What would Bert from Sesame Street look like if you kept his cartoon proportions but made him otherwise real?
He’s still got those caterpillar eyebrows, bug eyes, top tuft, bulbous nose and wide grin. But when we see all his details and textures, he has an altogether different charm—or creepiness.
“Untooning” has been a hot internet meme over the last few years, and it raises all sorts of questions about verisimilitude.
A face that has been abstracted can be just as real to us emotionally, maybe more so. Think of African masks. Character designers at CGI animation studios are also very conscious of dialing down the realism on human characters. Too much realism can drop us into the uncanny valley.
I think the same thing is true of storytelling paintings, such as this illustration by N.C. Wyeth from Kidnapped. It’s more of a mental image he was striving for. By not showing his eyes, Wyeth makes David Balfour seem more lost in the fog.
Bert from BoingBoing
See Mario, Charlie Brown, and other Untooned characters at Huffington Post
Related GJ post about camera face detection