killer smiles: a fine line between creepy and beautiful

serial killer smiles - Ted Bundy - Rodney Alcala - compared to James Franco and Willem Dafoe

Pre-serial killer considerations, I simply intended to study what causes people to perceive certain smiles as creepy. From observing trends in art, social media, ranking systems, and pop culture, I identified two main types of “creepy smiles”: Type I, which I coined The Grinch Pinch and Type 2, which I coined The Muted Shark. Types I and II typically contain all or many of the following features:

leveraging facial muscle variation

zygomaticus major dimple

Anatomical variation is a surprisingly ignored consideration for face tracking/facial mocap in tech and entertainment. Simplified anatomy diagrams are often accepted as universally applicable to all faces and few further questions are asked. The reality is: FACIAL MUSCLES ARE HIGHLY VARIABLE.

frontalis variation

frontalis shapes illustration

The frontalis muscle (forehead muscle that elevates your eyebrows) does not always follow the prototypes presented in anatomy diagrams. Frontalis shapes are widely variable, and this variability is a major contributor to age and expression-based wrinkle formations and brow shapes.

comparative anatomy (sneak preview)

chimpanzee landmark labels

Currently learning chimpanzee FACS, chimpanzee anatomy, and making custom chimpanzee landmark diagrams. (Chimpanzee landmarks determined by Animal FACS group. Original research work by Lisa A Parr, Bridget M Waller, and Jennifer Fugate. See: Emotional communication in primates: implications for neurobiology )