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View Full Version : Variations in Anatomy - anyone know about this?


John Keates
08-05-2005, 07:51 PM
It uccurs to me that we are often shown quite idealised forms in anatomy books. Although there are some studies on the differences between noses and eyes, they don't seem to be quite as far reaching as they could.

Also, people often crit work by saying "the face is wonky" or "there is an odd line on his chin". But when I keep my eyes and mind open whilst looking at people on the street or on the train I see all kinds of variation which would be laughed at if I painted it.

I guess that part of the problem is that 90% of the people we see on the TV and in magazines are idealised in some way - and the photos doctored as well.

There are some quite marked differences in the way that flesh folds in people around the world - particularly around the eyes.

Also, differences in the amount of fat or the age of a person can cause features to arise which arn't otherwise there (like creases and bends in the spine). There can be a lot of variety in the way that this happens.

For instance, I know people with no chin at all. They arn't particularly fat, they just have a small chin and flesh under it which means that there is no line there. I don't see many people painting chinless people.

I try to make sure that I represent a wide variety of body/face types in my work so I would be interested to know if there any good sources of information about the normal variation between people rather than just the similarities and how these variations are created - whether that be through lifestyle or genetics or a combination of the two.

PLEASE CONTRIBUTE WHAT YOU CAN AND I WILL ADD IT TO THE LIST BELOW AND GIVE CREDIT. PLEASE ALSO CORRECT ME WHERE I AM WRONG AND FILL IN GAPS.

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Height:

There are wide extreems of height between the pygmees and the Dinka. Pygmees don't get much above 5 ft and it is thought that this is because it helps them to live in caves and other places where other people cant go.

The Dinka people of Africa average at over 6 ft (including women). This height is attributed to the need to keep cool (long thin legs=cool).

There are congenital characteristics such as dwarfism (see "significant Variatoins) and *blank* which can lead to people being very small. Whilst dwarfs have a "normal" size head, people who are *blank* have a smaller head and brain.

Some people lack certain growth hormones as they develop. Modern medicine can help with the perscriptoin of growth factors or the progressive breaking/heeling of bone.

Diet plays a factor in height. The western diet brings with it increased height over the traditional chineese diet. There was a time in the eightees when the average hieght of 14 year old Chineese boys was higher than their fathers. This diet also tends to bring with it obecety desiese.

Width:

The width of people is another characteristic given largely by climate. People in cooler climates tend to be wider - for instance the Vikings are very wide at the chest with shorter arms. This is to increase the body/surface ratio so that they don't get cold.

The width of the shoulder can vary depending on how well built a person is. This is both because of the extra muscle on the outside of the shoulder (deltoids) and also because the arm and shoulder bones are free-floating and supported by muscle.

Colour:

There are also wide variations in colour. These variatoins are due to the amount of sun that people recieve. There is no strict correlation between race and colour as the Aboriginees are black whilst being most closely related to the chineese who range from light brown to very pale.

Some people are albino which means that they have no pigment in thier skin. There are examples of this from all around the world - for example the singer "Saif Kiata" (sic?) is African albino.

Eyes:

There are wide variations in the ways that eyes look. For instance the eyes of asians and some Africans have 'almond' eyes. Since almond eyes appear in many groups of people, it has been suggested that all humans originally had them and people such as Europeans lost them.

I found this link which has more anatomical detail:

http://www.drmeronk.com/asian/asian-eyelid-anatomy.html

More Here:

http://skin-care.health-cares.net/epicanthal-folds.php

Eye colour varies from dark brown through grey, green and blue. Some peple have different colours for each eye (for example, David Bowie)

There is a condidition called 'seaman's squint' where a person who spends a lot of his time squinting so as not to be blinded by light reflecting from under them. Their lower lid ends up higher than it otherwise would be. (Thanks Robin Wood.)

Lips:

I found this:

"The zygomatic head of the Quadratus labii superioris and Risorius are frequently absent and more rarely the Zygomaticus. The Zygomaticus and Risorius may be doubled or the latter greatly enlarged or blended with the Platysma."

I found it here:

http://www.lipaugmentation.com/anatomy.htm

If anyone has the feintest clue what it means then I would be glad to know.

Brow:

When people frown, lines can appear in several different places. The usual thing as far as I can tell is that a crease appears iether side of the area between the brows. However, in some people there will be just the one crease which appears right in the middle. Where there is a heavy brow that extends forwards from the bridge of the nose, there may be a horizontal crease above the nose.

The height of the brow can vary a lot with some people having a very prominent ridge while others have hardly any. The appearence of a ridge can be effected by the height of the top of the nose. Men tend to have a larger brow than women. It is thought that this is to pretect from blows to the head (from women? :D ).

Ears:

Ear size varies a great deal between people and ears are smaller in babies than in adults. (see also ageing).

The lobe length can vary a great deal with some people having virtually no lobe whilst others have a large lobe.

Some ears hug the head whilst others stick out. Surgery is sometimes used to make people with 'sticky out' ears feel 'normal'. "Some people have sticky out ears" (jmBoekestein). See also "significant variation".

Hair:

There are many colours of hair from a strong red to a dark black. Hair colour genes can be recessive or diminent so that a couple with brown hair may both have the recessive gene for red hair which will only show up when thier child gets both the red genes. This means that 1 in 4 of thier childeren will have red hair.

Hairyness varies a great deal. Some people are born without hair an never develop it whilst others have hair all over. It is thought that this is due to a recessive gene left over from the past but it could be as a result of the combination of other genes.

The hair line can vary in hieght a great deal. Some women will shave thier hair line to where they want it. Some see this as an advantage, giving them the choice as to where it goes.

The length of hair varies a great deal too. Some men are capable of growing very lengthy beards whilst others can't.

In much of the shikh community it is the custom for men to grow thier hair long and wrap there hair in a turben. This signifies strength. Others, such as the Bhuddist monks, shave thier head as a sign of purity.

Teeth

It seems evident that sexual selection or natural selection, or both, has resulted in us having a small jaw - certainly compared to our ancesters. This has led to a great number of people having more teeth than can comfortably fit into their mouths. In many places, teeth are left alone but elsewhere they are extracted strategically and a brace put in place to push the remainting teeth together.

Some people on the other hand are borne with gaps between the teeth.

There is a condition called *blank* where the teeth grow very thin.

Jaw

The Jaw can vary in size a great deal and this is one of the main differneces between the male and female heads. It is thought that the jaw of men is larger because this pretects the head in fights.

Hands

There are variations in finger length which are largely caused by variations in the exposure to sex hormones in the womb (testosterone for example). These can be linked to personality types etc.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4314209.stm (thanks PSR for this)


Feet:

Here are some feet which are quite different. They are each the property of middle aged women. (thanks to Stahlberg for this one). I believe that one of those feet has been squeesed into ill-fitting shoes in its time.

http://androidblues.com/pics-feet.jpg

Fat:

The amount of fat on a body varies a lot for both cultural and genetic reasons. Fat and Sugar have, until recently, been hard come buy and we have no mechanism to tell us to stop eating them other than our common sense. This has led many people in wealthy countries such as America and Australia to be over-weight.

Fat diposits uccur on the belly, the upper back, around the kidneys and the neck for both men and women. Women accumulate more around the breasts and men more around the belly.

The large belly of many men is caused by sub-cutaniouse fat which forms around the vital organs as a buffer from poisoning - often caused by the excessive consumption of alchahol.

In many countries and in times past it has been considered attractive for women to be fat
Whilst the degree to which fat is considered beautifull varies, the waste/hip/chest ratios of the ideal are constant.

Quote Robin Wood:

"...there is an extra subcutaneous fat layer all over the body in Chinese people, because of the extreme cold of the winters in the interior. This is why their muscle definition is softer, and their surface veins not as prominent, as, say, people from Africa (where cold isn't a problem.)"

A-symmetry

Symettry is generally regarded as beautifull and the rational for this is that it shows 'good genes', good developement and few desies. For the most part this is true enough. However, few people, however beautifull have completely cemetrical bodies - and if they do then there is sometihg wrong with them. It isn't only the internal organs (heart, liver) which are a-symetrical but the eyes.

It is normal for one eye to be higher than the other and this aids depth perception. The degree of a-symmetry in this regard is subject to some variatoin.

Some people have heads which grow larger on one side than on the other. This is probably to do with developement in the womb.

Some people have a preference for eating on one side of their mouth and the mechanical strain can cause a-smmetry.

Some people have a leg that is longer than another. This can be alleviated by use of a shoe with a large heel.

Evolutionary mechanisms

Quote Robin Wood (page 6 of this thread) :

"it has been discovered that there are clusters of attributes that show up together, for whatever reason. [...] when animals are bred for docility, they also come out with short legs, short round snouts, droopy ears, soft hair, curly tails, and piebald coats. (Research from the 40+ year Belyaev Silver Fox experiment.)"

Sexualy selected traits

Humans are neo-genic to a degree. This means that we have evolved to look more child like. This is a common process in evolution and in our case is possibly partly down to sexual selection (as well as the fact that neogeny produces larger heads). The argument for sexual selection is that we find youth attractive - particularly as we have an instinct to pretect our childeren. We then select for these traits.

There is a notion of ideal beauty and those who support it often talk of evolution and survival of the fittest. Such ideas are largely ignorant of developements in evolutionary understanding. There can be multiple evolutionary strategies within a species. This is in its most extreem form in the Chiclid fish but is present in humans also.

For instance, men can look feminin or masculin. Women tend to prefer feminin looking men a lot of the time and masculin men when they are at the firtile period of the month.

The size of the brow, jaw and penis of a man are effected by the amount of, or sensitivity to testosterone. This is also the case for baldness.

Many women (but not all) have high cheek bones and this is considered attractive. Fleshy pads on the cheeks have evolved (probably through natural selection) to cause this to happen.

Large breasts are universally deemed attractive in women although the idea shape is not quite so universal, some men prefering the hanging kind. Womens breasts are far larger than they need to be and this is a clear sign of sexual selection. It has been suggested that large breasts resemble buttocks which are deemed attractive for obviouse sexual reasons.

Significant Variatoins

People have been born with a number of fingers other than the usual including 4 and 6 on a hand.

Some people have webbed feet and sometimes hands too. It has been suggested that this may be a residual characteristic by those who subscribe to the contravercial but plausable "aquatic ape" hypothosis which supposes that humans evolved around the coast. There are other possible explanations however. People often have these webs removed with surgery.

There have been people borne with an extra leg.

One in every 2000 people are borne with de-formed or ambiguous genitals. These are usuallly operated upon at birth although sex is often mis-identified which causes complicatoins later on.

Dwarfism effects around one in every 40,000 people and has many causes. Achondroplasia is the most common, affecting about 80% of 'little people'. See more here:

http://dwarfism.org/

There is a rare condition called *blank* which causes people to be small and have pointy ears. It is also said that such people have unusualy well developed musical abilities. It is possible that they are the original source of the elf myth.

There are many variatons which are regarded as 'freakish' such as siemese twins etc. Here is a link showing waxwork models of such things:

http://www.kolumbus.fi/elina.clifford/index_engl.htm (thanks Kargokultti)

Minor mutations

One of my toes is a little shorter than the others. I have no explanation for this.

Cleft palletes are fairly common and it is usual for these to operated on at birth to aid eating and speaking.

Examples of culturally enforced variation of shape.

In much of the western world, women have the desire to be thin. Many people who see images of western models assume that they have diareah and are about to die. However, some people are naturally very thin and this can be considered normal.

In the *blank* tribe, two girls are selected to be the breeding stock and are kept in cages to be force fed.

There is the case of the *Blank* tribe where a woman with plump calves is considered beautifull. This has lead to some sexual selection which is accentuated by the binding of the legs.

In China, it was the custom to bind womans feet so that they don't grow large. This is considered beautifull but caused a great amunt of pain. The causet is similar example.

One of the most extreem cases of beauty through disfigurement is in the *blank* people who bind the heads of childeren to make them grow into extended shapes.

Another example is that of the girraffe women who earn a ring around thier neck for each year of fidelity. Through time, this streaches their neck - sometimes to a hazardus extent. Should they be un-faithfull then one of these rings is removed. This increases the danger that their neck will collapse and they will become paralysed.

The *blank* people have a custom of filing the teeth of women down to stumps as this is considerd beautifull.

The woman of the *blank* tribe insert ceramic discs into holes in their lips and thier lower front teeth are knocked out. The discs are replaced from time to time by larger ones. The larger the disc, the more that the girl will recieve from the Grooms faimily upon marriage. It is thought that this practice began fairly recently as a measure to prevent slave traders from taking people who didn't look like they would be able to work well. It is a tradition that is now seen as pointless and is dying.

Examples of variations in features causing other variations.

Some people have small chins (receded chins) and others have large front teeth. This can result in their lower front teeth extending further forward than do their upper teeth. If this is combined with a large lower lip then the lower lip can be pushed down by the teeth and will over-hang.

Tall but timid people will often slouch and this can lead to them having a curved spine. A similar thing uccurs in people who hang thier head where the head ends up in a forward position.

Ageing

Features such as the nose and ears become larger over time. It is generally accepted that this is due to the force of gravity.

Variation around the world

Whilst the notion of descreet races has not been backed up by science and many notions of race been proven incorrect, there are genetic variations that have, in some cases a braud Geological correlation. I will try to collate some information on this subject here.

First off, some links about the subject can be found here:

http://anthropology.net/node/19

American indians:

http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/tribes/history/indiananatomy.htm

Locamotion/Flexing

Some people are said to be double jointed. They are not really double jointed but rather have the ability to bend an extraodinary amount or otherwise perform feats of bodily movement which break ice at parties.

Young girls are generally more flexible than old men.

A school friend of mine was able to bend his fingers right back to touch his wrist. It is not advized that one attempts this.

I am able to perform all of the standard tricks with my tongue. I can roll it into a tube latteraly or length wise, roll it entirely upside down clockwise or anti-clockwise and touch my nose with it. I have been christened "the tongue" as a result. I have yet to find any practical use for my abilities.

General reference:

Section on Edge.org about The nature of normal human variation (http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/leroi05/leroi05_index.html) If you are going to read this then please read ALL of it for a balenced account.

The book "1000 on 42nd street" (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1576870456/104-6172691-1005514?v=glance) Thanks Ekah

And "Human" (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0756605202/qid=1123883039/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/104-6172691-1005514)

The books of Desmond Morris

http://www.female-anatomy-for-artis...ntent/index.htm (http://www.female-anatomy-for-artist.com/content/index.htm) (thanks Llynna)

I found these references all about anatomical variation but I can't begin to work out what all the terms mean:

http://www.vh.org/adult/provider/anatomy/AnatomicVariants/AnatomyHP.html#TOC

http://www.wheelessonline.com/ortho/search?search=variations&go.x=0&go.y=0

Lots of face images to look at (click on the letters)
http://www.riksdagen.se/webbnav/index.aspx?nid=1003 (thanks Alice)

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Llynna
08-05-2005, 07:58 PM
there is so much truth in what you posted John Keates. There are many people out there which just dont't look like the standart types, if you were to pant them anyone would complain about the anatomy^^. i have this kind of problem with my hands, i am not able to use them as reference, the fingers are too short, whenever i draw them the look false.

whatever, have a look at http://www.female-anatomy-for-artist.com/content/index.htm, they different models at least.

John Keates
08-05-2005, 08:30 PM
Thanks for the link Llynna,

I guess that there are a lot of photo references out there which are handy. I am wondering if anyone has done an analysis on the subject.

jmBoekestein
08-05-2005, 08:53 PM
I think what people are commenting on is construction of the face, for instance a typical arc on the jaw simply is there because the muscles and bones are like that in every human, even in some more closely related animals, even on the elephant man. ;)

And then you'll find you need to understand the human form and inner workings to understand why they crease and wrinkle differently, this will eventually lead to psychology which hasn't been brought back to genetics/physical biology properly and will lead you to observing by yourself.

:) I'd just like to add that some deformities/extremeties of growth are just ugly/unbalanced and that's not anything to be painting imho. I really can't enjoy them and I imagine similar of my audience, if any exists, lol. So you get back at that again, an idela base shape, and then some characteristic features.

Jean Genie
08-05-2005, 10:07 PM
:) I'd just like to add that some deformities/extremeties of growth are just ugly/unbalanced and that's not anything to be painting imho. I really can't enjoy them and I imagine similar of my audience, if any exists, lol. So you get back at that again, an idela base shape, and then some characteristic features.

I don't know if I can agree with you on that. Between painting someone with a deformity that has an interesting attitude or deep expression and someone just cute with a few characteristics but a plain boring attitude, I'd definitely go for the former.

The same goes for what I long to see in a picture.

John Keats, I understand your concern. I've been looking for the same thing but haven't found much. So I'm going for thorough observation until then...

jmBoekestein
08-05-2005, 10:45 PM
Can you tell me this then. If the parts of the face that you are looking for to be representing a certain property are deformed would you still like them? Because they usually still adhere to the same principle if they work. Same thing for cartoons, they nearly always still fit the the guidelines :).

Good example of it being the recent ALiens vs. Predators movie, they gave the predators cute and likeable eyes, according the mold, because otherwise it probably wouldn't work. (the human main character bonded with one of them)

I think it's probably similar to natural selection, some characteristics stay because they represent something useful/beautiful. Like rich feathers are only able to grow if the bird is healthy enough. Same for a healthy expression ;).

CodeNothing
08-05-2005, 10:55 PM
well yess there are of course different faces, shapes, proportions for every human being. and knowing what is 'perfect' is something everyone argues over.

but, as for people saying your face drawings look 'wonky', its probably more to do with the construction in your drawing, rather than the construction in the face. if you follow some basic anatomical rules and follow the rules of shadow/light, the faces will always look good even if the subject isnt 'pretty'.

for example look up leonardo da vinci's drawings of grotesque people. they are all old, deformed, and ugly. but they are 'convincing' as real people.


http://www.artchive.com/artchive/l/leonardo/leonardo_grotesque.jpg

John Keates
08-05-2005, 11:02 PM
I accept that my figures may appear wonky becase of the way that they are constructed... I wasn't trying to make excuses for myself. I was just using wonkyness as an example of something which is quite normal in a face but tends to get ironed out when people paint.

I see a beauty in reality - warts and all, so I don't accept that we shouldn't paint this.

Thanks for the reminder tha Leonardo rocked :buttrock:

Jean Genie
08-05-2005, 11:48 PM
[QUOTE=jmBoekestein]Can you tell me this then. If the parts of the face that you are looking for to be representing a certain property are deformed would you still like them? Because they usually still adhere to the same principle if they work. Same thing for cartoons, they nearly always still fit the the guidelines :).[QUOTE=jmBoekestein]

If we are talking about complete deformation to the extent that it can barely be recognized as a human being, then I probably would'nt be attracted to it at first sight.

However, if it ressembles that of a cat or some other form that brings comfort, I might be very attracted to it.

I know the importance of familiarity, most of all in proportions and body language. But I find a distorted person with a very rich body language more interesting than a fair person with a boring attitude.

Well, it's all a matter of degree...

jmBoekestein
08-05-2005, 11:48 PM
Beautiful warts? Care to prove that? lol.

edit: @ JeanGenie, well, interesting point but now are you talking attraction or just appearance in an image. Because yes, even still with bodylanguage someone would be signaling physical health or competence/assuredness. I've thought of this many times, but never found the opposite of beautiful/competent to be 'nice'. It's always been a balance of factors for me, (or temporary insanity :p).

Jean Genie
08-06-2005, 12:25 AM
Beautiful warts? Care to prove that? lol.

edit: @ JeanGenie, well, interesting point but now are you talking attraction or just appearance in an image. Because yes, even still with bodylanguage someone would be signaling physical health or competence/assuredness. I've thought of this many times, but never found the opposite of beautiful/competent to be 'nice'. It's always been a balance of factors for me, (or temporary insanity :p).

I'm talking about body language in a still image. The attitude.
As for 'nice' well... Who wants nice?
I want interesting...

(Of course, it's all about balance. Even to shock people, you need the right balance.)

Squibbit
08-06-2005, 12:28 AM
As for 'nice' well... Who wants nice?
I want interesting...


yea like gargoyles



.

colintheys
08-06-2005, 12:30 AM
It's not for artistic purposes, but a great deal of research has gone into anatomical variations and the construction of what we identify as features in psychology / cognitive science. One of the most interesting things about this field is the human ability to identify an individual from a single glance at almost any angle. I don't just know that it's a person. I know that it's "Susan." A lot of effort has been put into figuring out what we use to do this. I suppose I'd advise doing some online journal searches if you're up for wading through long, technical papers. :)

-Colin

jmBoekestein
08-06-2005, 12:53 AM
JeanGenie, I can agree with that. :) I'd go so far as to say I want more than that, character and depth in the personality, which is obviously very hard to do, I haven't the faintest clue in whether I'll be able to achieve that. But, I can relate most of it to proportions through the simple fact of competence and the reality of ones actions related to for instance the muscle mass and wrinkles on a face. :) Just about anybody likes nice cheekbones, not too snarly and not too faint.

edit: what he said :p

paperclip
08-06-2005, 01:54 AM
Personally I prefer looking at pictures of 'interesting' people, they seem to have more of a story behind them. I mean, compare these two:
http://osapodamalingua.blogs.sapo.pt/arquivo/ugly_man.jpg http://www.saltmag.net/images/author_photos/garrison_andy.jpg

Which picture are you gonna look at the longest? It's true, 'different' faces make for more interesting and engaging pictures. Yes, Leonardo rocks! :buttrock:

jmBoekestein
08-06-2005, 01:58 AM
Paperclip, sometimes I wonder about your mental health... the one on the left is not even getting within ten yards of my beer.

And seriously, before this turns into an arguement about intolerance, there are limits to anything. I consider myself to be tolerant to the point of naivity. But given this guy was sitting next to you, who would you prefer to talk to?

Jean Genie
08-06-2005, 02:18 AM
Paperclip, sometimes I wonder about your mental health... the one on the left is not even getting within ten yards of my beer.

And seriously, before this turns into an arguement about intolerance, there are limits to anything. I consider myself to be tolerant to the point of naivity. But given this guy was sitting next to you, who would you prefer to talk to?

Personnally, I'd definitely say the guy on the left. I'm sure he's had a much more interesting life and more peculiar views on everything. Sure I wouldn't think of marrying him the first minute, but heck, doesn't he look just like Popeye?

Surely you wouldn't spit on Popeye, now, would you?

jmBoekestein
08-06-2005, 02:35 AM
Well, for starters, what would this guy be able to tell me about. I'm sure a story of loneliness would give me some feelings of guilt. But the guy on the right must have lots of things to do and think about, and probably the facilities to actually do it / understand.

For all I know the guy on the left got his face mangled walking around in a factory sticking his head in a device wondering whether it's functioning or not. Maybe if he looked like Stimpey I'd find him funny... maybe.

gnarlycranium
08-06-2005, 02:35 AM
As my favorite art teacher likes to say-- you have to know the rules before you can break them well.

Physical variation is a realm of undefinable subtlety that no one truly understands. The difference of placement in a certain line or feature by a couple millimeters can be the difference between realism and an obviously unnatural mistake-- but at the same time, HUGE variations, including extreme stylization, can still register as totally convincing of character and emotion.

You learn the basic proportions first to understand what you're working with. They are your tools, your guidelines, the rules you MUST break to acheive anything. To overthrow a government and put together a better one of your own, you have to know every detail of how the current one works. To adjust a certain proportion is like reaching for the gearshift on your car-- you have to know what to grab, and exactly how and where to move it to get the desired result... except the car can be nearly any shape, every surface is equally malleable, and the 'desired result' is totally subjective. That's what we're up against.

It's not just about 'ideal' or beautiful vs 'ugly', either. 'Perfect' proportions are just about as useless and bland for creating beauty as they are for any other characteristic.

As for where to find information on it... that's a darn good question. Leonardo is the only source I can think of offhand-- other than that, I guess we just need to take a TRUCKLOAD of reference photos?

jmBoekestein
08-06-2005, 02:47 AM
Well, Leonardo is the only one to have studied so manythings so well. There's your clue, from medical science to obscure sciences (palm reading used to be taught at universtities) you'll find scattered clues to the why and how.

The way a person behaves towards the world in the now and his past has and will shpae his or her body, things lke laughing create wrinkles for instance. There you should piece the clues together, but that's probably quite difficult as a lot of things will be left up to experience and insight, hard to come by those 2.

Stahlberg
08-06-2005, 07:33 AM
Hey, Gnarly, long time no see! Where you been at? :)

The Popeye guy is mugging - pulling a face. Trying to look like Popeye, meerschaum pipe and all. I bet when he relaxes his face and puts his teeth back in he looks quite normal.

Obviously we look longer at his face, freakishness mesmerizes. Hence rubber-necking at car accidents. Doesn't mean I want to paint that face, or buy a painting with it on. :)

Lunatique
08-06-2005, 08:32 AM
This is actually a very important and fascinating topic.

There will be times when you depict a person in your artwork that's not "average" in terms of anatomy, proportions..etc, and you will be faced with the critical decisions you have to make. Do you soften those differences so that the person doesn't look "wrong" to your audience? Do you stick to your guns because that's exactly how the person really looks?

If I had to face this problem, I think I would stick to my guns, but I'll add an explanation as to why the person looks "off." But if I was showing the work in a fashion that no text explanations can be shown, I'll probably do it the other way. It's a compromise, but I think as long as you convey the overall message of your piece effectively, it should be ok.

CodeNothing
08-06-2005, 09:20 AM
One of my old art teachers had a related problem with a portrait he was comissioned to do....



an old rich lady hired him to paint a portrait of her and her dog. When my teacher met her he saw she was obviously very old and very wrinkled. He had her sit and he tried to light her face, but no matter what he did the wrinkles were very aparent. So he was in this delema.... Should he paint her as he see's her? an 80 yr old woman? at the risk of her being angry he made her look so old? or make her look younger? at the risk of loosing the job because it didnt realy look like her any more?

so he decided to keep the wrinkles, but but do it in a way that wasnt as 'harsh' as reality. Instead of defining the wrinkles with the shadows they made, he defined them only by the highlights they picked up. This way she looked her age, but didnt look 'ugly'.

personaly i love paintings of old peoples chizzled faces. I cant wait to do self portraits at 80. :)

paperclip
08-06-2005, 09:38 AM
Paperclip, sometimes I wonder about your mental health... the one on the left is not even getting within ten yards of my beer.

And seriously, before this turns into an arguement about intolerance, there are limits to anything. I consider myself to be tolerant to the point of naivity. But given this guy was sitting next to you, who would you prefer to talk to?

The point of this thread isn't who you'd prefer to talk to but about 'different' faces in art. I think a pic with the left hand guy would be more interesting to look at. I'm definitely not saying I would marry him. (Nor the guy on the right, but the guy on the left even less) You can't say that his face isn't intriguing though. CodeNothing brought up a valid point- how do you paint someone who's clearly not amazingly beautiful? Do you emphasise that or not? Wrinkles are one thing, but what if the person has a very, very large nose or something?
One idea I have is -- you could ask the person to sketch a quick picture of themselves. If they overexaggerate the nose, make it look normal. If they make it look normal, make it look slightly smaller and so on...after all, the commission has to please the client.

RoundRobbin
08-06-2005, 11:43 AM
nah, there's no such thing as normal in art. People arent going for normal anymore, it's all about amazing. Personally, the dude on the left definetly has more potential for art creation, because i get a lot of ideas when i see his face. If Your amending his face because you want to emphasize your own personal view on how you percieve his image, thats your perogitive. It's also not wrong to choose the man on the right, if forced to choose. The tastes of all artists are unique.

John Keates
08-06-2005, 11:58 AM
People are working on the assumption that all faces are basically identical but with different proportions. As far as I know, this isn't actually the case. Sure, we all have the same muscles but we don't just see muscles... that would be creepy.

For instance, the brow is a very importand region. Some people have a prominent brow ridge(bone) and prominent orbitals (muscles) but these can relate in diffferent ways. They might have a high (virtically) ridge but the orbital might be lower. This creates a vally between the two. For other people, the orbital sits right on top of the ridge, but maybe a it will move, creating a vally, when the person frowns.

Another example is the one that I mentioned in the first post. There are creases and folds in skin - particularly around the eyes which have a genetic basis. We can agree on what is normal but Chinese people may disagree. There are differences that go beyond mere proportion.

Also, there are creases that appear in some faces but not others. Dimples are an example of ths. Some people have huge dimples even when they grimace, whilst others never get them no matter how much they smile.

Another example is sunken eyes. I remember a guy once told me that I had made a mistake in painting large depressions over a persons eyes. You can see him here:

http://johnkeatesart.com/Images/HotelRelaxo.jpg

But for me, those depressions were a part of the painting. I wanted to give the impression that he was a drug taker. People who take drugs sometimes end up with fast metabalisms. When a person has a fast metabalism, they burn lots of the fat that isn't supposed to get burned - like behind the eyes. This leads to the eyes becoming sunken and this in turn leads to the creation of creases above the eyes which are otherwise not there at all.

So for me, there is no standard face. Some faces have features that others just don't have - like Norway has Fjords and Irland has the Giants Causeway. It is NOT just a matter of changing proportions.

I am sure that people have done some in-depth studies on this stuff but it looks like I will just have to do a big load of googling to find them.

Kargokultti
08-06-2005, 01:29 PM
Doesn't this kind of thing ultimately depend on the vision you're going for? Doesn't one actually justify an image one's created, merely by stopping working on it?

Just as most of the people are regular, average joes, most of the visions had by people are average, drawn from the everyday averageness. If you happen to have a idea for a not-so-average image, well, I wouldn't be surprised if people just didn't get it.

Making images of pretty girls is what average joes do. And I'm not excluding myself from this group merely because creating nice, clean, commercial images is a bit of a challenge to me. I'm constantly practising on it because a) I can't do it yet and b) it might bring bread to the table.

But I would oppose to anyone saying that you should only go for some weird, media-dictated idea of the human face, that other kinds of faces are simply repellent, nothing more. This is a bit where - I believe - it is not possible to stay out of politics.

Images in the media affect people's self images, and CGtalk is as much a media as the next thing. If there's only one type of image out there, well, doesn't this send a message to the people who don't fit the mold very well?

John Keates
08-06-2005, 02:15 PM
Images in the media affect people's self images, and CGtalk is as much a media as the next thing. If there's only one type of image out there, well, doesn't this send a message to the people who don't fit the mold very well?

Absolutely. I cringe every time that I hear of Japanese women having operations on thier eyes to make them more "western" or African Americans having a similar thing done to their nose. What is the future going to look like? Are we all going to look like greek statues? (That is, after all the colourfull paint was cleaned off them by victorians).

jmBoekestein
08-06-2005, 03:32 PM
The point of this thread isn't who you'd prefer to talk to but about 'different' faces in art. I think a pic with the left hand guy would be more interesting to look at. I'm definitely not saying I would marry him. (Nor the guy on the right, but the guy on the left even less) You can't say that his face isn't intriguing though. CodeNothing brought up a valid point- how do you paint someone who's clearly not amazingly beautiful? Do you emphasise that or not? Wrinkles are one thing, but what if the person has a very, very large nose or something?
One idea I have is -- you could ask the person to sketch a quick picture of themselves. If they overexaggerate the nose, make it look normal. If they make it look normal, make it look slightly smaller and so on...after all, the commission has to please the client.

Well, whatever. I bet the guy on the left would be blatently used for horror or a bit of a stir ;).

But anyway, I still haven't seen any beautiful warts... Basically freakishness gives some interest for a while I guess. But I think the context is more related to subject matter than painting portraits of people, or rather the fact people don't seem to accept odd anatomy. I'd say medical stuff would get you a long way at that. And at anything anatomical I bet.

:) You could also ask them to show you photographs of themselves that they like btw, saves you some rake people portraits.

edit: I have no problem with people wanting to have some recognisable or 'better' features stressed, it gives very nice paintings too. It's when they can't live with themselves because of that want when a bell rings with me. I don't think the problem is the media, that's the scape goat the easy target, doesn't talk back and has all to do with the issue. Ultimately the people on tv are perked up real people. You can't tell me that they're an unpelasant something, the people with issues need to figure them out and solve them. Then we'll all be living contently with what we were dealt. And ultimately, if we feel good about ourselves we can move more freely in more than one way, and really get more out of life :).

John Keates
08-06-2005, 03:46 PM
jmBoekestein, you seem to be missing the point.

You seem to be suggesting that any variatoin from the norm is ugly. I am saying that there isn't a norm and there are many more perfectly natural variations in peoples faces than we let on. I would be interested in finding out more about this rather than having a discussion about your personal tastes.

Take the dimple example. Not many people have dimples but are they ugly? Not at all. They can be very attractive. Is a person with no dimples at all ugly? No, not at all. That too can be attractive.

Plus, if you think that art only has value if it represents traditional visual beauty then that is a little.... impoverished.

There is a lot of beauty in an old, characterfull face. I would much rather have a pint with the guy on the left. Have you never had a pint with an old guy? A lot of these people have been through wars, revolutions, regeme changes etc.

Could you try and see what this thread is about by reading my posts? If you don't have anything to contribute to it allong the lines that I am asking... then don't. :shrug: (not trying to be rude here, just trying to keep the thread in line).

jmBoekestein
08-06-2005, 03:51 PM
Well, it seemed to me you weren't striking any core with your question. You were asking about variations in anatomy, are those dimples then?

As to impoverished, are youtelling us what variations are or querying about their accuracy in your work? Or maybe trying to find out things about it? If you want it to be representative of something, you'll have to simply dive in the books and data. Basically...

Stahlberg
08-06-2005, 04:02 PM
some weird, media-dictated idea of the human face
If you're talking about thin as a stick versus curvy and sexy - a group of fashion designers (most of them gay men, which means they prefer bony) are responsible for that (and I say that with nothing but respect).
That, plus the fact that people in rich countries are literally eating themselves to death more and more, and there's a growing backlash to that.

No one can 'dictate' what faces we like. That's a modern myth. The idea is silly, and vaguely insulting. Asian women operate their eyes to raise the lids, which makes the eyes look bigger - this is a desirable female trait to most people all over the world. That is DNA. It's not a product of brainwashing.

John Keates
08-06-2005, 04:24 PM
are youtelling us what variations are or querying about their accuracy in your work? Or maybe trying to find out things about it? If you want it to be representative of something, you'll have to simply dive in the books and data. Basically...

I am asking what I am asking. The thread title and content say it all. Does anyone here know about variations? The sage Stahlberg did, thats why he has mentioned the one about Asian ladies eyes - thanks for that Stahlberg :)

I have often noticed the largness of thier eyes but I always attributed it to the high fat content of their diet (which may lead to the opposite of sunken eyes which would make them appear larger) plus the fact that thier eyes would contrast with thier darker skin.

See... Stahlberg brought up an interesting point and now we can talk about it rather than getting side-tracked by somethign else. If you want to talk about notions of beauty and conformity then by all means start a thread about it. That isn't what this thread is about.

I am well aware that there may be books and research done on the subject but it is hard to find. I was thinking that maybe people here knew about it or could give me some leads.

You obviously don't know about the subject so I don't see why you post. I feel like the bad guy here but I am just trying to keep things lean and interesting. Please PM me for further enquiries.

jmBoekestein
08-06-2005, 05:10 PM
It's like this, people with no chin:

The bones there are smaller for some reason, meaning the jaw bone. This could be lack of certain substances leading to too little growth or just genetics.
All the muscles and tendons are still in place pushing the skin outwards, so you get odd bulges which would usually be around the (chin)bone there but are now not around but solely present. the bulge depends on the amount of usage of the muscles.

These are just simple things. Otherwise you need to be familiar with the basics of the human form to get to why it appears a certain way. So it's either, understand the anatomy first and then try and find the deviations from it, or 'what would you like to be using variations for?'. I'm busy with the second since I see no point in discussing all the various differences on a board for art theory because they are simply out there for the viewing and observing and are obviously countless, not theoretic at all. Then again, from an 'art theory' point of view, there are things to discuss, the usage of them visually. Which relates perception of others and ofcourse inevitably to beauty and ugliness. So again to be on topic, what's it your asking about? I mean you are on the art theories and discussion forum and not the artistic anatomy forum, so, I don't get your point. :shrug: I might have been off topic responding to some issues posed, which was in good fun I believe. But it was all off topic anyway. The sage up there mentions beauty ideals, should we discuss this now?

I don't PM this in order to try and get something out of this. But, if it's just some random info on variations you're asking, that's fine with me and I'll sit back.

John Keates
08-06-2005, 05:37 PM
Well ok, let me re-phrase my question...

"I try to make sure that I represent a wide variety of body/face types in my work so I would be interested to know if there any good sources of information about the variation between people rather than just the similarities and how these variations are created - whether that be through lifestyle or genetics or a combination of the two."

Oh, hang on... that is identical to my original question.

At no point did I ask why we would wan't to use this variation so this thread isn't about that. Anyway, why wouldn't we? If you don't want to use it then fine... what has that got to do with me?

You say "So it's either, understand the anatomy (my italics) first and then try and find the deviations from it"

My point is that there isn't a "The anatomy". Yet again I will state that there are variations in anatomy. Not variations from the norm (what is the norm?) but variations due to genetics/lifestyle which people tend not to discuss (maybe because they don't want to bring up issues of race?)

You seem to assume that normal=beautifull where normal=healthy I suppose. As it happens, many of the models which we see in the midia do not have normal faces. Many female models have abnormally small jaws and are told by authadontists that they should have thier jaw "corrected" for health reasons. Also, the large jaw and heavy brow that makes men look hunky are caused by high levels of testosterone. High levels of testosterone are bad for the immune system and cause stress and violent behaviour.

I will also repeat again that it is NOT possible to derive all variatoin from a standard model. Even if it were, the thread still stands as a discussion point of how this variation can work. And by the way, I have a reasonable knowledge of anatomy - I just don't see that it can necesseraly help us work out all variation in a way that is obvious - as I explained in the eyebrow example and the dimple example.

I will stress again that this thread isn't supposed to be about ideals of beauty - I am after an objective and non-political look at the variations in anatomy of the worlds population.

If you don't like the topic then don't post to it. Please.

John Keates
08-06-2005, 05:45 PM
Oh yeah, with the chin example in the first post... I could have been clearer there. What I mean is that, maybe as well as having a sunken jaw line, they also have a bag of flesh (fat?) under their chin which makes them look chinless... but they don't have much fat anywhere else. Is this caused by thier lifestyle or is there maybe an un-common gene for storing fat around the neck just as there is for storing it around the kidneys and back etc?

I'm not expecting an answer for this particular question of course... it is just an example.

Stahlberg
08-06-2005, 06:09 PM
Well when it comes to fat-storing, that's obviously genetic... most features of the body are genetic. Only a relative minority of things like bunions and broken noses and bone-eating pathogens etc are caused by the environment. Unless you count aging as part of the environment and not part of the genetic; depends on definitions.

Since evolution works the way it does, we always have a huge majority of 'normal' or nearly so, then a smaller and smaller percentage of more and more different or 'abnormal' physiology.
Exactly what the aberrations are, is very difficult to establish fully if you think about it: by definition the most abnormal is very rare, and so hard to find. I think you could dedicate several lifetimes of study only to pinpoint what is the norm for the human body and what are all the aberrations from it. A good start would be to study to become a doctor, but even that I think would not be enough. If there is a single book about it I haven't found it, let me know if you do. :)

John Keates
08-06-2005, 06:24 PM
AARRRGH!.. not you as well!.... are you guys trying to wind me up?

What is this idea of the "norm" with "abberations" from it? Show me a photo of a normal person and I will show you another photo of someone who looks quite different but is just as normal.

We don't in any way need to use notions of normality in order to study genetic variations. For example, there are white swans and there are black swans. You might say that white swans are normal and black ones are "abberations" but an Austrailian might say the opposite. We could spend forever trying to decide which is normal. Which evolved from which... which is more healthy ( and in what environment ), which is more common? Are we talking about common now or common through the whole of time? Or the whole of phase space?

OR... we could leave notions of normality completely alone and just acknowledge that there are PERFECTLY NORMAL DIFFERENCES between things. Black swans and white swans. Quite simple.

Or are you supposing that there is some kind of superhuman on which we are all based? Because there isn't!

So I say AGAIN. If you know about the differences between people and the way that those differences work then please enlighten me. If you don't know anything about it, or if you think that it is a bad question, then just don't post. Quite simple.

jfrancis
08-06-2005, 07:09 PM
Knowing average proportions is a drawing tool.

There are such things as average proportions. This is a mathematical reality. If you know those average measurements, you can more competently analyse the degree to which the model in front of you agrees with or departs from those proportions.

It sounds to me like you object to the term "normal"

"Norm" in this case is a mathematical term.
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=define%3A+norm&btnG=Google+Search
"Norm" is a synonym for "mean" or "average" --

"normal" and "abnormal" carry a lot of baggage now, but something abnormal is not, by definition, always "bad" or "undesirable." It could simply be "abnormal."

RoundRobbin
08-06-2005, 07:12 PM
So I say AGAIN. If you know about the differences between people and the way that those differences work then please enlighten me. If you don't know anything about it, or if you think that it is a bad question, then just don't post. Quite simple.

Everyone has the same facial pattern. Look at fibinachi's theories and the golden mean, The facial pattern gets exponentially more complex or simple with every face, although patterns' complexity might differ, the pattern will still maintain it's mathematical sum of the human race. You don't need books on 'medical abnomailties', all you need is your minds eye.

Everyones statements which you happlessly strike irrelevant in your thread is what made this thread progress so well. The swan anaology doesn't fit, especially if you use DArwinian theory which artists somehow intertwine in their idealogical conventions to prep creation or duplication from quantity which gets labeled the norm or an abberation. abberations that DONT fall into those patterns are abberations. Theirs a lot of relevance.

Kargokultti
08-06-2005, 07:16 PM
No one can 'dictate' what faces we like. That's a modern myth. The idea is silly, and vaguely insulting. Asian women operate their eyes to raise the lids, which makes the eyes look bigger - this is a desirable female trait to most people all over the world. That is DNA. It's not a product of brainwashing.

Did I tell you how the TV people come to my place and punch me till I'm black and blue if I think about faces that deviate from the ones they force-feed us. No? Well, that's because they don't.

Boekestein was right in that there is no one media, and no one united will behind it, but the trends are clearly visible. To discuss them, we use such conversational crutches as generalizations, hence the word 'media' when 'global, nearly immaterial, but still very real trends in the popular imagination' would be more appropriate.

And no, that is not DNA. DNA is DeoxyriboNucleic Acid. Eye enlargening surgery is usually called 'plastic surgery'. And surgery is just a nice word for "making wounds". I'll approve of eye largening, breast enhancing, thigh reducing operations the day they are achieved by DNA therapy. Until then, they're just a slightly more sophisticated form of ritual body mutilation.

Sorry, went a bit sarcastic there. Couldn't help myself.

Kargokultti
08-06-2005, 07:19 PM
Knowing average proportions is a drawing tool.

There are such things as average proportions. This is a mathematical reality. If you know those average measurements, you can more competently analyse the degree to which the model in front of you agrees with or departs from those proportions.

Yes, of course there is the mathematical average. But do you really believe that the average face proportions we've all been taught at our arts classes were created by a bunch of mathematicians?

jfrancis
08-06-2005, 07:23 PM
Yes, of course there is the mathematical average. But do you really believe that the average face proportions we've all been taught at our arts classes were created by a bunch of mathematicians?

I don't think you are objecting to what is to be considered an average face.

I think you are objecting to what is to be considered an ideal face.

I purposely avoided that word.

mosconariz
08-06-2005, 07:28 PM
Well when it comes to fat-storing, that's obviously genetic... most features of the body are genetic. Only a relative minority of things like bunions and broken noses and bone-eating pathogens etc are caused by the environment. Unless you count aging as part of the environment and not part of the genetic; depends on definitions.

I don't agree with this, most identical twins are not identical at all, their anathomy differs in fat, height and even in details in the shape of the nose etcétera; and they have the SAME DNA... this twins, if you doesn't look close, you'll see them identical. But they aren't because they have had their own experiences in life.

Maybe we can make something for this thread, maybe we can sketch all the cool variety we find in streets and upload it here... or maybe we should close this thread cause at this point we're going nowhere, hehe :scream:

John Keates
08-06-2005, 07:29 PM
Knowing average proportions is a drawing tool.

There are such things as average proportions. This is a mathematical reality. If you know those average measurements, you can more competently analyse the degree to which the model in front of you agrees with or departs from those proportions.

Look I know that having a model of "normal" anatomy is a usefull tool. I'm not disputing that. What I am saying is that, whilst there is a lot of discussion about normality, nobody talks about the variation.

We can take all the people that exist and find the mathematical average and use that as a model. This average person will have about 1.99 legs and 31.8 teeth. They will be kinda dark brown, they will have a sorta button/not button nose, kinda grey eyes, both sets of genetals, a slight remenance of glasses etc etc.

Anyone seen a person like this?

So we have our average person and now we want to find the variations from that "norm". OK what are the variations? We are back to square one arn't we.

I'm not asking about what is normal. I have plenty of books telling me what the base model is. I would like to know about the VARIATIONS. The normal model tells me diddly squat about them. There could be green people with upside down noses and the "normal" model wouldn't tell me that at all.

Someone here show me a person that they consider to be normal and from which all facial characteristics can be derived and I will show you how there is no such person, and even if there were, there would not be the information within them which would allow us to un-contravercially extrapolate the full range of features seen in people around the world.

Everything in this post I have written in some other form in this thread. PLEASE don't make me repeat myself again. The question is quite specific. If you can't answer it then don't....

jfrancis
08-06-2005, 07:52 PM
Here are some books that might interest you:

http://www.forensicanthro.com/forensic-books/

Many of them concern themselves with how to derive the appearances of real people from their real and highly varied skulls.

I just bought this book earlier today.

Forensic Art and Illustration (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0849381185/ref=pd_sim_b_1/002-2264435-1162454?%5Fencoding=UTF8&v=glance)

Drift around in that list, and follow the "people who bought this book also bought..." links on Amazon and you may like what you find. Some of it is more forensic; some of it is more artistic.

jmBoekestein
08-06-2005, 08:13 PM
I don't agree with this, most identical twins are not identical at all, their anathomy differs in fat, height and even in details in the shape of the nose etcétera; and they have the SAME DNA... this twins, if you doesn't look close, you'll see them identical. But they aren't because they have had their own experiences in life.

Well I think this would be caused by environmental things like eatnig different amounts of food and developing different habits gradually over time. That makes them different, so obviously also grow differently. I'd say something like they're two different souls anyway, but there's no real truth to have here, scientifically, heh.

OK, just for the sake of reason and logic in arguements I'm going to try one time. *


DNA has an obvious consistent structure which is ofcourse designed to be compatible with others, it is consistent which in turn implies a common shape and form to be present in every specimen of one species. To deny this is irrational and serves no purpose in defining 'variations'. The right track therefore is to also consider the ways of genetics and evolution in the picture. Which IS changing but CONSISTENT.

So we have now, environmentals, genetics, behavioral influences on the form. And these can not be viewed separately but should be viewed in context with eachother. And all three btw, have consistencies that would be viewed as normal, and yes, even..nominal. Like health for instance, would be a nominal state for a human being, healthy.

Well, whatever.

John Keates
08-06-2005, 08:20 PM
I don't agree with this, most identical twins are not identical at all, their anathomy differs in fat, height and even in details in the shape of the nose etcétera; and they have the SAME DNA... this twins, if you doesn't look close, you'll see them identical. But they aren's because they have had their own experiences in life.

Maybe we can make something for this thread, maybe we can sketch all the cool variety we find in streets and upload it here... or maybe we should close this thread cause at this point we're going nowhere, hehe


WOW!! someone here gets the point!! Don't worry, your English is fine. (oh, yeah and I know that Paperclip, Llyanna, Jean Jenie etc got the point a while back too but that seems like so long ago now).

OK, here are some examples of variations so as people who are a little lost get the idea. I put *blank* in there where I have forgotten something - usually a name. If anyone can fault me or add to what I have said then that would be great. Maybe I will edit the first post to include all this stuff and it can act as a reference. The biggest gaps in my knowledge are in the genetic differences. It would be good if there were websites with images of people from around the world but I can't find them.

--------------------------------------------------------

Height:

There are wide extreems of height between the pygmees and the *blank*. Pygmees don't get much above 5 ft and it is thought that this is because it helps them to live in caves and other places where other people cant go.

The *blank* people average at ove 6 ft (including women). This height is attributed to the need to keep cool (long thin legs=cool).

There are congenital characteristics such as dwarfism and *blank* which can lead to people being very small. Whilst dwarfs have a "normal" size head, people who are *blank* have a smaller head and brain.

Width:

The width of people is another characteristic given largely by climate. People in cooler climates tend to be wider - for instance the Vikings are very wide at the chest with shorter arms. This is to increase the body/surface ratio so that they don't get cold.

Colour:

There are also wide variations in colour. These variatoins are due to the amount of sun that people recieve. There is no strict correlation between race and colour as the Aboriginees are black whilst being most closely related to the chineese who range from light brown to very pale.

Some people are albino which means that they have no pigment in thier skin. There are examples of this from all around the world - for example the singer "Saif Kiata" (sic?) is African albino.



Eyes:

There are wide variations in the ways that eyes look. For instance, many Asian women appear to have large eyes because they open thier lids (stahlburg 2005).

Eye colour varies from dark brown through grey, green and blue. Some peple have different colours for each eye (for example, David Bowie)

Hair:

There are many colours of hair from a strong red to a dark black. Hair colour genes can be recessive or diminent so that a couple with brown hair may both have the recessive gene for red hair which will only show up when thier child gets both the red genes. This means that 1 in 4 of thier childeren will have red hair.

Hairyness varies a great deal. Some people are born without hair an never develop it whilst others have hair all over. It is thought that this is due to a recessive gene left over from the past but it could be as a result of the combination of other genes.

The hair line can vary in hieght a great deal. Some women will shave thier hair line to where they want it. Some see this as an advantage, giving them the choice as to where it goes.

The length of hair varies a great deal too. Some men are capable of growing very lengthy beards whilst others can't. It is the custom - for instance in much of the shikh community for men to grow thier hair long and wrap there hair in a turben. This signifies strength. Others, such as the Bhuddist monks, shave thier head as a sign of purity.

Teeth

It seems evident that sexual selection or natural selection, or both, has resulted in us having a small jaw - certainly compared to our ancesters. This has led to a great number of people having more teeth than can comfortably fit into their mouths. In many places, teeth are left alone but elsewhere they are extracted strategically and a brace put in place to push the remainting teeth together.

Some people on the other hand are borne with gaps between the teeth.

There is a condition called *blank* where the teeth grow very thin.

Fat:

The amount of fat on a body varies a lot for both cultural and genetic reasons. Fat and Sugar have, until recently, been hard come buy and we have no mechanism to tell us to stop eating them other than our common sense. This has led many people in wealthy countries such as America and Australia to be over-weight.

Fat diposits uccur on the belly, the upper back, around the kidneys and the neck for both men and women. Women accumulate more around the breasts and men more around the belly.

The large belly of many men is caused by sub-cutaniouse fat which forms around the vital organs as a buffer from poisoning - often caused by the excessive consumption of alchahol.

In many countries and in times past it has been considered attractive for women to be fat
Whilst the degree to which fat is considered beautifull varies, the waste/hip/chest ratios of the ideal are constant.

Also, whilst large breasts are fairly universally appreciated, the ideal shape is not universal, with some people prefering the droopier sort (such as the bangladeshees I believe).

Misc.
Many women (but not all) have high cheek bones and this is considered attractive. Fleshy deposits on the cheeks have evolved (probably through natural selection) to cause this to happen.

Examples of culturally enforced variation of shape.

In much of the western world, women have the desire to be thin. Many people who see images of western models assume that they have diareah and are about to die. There is no proven link (as far as I know) between images of skinny women in the media and eating dissorders. Aneraxia is as common in indian boys as it is in western girls.

In the *blank* tribe, two girls are selected to be the breeding stock and are kept in cages to be force fed.

There is the case of the *Blank* tribe where a woman with plump calves is considered beautifull. This has lead to some sexual selection which is accentuated by the binding of the legs.

In China, it was the custom to bind womans feet so that they don't grow large. This is considered beautifull but caused a great amunt of pain. The causet is similar example.

One of the most extreem cases of beauty through disfigurement is in the *blank* people who bind the heads of childeren to make them grow into extended shapes.

Another example is that of the girraffe women who earn a ring around thier neck for each year of fidelity. Through time, this streaches their neck - sometimes to a hazardus extent. Should they be un-faithfull then one of these rings is removed. This increases the danger that their neck will collapse and they will become paralysed.

The *blank* people have a custom of filing the teeth of women down to stumps as this is considerd beautifull.

The woman of the *blank* tribe insert ceramic discs into holes in their lips and thier lower front teeth are knocked out. The discs are replaced from time to time by larger ones. The larger the disc, the more that the girl will recieve from the Grooms faimily upon marriage. It is thought that this practice began fairly recently as a measure to prevent slave traders from taking people who didn't look like they would be able to work well. It is a tradition that is now seen as pointless and is dying.

Examples of variations in features causing other variations.

Some people have small chins (receded chins) and others have large front teeth. This can result in their lower fron teeth extending further forward than do their upper teeth. If this is combined with a large lower lip then the lower lip can be pushed down by the teeth and will over-hang.

Ageing

Features such as the nose and ears become larger over time. It is generally accepted that this is due to the force of gravity.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

OK... that is about it for now. I was actually fairly impressed at how much I know but there are big gaps in my knowledge - particularly as concernes genetic differences such as the differences in skin-folding around the eyes. I also still don't know why some people have dimples and others don't.

John Keates
08-06-2005, 08:36 PM
Everyone has the same facial pattern. Look at fibinachi's theories and the golden mean, The facial pattern gets exponentially more complex or simple with every face, although patterns' complexity might differ, the pattern will still maintain it's mathematical sum of the human race. You don't need books on 'medical abnomailties', all you need is your minds eye.

Everyones statements which you happlessly strike irrelevant in your thread is what made this thread progress so well. The swan anaology doesn't fit, especially if you use DArwinian theory which artists somehow intertwine in their idealogical conventions to prep creation or duplication from quantity which gets labeled the norm or an abberation. abberations that DONT fall into those patterns are abberations. Theirs a lot of relevance.

I know about the supposed golden mean facial patturns and have done for some time now. I also know that they are considered speculative and of little worth by the scientific community. Once again, I am not talking about averages or normality - I know about those... I am talking about DIFFERENCES. Obviously you have to take SOME kind of base from which to draw differences but to suggest that there is a neutral base is bogus. And to suggest that we shouldn't discuss variations because we can conceve of a mathematical average is barmy.

How does mathematics deal with the DIFFERENCE between a concave and a convex nose? Or the creation of dimples? Or freckles, or the ratio of thinkness between the top and bottom lip - or the degree to which the bottom lip might curve down and why that might happen? It tells us nothing of these things.... at all. You could almost certainly find the same kinds of relationships in the head of a pig.

jmBoekestein
08-06-2005, 08:43 PM
How does mathematics deal with the DIFFERENCE between a concave and a convex nose? Or the creation of dimples? Or freckles, or the ratio of thinkness between the top and bottom lip - or the degree to which the bottom lip might curve down and why that might happen? It tells us nothing of these things.... at all. You could almost certainly find the same kinds of relationships in the head of a pig.

It tells you everything actually. The very fact that a pig has the same sort of mathematical relationships should have hinted you at that.

John Keates
08-06-2005, 08:54 PM
"It tells you everything actually. The very fact that a pig has the same sort of mathematical relationships should have hinted you at that."

First off, it is far from clear that those mathematical relationships are anything but imaginary - there is no good reason why morphology should work in that way.

Plus, can you explain to me exactly how those "mathematical relationships" explain freckles or the curve of a nose?

By explain, I mean predict. What predictions does this theory make which are usefull to us?

Do you really think that it is possible to extrapolate from some maths that pigs heads should be the shape that they are? This is patturn fitting after the fact. There is no way to extrapolate from maths to find out what pigs heads look like. Fitting templates on is no more science than is astrology.

Try reading *the whole of* this if you arn't convinced:

http://plus.maths.org/issue22/features/golden/

I'm not saying that it is the be all and end all but at least it might give you something to think about.

Plus, you still have to explain how such maths explains the VARIETY which is the subject of this thread.

ashakarc
08-06-2005, 09:07 PM
Variations in Anatomy - anyone know about this?

I bet you had a discussion with a med student :) this is the very first thing they learn at anatomy class is that no human body is identical to the other, and these are called "Anatomical Variations". I don't have scientific knowledge about the topic but certainly it facinates me alot. Especially, I have two kids, the boy looks like me, my mom and some of his mom, and I can pin point these features exactly, the daughter looks very much like her brother, but surprisingly look just like her grand father from her mom.

It's amazing how subtle these variations are yet recognizable to the naked eye. I'm not sure how many faces we see in a life time, including those faces that change overtime, but you don't need an artist to recognize the subtlety of these variations.

John Keates
08-06-2005, 09:08 PM
jfrancis, thanks for the link. It looks interesting but I'm not sure how much of it is strictly relevent.

Stahlberg
08-07-2005, 01:16 AM
Well Keates your 'average human' with both sets of genitals is funny but you went about deriving it all wrong. You're confusing the meaning of the word 'average', with 'mean' and 'norm', and you're applying it to all humans indiscriminately.
There is a Gaussian bell-curve distribution, do you deny that? There is a place on that curve, which is 'fatter' than any other. That is the norm. It can be scientifically stated. It's not racism or political or anything else, it's just fact. It's just that we here don't know exactly what it is, for each part of the world (or for each 'population'). And of course - if the purpose is to find a 'norm' in a population - we have to have separate sets for male and female, each age-group, each race or population.

And kargokultti, yeah the surgery is not DNA. Obviously. It's the desire to look a certain way that is genetic. It only SEEMS like it's a new desire, because we haven't had the means to do it until lately, that's all.

edit: and about identical twins... yes, life contains thousands of things that have the potential to change our cells, I mentioned that in my post. Some examples:
food
drugs
UV radiation
disease
trauma
The longer we live the longer these act on us, and the more they change us.
But all these taken together still [usually] allow identical twins to look so alike - even in old age - that they can be mistaken for each other even by their closest. That to me says genes are more important than environment.

Lunatique
08-07-2005, 01:29 AM
Steven, what the hell are you doing up so early on a Sunday morning? Go back to sleep!

I'm up because I can't sleep. Elena just got her notice to be interviewed by immigration. Time to pack up and go home to the good ol' U.S. of A!

*back to topic*

One thing I always thought about is whether people looked any different hundreds or thousands of years ago. Record shows that we are generally taller and bigger than our ancestors, but if you look at the earliest semi-realistic representational art, it seems we've always looked the same in terms of features, proportions. When people talk about how "Rubenesque" women were the norm in the past, I think it's not because more women were plump, but that the plump ones were just fashionable because the aristocrats were well-fed, and being well-fed gives one the look of high class. I'm sure there were plenty of skinny women around back then.

Stahlberg
08-07-2005, 08:10 AM
Haha, yeah my whole family was just up early for Sunday breakfast at a friend's house.
Congrats on the migration thing! I know how much it means to you guys.

I'm sure there were plenty of skinny women around back then.
Exactly, and what's more - if you think about what rich people ate back then - lard, cream, butter, fried food, salty food, sugar - and how much they exercised - pretty much zero in most cases - then it's surprising they're not even fatter than this:
http://www.androidblues.com/Rubens1.jpg
Which to me proves that the artists of the time went out of their way to choose the slimmest models they could find (of the upper class of course). Which again IMHO proves that artists' tastes (at least male ones) :) have not changed much, if at all, due to 'cultural pressure' or whatever.

Sure, I've heard of teeth filing and binding of feet and skulls and all the rest. These seem like major incursions, and medically speaking they are, but visually speaking the differences are small.

Lunatique
08-07-2005, 08:30 AM
Congrats on the migration thing! I know how much it means to you guys.


Which to me proves that the artists of the time went out of their way to choose the slimmest models they could find (of the upper class of course). Which again IMHO proves that artists' tastes (at least male ones) :) have not changed much, if at all, due to 'cultural pressure' or whatever.



Thanks. We have mixed feelings about it (her English still sucks, so it won't be easy for her). I'm not too thrilled about ending my sabbatical, but it had to end sooner or later.

Artists in the Victorian times were known for using prostitutes and peasants that lived in poverty, because they were cheap and there was no complication with impropriety (a high society person modelling nude would've been a huge scandal). Makes you wonder where they got the rubenesque models from. Maybe the artists just picked the meatiest ones from the bunch.

Stahlberg
08-07-2005, 08:39 AM
Victorian times were a bit later than Rubens right? But perhaps not so different I suppose... in that case I stand corrected.

John Keates
08-07-2005, 10:26 AM
Hi Stahlberg,

I understand about the Bell curve pretty well. If I confuse 'average' with 'mean' then it is for this reason:

"In mathematics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mathematics), there are numerous methods for calculating the average or central tendency (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_tendency) of a list of n numbers. The most common method, and the one generally referred to simply as the average, is the arithmetic mean (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arithmetic_mean)."

(taken from Wikipedia).

If you think about it, it is perfectly possible to make a neat bell curve distribution of a population without ANY of the individual members of that population looking in the least bit alike. For instance, we could take a mean distribution of what ALL species look like and how they vary from the early stages of zygotic formation (which are alike for all animals).

Another example would be with the swans. I should think that not all white swans are exactly white and not all black swans are exactly black. But the bell curve for swans would not look like a bell curve at all but two lumps - one near black and one near white.

It is possible that there is variation between each type also, so we would have to separate them into lumps. We would probably discover some kind of fractal structure. This would lead us pretty much back to square one... looking for differences in form.

Applying one big bell curve for all people is the same as for swans as far as I am concerned. Applying maths to biology in such simple terms is an aberation both of maths and biology.

Even if maths were somehow used to find an average type then they would look nothing like what you personally use as your basic model of a person. They would look somewhere between African, Indian and Chinese - each of which varies hugely. This person would look like nobody you have ever seen (probably).

It would be possible to apply statistical analysis to something like height only and that would make some kind of sense, but to try and do it for all characteristics at the same time would be barmy.

That is where the point about two genetals comes from (yes it was a bit silly but I was making a point).

I agree that, if we were trying to find an average then we would want to split the population into male/female and then into different geographical groups. This would NOT be a trivial thing to do. For instance, it is not enough to treat Africa as a group as there is more variatoin within Africa than within the rest of the world put together (a mark of the fact that people have been living there longer).

So we would have to divide Africa into many regions - NOT given by where impirical rule decided to slap bounderies but by where different groups of people live. This would infact be strictly impossible because there is extensive interbreeding between tribes (even if they deny this).

Basically, there are problems upon problems for anyone who wants to define the 'average' person in ANY way. Sure, we all have a kind of feeling that there is an average with two eyes and a nose etc but things get slippery when you try and tighten up your definition. This is because of all the little variations that go on which can shoot off in any directoin in phase space.

This brings me back to the point that I have had to make time and again which is that I would like to talk about the VARIATIONS. I'm not saying that people shouldn't learn a basic model of what people look like (apart from to say that, once they have done so, they should learn a different model as well) and I don't want to get into a big argument about what is and what isn't normal (and by the way, I regard Chinese eyes as perfectly normal with 'corrective' surgery being an abberation).

Just lets talk about some of the differences - whether we think that they are abberations or not.

I'm not concerned with Grey swans but with things that do actually exists (OK, signets are grey...)

*I use the term 'phase space' assuming that people know what it means. It is a mathematical way of ordering all possiblities where similar objects will be closer to each other. If we want to plot sticks of varying length and colour on a graph then that is easy as we only have two dimensions to cover but for many objects we have tens or trillions of dimensions. This does not stop the concept from being a usefull one

Stahlberg
08-07-2005, 01:06 PM
This would NOT be a trivial thing to do.
Yes, but it would be even harder to find and list ALL the variations of the human species right? That was my point anyway. :)


Anyway, IMHO we're more similar to each other than you seem to think. Look at these guys. They all have a visible nasojugal fold (yet they're so different). It's such a little thing, we hardly think of them normally, but the face is full of little things like this that many or most have in common.
http://androidblues.com/nasojugal.jpg
In fact 99.7 % of all human's DNA is exactly the same - we're much more homogenous than for instance chimpanzees. (But then of course on top of that, as stated before, we have all the external factors affecting how we look.)


But okay, variations... here's one I found, concerning toes length (both are female middle-aged). This I understand is middling to fairly unusual.

http://androidblues.com/pics-feet.jpg

jmBoekestein
08-07-2005, 01:58 PM
"It tells you everything actually. The very fact that a pig has the same sort of mathematical relationships should have hinted you at that."

First off, it is far from clear that those mathematical relationships are anything but imaginary - there is no good reason why morphology should work in that way.

Plus, can you explain to me exactly how those "mathematical relationships" explain freckles or the curve of a nose?

By explain, I mean predict. What predictions does this theory make which are usefull to us?

Do you really think that it is possible to extrapolate from some maths that pigs heads should be the shape that they are? This is patturn fitting after the fact. There is no way to extrapolate from maths to find out what pigs heads look like. Fitting templates on is no more science than is astrology.

Try reading *the whole of* this if you arn't convinced:

http://plus.maths.org/issue22/features/golden/

I'm not saying that it is the be all and end all but at least it might give you something to think about.

Plus, you still have to explain how such maths explains the VARIETY which is the subject of this thread.

the answer is 43, lol, dude I'm not going to sum up variations. It's stupid. Otherwise you'd need a supercomputer the size of a country to simulate all the particle collisions. probably even sillier.

Well, just one then. I've seen a human with pointy ears like an elf.

PSR
08-07-2005, 02:32 PM
John Keates,

This article might be of interest to you, and you may find links to similar research from there. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4314209.stm

There was a related television program a few weeks ago, and I'm really sorry that I don't remember what it was called. But one part of it showed that the performance of an athlete could be predicted, very accurately by measuring the length of the ring finger against the length of the index finger.

It's true that we all have the same bits, anatomically speaking, but the variation between people is truly fascinating.

RoundRobbin
08-07-2005, 10:45 PM
in that case, after deliberating from all the information. I don't see how looking for differences could make someone a better artist, it goes against naturalistic conditioning. However there is always a reason for those looking, mr.abstract, which would make for a viable reason. would make a good realistic piece labeled for abstraction. You know, thinking of it more and more, that is a good idea, i have more respect for you now as an artist johnny, creative thinking like this is what raises the bar for the artistic profession...
However, I personally think each species is pure. I don't see how there would be such a difference. If there was such a difference than wouldn't that organism be classified a different specie.

p.s.: Watch the X-files, they have a lot of that type of stuff. e.g. evolved homo-supersapians. yadda yadda.

in salute,
D

John Keates
08-07-2005, 11:11 PM
First off, thanks for the contributions. I will try to include them in the first post and give credit where it is due.

There are some things I guess I should clear up (I'm not a scientist but I read this stuff all the time and I'm not making it up).

I should mention about the 99.9% varience of gene thing. It is true that we are very uniform as a species but most of the variations are in cosmetic things rather than functional things. For this reason, the variations that exist tend to be relevent to us artists. It is possible for very small variations in genes to have large effects. A fairly large number of embrios are aborted by the womb because there is a mutation in an important gene so a gene can have a very marked effect - but marked effects tend to be lethal unless they are cosmetic.

Whilst there are some convincing case studies where twins separated at birth lead very similar lives, even prefering the same colour and playing the same sport etc, this doesn't apply to all twins. Also, identical twins are rarely completely identical as there are around ten mutations (copying errors) each time the genes are spliced.

There can be very large variations in a species and species are rarely "pure". Take dogs for example. Obviously this is an extreem case as they have been bred by people. Another example is cichlid fish which can change during thier life to look like completely different species. Many fish can also change from male to female depending on circumstances.

So, in other words, it is naive to place any restrictions on the kinds of variations that can uccur within a species. The germ line is the only important thing as far as the genes are concerned.

This is a complex subject so I will stop myself before I bore everyone.

RoundRobbin
08-07-2005, 11:18 PM
i've yet to see such a drastic change or difference in homo-sapien, although hoping can help you could try but it won't do you no good. Hope you do find this anomoly in your equation, would probably be front page.

also,
I'm not saying that their wasn't such a change in the entire time of our species. And if their was than the change of such in individual variation would be limitless in attribute, and most likely minor in change. However, i've yet to see such a thing in my life-time. Maybe science or more specifically scientists could offer a more determinent answer with pictorial reference.

Kargokultti
08-07-2005, 11:20 PM
The website for a touring wax exhibit, Panoptikon (http://www.kolumbus.fi/elina.clifford/index_engl.htm)

And it's for sale. If you got the dough, I bet the Panoptikon has enough of aberrations to last you a lifetime. :p

mosconariz
08-08-2005, 12:09 AM
Okay, you were talking about maths defining or measuring the differences... well, there's really a average face which I saw in the discovery channel, hehe, after averaging some hundreds of faces it doesn't matters how different are the new faces that U are adding the average face stills being the same, and sorprisingly close to typical beauty patterns...

But this scientifics also studied the diferences and variations, made books etc. so, I'll post some links and the biography in there:
THE ARTICLE:
http://www.open2.net/everwondered1/image/topic1.htm

the biography:
Books:
Two-And Three-Dimensional Patterns of the Face, A K Peters, Ltd; ISBN: 1568810873

Intelligent Biometric Techniques in Fingerprint and Face Recognition (CRC Press International Series on Computational Intelligence.) L. C. Jain, CRC Press; ISBN: 0849320550

The Art of Genes, Enrico Coen, Oxford Paperbacks; ISBN: 0192862081

Human Facial Expression : An Evolutionary View, Alan J. Fridlund, Academic Press Inc; ISBN: 0122676300

Links:
http://www.gene.ucl.ac.uk/
For more information on David Hopkinson and the Galton Lab
http://www.personology.com/
Looking at the characteristics of the face
http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/discover/open2000.htm
NIDCR article about what’s in a face
http://depts.washington.edu/hsd/INFO/genlang.htm (http://depts.washington.edu/hsd/INFO/genlang.htm)
Research into genetics


edit: more Links
Forensic face reconstruction link: users.rsise.anu.edu.au/~hartley/Papers/forensics/Overview.pdf (users.rsise.anu.edu.au/%7Ehartley/Papers/forensics/Overview.pdf)

one of a thousand face recognision projects links: http://www.cim.mcgill.ca/~wsun/sa/project/node12.html (http://www.cim.mcgill.ca/%7Ewsun/sa/project/node12.html)

(I haven't finished yet :scream:)

John Keates
08-08-2005, 12:10 AM
Durty,

Of course I'm not suggesting that there are variations in humans quite as extreem as those if cichlid fish - I was just using them as a clear example. I really don't see what the big fuss is over looking at variations that exist.

Kargokultti, thanks for that, I will add it to the list.

Stahlberg, thanks for some fine examples of facial variations :D

It is interesting how the nasojugle fold can sometimes merge with the eye bag (I don't know the technical term for 'eye bag'). See how this has happened only under the left eye of John Cheese? (his original name). This seems to have happened to a greater extent to the black gentelman and the guy on the bottom left. My face is the same. When I give a big grin there is some evidence of the nasojugle fold but only as part of the mass of crows toes that go round my head.

The two on the right have little eye bag creases just under the eyes which lends them a freindly - chirpy look.

It appears that, no matter how big the eye bag, it never extends beyond the nasojucle fold (is this a rule?)

These faces are good examples of variations and unusual creases etc. Look for instance at the crease on the forehead of the guy on the top left. I never saw something quite like that before. I don't think it is a scar. It could be to do with stress (he sure looks pissed off) . There are muscles that run over our scalp which are there purely to give us a head ache (our brain has no pain receptors). Maybe these muscles have been very active over the years of hang-overs and have caused the crease?

Arn't there a lot of differences there? I think I am going to have to start drawing pictures and getting into some more heavy research.

John Keates
08-08-2005, 12:25 AM
mosconariz, thanks for the links. A lot of them don't work for me but maybe those books will be interesting. The web page itself didn't go into enough detail for me to really get a handle on what they were saying.

Actually, I have read "the art of genes" (which you mention) and recommend it highly. It is very clearly written and quite revealing. It doesn't say much about this subject though.

mosconariz
08-08-2005, 05:25 AM
mosconariz, thanks for the links. A lot of them don't work for me but maybe those books will be interesting. The web page itself didn't go into enough detail for me to really get a handle on what they were saying

yeah, the links doesn't worked for me but I thought the problem was mine, hehe, sorry

and yeah, the article is very superficial, sorry for that...

I have found a lot of math researches using fractals to analyise and identify specific faces. The most interesting (for me) was: http://hct.ece.ubc.ca/research/facenav/fnsig.pdf

maybe, with enough images uploaded and linked we can make a fine and useful "catalog of some anatomic differences rarely portrayed in realistic art", gegege

And Stahlberg, sorry, I maybe misunderstood your aproach to genetics... But forgive me, I'm buying your ballistic character modeling book :D

John Keates
08-08-2005, 12:26 PM
I have re-created this thread in the anatomy forum here:

http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=265753

This way, the philosophy can go here (if you feel the need) and more constructive stuff can go in the other thread.

Thanks

Alice
08-08-2005, 12:37 PM
A good site to get great faceshots of hundreds of people who looks far from photomodells is the swedish parlament.
I hope that this link will work, while there, press a letter and start looking. The link under the pictures contains a high resolution picture.
http://www.riksdagen.se/webbnav/index.aspx?nid=1003

John Keates
08-08-2005, 01:02 PM
Thanks for that Alice,

It is interesting how much variation there is amongst these Swedes, even though Swedish people are fairly uniform genetically speaking (they are mostly from some small populations that moved up there fairly recently).

Alice
08-08-2005, 01:53 PM
Thanks for that Alice,

It is interesting how much variation there is amongst these Swedes, even though Swedish people are fairly uniform genetically speaking (they are mostly from some small populations that moved up there fairly recently).

Nopes, the scandinavian geenes are pretty mixed nowdays, and have been so from nomads during the last 1500 years.
If you want isolated and cool geenes, have a look at Iceland. :)

Peddy
08-08-2005, 02:18 PM
the answer is 43, lol.

*cough*42*cough*

ekah
08-12-2005, 08:56 PM
Hello John Keates,

I don't know whether this will help your in-depth research on this topic, but I found this book to be very good to have for studying variety of faces within a single book.


1000 On 42nd Street (Paperback) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1576870456/102-7360646-7017731?v=glance)



ekah

John Keates
08-12-2005, 10:42 PM
Thanks Ekah, Actually I have been recommended this book before. I thought it looked a little deer but I may still have to go for it. I will put it on the list. Thanks

ekah
08-13-2005, 06:14 AM
Thanks Ekah, Actually I have been recommended this book before. I thought it looked a little deer but I may still have to go for it. I will put it on the list. Thanks

Hi,

Just note that this book has no text to speak of. Each page is a photo of a person. As far as analysis on distinctions or variations, you'll have to make do with your own observation from these photos. :)

ekah

Gord-MacDonald
08-14-2005, 09:04 AM
I havent read all of ther posts in this thread, but I personally think that artists should simply go to the subjects that the find facinating (unless you are working for a client etc.). I think what will eventually attract veiwers to an artists work in the long haul, is the artists commitment to his/her vision. This is something that unfolds, for the most part over the course of a career, not a few paintings.
The most celebrated artists across time have pursued ideal beauty and the grotesque (as well as everything in between). I like Bosch, but I also like Renior, (IMHO) in each of these respective instances, the artists pursued thier unique visions, and incidentally, made history in the process.

Gord

John Keates
08-26-2005, 07:19 PM
The nature of normal human variation (http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/leroi05/leroi05_index.html)

Here is a link to an essay with replies on one of my favorite internet sites. Hefty reading but enlightening.

"There are thousands upon thousands of mutants out there—no, more, millions—no, actually billions. This is because we are all mutants. That's one thing you don't expect but which happens to be statistically true."

I SUGGEST THAT PEOPLE WHO READ THE ARTICLE READ THE WHOLE OF IT so that there arn't mis-understandings - particularly read the bit written by NICHOLAS HUMPHREY at the end.

Robin Wood
08-31-2005, 01:33 PM
Fascinating topic, and one that I've been studying for some decades. (As an artist with some scientific training and interest, not as a scientist.)

I'm assuming that by "human variation," John Keates means normal variation. Not deformity, but something along the lines of "why do some people have blond hair, when most don't? Why do some have epicanthal folds? Why do some noses have high bridges and others have low ones?" and things of that nature. I apologize if I've misunderstood. I confess that I haven't read all the posts.

It's my contention that people know a lot more at an unconscious, emotional level than they do at a cognitive level. That's why we have visceral, emotional reactions to things, but can't articulate quite why it's striking us like that.

As artists, it's our job to manipulate emotional reactions; to get people to feel what we want them to feel when they look at our work. The more we understand about those things that most of us know only unconsciously, the more we can use those things in our pictures, and the better we are at our job.

So it pays to know as much as possible about why things are the way they are. I believe that's as true for why humans look the way they do as for anything else.

It's not so important when we're using live models or doing portraits. We can just look at the person in front of us, and the only things we have to decide are what features to emphasize, and which to downplay (as previously mentioned.)

But when we start to design people, especially non-human people, to fit into their environments (or not, as the case may be,) then it is, I believe, vitally important to know what combination of attributes will do that.

And not just human attributes. We can incorporate non-human variables, too; but only if we understand them.

For instance, it has been discovered that there are clusters of attributes that show up together, for whatever reason. (I'm not a geneticist, so I'm not going to talk about genes and alleles.) But, for some reason, when animals are bred for docility, they also come out with short legs, short round snouts, droopy ears, soft hair, curly tails, and piebald coats. (Research from the 40+ year Belyaev Silver Fox experiment.)

We can use this.

If you want a figure to look docile, friendly, and non-threatening, give him short arms and legs, a short face, bulbous nose, soft hair, and round, floppy ears. On the other hand, if you want him to look wild, and a little dangerous, give him long limbs, a long face, stiff hair, and sharply pointed ears. Freckles for the funny guy or hair that's darker on the top and lighter on the bottom for the wild fellow can underline the effect.

Human variations are based on several factors; genes, environment, and the way that the person habitually holds their face and body.

The habitual stuff can be a product of the environment, for example, the "seaman's squint" (holding the lower eyelids partially closed to protect the eyes from reflected glare off the water.) Or it can be learned behavior, for instance the way the British Aristocracy habitually hold their chins and eyebrows higher than average, which gives them a very distinctive "look." Or it can be the result of their normal emotional state, for instance, someone who seems to be always scowling, or looking worried. All of these leave marks on the face, over the course of years, and are what gives an older face its "character."

We have learned that, at a genetic level, there's no such thing as "race." And yet, most people from central Africa have quite dark skin, and people from China have epicanthal folds. This isn't because they are closely related; they aren't. It's because the environment left its stamp on the people living in it, over the course of many generations.

Skin color is a response to ultraviolet radiation. Where there's a lot, the skin has a lot of melanin, to protect the deeper tissues from damage. Where there is little, skin has lost its melanin, so that enough can penetrate to allow the formation of precursor vitamin D3. (Research from Jablonski and Chaplin, 2000.)

The epicanthal fold allows an extra layer of fat to surround the eyeball, protecting it in areas where the temperature becomes extreme, like the interior of China. In fact, there is an extra subcutaneous fat layer all over the body in Chinese people, because of the extreme cold of the winters in the interior. This is why their muscle definition is softer, and their surface veins not as prominent, as, say, people from Africa (where cold isn't a problem.)

If anyone is interested, I can give many more examples; but this post is already quite long. The important thing is that we can use these facts to tell the story in our paintings and animations.

If you have two picutres of humanoid people in a forest, and one is very pale, while the other is deeply pigmented, the people looking at the picture will get the impression that the first is in a Northern forest, while the second is in a hot, tropical setting. This will happen even if the trees aren't at all like trees on Earth, and the heavily pigmented individual is purple or green. The second will just "feel" hotter than the first.

You can make this even clearer by putting small leaves on the trees in the first picture, and large leaves on the plants in the second, because these variations are as true for plants as for animals.

So, ummmm, can we please stop arguing about what variations are esthetically pleasing, and talk about where the variations come from? :)

Jean Genie
08-31-2005, 09:34 PM
Robin Wood:

Very interesting observations. Thanks for sharing. If you have more examples of how environment influences physionomy, I'd be deeply interested.

One observation that I've made on people's facial symmetry (I have seen the left brained-right brained theory argued on this site, but it makes sense to me):

You can usually tell if a person is predominantly right-brained or left-brained by looking for one side of the face that is more gracious.
For example, I've always been more intuitive than logical (right brained). The left side of my face is more elegant: smile longer on that side, not as many marks left by stress....

I might be wrong, but it's an interesting thing to look at...

el-vio
09-03-2005, 06:27 PM
nothing to add yet, just say this topic is very interesting and i suscribe it to not lose this one, continue sharing :)

ekah
09-03-2005, 08:27 PM
One observation that I've made on people's facial symmetry (I have seen the left brained-right brained theory argued on this site, but it makes sense to me):

You can usually tell if a person is predominantly right-brained or left-brained by looking for one side of the face that is more gracious.
For example, I've always been more intuitive than logical (right brained). The left side of my face is more elegant: smile longer on that side, not as many marks left by stress....

I might be wrong, but it's an interesting thing to look at...

I have seen a documentary about people with paralysis on one side of the brain. These people developed deformity on the opposite side of the body over time. It does make sense in this case.

However, for people with healthy brains may have other factors that come in to play. For example, perhaps you sleep on only one side that resulted in your left side of the face to become "elegant". I don't know.

Many far east Asians have heads that are flat on the back. I've seen mothers who placed baby on their stomachs so the back of the head do not flattern as they sleep.

As for the comment about Asian women's eyes appearing large due to plastic surgery to open the lid is a gross generalization. I don't deny the fact that there is a growing trend with plastic surgery in Asian countries which I think is unfortunate. Leaving those who've had plastic surgeries aside, some Asians have epicanthic folds that are more pronounced than others, some don't. The eyes appear to be smaller or larger based on how these folds are shaped around the eyes, how wide or high. Perhaps some environmental factor did play a role tens of thousands of years ago, but I believe these traits are hereditary. The eye balls or the iris are not smaller than any other race.

timovihola
09-06-2005, 01:15 AM
Very interesting discussion! I just want to share my take on the subject:

I think when it comes to heads or any constructions, be it hand made or organic, "the smaller the detail the bigger the difference". If you have two brick blocks and you look at them from 100 meters, you're not gonna be able to tell the difference.. if you look at them up close they're gonna look way different. Same for people, or heads etc.

Think of it as pixels on screen, a box with slightly jagged edges drawn in 1000x1000 pixel image is gonna look perfect if resized to 10x10 image.

When I start sketching a character I don't go out and render a head in full detail, in most cases a blob of paint will do just fine - For me the blob serves as average human head, it can become a cartoon head, realistic head, you name it.

When I've chosen which direction to go into: realistic, stylistic, cartoony, stickman. I take the next set of features that are fitting. For realistic humans I've studied few general base models and on top of that there is a huuuge library of features that I have memorized by looking at real people, films, games and then comparing that to the generic models, how much do I have to move stuff.. Exactly what displacement mapping does in rendering, you have the "base mesh" and then the lesser details on top of that.

Don't know how to explain it better.. hope this example helps to illustrate what I'm talking:

http://www.timovihola.com/tutorials/head-development.jpg

John Keates
09-06-2005, 09:54 AM
Hey Robin Wood,

Thanks for getting this thread back up and running. Your insights are very interesting and I will put what I can onto the front post. I would very much like to read more.

I am including 'abnormal' variations as well just because they are interesting but I would like to concentrate on 'normal' variations mostly. I just hope that my categorisation scheme works (should the seaman's squint go in 'eyes' or 'effect of posture'?). I may start to build a section into my website with all this stuff so it can by hyperlinked and better categorised.

Thanks also to everyone else who has contributed.

evanfotis
09-10-2005, 09:50 PM
Hi everybody,
really interesting thread, and opinions.
I'd like to share my views.
A good read is a book called "the artist as an anthropologist (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0521354900/qid=1126382874/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/102-1538134-8368101?v=glance&s=books)"
this was a recent link I found.

As for the right and left brain hemispheres, they in turn control the opposite part of our face: the right facial side represents our fathers inheritance and the conscious image we want to project to society, whereas the left facial side corresponds to our mothers inheritance and reveals our more inner emotional responses. No face is exactly symmetrical.

Try using a head on portrait pic of yours, and in photoshop, select the one half of the face, duplicate and flop it (on the X axis). Do the same with the other half.
These are called Chimerical Composites.
Now you will be viewing the right sides together and the left ones together. Look how different they appear.
What is the reason for this bilateral asymmetry? Genetic variation
Evolutionary theorists suggest that a high degree of symmetry may be an indication of particularly good genes, and perhaps resistance to the sorts of disease that can cause asymmetrical development.


The more symmetrical the facial expressions the more honest, any emotion displayed is likely to be.
The more asymmetrical the more likely it is that the feeling is being forced or faked.Habitual differences in the two sides of our facial expression can show up underlying contradictions in our personality.



As for the question of why one has a high nose convexity and why another person a concave one and so forth:
Cells are devoted to specific functions; and the capacity of each personality trait is indicated by the number of cells devoted to it.
We function according to how we have been constructed Each feature has a correlation to physical, and emotional attributes.
Our face is our DNA blueprint.
This is a long subject and I don't want to tire you with too much info straight away:)
So, for now I'll just suggest a few good books for reference:
An old out of print but recently reprinted one, is in French;
Author: Dr Louis Corman
Title:nouveau manuel de morpho-psychologie
Publisher: PUF
A Scotish author, Gerald EltonFosbroke, the book published by Tynron press called "Character Reading through the Features".
And "Reading Faces" by Leslie A. Zebrowitz of Brandeis University.

John Keates
09-10-2005, 10:53 PM
Hi evanfotis,

Thanks for the info there. That book looks interesting but personally I would treat it more as a sign of how people used to think rather than how we should think now.

The victorians had some funny ideas about faces and what it is possible to tell from them which are now discredited. There were people who made a lot of money from basically just making stuff up. This was partly as a result of the increasing numbers of middle classes and the fact that people had a greater need to quickly judge who they were talking to. There was a lot of money to be made by physiognimcal "experts".

Later on (in the 20th century) One of the most well known of these "experts" decided to do a study of the most commenly believed trait and one that was very important, that of the criminal. It had long been supposed that there were common facial traits in criminals and there were a lot of swindlers at the time so everyone wanted to know who they could trust (or not).

The guy (sorry, can't remember his name) took photos of prison inmates and merged them together to see what he got. He found that the result was a normal and quite hansome guy.

We now know that the kinds of biological trait that might be more common in criminals (masculinity, the ability to keep calm, the ability to focus on the task at hand without thinking too much etc), are also exactly what firemen and policemen need to do their jobs. So the mere notion of criminality as a biological trait is bogus, whilst it still remains possible to talk about traits that could UNDER THE RIGHT CIRCUMSTANCES increase the likelyhood of criminal behaviour.

I guess that the faces of the criminals in the study were more hansome as a result of the fact that they have more testosterone, which would give just the traits needed to be a criminal or policeman, and would result in a large jaw and brow (and penis).... oh, and increased likelyhood of homosexuality.

So nowerdays if we want to make links between physiognomics and behaviour we have to throw away not only a lot of our notions of facial types, but of behaviour also.

Study of this subject will always be taboo, but I think it is better for us artists to carefully inform ourselves about the latest research rather than rely upon old ideas. I just hope that political correctness doesn't get in the way of the research.

I would suggest also that we try to understand as much as possible about the causes behind behaviours whether they biological or cultural, and then try to extrapolate from there what visual characteristics may result.

John Keates
09-11-2005, 01:11 AM
I kinda had a thought about my last post just there. I came to thinking that maybe many artists have a certain ability to percieve character which stems from the same source as our artistic ability.

Maybe I put too much emphesis on science as the only way forward...

Of course we have to temper our ambition with a sense of probability/humility (eg, we shouldn't get too ahead of ourselves).... or something... see what I mean?

evanfotis
09-11-2005, 07:30 PM
Later on (in the 20th century) One of the most well known of these "experts" decided to do a study of the most commenly believed trait and one that was very important, that of the criminal. It had long been supposed that there were common facial traits in criminals and there were a lot of swindlers at the time so everyone wanted to know who they could trust (or not).

The guy (sorry, can't remember his name) took photos of prison inmates and merged them together to see what he got. He found that the result was a normal and quite hansome guy.
Are you refering to Lombrozo, who was involved with phrenology?

So the mere notion of criminality as a biological trait is bogus, whilst it still remains possible to talk about traits that could UNDER THE RIGHT CIRCUMSTANCES increase the likelyhood of criminal behaviour.
As you say yourself, if the traits are there, they might be inflicted by certain circumstances which will wake them up and express them in the behaviour. However if one does not have these traits they will never appear, even if crcumstances push towards that direction.

I guess that the faces of the criminals in the study were more hansome as a result of the fact that they have more testosterone, which would give just the traits needed to be a criminal or policeman, and would result in a large jaw and brow (and penis).... oh, and increased likelyhood of homosexuality.
The last book I refer to, "Reading Faces" by Leslie A. Zebrowitz, has two chapters, one on attractiveness and the baby face effect.
You have to distinguish various things that apparently you mix together .
Testosterone, will be a factor in agression and sexuality, but is not related with balance and symmetry that give the good looks.

As for simillar features of criminals and "good guys", we have to understand that the most dangerous criminals, have brilliant minds, creative calculative, etc.
The area where they differ, has to do with ethical barriers.
And as the saying goes, if you give directions to someone in order to get somewhere, and he follows them but in one turn he makes a mistake, he will end up in a very different place.
That is why there is the distinction between the term logic, and rational or orthologic.


So nowerdays if we want to make links between physiognomics and behaviour we have to throw away not only a lot of our notions of facial types, but of behaviour also.
Recent scientific research, shows that we have genes that are responsible for physical traits and genes responsible for psychological traits.
I appreciate your sceptisism but you have to look a bit deeper into this field and then come up with a conclusion.


Study of this subject will always be taboo, but I think it is better for us artists to carefully inform ourselves about the latest research rather than rely upon old ideas. I just hope that political correctness doesn't get in the way of the research.
The politically correct stereotyped notion that all of us humans are created equal, that everybody is the same, and that only enviromental influences make up our unique individuality, has serious flaws.
Reality lies somewhere in between.
We are born with certain traits, which depending on the enviroment AND our make up (whether we are affected easily or not by enviromental influences) form our character.
It is upon us to cultivate our merits and control our flaws.

I would suggest also that we try to understand as much as possible about the causes behind behaviours whether they biological or cultural, and then try to extrapolate from there what visual characteristics may result.
Evolutionary, humans have adapted to their enviroment.
People from the north where it is cold, have languages with more consonates,and people who live in hot climates are more extrovert, with mre vowels in the language.
As I metioned in my previous post, we function according to how we have been constructed, and that is a result of where we have evolved.

To take this topic back to the artists point of view, I think it is interesting to consider the various "rules" and principles artists endeavoured to apply along the years about beauty and correct form.
Here are a few:
Rule of 3rds
The ancient Greeks developed the notion of the Golden Mean.
This dictates that the face is split horizontally into three equal sections: in a beautiful face, the brow should be one-third of the way down from the hairline, and the mouth one-third of the way up from the chin. Overall, the face should be two-thirds the width of its height.
Divine Proportion
The proportions were expressed as a mathematical formula that divided the perfect face into a ratio of 1:1.618, where the ratio between the smallest parts to the larger is the same as the ratio between the larger part and the whole face.
The 'Golden Section' could be applied to the beauty of anything in nature or in art — for example, it was used to evaluate the beauty of a landscape as well as a face.
Rule of 7ths
There was a principle whereby the whole world conformed to analysis into sevenths.
Botticelli's Venus fits into sevenths: the hair comprised the top seventh, the forehead the next two sevenths, and the nose a further two sevenths. Another seventh was taken up by the space between nose and mouth, and from there to the chin occupied the final seventh.

evanfotis
09-11-2005, 07:40 PM
I kinda had a thought about my last post just there. I came to thinking that maybe many artists have a certain ability to percieve character which stems from the same source as our artistic ability.
Maybe I put too much emphesis on science as the only way forward...

Humans are visual animals.Within the 4 first seconds when we see someone, we subconsciously decide whether we like him or not. We are all transmitters and receivers of the visual information our faces carry.
Women, have evolutionary evolved this ability to discern visually the mood due to their task of having to understand how their babies felt, if they where ok or not.
Certainly artists who are more perceptive and observant, have this ability more developed, than an accountant for example...

And another interesting finding is that we perceive others faces as caricatures.
We seem to be able to read more from these exaggerated drawings than the tracings that reproduce the features accurately. The exaggerated lines trigger recognition better than literal sketches..
We encode the appearance and keep the highlights within our brain...

Stahlberg
09-12-2005, 04:29 AM
I guess that the faces of the criminals in the study were more hansome as a result of the fact that they have more testosterone

No, the reason is that we are always much more likely to perceive any group of faces averaged together to be more attractive than any one single face. As long as the selection contains enough faces - you'll start to see the effect at 2, it will quickly become more pronounced up to a handful, then gradually level off.
This effect works for both sexes, I've tried it in Photoshop (though using a morphing app would be better). You can try it yourself, that book of 1000 faces from the streets of New York, for instance, would be perfect source material for such experiments I suspect. (obviously don't mix men with women, kids with seniors, etc.) There are websites about it too, but I can't find them atm.

John Keates
09-14-2005, 02:41 PM
"Recent scientific research, shows that we have genes that are responsible for physical traits and genes responsible for psychological traits.
I appreciate your sceptisism but you have to look a bit deeper into this field and then come up with a conclusion."

You seem to have gotten me wrong there. I am in no way saying that our behaviour and looks are not controled by genes in any way... in fact that should have been quite clear by my post. I was just illustrating that Victorian notions of how this works are faulty and we have to more-or-less start again without the assumptions that we all have and are brought up with.

You seem to be working with the idea that a gene can only have one effect and this can either be for looks or behaviour. If this is the case then it is you who need to look deeper into the field.

Stahlberg,

In fact, the guy doing that study (sorry evanfotis, I don't know his name) originally did the same thing with "normal" people outside of prison and the comparison was between the two averaged faces, not between an averaged on and a non-averaged one. Sorry, I should have made that clear.

Also, you seem to be hugging on to the notion that there is AN ideal face. I don't contest that an averaged face may be deemed more attractive than an individual photo but a simplistic enterpretation of the result is mis-leading.

For instance, women on heat find masculine men more attractive but when they are not on heat they prefer more feminine looking men. This is intirely consistant with gene theory but inconsistant with the idea that there is a single ideal.

Now, I could try to explain the gene theory to you but that is a whole other subject and takes us away from art somewhat.

The bottom line is that there is more than one way to be attractive and looking for a singular ideal of beauty doen't stand up to reason particularly when viewed in scientific terms.

There are lots of reasons why averaged faces will tend to look more attractive. The symmetry thing is a compelling idea and certainly we can say that symmetry is a facter in attractiveness. Averaged faces will tend towards symmetry. Blemishes will tend to get faded out (it is easy to see why un-usual marks on skin might be un-attractive as they are associated with desiese). Also, any harsh marks will tend to get ironed out.

In other words, there are different ways that the faces could be averaged. It always struck me that the simple averaging of photos is a very crude way to go. Actually, those montaged photos have a dreamy sfumato look that Leonardos stuff often had. Maybe this works by giving an "evening time" look to the face which could be more sexy? It is equivelent to photographing someone in soft warm lighting rather than cold harsh lighting. The beauty effect is perhaps as much to do with the style of depiction than the face itself? Again, I am not denying the use of gene theory when considering beauty, just that we need to be carefull.

A more mathematically accurate way to average the faces would take into account the number of moles and where they are (for example) so the resulting average face may have some moles (unless the average number is only a fraction of 1 ). Moles are generally deemed un-attractive but some people like them.

So again, in short, I am all for finding genetic (as well as cultural) reasons which shold be factored into our understanding of human beauty but I am just saying that we need to be carefull about coming to any quick conclusions as it is a tricky subject.

For example, a lot of people who think they know about evolution don't realise that it is GENES that are subject to natural selection and not individuals or groups. Once you grasp this and its implications then you start to get a better picture of what genetic variation means.

I recommend "The Selfish Gene" as a starter although it takes some effort to get through it.

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