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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We were discussing people and their views on portraits on a recent HotToyCast, and this study came out today that is very relevant. Yes, you have to listen to this one, but it's worth your time if you're interested in the wildly various opinions on sixth scale portraits. In a nut shell: for most of us, outside of the people like friends and family we see every day, we're really ****ty at recognizing faces. But that's only half the story. Perhaps more importantly for collectors, while most of us are really bad at it, we think we're really good.

So next time someone says a sculpt looks just like the intended person, or they say it's terrible ("that looks more like Broderick Crawford than Joan Crawford!"), remember that a) their most likely really terrible at recognizing faces and b) you are too, so it's pretty much a wash.

Deciding whether a portrait looks like the actual person is far more subjective than even some of us thought, and is more like a function of art than quality.

BTW, if anyone comes across a link to the actual study, I'd love to see it. I think it applies even more to our situation (recognizing) than the title implies (remembering) because he talks about how they used photos from different angles and situations to see if people could compare two faces. Pretty much what we do with our toys all the time!

We're Not As Good At Remembering Faces As We Think We Are : NPR
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well, that applies to remembering faces but when you have hundreds of photos of an actor/actress to compare to or overlay an image of a headsculpt on then it becomes much less subjective :)
No, it's far more accurate to our situation than that. The study used multiple photos of the same person, from different angles and different lighting, and asked the viewer to pick out ones that were the same person. They failed miserably. 90% of the discussion around portrait accuracy is based on photos, not in hand. We try to judge based on a photo and our memory - and this study implies that humans not only suck at this, but think they're actually good at it.
 

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Interesting,

My camera has a facial recognition feature on it. Whenever I take a pic of a figure it says 'Blink detected'!

CHEERS!
 

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No, it's far more accurate to our situation than that. The study used multiple photos of the same person, from different angles and different lighting, and asked the viewer to pick out ones that were the same person. They failed miserably. 90% of the discussion around portrait accuracy is based on photos, not in hand. We try to judge based on a photo and our memory - and this study implies that humans not only suck at this, but think they're actually good at it.
They were shown a few photos of someone whose face they weren't familiar with, quite different from faces we have seen in multiple situations in photos and in films/tv. Celebrity faces are just as easy to recognise as family/friends in most cases because of our level of familiarity. Comparing a few photos of a strangers face from different angles/lighting can be harder (just compare two photos from anyone's Facebook gallery, unless you know them some photos can look like different people).

So, yes, although subjectivity does play a part I think that in the case of celebrity likenesses I think that most critiques are valid, especially when you have a photo of the same angle you can overlay and objectively see that say, the eyes are too large etc
 

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Such a complicated, interesting subject. I think the reason we become good at identifying facial nuances of the people we know in real life isn’t increased exposure (which can be simulated by looking at lots of photos of an actor) but Skinnerian rewards and punishment: when you come home, there are consequences to identifying whether your wife is feeling particularly hostile or loving. The same doesn’t apply to looking even at your favorite actor. And chances are that you will experience that actor in more varieties of makeup and hairstyle than you will ever see on anyone in real life.

Also, our neural perceptions evolved from an original human experience that involved recognizing other cro-magnons at a relatively close distance, in person, and who were all fairly similar in DNA and ethnicity. There’s already a big difference in the varieties of 20th century living, and then more with actors, the complication of looking at long shots and extreme close-ups on a flatscreen. And then on top of that, to bring it back to 1/6, the complications of scale where our perceptions are thrown off. That’s why a mathematically perfect sculpt from a 3D scan often doesn’t look right compared to an artist’s sculpt which exaggerates some features and minimizes others.

Stimulating subject, thanks for sharing that link.
 
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