If you play video games, you might have noticed that black avatars have been consistently overlooked when it comes to hair. In fact, since games have been around, hair in video games is often poorly designed for black characters and does not include gamers of color, with limited options and poorly designed hair textures. That’s why AM Darke, an Oakland-based artist and assistant professor at UC Santa Cruz, began recruiting black artists for the industry’s first free database of 3D modeled black hairstyles, the Open. Source Afro Hair Library.
The library, which is currently under development and slated to launch in June 2023, will be a free, user-friendly and highly organized 3D model database of black hairstyles and textures and a feminist and anti-racist resource for digital artists. and creators of 3D content. . Armed with more deliberate options for dark hair in video games, it “seeks to address the lack of thoughtful portrayal of darkness in games, virtual / augmented reality, and other 3D media” and will lower the barrier for all. future creators to “integrate diverse and respectful representations of Darkness into digital media”.
Before launching the project, Darke researched the depiction of dark hair in space, finding that users need to scroll through raw racial stereotypes and misogynistic representations of women. The top 3 results for “Dark Hair” on TurboSquid are 1. A horse. 2. Another horse. 3. ‘Long Black Anime Female Hairstyle’ – which consists of 30% a long black wig and 70% a hypersexualized 3D model of a young woman with exposed breasts. CGTrader’s results include a bear, cow and beard affixed to a white male character model.
Last spring, Darke offered scholarships to Black 3D artists, giving them a stipend of $ 1,500 to design their own series of black hair models. The results will be in the database that will change the future of black representation in video games for good. “I model the Afro Hair Open Source Library as an impactful tool similar to other open source software based interventions such as Twine, Processing and Makehuman, but which is explicitly designed to uplift and empower marginalized groups,” Darke wrote. about her. website. “The use of the term ‘Afro’ in the hair library is not just an ethnic description, but a political description, and my vision for the library is that it will include all ethnically marginalized hair textures and styles. ”