CSI and Failing Plasticine

SkullYou have all seen it, the CSI dudes get a skull and in 20 minutes (CSI time is even faster than internet time) they have a plasticine face. Or the archaeologist digs up the bones of some long dead ancestor and 3 months (far more realistic time frame) later they have a surprisingly eerie facsimile. I truly find this fascinating.

So when Sue Hayes ( friend of Jools and mine) mentioned back in January 2005 (was it that long ago?) that she and Ron Taylor were running a two day Master Class in Facial Reconstruction at the Victorian College of the Arts. Jools and I jumped at the chance. Having seen this done on Julian Richards “Meet The Ancestors” TV program by Dr. Caroline Wilkinson, from the University of Manchester a few years back, (Later on in 2005 we got to meet Caroline after a talk she gave here in Melbourne). I have to admit I was fascinated with the process (even though I was clueless about clay, having failed plasticine in kindergarten).

Ron tried to pack a years worth of anatomy into a couple of hours and I learnt more about how muscles and fat and smiles work than I would have thought possible. The picture above is near the beginning of the process. All up the master class was an absolute hoot. I would not have missed it. The rest of the pictures can be currently found just below, And for the record, my effort looked nothing like the person who the skull belonged too.

So if clay is a bit “crafty” how about Artnatomy. It’s an amazing fine art educational site about the “anatomical and biomechanical foundation of facial expression morphology.” The Flash interface enables you to visually explore how the movements of specific muscles contort our faces into emotional expressions. The site was designed by artist Victoria Contreras Flores with text by morphologic anatomy professor Carlos Plasencia Climent.

If you’ve ever wondered what you would look like when you’re older, or younger, or Asian, or even illustrated by a famous artist, then I’ve got a treat for you. The Perception Laboratory at the University of St Andrews has created a Java applet called the Face Transformer that will take a photo of a face and transform it in almost any way imaginable.

Now at a stretch for things you can do with a face, saunter over to Origami artist Joel Cooper space on Flickr. He has created some utterly amazing work, which includes stunningly realistic origami masks of human faces. I can honestly say I have never seen work like this before and to think that it’s all done with a single sheet of paper.

Lets finish off with Sue’s art works and Caroline Wilkinson’s work on Ramses in a Discovery Channel doco that she mentioned when she was out here.



Categorized as Culture

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