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Index: Preparation for Face Sculpting Marathon

Review of Faces and Figures

Demo Stuff

02/18/08 Update: The Avi files are being made into movies to go up on My You-Tube

02-18-08 - Need to do for YouTube. 11-20-04: Ugly Face Sculpting Demo Ulrike in Germany shot 17 avi files: Regular faces made over the SKULL FORM and then making goblins, demons and other scary faces by adding mass or changing number of features. 14 YouTube videos using avi files from Ulrike in Germany for Josana. From the aluminum foil armature, muscles made of leaf shapes, clay fabric, TLS hair.

Rambles and Tute Links:

Forensics and Sculpting Ramble about how to use Forensics as a base for your sculpting of faces.
The drawings on this page shows how to line up the
ears. The "V" shapes on the middle drawing is where
you'll find "V" shapes on a face and is the second
thing I do after putting in the face grid.
The tricks and tips I'm going to share in next week end's face sculpting demo can be used on faces of all scales.

The face grid
The "V" shapes
Using a Skull as a form under the clay

All these tricks work on all sizes of faces. So if you're not interested in doing dolls, think Masks.


When we started doing demos a few years back one of the first things we tackled was face sculpting. That link above leads you to what happened in those demos.


The Face Off Non Swap was a group effort for learning about sculpting faces. There's sculpting efforts of ClayMates on this page. Also there's observations, questions and discussions about sculpting faces.

Ok, there's a number of sites that examine the different facial expressions that denote emotion. Check the links below and look at the pictures that are there.

Gesture Recognition


1. Happiness: Mouth smiles open or closed, cheeks puff, eyes narrow.

2. Sadness: Mouth corners pull down, brows incline, upper eyelids droop.

3. Surprise: Brows raise up and arch, upper eyelids raise, jaw drops.

4. Fear: Brows raise and draw together, upper eyelids raise, lower eyelids tense upwards, jaw drops, mouth corners go out and down.

5. Anger: Inner brows pull together and down, upper eyelids raise, nostrils may flare, lips are closed tightly or open exposing teeth.

6. Disgust: Middle portion of upper lip pulls up exposing teeth, inner brows pull together and down, nose wrinkles.

Let's not leave out

7. Interest: Eyes open, eyebrows up, mouth may be open.

"It seems that there are seven principal facial expressions, which we are generally quite good at recognizing and which appear to be so universal..."


Emotion and Facial Expression

"...certain facial expressions are associated with particular human emotions. Research shows that people categorize emotion faces in a similar way across cultures, that similar facial expressions tend to occur in response to particular emotion eliciting events, and that people produce simulations of emotion faces that are characteristic of each specific emotion. "


Now different websites count different expressions in the 7 basic expressions.


Emotions revealed: recognizing facial expressions

The seven emotions universally expressed on the face

  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Surprise
  • Fear
  • Enjoyment
  • Disgust
  • Contempt

For an earlier Ramble about facial expressions check this page:

Ok, so let's be generous and say there's 9 basic universal facial expressions:

  1. Fear
  2. Anger
  3. Enjoyment
  4. Distress
  5. Disgust
  6. Interest
  7. Surprise
  8. Contempt
  9. Shame

Ok, this is a question for the ClayMates who are planning on taking part in the Face Sculpting Marathon this next week end.

What facial expressions would you give to these 9 emotions? What would you do to effect these features:

(A) Forehead
(B) Eyebrows
(C) Eyes
(D) Nose (wrinkled or turned up)
(E) Lips

The reason why I'm asking is when we start practicing face sculpting I recommend that you leave the face without expression.

Once you have a face without expression you can cure it, make a mold of it, cure that, make impressions until the cows come home and practice these 9 expressions until you can do them in your sleep.

That's what I did with the half dozen Kai Faces in Faux Wood.

The change in features are subtle, nothing extravagant, but enough to show that one face mold can make a bunch of faces with different expressions.

But before we do all that let's give those facial expressions some thought. Set up a mirror by your computer monitor and make faces at yourself. What do you look like when you smell something awful? What you do look like when you're surprised? Note the changes on your own face.

That's how I got Lobster Lady Giving It Effort...

Now Once More With Feeling

Each time I got really mad about something I would work in Lobster Lady and after a few moments of making mad faces at myself I couldn't help but bust out laughing. But the family came to dread Lobster Lady,
knowing if I was making faces in a mirror and working on her that I'm ticked off about something or another.

So we're going to start out with faces that have no emotional content. The slightest alteration of that face would give loads of messages. Look at the Mona Lisa, she's not laughing with her eyes squinted shut,
mouth wide open, head thrown back. She's sort of smiling, giving her an air of mystery. It's a subtle shift of the shadows under her eyes that add to the sides of her mouth that are pulled back just slightly that suggest a smile. What feeling would give such an enigmatic smile?

I love positioning the iris of the eyes to the sides, as if to be looking askance. When someone moves their eyes and not their whole head what are they saying? That who ever they are spying on must not realize they are being watched? There's distrust or collusion going on in the person's mind?

Learning how to sculpt faces is the first step. The second step is to make that face have some sort of emotional expression so the face has life. God Save Me from dolls that look overly drugged, Children of the Damned no emotion stares. Down right creepy they are.

When we get a face with an emotional expression we can set that face on a figure doing something, in a scene that builds the story bit by bit.

What would you think of scene where the mother is in the kitchen rolling out pie crust with no emotion on her face. Stepford Wives? She's not happy? She's going to bean her husband with the rolling pin when he gets home?

Take that same mother in the kitchen rolling out the pie crust with the look of Lobster Lady. Now we know she's going to bean her husband on the noggin.

Take that same mother in the kitchen rolling out pie crust and have her weeping. Have an open letter on the counter next to a picture of an adult child. That would speak volumes.

Now take that same mother in the kitchen rolling out the pie crust smiling sweetly, looking askance, a child playing "cook" near by. Now that's a whole other story.

We can effect the viewer's emotions with our work just changing the corners of the mouth of the face on the figures in our scenes. Empathy takes hold. People feel things when they look at them. If we are going to
touch people's hearts let's be deliberate in how we evoke emotions from the viewers of our scenes.

For me.. I love softly smiling mothers looking sweetly at their babies.


but then again, I'm a mother to four and grandmother
to four.

That's it for Jan. 10th. There'll be more to come before the 13th.


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