form-fitting leather jacket and high-heeled leather boots. The two tops in Sydney's wardrobe are an incredibly tight fit as well. In short, Simon can dress casual or business, Sydney can dress casual-sexy or leather-sexy.

Then there's the websites you can buy more figure models at, which heavily feature scantily clad women along with invitations to, er, buy them...

I don't think I will.

To be frank, I don't have any suggestions for you here beyond boycotting software that has that sickly smell of sexism about it - but I am badgering the distributors of Poser, trying to get some sort of statement out of them. If that happens, I will post it here.

No comments:

Post a Comment