Apr 062015

Facial Anatomy for Artists study in ZBrush.  écorché of facial muscles, fat and cartilage, with arrows indicating FACS Action Unitsclick for larger

Here are a few images of a sculpture I recently completed for my Facial Anatomy course which show how the subcutaneous structures of the face combine to create a portrait. The écorché side of the sculpture reveals:

  • the skeletal muscles of the head (temporalis and masseter) and neck
  • the construction of the eye – tarsal plates, canthal ligaments, orbital fat
  • the cartilage and fat of the nose
  • deep and superficial fat deposits
  • the facial muscles (some covered by subcutaneous fat)
  • Action Unit arrows indicating the direction of pull of the muscles, labeled according to Paul Ekman’s Facial Action Coding System.

It fascinates me how all of this reliably adds up to create a living, breathing, expressive face. Add near-infinite variation to these structures and mix and match to get the formula for 7 billion unique faces on the planet (and counting). Amazing.

More: Portraiture & Facial Anatomy Online Course.

Three quarters view of Facial Anatomy ecorche, with arrows showing Ekman's FACS Action Unitsclick for larger

Portrait side of the ecorche study. Relates the underlying facial anatomy to the surface forms of the face.click for larger