Friday, January 22, 2016

Forensic Sculpture - Day 5

Final Sculpture

After talking to some of my friends about this. I may have made her older then I should.

My effort today was to de-age her today so that she fits comfortably in the 30-50 year age range.

It was actually funny how I had to go about it. There were a number of things I had to do.

Day 4 
The obvious areas of this sculpture that are making it look older are the bags under the eyes, the prominent laugh lines, and the bushy eyebrows.  There are also some other more subtle areas that I can add clay to to make it appear fuller.

A classmate got into a discussion about a conversation with her dermatologist about injecting fat into her face to make her look younger. There were areas of the face, that if filled out, make the person look younger. I was concerned with making her look petite, but it ended up making her look wiry. 

So I had to do some plastic.... No, plastacine surgery. 

Day 5
So this is the sculpture after adding more clay to the eyes and lips. One comment was she looks like the daughter of my original sculpture, so she is comfortably in the the 30-50 range.

This was an awesome experience and class. I would do this again in a heartbeat. I was amazed by how quickly the time flew by. We were sculpturing for 6 hours a day and the time just flew by. I am really happy with the final sculpture and hope that it helps identify this missing person.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Forensic Sculpture - Day 4

End of Day 4
Today we added lips, eyebrows and hair.

Magic day is right. It is really coming together.

This course seems like the corollary to the artistic theory for the New York Academy of Art.  We learn anatomy and the body structure so that we can make more striking figures. So when we look at a human model or a photograph we can infer the anatomy to define the forms. In this class we are given the structure (the skull)  and then asked to create the portrait from that information.

There is not a lot of information about the lips recorded in the skull. There is an average correlation between lip size and enamel size and you can get the general width from the eye placement.  I made them subtle, as a lot of lip definition is from a color change not necessarily a form change.

So the physical remains were specific about a hair length. It also specified a style-- hair in a scrunchie. I quickly blocked it in and made the general shapes.

Joe recommend that we text the photo of the skull to people and ask for the age, gender and race of the subject to see if our sculpture is in the ball park.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Forensic Sculpture - Day 3

End of Day 3 
 Today we added eyelids and the nose. Wow, the sculpture is starting to look like a person.
Added Eye lids
Adding the eyelids was more of a technical challenge then anything else. The skull has information as to their general shape. The connection to the upper lid is determined by a divot in the skull. You can also find the connection point on either side of the eye in the skull. Creating the fold while maintaining the shape of the skull's eye socket was my main objective.

There is a lot of emotion in the eyes of this piece. People have commented to me about it throughout the process.

Adding the nose was a simple process, although like the ears, a lot of the individual information is lost. I was actually surprised by how much information was there. The general shape is determined by an intersection of two bones on the skull; you can also determine the nostril wall size and that gives a good clue about the width of the nose,

This woman had an obvious broken nose. I was struggling with how prominent to make it. I spent a lot of time looking at pictures of women with broken noses. I should step back and say do NOT google "Women with broken noses" on Google image search. I was horrified after doing that and quickly changed it to "Women with healed broken noses."

I was told that tomorrow is the "magic day" where the sculpture begin to take on a life of its own. I can already see it beginning here and I am really excited.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Forensic Sculpture - Day 2

End of Day 2
Lots of work done today. Although looking at the final picture the sculpture looks like something out of a haunted house.

Today we added the tissue depth markers, filled in the skull, made the ears and made the pupils.

Detail of the tissue depth markers of the face. 

Tissue depth markers are the straws placed around various points of the skull.  They represent the average amount of flesh in a given area of the skull. Our instructions here were to go from specific to more general when filling in the tissue depth marks. The tissue depths of higher on the face are pretty universal, as you get lower on the face the averages become less reliable.

It is kind of obvious when you think about it most people from above the cheekbones are very similar and there is a universality to human faces. As you get lower in the face differences in gender, race and weight make a big difference.

So Joe's instruction is to go with the face you're creating when deciding to fill in the lower tissue depth markers. He even pointed out that following the tissue depth markers blindly lead you to create a large-jawed sculpture.

I had a little problems with this because of the skulls missing teeth. The Tissue markers in certain places were difficult to place.

There was some time so we filled in the scalp of the piece. It was a simple process of using the top of the head marker and extending it to the forehead marker and the zigomtic arch (cheekbone).

Today we also added the ears to the piece. There is not a lot of information about the ears recorded on the skull. We know there general size, direction they are angled and if the ear lobes are connected or not. While ear formations  are unique to each individual (almost like a fingerprint) used in the identification of missing children most of that information is loss. So we have to include the ears but they need to be rather generic.

It is amazing how different all the busts look around the room. The individuality of each of the skulls is starting to appear. It's amazing how quick that happened.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Forensic Sculpture - Day 1

End of Day 1
So I enrolled in a Forensic Sculpture Class the week before school started up. It sounded interesting and I thought it would be a great learning opportunity. It also would help get me into the school routine before the spring semester starts up again.

The instructor is name Joe Mullins. He seemed up beat but serious about the class. He led us through each part of this process.

First, we were given a presentation by a forensic anthropologist. On the table were 15, 3-D printed skulls.  When looking at the table of 3-D printed skulls, I was struck with how similar they all looked. There were minor superficial differences but overall they all looked similar.

So we each choose a skull at almost random,

Skull #5
Skull #5 (Orange County, CA, NamUs #12250, case 14-00097-w1)
Estimated Age: 30-50
Race/Ancestry: White
Sex/Gender: Female
Case Description:
- Skeletonized body found in January 2014 in Caspers Wilderness Park (rural southeast area of Orange County, CA)
- She has shoulder length wavy Dark Brown Hair with light colored Highlights
- Size small Windbreaker jacket with "Coach Williams" Embroidered on the front and also a ball (e.g, volleyball). Athletic yoga style spandex pants. Pinkish short sleeved tank top t-shirt. A bright green Hair scrunchie band.
- There is a healed fracture to the nose with obvious angulation to the right.
- Any missing Anterior Teeth would have been present during life.

The first step was to do a rough block in of the facial muscles. Even with the decreased resolution of the 3-D print, when you ran your fingers across the skull you could feel where the muscles attached to the face, Just adding the facial muscles and you could immediately see the differences between the skulls. It took very little to reveal the individuality. It was remarkable to see it happen.

Adding the facial muscles to the skull
The last thing we did on day one was to add the glass marbles as the eyes.

The sculpture now looks like something out of a horror movie.