Food for thought. Beauty.

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Muzzoid polycounter lvl 8
Hey guys, I was just reading the ok cupid blog again as it is damn interesting.

Reading this article, i have thought about it a fair bit since i read it, http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/the-mathematics-of-beauty/

Its the idea that the more polarizing a woman's appearance is the stronger the reaction from people.
In my experience with art it is really the same. Just some examples, look at joust's art, its pretty weirdly stylized, nobody is really on the fence about it, people either think its fucking amazing, or they dont care for it. On the other hand you have belias, which is so damn weird that people either think its the worst or best thing they have ever seen.

It's an interesting idea and in a lot of ways it has implications on artist development in forums, as a forum will attract people who like those particular quirks, and thus making the artists that it develops, undesirable for people who do not like those traits.

I dunno, just some food for thought. What do you guys think?

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  • Cheathem
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    Cheathem polycounter lvl 5
    Interesting article,what i take from it is to show and express what makes you different.the girls with tattoos and piercings got more attention because they were being different and didnt care what people thought.It seems like the same principle would apply to art.
  • Joseph Silverman
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    Joseph Silverman polycounter lvl 10
    I'm on the fence.

    I'm not sure that the metric of 'how to get messages on a dating site' is reflective at all to art -- sculptures like David are universally adored, and pretty wonderful and insightful. The same could be said for any great artist -- maybe not everyone will like any given painting by John Singer Sargent, but everyone likes *some*.

    THAT SAID, I also love the message okcupid is pushing and the approach you're suggesting: Being(/making) something beautiful is important, but being/making something that is YOU trumps it when it comes to appealing to other people.

    I've definitely observed what you're suggesting (ESPECIALLY on conceptart.org, where sketchbook threads can balloon to a zillion posts and get crazy followings), but I always chalked it up to the notion that artists who make what they love are more motivated to make art than artists who try to make what others love. This is an interesting alternative/supplemental way to look at it.
  • Muzzoid
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    Muzzoid polycounter lvl 8
    Well of course, its not going to be completely reflective. But where it is reflective is that the study is based on peoples reactions based on aesthetics, but that being said i think its mostly interesting as a hypothetical as it would be highly difficult to do a similar study on art. I'd love to see Deviantart or Cghub try though, that would be amazing. Though i think Deviantart would be a better metric, as there are a lot of non artists on Deviantart.

    You just used two of the most non offensive examples in art, both John Singer Sargent and Michelangelo, are super technically skilled, which is something that can be universally admired. But they weren't that experimental with subjects, and it was in the search of beauty and simplicity that they strove. I don't think that makes the point invalid or discredits the artists at all. I wasn't trying to suggest that you cannot make universally appealing masterpieces.

    How about if we approach somebody like Fransisco Goya. When i was in highschool his works always drew a lot more out of me than landscape painters or life sculptors, but most in the class disliked the works and didn't understand it. It drew a larger reaction from me because it did dare to evoke things that the universally appealing artists did not.

    We also have a bit of a fallacy with fine art history though. I personally don't see the Statue of David to be as important as history says it is. I think it is quite a technical feat, but what if you strip back the glory, the history and then show it to a random person on the street. How much of this awe is just because people are told they should be awed by it?

    Cheathem : hmm i think that is more the reason the people look like the way they do, and is not necessarily why people like the look of them though.
  • Sandro
    Very interesting article, I saw it time ago but never really drew any parallels to art.

    Now that I think about it actually polarization is common among professional illustrators. They polarize certain aspects of their art to create distinctive look and stand out from crowd. Surely enough, some people might dislike it but chances are certain people will love it enabling him/her to create very successful career. Illustrators that are in grey area are often not as popular/memorable.

    Game art is different subject though. Despite fact that standing out is pretty important here as well, many of us are basically craftsmen working on other people's projects. So I guess going way overboard with polarization might have too negative impact on opportunities. Or maybe not, who knows :)
  • Muzzoid
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    Muzzoid polycounter lvl 8
    "Game art is different subject though. Despite fact that standing out is pretty important here as well, many of us are basically craftsmen working on other people's projects. So I guess going way overboard with polarization might have too negative impact on opportunities. Or maybe not, who knows :)"

    Is it? Angry birds is one of the most popular games in the world but i struggle to think of a game that is also more polarizing in terms of people liking it. (same as fruit ninja for that matter which i worked on).

    If you are talking about getting jobs, well yeah if you are only able to draw in one style it might be a problem. But if that is your problem.... then you have bigger problems than an art direction not liking your arts particular quirks.
  • Sandro
    Yeah I was talking from game artist perspective. If you polarize your style to something weird you might limit your opportunities. Or maybe there's a studio that will hire you based solely on that. Someone more experienced with hiring process might provide more insight.

    As for angry birds I don't know if that's a good example. As far as I know it was one of the first iOS games and market was very fresh back then, so whether it's success has to do with being polarizing or not is up for debate.

    If we take example from other markets (PC, XBLA) Zeno Clash was pretty polarizing. I loved it and I'm sure it sold quite well but not as good as some of popular games which strive to be generally accepted/liked.
  • Joopson
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    Joopson Polycount Sponsor
    I loved reading this, and immediately shared it on facebook.

    I think the main thing the article is saying is that Uniqueness will illicit strong reactions, where averageness will illicit average reactions. Average things will be liked by most. Unique things will be loved by some.
    They're saying it's better to be unique, because it makes an impression, essentially.
  • binopittan
    I,m lost at this part.

    Paradox.png

    The point of this article it's not unique > average. but more like ugly > just ok. in term of popularity.
    Simply because men will have more confidence to approach women that many other men think she ugly.

    Not really relevant to art/game industry eh ;P. games that liked more will sell more. loved more by less ppl will sell less. Unless we take piracy into equation.
  • WDewel
    binopittan wrote: »
    The point of this article it's not unique > average. but more like ugly > just ok. in term of popularity.
    Simply because men will have more confidence to approach women that many other men think she ugly.

    Yeah, that's what OKC chalks it up to. I don't know how much these things parallel outside of our ability to relate or develop feelings for a character. I'm not going to avoid a particularly nice looking gun just because it looks objectively awesome. The gun isn't going to reject me or ignore my messages. That hottie over there might, though.

    PrisonersDilemmaBig.png

    As far as I understand it, OKC is saying that most of us are more cautious about messaging people we perceive to be more attractive or desired, etc. The biggest game related parallel I can gleam from all of this is: If we feel like we have a real chance at winning, we're willing to try harder. There are similar studies about men being more likely to approach women that look tired. Tired, drunk, maybe a snaggletooth, face tattoos, a few extra pounds, all of those things can communicate that someone is an easier target. Not necessarily because of low self esteem or anything like that, but because the pursuers figure they don't have as much competition. Boys are gross. (jk!)
  • Muzzoid
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    Muzzoid polycounter lvl 8
    I don't think the parallels line up exactly. I was mostly looking at the rating distribution charts, and i think that the parallels end there. On the charts, the overall liked girls were receiving barley any 10's in comparison to a few 10's and a few 0's.
    Also i was meerley using the article as a progenitor for this train of thought.

    People don't look at art and use it as a metric for whether they will message an artist. (unless they are a kid wanting a $5 commission on deviantart).
    As for angry birds I don't know if that's a good example. As far as I know it was one of the first iOS games and market was very fresh back then, so whether it's success has to do with being polarizing or not is up for debate.

    Well i could give you other examples? But one thing that is important is that popular casual games are polarizing in the sense of only trying to appeal to casual players. Trying to appeal to casual and hardcore markets is a dangerous idea. Perhaps a few puzzle games have managed it, but not many.
  • Justin Meisse
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    Justin Meisse polycounter lvl 12
    as far as how it applies to art - if you design your character with one of those charts that show how perfect symmetry etc.. = beauty you'll end up with a pretty but generic and forgettable character. Just like movies - every now and then there's a new actress everyone is drooling over but they don't stay in the public mind as long as Angelina Jolee's giant lips or Cindy Crawford's mole.
  • Muzzoid
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    Muzzoid polycounter lvl 8
    Heh yeah that's a really good way to put it. Does anyone remember that chart that melded all those female celebrities faces together?
  • Zwebbie
    Muzz wrote: »
    Heh yeah that's a really good way to put it. Does anyone remember that chart that melded all those female celebrities faces together?
    Yes.

    Tip: save it somewhere, so you don't have to put up with googling for "the_perfect_woman.jpg".
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