Eyes WIDE OPEN : Demented vs. Cute
Stylized faces resemble their human counterparts, but the rules that we use to analyze them are very different.
In this mug shot of a convicted mass murderer, the Hyper-Alert Eye is disturbing and demented-looking; hardly cute and appealing like the matching expression on the face of Tweety, a beloved stylized character. The essential elements are the same in both faces: hyper-alert eyes (upper lid raised above the iris), slight smile with pursed lips, raised eyebrows and eyes slightly out of alignment (staring off into the distance). But our emotional response couldn’t be more different.
Photo Personifies GRIEF of Dallas Police Shootings
Slate Magazine ran a collage of front pages from different newspapers featuring an identical photograph, under the headline, “The Intern Who Took the Defining Photograph of the Dallas Shooting”. Out of the thousands of images coming from this tragic news event, what made this photo of a grief-stricken police officer comforting a colleague "the Defining Photograph?” Is Slate even right?
Eyes WIDE OPEN : Weird for People, Normal for Cartoons
Anyone who spends time analyzing faces notices very quickly that we have a double standard when it comes to expression. When we observe a realistically-depicted human face, we have a fine-grained, rigorous way of determining the mental and emotional state of that face, based on what are often tiny actions in the “hot spots” of the eye, brow, and mouth. If we conclude, on the other hand, that the depicted face is Sentient, but Not Human (i.e. stylized), we are liable to see almost any configuration of eye, brow and mouth as plausible and readable, as long as there are cues present which indicate an expression (open mouth, raised brows, etc.)
New! CHINESE Translation
Anger - It's all in the EYES
Putting on the Charm with the Sensitive SMILE
Pretty Darned AFRAID - but not Quite Enough
Fear is the most difficult emotion to portray, both by actors and artists. It can be confused with surprise, sadness, and disgust. In tests I did with researchers at the University of Washington, it took us literally hundreds of attempts to create animated characters with fear faces that could get 90% agreement using internet-based Mechanical Turk responses, and the examples that worked were extreme versions of terror, with bulging eyes and a radically widened mouth.
Take That! A Sly SMILE Enhanced by Good Character Design
A Minimal Face Portraying a Complex Emotion
What Emotions can be Expressed by Faces Missing Most of their Features?
FAIGIN FACE BLOG
So many faces. So many ways to express emotions. Faigin examines facial expressions in movie stills, cartoons, fine art, illustrations and photographs and shares his insightful analyses in his monthly blog.