- Merik Pelletier
The Virtual Body Type
As the production environment and virtual production tools are evolving, I am constantly challenged to make new characters for different types of stories.
I'm always looking for a good race and gender diversity in my work. But the world has expanded, and there are now more than just males or females, skin colors!
For example, I recently published a video clip and character collection of Drag Queens. But how do you create a virtual Dragqueen character?
First, there are many types of Drag queens—which one to choose? My answer was simple: the last thing I wanted was for people to think that I portrayed Drag Queens as caricatures! I decided to use an approach that is not too cartoony, so the characters look more realistic.
I started slowly, but I knew we were living in a world where prejudice was still common, so I expected to lose some members, and I did. But I also got some new ones.
Next, I realized that I had made all of my characters slim! While I wanted to be fair, I ignored a vital aspect of Drag Queens and all people: body shapes.
Body shape diversity should be a priority to make virtual characters more realistic. Currently, most virtual characters are slender or have exaggerated features.
Let's not forget the influence that video games have! The virtual community should support the hard work to pull down the walls of prejudices and discrimination.
Right now, many technological innovations are used to support a scary reality distortion. One is to use filters on actors in a film or series, and another is for teens or those influencers to use on social media. Most of those filters generate an illusion impossible to obtain in real life.
We feed an array of social malaises by pushing unrealistic body types in the virtual world.
As some say: With great powers comes even greater responsibilities.
I will get on revising my inventory to include real diversity, and I invite my fellow developers to do the same.