Sacred Sustenance (WC 205; warning: nudity; Updated: New render and text added)

* UPDATE - New Render/Text *

Here is my post-Weekend Challenge version which uses a different and more direct inscription of what this image seeks to respect and celebrate.

Original post and entry for the Weekend Challenge:

This is my entry for Weekend Challenge 205. While at first the topic for the challenge (“Thirsty?”) seemed at first limited to only humor, after some extended reflection I believed there was room for a more serious interpretation of the topic of thirst, as in a/the source of sustenance. Indeed, what this image contains is not only very serious to me but something I consider eternally sanctified as well.

And so, here we are:


Click here to view the image (warning: nudity/image of breastfeeding).

If you elect not to click the link, there is this inscription I wrote on the image that I believe is still worth reading:

“Let us remember that Woman is the sacrosanct source and sacred sustenance of all human life.”

I consider this one of the more important and deeply spiritual moments of life I have attempted capture and portray as artistically as I could. This image is not meant to be photorealistic, only artistic.

I believe it is well worth remembering and reasserting and rediscovering the all too often forgotten sacred and sustaining nature of woman and, through her, the life that enters this world.

My hope was to create a potentially powerful image that might remind most of us of our physical origins as humans, our overall humanity, and the continuing literal life force and love and beauty and nurturing that countless women have provided the world for centuries.

As per the Weekend Challenge rules, this will be classified as an “open” entry, since this blend makes use of the baby mesh I created for my Miracle project.

Light post-processing was performed to type the text and tweak gamma and foreground DOF (glow and background DOF was all done through render nodes).

Thank you very much for viewing my work,


Yessss, you sure know how to tickle my senses. Icoxo is gonna be so disappointed in you. haha. Shouldn’t we warn him there’s bare tit to be seen in this thread? But it’s functional nude (hey, isn’t all), so perhaps you’ll get away with it.

The inscription in your image isn’t really my thing, but I absolutely do agree with what you say.

The mood in the image is quite nice. Some crits would be that the tit seems a bit weightless and the nipple could’ve used a realistic image (photo) for both colour- and bumpmapping.

Suck on,

What is that thing in between the breasts? It looks like another babie’s face is coming out…

The baby and the breats aren’t soft enough. They look stiff. The lips have to press against the breast.

I realy like the message your conveying, although the image seems to be a bit of an abstraction on the original topic. I think you could make it read a lot better if the base image was flipped horizontaly so the text cascaded from the top left.

I’m sorry, but I find all this to be an overly romanticised view of women that puts us on a destructive pedestal. I intend to have children, and I intend to breastfeed them, but I know plenty of women who are happy not to have any children. Are they no longer “Woman” to you? Aren’t they important human beings anymore?

We’re not defined by childbirth, and many women have physical problems with breastfeeding so they have to use formula instead. They often have a lot of emotional trouble with that fact, so this kind of message hurts them as well.

I think it’s great to give people positive messages about breastfeeding, but this type of message can do more harm than good. How about creating a scene where a woman can freely breastfeed in public without being hassled by prudes? :rolleyes: That would be a good one.

Anyway, I hope you understand that art is about expression, and that other people’s reactions to your artworks are equally valid forms of expression, and don’t feel offended by my reaction.

Hi Lisae,
I think this picture is more about the ideas and symbolism that is behind the act of giving birth to a child, and in the very essence of it bringing life to this planet.

From my point of view as a father who loves his son I think this is one of the most important things in life that can happen. My wife almost gave her own life when our son was born. She almost didn’t make it. And after that we had to stay in a childrens hospital for about five month due to the fact that our son was born with a birth weight of about 720 gramm.

These five month showed us a world which otherwise almost has no place any longer here in this society. A world full of babys which struggle to survive. Many of which didn’t make it. One of these childs was born short before our sun and stayed in the hospital for six month. Only to die on christmas night. And you could look into the eyes of this child and see an understanding which was beyound mere initellecutal capabilities.

Nowadays it is more seen as a nuisance when a women becomes pregnant. Society walks in a complete adverse path to children. A path which leads to self destruction.

Creating life has no longer the importance it should have. For me this picture, with its errors and defects, truly shows one essential part due to which mankind could find its way into the future.



Sago: Thanks for the feedback. Hopefully everyone takes the time to read what I wrote to understand where this image was coming from. I would be disappointed if they did not. Realism definitely wasn’t my aim here, just symbolism and a most critical moment/realization of life.

Dren: The baby’s hand.

bigbad: The baby’s head was moved a bit to the left for compositional and render node reasons, maijnly to the glow and the slight reflectivity of the skin shader I created for this.

Drachis: Thanks! The horizontal flip sounds like an interesting suggestion. I kind of liked the idea that the image made us read right to left, as if to help us to possibly reverse our thinking on things.

lisae: I really appreciate your comments. Let me explain a bit more: This image was also partly a reaction to the over-sensualized stream of images commonly associated with female anatomy, and I felt it was important, as a means of restoring, however possible the sacred and maternal aspect of the subject. I believe women, especially in computer graphics (e.g. look at all the posts at CG Talk) have been overly and overtly used simply as objects, sensational elements, and this image was to portray the concept and symbol of woman from a completely different perspective, and to emphasize the humanity, which is at risk of being lost in this age of extreme technology and overly sensualised media (not just CG but everywhere: TV, news, magazines, etc.). I believe those types of images and stereotypes are far more destructive in the long-term, however they go unchecked and the masses contribute to their continuance as consumers by repeatedly embracing and not even questioning such subjugating content. My own image was definitely “more about the ideas and the symbolism” as gunnarstahl suggested, so I hope this clarification was helpful :slight_smile:

gunnarstahl: Thank you VERY much for your personal insight and feedback! You are alluding to some very essential thoughts, things that often go unacknowledge by a lot of people. Among other things, I think CG can be responsibly used to reawaken people to core concepts that can point us in more loving and rewarding and fulfilling directions.


I really like the concept behind this one RobertT. Great interpretation of the theme.

I tend to agree with the things Sago pointed out as well.


RobertT: I agree with your sentiments regarding the commodification / objectification of women (as images or idols) in north american society. But I agree with lisae that the “pedestal” is destructive. Though you may be sincere in believing that presenting women as sacrosanct is a gesture of respect, it is one of classic modes through which women have been subjugated, in the past, through religion. Unfortunately, there is a short distance between “I respect woman as the sacrosanct source of all life” and “women are the sacrosanct source of all life” and “because women are the sacrosanct source of all life…”.

Thanks for your response Robert, and I’m glad you appreciated my comments, because I believe we can have discussions like this without it turning argumentative, even on the internet :slight_smile:

But yes, block01cube has summed up what I was trying to say. It’s great that you are doing your bit to combat the way women are objectified in the media and in the 3D graphics industry. I do my bit to oppose that type of objectification as well. It’s difficult sometimes, especially when I was working for a computer game company! But I do what I can.

However, I do see your image as a different kind of objectification. It turns women from individuals with a range of choices ahead of us and the freedom and ability to decide which path we want to take, to being automatically classified as “mother”. What did the woman in your image do before having a baby? What will she do once the baby is grown up? Does her life have meaning outside of giving birth?

Women are people - good, bad, fat, thin, beautiful, ugly, hairy, smart, stupid, funny, childish, wise, mature, selfish, selfless, political, tidy, messy, lazy, whatever. If you want to oppose the objectification of women in the 3D world, model real women, with cellulite, greasy hair and pimples!

gunnarstahl - I’m so glad your wife and child are healthy and safe! So many people do forget nowadays that childbirth is still dangerous and medical science can’t save everyone. I agree that pregnant women are often seen as a nuisance, and so are little children. Our society is less and less friendly to families with young children. I love children, seeing them makes me feel happy for the rest of the day, and I look forward to having one or two children of my own.

But I think we all need to be conscious of the fact that growing our population in the present world is a serious issue, and if we keep going the way we are, we will leave our children with a life of hardship and struggle, because there aren’t enough natural resources for them to have the life that we do today. There will be more wars, more natural disasters, more famines in the future because of climate change and overpopulation. Having children today is a very difficult decision.

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BgDM: Thank you very much, my friend. If I can find the time I might make some adjustments in a post-WC version.

block01cube: Thanks for the interesting feedback! The inscription was meant to provoke thought and questioning in the viewer about the image and life, so I’m glad that the text seems to function on that level. In the end, we all have our personal understandings, cultural backgrounds, and perceptions/misperceptions about life and people. My own view is that life is sacred, a “miracle” so to speak (which is why the baby blend was called that), and that no person, male or female, should be portrayed negatively as disposable objects, as happens all too often in the media millions of people support and ingest every day. I know in advance others may not agree with me, which is cool. Mainly I just want people to think and come to their own conclusions. Using such terms as “sacred” has potential drawbacks, despite only the best intentions they are spoken with, because of the religious and sociological connotations they may contain person to person, culture to culture. Language can be such a difficult proprosition, especially to find universally acceptable terms for things. It’s almost impossible to avoid misinterpretation. Like you and lisae, I do not believe in isolating pedestals either, because my personal persuasion is that all life is sacred, which means men and women, in equal terms in my mind, along with all living things, and not necessarily those as simply defined by our current limited definition of life: for example, we are part of the universe; we are alive, and so I believe the universe is itself alive in a certain sense. This image is really just a window to a fractal of an idea we can choose to consider or not and only focuses on the maternal aspect of life, which is an essential part of existence but certainly not exclusive: there is the yin and the yang to the way of all things, a lineage to the life not contained in just one person or place but generations of preceding experiences and settings. The truth, whatever truth or understanding is ever to be found, in any of these images, lies in the synthesis of so many things which the viewer must ultimately consider and decide upon. That’s what makes this phenomenon of image creation and public reaction most amazing to me, that ideas can lead to other ideas, perhaps even new thinking :slight_smile:


lisae: Yes, I think these kinds of constructive conversations are essential for us all to making progress as individuals and as a species/global population. I think by now you know what I was really going for in this image. Of course these creations can have manifold dimensions beyond the one instant we try to capture and portray in a static image, so this character could have theoretically been anyone, anywhere, with any range of feelings, aspirations, fears, strengths, weaknesses, imperfections, intentions, and so on. The viewer’s understanding of life, imagination, and willingness to contemplate the image beyond the surface of what it seems to say is an essential element of all this too. We each bring to this unique understanding and misunderstanding, which can make images and ideas meaningful or confusing. We all need to converge on these issues and try to find wherever progress and new understanding can be reached. That part about art never ceases to fascinate me :slight_smile: In terms of my own background, I have worked every day for a very long time with women, and nearly all of my friends and colleagues are women, so hearing their thoughts all these years contributes to my own thoughts and realizations about the world and specific issues like the media. These people are as “real” as they come, with health and emotional issues just like everyone else, male or female. Some have children, some wanted children, some had but didn’t plan for them, some dislike the idea, some are not sure and have put the idea aside for now. It’s never as simple as we think. They are of all ages, abilities, and sizes, and they each amaze me and inspire with what they have done with their lives, even as many of them mentioned in one way or another that they might never be fully acknowledged or appreciated for all they had sacrificed and done. I think one of the things this world needs, especially in the CG world, is a revolution of awareness that takes us beyond the crass sensationalism and over-sensualisation of media and can bring us into a deeper more fulfilling humanness that might only come once we begin to look at humans as more than material beings. This is just one small facet of a much larger problem that’s being complicated by the endless flow of erosive media and consumers caught up in the herd mentality. It’s difficult, especially if you’re part of this industry or one of its consumers, to break away from that, to, for one small second, shine light on an issue you know has escaped public consciousness and fallen by the wayside. I am hopeful we can do it though, to raise consciousness, and to move forward in major ways. It won’t be easy, it won’t happen immediately, and it won’t be pretty and idealistic, many people will disagree or reject the notion of progress, but we must keep trying because there is much more at stake than we realize. Thanks again for writing and for keeping the hope of a better world alive :slight_smile:



I have added a link to a second image from this project in my top post.

Thank you all again for your interest in my work,