Monday, October 3, 2011

an Area Orion history

Area Orion logoOn the third anniversary of Area Orion, here's a little backstory on how it came to be.

I've always been a fan of women with extreme curves like female bodybuilders and well-endowed movie stars & models. Muscles or boobs, I liked things big.

Ursula TeplyI discovered female muscle morphs on sites like Diana The Valkyrie and attempted my first one around 1995. It was a crude enhancement of Ursula Teply on par with some I had seen online. There was a certain thrill while making it, like I was a mad scientist generating massive growth and giving these women ultimate power. After it was done I simply deleted it.

Over the next decade I would regularly check out my favorite female bodybuilding and fan sites. first then The Valkyrie and others looking for the latest FBB images, artwork and stories. If one stood out I would morph it and maybe try a new technique, but the end result was always the same. It was deleted.

A few things changed in 2008. That Summer I bought a 17" MacBook Pro for home, instead of my usual PC desktop. A platform I was much more comfortable creating in. The laptop has always been the core of everything Area Orion, and still is.

I discovered DeviantArt (DA) in late September 2008 (thanks to DCMatthews) and a new world opened up. I never liked pay sites and here was an online community where hundreds of artists shared their female muscle artwork for free. All the pieces seemed to click and thought maybe it was time to start contributing.

I wasn't the first person to create a muscle morph but with years of practice I was making them extremely real looking. One problem always remained with mine or anyone else's - pixel distortion. Enlarging digital muscles & breasts larger makes them look fuzzy and the tell-tale sign of a fake. It didn't bother me before, but if I was going to show my work I wanted to solve this problem. The solution was simple. Instead of making muscles & boobs bigger, make everything else smaller (see my tutorial). I tested this simple technique and was amazed at the result. I was ready to enter the online community.

What would I call myself? Ben's Morphs sounded lame and most of my favorite morphers used kitschy descriptions like Kash's Colossal Competitors or Maverick's Musclebound Maidens. I wanted something different. What if there was a place where these marvelous women were transformed, like Area 51, the Twilight Zone and Frankenstein's lab all rolled into one? It seemed to add an air of mystery and I could take it in different directions like X-Files, where you really never knew what was going on.

By the time I was done, I had a name and much more. The premise for a real-time online science fiction/female muscle soap opera called Area Orion.

Denise Masino muscle morphI could get fired for this! I intern at a bio genetics company and last night was invited to the top secret Area Orion for the first time. I'd heard rumors of it, but no one talks directly about its purpose. This started things off as Area Orion went live on DeviantArt, October 3, 2008. Denise Masino starred in my very first published Area Orion morph, full of extremely glitchy graphics that tie in to the text. They're still present on EVERY morph.

As with any social media, DeviantArt starts slow and builds as you gain friends, followers and fans. It didn't take long to get noticed. Women's Physique World posted new photos every Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays which I wanted to emulate. It continues to this day, but had to drop Wednesdays in order to keep up. The first few months were exciting for me with an amazing rush. I was addicted to DA and now fully committed to Area Orion.

Erin Elington breast expansion morphWhile all my work had been female muscle growth morphs, many had an element of Breast Expansion (BE). Sample012B1008 of Erin Ellington was my first BE only morph. While muscle girls have a limited appeal (and morphed ones even less), breast expansion is MUCH broader. They quickly became the most viewed, fav'd and ultimately most reviled. Most people thought muscle morphs were just weird, but mess with a woman's breasts and you unleash a swarm of angry pseudo feminism. I enjoyed the heated discussions, thinking that most great art was controversial, hated and unappreciated in its day. They just didn't get what I was trying to do and say with this low form of fetish art.

Everything changed in February, 2009. My work was reported as stolen/copyrighted and had to produce proper documentation or it would be deleted. What I create is aftermarket enhancement on someone else's intellectual property. The fact that these images were freely found on the internet didn't seem to matter. The message was clear and couldn't do a thing about it.

I couldn't let all my work be deleted like I had done for so many years, but there was no recourse. Time to rebuild and grow elsewhere since DA wasn't the artistic haven I thought.

DeviantArt suspended my account which gave me time to figure out what to do next. Still committed to completely free art, I looked around for alternatives. The first move was creating a Yahoo Group, then a Flickr (now gone) and Blogger account and waited. My DA suspension ended and I was crushed (but prepared) when 99% of my work was taken down.

The Area Orion Blog officially launches April 16, 2009 with the posting of Sample079G0409.

Blog life started off rough. Not much activity compared to DA's instant comments and gratification. I wanted to grow outside of the contained DA community and looked for any and all online resources... I'm sure to the annoyance of many and apologize. Visitors started coming and the remnants of the DA-era Area Orion began to fade. The blog itself began to morph into something new.

A couple things were integral in making Area Orion more than just morphs. Lori Braun of posted some of my morphs which was the first time a mainstream FBB website had taken notice. We became friends and before long I was writing articles for her on topics I knew well - fantasy female muscle. The bodybuilding and fan world seemed worlds apart but now us "schmoes" were getting noticed. Could there be a bridge between the two? Before long I was working with photographers and getting commissions from models. Ironically, this got me back into DeviantArt with authorized artwork to post, but by then it was a secondary portal.

Great images have always been key and I'd visit numerous sites and spent tons of time hunting for new and unique images to morph. Creating a special feed let my sources come to me and save a ton of time. I slowly built it up adding websites, blogs, forums, videos, just about anything female muscle and breast expansion related. It ended up as Area Orion's Shared Items or what I like to call my Hot Feed. If you're not familiar, it's honestly the best source for Female Muscle with constantly updated news, images and video from nearly 2,000 sources (although only roughly 5% gets shared).

Like everything previous, change came through adversity
or in this case an asshole. A few harsh comments from internet trolls made me pause and re-evaluate what i was doing with the blog. There were some non-morph posts, but most everything was my art. I had been writing for FM, had a stream of fresh content and was starting to build more contacts in the FBB industry as well as an administrative role at the DA FemaleMuscle club. I wanted to have a blog for both bodybuilders and fans.

I started to add new segments of the blog to appeal to different people, yet maintain what I love and am passionate about. Schmews (or Schmoe News) is female bodybuilding & fitness girl news without the training & workout aspect that most mainstream sites talk about. Before & After shows real-life transformations that are core to fantasy FMG. Busty Workout is simply hot busty women shown working out, kind of like The Man Show's Babes on Trampolines. Cosplay (costume play) depicts female bodybuilders and fitness models dressed in various themed costumes. I also added testimonial quotes and fan photos I've received over the past couple years and started a simple Spotlight posts to highlight women I feel deserve mention.

With all the additions, there's still the hottest female muscle and breast expansion morphs every Monday and Friday - all for free.

It's now been three years since I started and have loved every second. Thanks to every friend, fan, bodybuilder, model, photographer or a-hole who pissed me off over the past few years and gave me a kick in the ass and try something new.


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