Sunday, November 18, 2012
"What the Shoulders Say About Us"
I know it's totally obvious, but it bears repeating: the shoulders are a very important aspect of expression. They way you design and position the shoulders of your character can tell us a lot about how they're feeling or even how healthy they are.
When someone's shoulders raise up, it usually means they're stressed or scared, and when someone's shoulders slump it usually means they're tired, defeated or depressed. Big broad shoulders can make a man (or woman) look healthy and strong, while small narrow shoulders can be used to make a person look weak, or young.
Here's an interesting article on Lifehacker.com, written by FBI counterintelligence expert Joe Navarro about the shoulders and how they reflect a person's well-being and general state of mind. There's some great information in the article that relates directly to designing and animating characters and how to reflect expressions in the shoulders. Admittedly, it's pretty basic stuff, but a good reminder to always remember the shoulders when looking for ways to make your characters expressive.