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Expression Theory

1. Here we have a typical cartoon eye. Large and round with a very lively pupil. 


2. By moving the pupil to the center, it takes on an interactive emotion. What its emotion suggests depends greatly on how the rest of the features work with it.


3. Now let's examine the expressive potential of the face as a whole. By cartoon-style standards, this character -- let's call him Joe, for the sake of this tutorial -- is pretty emotionless. His mouth is pretty much a short, straight line. His eyebrows share the same position. His eyes remain in the position I started with.


4. What I've done here was give Joe an enthusiastic expression. His jaw has been lowered, his mouth widened in all directions. While Joe's other features are still the same, the slight change has made a big difference.


5. So now Joe's eyes have been closed and uplifted. Joe now appears joyfully satisfied.


6. Now all of the features have been altered. Joe looks like he's plotting something devious, as is suggested by his lifted eyebrow, narrowed eyes and devilish smirk.


7. Joe seems annoyed. His eyes are narrowed, looking off to the side as if at or dismissively away from the subject that annoyed him. It's his mouth, however, that appears to be the deciding factor of how we interpret his overall emotion. Let's backtrack one time, and I'll illustrate what I mean.


8. As you can see, the slight alteration of Joe's mouth completely changes his emotional appearance, even though none of his other features are any different.

And that concludes my first Expression Theory tutorial. In my next tutorial, I'm going to use an image of JaCkinbOx and demonstrate how these same rules affect him.

Thank you for visiting, and I hope you come see my future tutorials.