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January 31, 2012

Key Differences – Painted Caricatures & Digital caricatures

Filed under: Articles,caricature gifts,Caricature Portraits — Charlie Anson @ 6:38 pm

How are digital caricatures produced from caricature software different from professional caricatures painted by a human being? Well, in some respect, there’s not that much difference at all! After all when an artist looks at a face, she picks out all the details as a whole, and one by one. A professional caricature is the result of careful analysis and synthesis of details – it depends as much on a quick brushstroke summing up the shape of a head in a an instant, as it does on the fine tuning of minute details.


Similarly, the facial recognition programs that produce custom vector caricatures look at the bigger picture and at the smaller picture. The caricature software will pick out the face’s outline, identify the head type, and assign the appropriate polygons and algorythms which correspond to that type. Then, the caricature software goes in for the detail: defining the outline of the nose, the width of the eyes, the thickness of the lips, the ears, the angle of the mouth… In exactly the same way as a artist does when she paints professional caricatures.

However, as you might expect, there are key differences. One is purely functional: When working on professional caricatures from photos, artists can gather an impression of a multitude of photos in order to distill the perfect caricature “summary” of that person. But hang on, who am I to say that caricature software can’t also do that – after all, it’s not my line of business! But it seems to me me that custom vector caricatures can’t help but be the result of a narrow process. The bigger picture of producing professional caricatures means not just seeing the face outline – it means seeing the full personality, the particular sparkle that a person exudes. That might seem a bit airy-fairy, but it’s true. Custom vector caricatures just can’t quite add that touch of personality – the best they can do is preserve it – whereas professional caricatures should gather all the elements of someone’s personality from a range of photos.


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