Art/Aesthetics · Human-ities · Social/Politics

How We Learn To See Faces

Two eyes, aligned horizontally, above a nose, above a mouth. These are the basic elements of a face, as your brain knows quite well. Within about 200 milliseconds of seeing a picture, the brain can decide whether it’s a face or some other object. It can detect subtle differences between faces, too — walking around at my family reunion, for example, many faces look similar, and yet I can easily distinguish Sue from Ann from Pam.

Our fascination with faces exists, to some extent, on the day we’re born. Studies of newborn babies have shown that they prefer to look at face-like pictures. A 1999 study showed, for example, that babies prefer a crude drawing of a lightbulb “head” with squares for its eyes and nose compared with the same drawing with the nose above the eyes. “I believe the youngest we tested was seven minutes old,” says Cathy Mondloch, professor of psychology at Brock University in Ontario, who worked on that study. “So it’s there right from the get-go.”

Excerpt from an article written by Virginia Hughes at NatGeo. Continue THERE

Digital Media · Film/Video/New Media · Motion Graphics · Photographics · Technology

IR SCANS HUMANS and their Multi-Sky 3D Scan Demo

Infinite Realities® is the 3D scanning service provided by Lee Perry-Smith, the leading 3D modelling and Scanning specialist based in Suffolk, UK. In simple terms, according to them: “We can scan any human being and replicate them in three dimensions as data held in a computer. Our scanning process picks up every detail of their eyes, face, hair, skin colour, body shape and distinguishing features – everything that makes them who they are.”

A downloadable demo by Infinite-Realities put together in Unity features high resolution 3D scans of people in a virtual environment. Incredibly realistic, and can be viewed through an Occulus Rift headset. You really need a next-gen PC to run this demo.

Below are two videos which demonstrate the demo:

Combining 3D scans of real life models in ultra high detail with the Oculus Rift and the Razer Hydra for movement controls to make one of the most realistic and uncanny experiences in Virtual Reality.

Thanks to Yoni Goldstein.

Bio · Human-ities · Theory

About FACE

For half a century, one theory about the way we experience and express emotion has helped shape how we practice psychology, do police work, and even fight terrorism. But what if that theory is wrong?

Forty-six years ago a young San Francisco–based cowboy of a psychologist named Paul Ekman emerged from the jungle with proof of a powerful idea. During the previous couple of years, he had set out trying to prove a theory popularized in the 19th century by Charles Darwin: that people of all ages and races, from all over the world, manifest emotions the same way. Ekman had traveled the globe with photographs that showed faces experiencing six basic emotions—happiness, sadness, fear, disgust, anger, and surprise. Everywhere he went, from Japan to Brazil to the remotest village of Papua New Guinea, he asked subjects to look at those faces and then to identify the emotions they saw on them. To do so, they had to pick from a set list of options presented to them by Ekman. The results were impressive. Everybody, it turned out, even preliterate Fore tribesmen in New Guinea who’d never seen a foreigner before in their lives, matched the same emotions to the same faces. Darwin, it seemed, had been right. Continue at BOSTON MAGAZINE