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Immaterial girls
December 8, 2011 11:58 PM   Subscribe

Catalog features models with sculpted bodies. A growing confectionary of kit for processing human bodies ( [YouTube]: Estimating body shape under clothing, Parametric Reshaping of Human Bodies in Images, Data-Driven Enhancement of Facial Attractiveness), prefigures a Barbie apocalypse of supernormal stimuli and body image disorders.
posted by 0rison (28 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm glad that they took advantage of this new, integrated tech to make it so that multiple bodies are represented wearing clothes I might want to buy with a simple couple clicks of the mous...what's that? Oh, they're all the same body size? Of course, silly me.
posted by zinful at 12:08 AM on December 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm outraged. This sort of shot should be accomplished via the traditional route of 4 severe eating disorders enablef by cocaine, Marlboros and sleeping pills.
posted by jimmythefish at 12:30 AM on December 9, 2011


The automated software demonstrated in the "parametric reshaping..." video has a big problem of not separating the subject from the scene. It creates a ridiculous amount of distortion in the background (which is something the pros currently struggle with).
posted by knave at 12:32 AM on December 9, 2011


I wonder what Jezebel would look like in FatBooth.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:50 AM on December 9, 2011


I'm waiting for the day when all first world countries will have inhabitants who have genetically modified their bodies to look exactly the way they wish...for the most part, sexy supermodel look-a-likes with slight differences in hair, skin, and eye color.

Except for Japan...which will be filled with people who have chosen, in contrast, to be super adorable with giant anime eyes.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 1:09 AM on December 9, 2011


That supernormal stimuli article was interesting. I've been aware for a long time that artificially hair colours can be superior at catching my attention than natural hair tones :)
posted by -harlequin- at 2:30 AM on December 9, 2011


That supernormal stimuli article explains why I like Cinnabons more than their real bakery counterparts.
posted by klarck at 4:30 AM on December 9, 2011


Metafilter: prefigures a Barbie apocalypse
posted by localroger at 5:13 AM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


In another interview, their press officer said "“It’s not about ideals or to show off a perfect body, we are doing this to show off the garments." Frankly, if supermodels can't make your swimsuits look good, there is exactly a zero chance I will decide to don your bikinis, H&M. That's just...that's just not right.
posted by jetlagaddict at 5:24 AM on December 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


If you're interested in beautification, you may find this interesting:

"It's all in the bone structure," says my daughter.
posted by RichardS at 5:43 AM on December 9, 2011


This is the link that didn't post for some reason:

http://www.wmagazine.com/fashion/2011/09/model-transformers-meisel-ss#slide=1
posted by RichardS at 5:45 AM on December 9, 2011


Ironically, as it proves the thesis (in my case), this paragraph is far more arousing than the faked-up H&M pictures, with the high point at "fritillary butterfly":


In the 1930s Dutch Nobel laureate Niko Tinbergen found that birds that lay small, pale blue eggs speckled with grey preferred to sit on giant, bright blue plaster dummies with black polka dots. A male silver washed fritillary butterfly was more sexually aroused by a butterfly-sized rotating cylinder with horizontal brown stripes than it is by a real, live female of its own kind. Mother birds preferred to try feeding a fake baby bird beak held on a stick by Tinbergen's students if the dummy beak was wider and redder than a real chick's. Male stickleback fish ignored a real male to fight a dummy if its underside was brighter red than any natural fish. Tinbergen coined the term "supernormal stimuli" to describe these imitations, which appeal to primitive instincts and, oddly, exert a stronger attraction than real things.

posted by chavenet at 5:46 AM on December 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


The drop in cost and increase in ease of use in photoshop-style 'body shaping' is fascinating... I once saw some blog (i forget the name, sorry) which featured images taken from dating websites that had clearly been doctored to make the individuals in question look more attractive (the doctoring was revealed by distortions in the background, etc). I understand wanting to have a good profile picture, but at a certain point if you are doctoring your image so you look like you weigh 30lbs less, aren't you really going to be found out the moment you actually meet the person in real life? I guess this also goes for people who use photos that are 10 years old, rather than something current. It seems self-defeating.
posted by modernnomad at 7:46 AM on December 9, 2011


Soooooooo by choosing to display their clothes range on a series of body aesthetics that do not actually *exist ANYWHERE*, the retailers are admitting that no one can look 'catalogue' perfect in any of those garments.

:slow hand clap::

Great way to make no-one consider buying those clothes. Ever.
posted by Faintdreams at 7:50 AM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think Ramachandran has also published and spoke on the exaggeration of characteristics being attractive to many species. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroesthetics
posted by RuvaBlue at 9:06 AM on December 9, 2011


Are mannequins particularly realistic either? (obligatory)
posted by jeffburdges at 9:07 AM on December 9, 2011


I don't see much distinction between using fake bodies in a catalogue, and using fake bodies in the actual store displays, as has been accepted for decades.

That said, I tend to prefer the headless store mannequins, because of the uncanny valley creepiness factor of mannequin faces, but photoshop seems to present "a third option" for catalogue mannequins, and it seems to work ok.
posted by -harlequin- at 9:07 AM on December 9, 2011


This is lame, but this technology could be deployed on a website where you enter your measurements and see the garment of your choice as it would look on a body the same size as yours.

That would be pretty great until some marketing jerk had the idea of making the virtual mannequin 10% smaller than whatever measurements you submit to the website. "Hey, these pants make me look great!"
posted by straight at 9:40 AM on December 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was curious why the leftmost "model" seemed to be out of proportion to the other three. But it's merely a slightly enlarged screen cap. I actually took it into Photoshop, overlaid the larger model on another, then scaled down the image. They lined up perfectly. I was kind of hoping they could just dial in different body proportions. But this 3D model obviously isn't that advanced.

Anyway, this sort of thing has been going on for a long time. I remember probably back around 1987, I saw a demo of a Mac system for fashion designers. You could create a dress design, scan a swatch of the fabric, then drape a preconfigured 3D model with your design. Then you could see the results on a big color screen, in stereo, using LCD shutter glasses. A lot of money goes into design and prototyping fashions, it does not surprise me at all that this technology has moved to catalog presentations. The "human" models don't really interest me so much as how they model the clothing onto the bodies.

That would be pretty great until some marketing jerk had the idea of making the virtual mannequin 10% smaller than whatever measurements you submit to the website. "Hey, these pants make me look great!"

Yeah, that's an old fashion sales trick. Some stores use slightly concave mirrors in their dressing room areas, so when you look at the clothes you're wearing, you see yourself about 5% thinner than you actually are. You don't notice the thinning effect of the mirror, you just think how thin and attractive you look. I use this trick quite often, when producing photographic portraits. Just scale horizontally 95% and everyone loves how they look.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:48 AM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Speaking of marketing jerks in fashion, can we also get a law passed that makes it false advertising when a store puts its shapeless shoddy clothes on a mannequin, but then secretly tries to deceive everyone by tucking the excess around back and pinning the fabric so it looks like it's cut well and hangs properly? It's got the point where I check the mannequin for fraud before I even bother looking for the item on the shelves.
posted by -harlequin- at 9:55 AM on December 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


Or am I the only one that this drives up the wall?
posted by -harlequin- at 9:57 AM on December 9, 2011


That supernormal stimulation article was an eye-opener, and seems to directly address something the ancient Greeks understood: that our animal passions are the source of much stupidity and pain.
posted by General Tonic at 10:25 AM on December 9, 2011


Data-Driven Enhancement of Facial Attractiveness
So that's how beer goggles work.
posted by popaopee at 1:10 PM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Or am I the only one that this drives up the wall?

I surreptitiously unfasten those pins every chance I get. Sorry if you work retail; I make up for it by not putting clothes back in the wrong place.
posted by kzin602 at 7:17 PM on December 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


no, I also hate the pin deception. If the clothes you sell don't hang that way without pins, don't waste my time pretending that they do.

but this pet peeve is not as bad as my current source of ire: clothes all shaped the same, regardless of size. I'm a size 16. I don't look good in pencil skirts, nor do I need a mermaid cut to accentuate my hips - they are naturally well accentuated. Why do manufacturers even makes skirts in these shapes at that size? and where the hell are the A-line skirts that look terrific in a size 16?
posted by jb at 8:52 PM on December 9, 2011


The ____ of Justice: "I'm waiting for the day when all first world countries will have inhabitants who have genetically modified their bodies to look exactly the way they wish...for the most part, sexy supermodel look-a-likes with slight differences in hair, skin, and eye color.

Except for Japan...which will be filled with people who have chosen, in contrast, to be super adorable with giant anime eyes
"

In case you haven't read it, Uglies (and especially the fourth book in the trilogy, Extras) is for you.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:25 AM on December 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


re: knave's pros struggle with link...

That really is a major fail. What's worse is that the distortion puts her new false waistline noticeably too high on that side of her body; "correcting" it "right" would have probably made the background even worse.

Then again, someone doing photoshop on photos at that level of public display might be expected to know how to fix a plain tile background. it's not like the model's size reduction revealed complex scenery that would need to be extended.
posted by localroger at 3:35 PM on December 10, 2011


I have to wonder if (in the tile example) the photographer might have been engaging in a bit of subtle sabotage as a protest. I can imagine that I would really dislike being asked to make the image of a thin woman appear even thinner, and would be tempted to leave a smoking gun as evidence of what I was told to do.
posted by jb at 7:45 AM on December 12, 2011


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