Cafe: In a very exciting kick off to the new year, the prolific creator of “artisanal 3D animated porn”, Nyl, has graciously agreed to do an interview with us!
Let’s get right into it before I start babbling about how much of a fan I am!
First off, thanks for the interview, Nyl! What got you into 3DX initially, and did you ever imagine that your work would be so well received?
Nyl: Originally, I got into animating back in the mid 2010s, for a few reasons. I’ve always been curious about 3D and over the years I’ve dabbled a lot, but nothing stuck. I was also into futanari and that fetish just wasn’t explored very much by western artists. So, combining the two, I realized that making porn was a good way to experiment with short and engaging content that ended up in front of thousands of eyes. I get a large volume of instant feedback, I don’t have to invest much time, I’m into the kind of content I’m making, and there’s no overhead. The perfect opportunity.
It’s hard to think of now, but just 5-10 years ago there was a lot less material out there. 2D was around, but amateur 3D content of any kind didn’t really take off until programs like SFM came along and professional programs like Blender became more accessible. Back then, there just wasn’t that much money in it, but as it grew, so did its financial opportunity. I started as a hobbyist and over the years turned it into a viable source of income.
To answer your second question, I guess early on I never really lost any sleep about how my work would be received overall. Sure, I’ve always looked for feedback on a case-by-case basis, but I have never created anything other than a commission for the express purpose of it being well received. I create to challenge myself, to explore my curiosities, and to learn. I don’t plan on doing this forever, so I’m pretty goal-oriented every step of the way in order to develop a skill set.
Cafe: You are absolutely right: a decade ago, futanari content in the west was pushed to the furthest corners of the internet. Now it’s a colossal staple of the industry. Thanks for being one of the initiative runners on that!
Given the exceptional quality of your work, it’s easy to see that you like to challenge yourself. I usually save this question for last, but seeing as you brought it up: if you’re not planning on doing this forever, what kinds of long term goals are you considering? Strictly speaking, of course: the future is always unsure!
Nyl: I just want what most artists want: the freedom and means to tell my own stories. For me that comes in the form of making long-form animations. At the end of the day all I really care about is making stuff, and for the foreseeable future I’m content doing that on a personal scale. However, to make what I want to make, I need to have a good understanding of a multitude of different fields, and a multitude of different disciplines within those fields, which is what I’ve been working to develop. Thankfully, now the question is less if I have the means, but more if I have the motivation and mental fortitude to see a larger scale project to completion.
This is something I’ve tried to practice. I’ve released plenty of long-form animations in the past to get used to the process, but the one I’m currently working on, ‘Gorgon’, is the most difficult one yet. I took on a lot of challenges at once and it’s been hard to finish off.
The problem with animation is that there is very little grunt work. You can’t turn off your brain and get a good result. You have to always be engaged and making creative decisions, and as soon as you lose focus or get fatigued, your productivity falls off. It’s like running a marathon. I’m more of a sprinter, rushing through short animations, so it’s tough to get used to a different pace.
Cafe: That is both exceptional perspective and advice for creators in any field. Long form animation seems to be one of the biggest aspirations of high level 3DX creators: as you said, the work they require can be quite taxing.
Now, you offer an incredible amount of your content for free, including full animations. Despite that fact, you are easily the most successful 3DX creator on Patreon that I know of, and you’re (as I see it) a fantastic example of what a modern creator’s business model should be.
What are your philosophies/thoughts on things like paywalls, selling individual products for a fixed price, etc, and do you have any advice for creators who may be torn about how to get their products out there?
Nyl: Art is inherently selfish. None of us are doing this for humanitarian reasons. We aren’t selling food or medicine here. As such, each artist has to choose what works best for them and their goals. If you want to sell a 2 minute MS Paint drawing for $700, then you have every right to do so. Millions of people create art that never sees the light of day, and they aren’t worse people for it. It’s all supply and demand, no one is guaranteed anything.
Back when I did commissions, I just charged according to the cost of my time. If I thought I was going to work 10 hours on something, and I valued my time at $15 an hour, then I would charge $150. Simple enough for contract work, but determining the right price for a product or a subscription can be much more complicated.
It’s not just about trying to get the most amount of money possible, but about setting expectations as well. I have the basic tier of my Patreon set to $1 because I want the minimum amount of pressure from that tier to create something for them; I feel it’s a reasonable price for what they get, and because I feel it’s more secure to cast a wide net instead of relying on a few high-paying individuals. I still do monthly exclusive work for a higher paying tier, but I make it clear that it’s a supplement to my main work load. In my opinion, cultivating a base of people who genuinely just want to support you is a much more comfortable position to be in than having a base of people purely in it for the transaction.
On that note: a lot of people ask me how to get started earning money for their art. For me it always comes down to developing your skills, making something you’re into and that people like, and spreading your work around. NSFW artists like me have it easy, but the same goes for SFW artists, as well. Even if you don’t want to offer anything, you’d be amazed how many people out there are willing to support you. If you can get your work in front of a couple hundred thousand people, and just 0.1% of those people decide to pay you $1 a month, then that can be enough to live off of depending on where you’re from. We live in an unprecedented time for artists. The important thing is to just take your time and let people discover you.
On the flip side, some people just don’t have the luxury of operating off of a broad timeline like that. What do I tell the person who can’t get a regular job because of a disability and doesn’t have access to benefits? What do I tell someone who just got hit with a massive medical bill and needs an additional, flexible source of income immediately? What do I tell someone who’s saddled with loans and got stuck in between education and employment when the pandemic hit? I can’t tell all these people to just give it a few years and see. Sometimes the best option for them is to go directly to a marketplace, or to do work for another creator. All these people have the potential to blossom into great artists, but they just don’t have the time to cultivate. That’s why I’m not very critical of people who stray from my formula.
I talk a lot.
Cafe: Hey, it’s much appreciated! You make some excellent points, and every one of them is valid. One of the reasons these interviews are so important to me is to glean this kind of insight. No two creators are going to be in the same situation, or have the same set of skills and talents: I have often witnessed artists being too hard on themselves by comparing themselves to other creators.
What you said about creating expectations certainly resonates with me, as someone who freelances and has experienced the ‘back fire’ of their own poor decisions. I hope that a few creators can take some encouragement in your words and make the best decisions for themselves that they can.
On the note of being candid and decidedly ‘human’ (a thing that is sometimes easy to forget about anyone who creates art) how do you deal with burnout and what are some things outside of your work that you like to do to relax?
Nyl: Unfortunately I haven’t quite figured out how to tackle burnout, so I can’t give any good pointers there. However, I can give some advice based on my experience.
I always thought that pressuring myself by using my audience or colleagues to keep me accountable would be good enough, and that may still be the case for short works, but it hasn’t been very effective for these big projects I do. I work really well in a team setting when everyone is relying on each other and collaborating, but when it’s just me then that kind of pressure just doesn’t work. Even if I set a release date or promise something concrete, it doesn’t really help motivate me, it just makes me anxious.
None of it really deals with the core issue: staying interested. If you can stay completely interested in a single project over a 6-12 month period then great, but that often isn’t the case and the result can be burnout. I’m not sure how to stay interested through all the technical issues, the slow days, the moments where real life kicks in, etc.
Recently I started to just work on a bunch of different projects at the same time instead of just focusing on one and trying to get it done. That way, when I lose interest in one I can at least work on something else that piques my curiosity. I hear that can help. I guess we’ll see.
As for things I do outside of work, I just do the regular. Play video games and D&D, watch stuff, hang out with friends, work out, take vacations.
Cafe: Fair enough! I don’t think there’s a single creator in the world who has a definitive answer for how to eliminate burnout: we’ll see how the multiple projects go!
I am, for the life of me, out of relevant questions: your answers have been so thorough that it’d be a shame to shoehorn anything else in!
Sincerely, I thank you for sharing your advice and experiences with us, and I am tremendously grateful for your honesty and realism. We are always excited to see new animations from you, and I am personally looking forward to seeing more of your own stories!
If you’re a futanari fan, or simply an appreciator of 3DX that is as artful and beautiful as it is sexy, you won’t be disappointed by Nyl’s works! Nyl offers regular updates on their Patreon (a major perk of doing 3D full time!) and you can find high quality, creator sponsored links to a plethora of their animations right from their twitter page! How’s that for generosity?