Friday, July 24, 2009

Another Great Time-Waster for Writers
By Persia Walker

I'm an expert at distracting myself from writing. Today I want to share with you my latest discovery: face transforming. But this isn't just the run of the mill "cartoonize-me" face transforming that some of us (ahem) know and love. It's transforming on a new level, the level of the scientific. And it's free!

The University of St. Andrews has this very interesting website that allows you to upload a photo and then morph it, so that you see yourself as you might appear if you were of a different age group, ethnicity, or -- and this was the best -- painted by a great artist!

So this is what I'd looked like if the good Lord had made me as Asian. Not bad. When I compare the morphed versions with the original, I'm surprised at how many of my features lend themselves to other ethnic groups: the brown eyes, the broad nose, the narrow eyes. What do you think?

I've always had a secret yearning to know what Modigliani or Mucha would've done with my portrait. Thanks to St. Andrews, I have a chance to find out.

The St. Andrews site offers you the option of several perceptions, including but not limited to seeing yourself (or someone else) as a baby, teenager, young adult, older adult, a member of the opposite sex; as Caucasian, East Asian, West Asian; as seen through the eyes of Botticelli, Modigliani, and Mucha. You can also do a Manga version. (I tried it. It was the one version guaranteed to make my narrow eyes look big! A bit too big.)

Now how does this help your writing? I can't say that it will. But I don't think it'll hurt it, either. It always helps to take a different slant on things, including yourself. Just off the top of my head, I'd say it would be fun to upload a photograph of someone you see as a character in one of your books. Morph it and see how a change in age and/or ethnicity affects your perception of your character. It might even help you crystallize vague ideas about your character, make specific and detailed choices. It might help you enliven a character who seems asleep on the page. If nothing else, it'll provide at least 15 minutes of happy distraction!

Here's the long form of the link:

Best wishes for healthy fun and creative distraction!


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