Variations in Anatomy - anyone know about this?

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  08 August 2005
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?
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Last edited by jmBoekestein : 08 August 2005 at 01:07 AM.
 
  08 August 2005
Originally Posted by jmBoekestein: 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?
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  08 August 2005
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.
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  08 August 2005
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?
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Last edited by gnarlycranium : 08 August 2005 at 01:38 AM.
 
  08 August 2005
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.
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  08 August 2005
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.
 
  08 August 2005
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.
 
  08 August 2005
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.
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  08 August 2005
Originally Posted by jmBoekestein: 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.
 
  08 August 2005
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.
 
  08 August 2005
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:



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.

Last edited by John Keates : 08 August 2005 at 11:02 AM.
 
  08 August 2005
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?
 
  08 August 2005
Originally Posted by Kargokultti: 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).
 
  08 August 2005
Originally Posted by paperclip: 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 .
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Last edited by jmBoekestein : 08 August 2005 at 02:47 PM.
 
  08 August 2005
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. (not trying to be rude here, just trying to keep the thread in line).
 
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