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The main thing about impersonation, Tom thought, was to maintain the mood and temperament of the person one was impersonating, and to assume the facial expressions that went with them.
February 9, 2012 1:30 PM   Subscribe

The Composites - Literary characters imagned using police composition software
posted by The Whelk (42 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
Delightful!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:34 PM on February 9, 2012


What a clever idea.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:35 PM on February 9, 2012


Mr Ripley seems awfully familiar.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:38 PM on February 9, 2012 [8 favorites]


Man, this is weird. I saw the films made from Lolita and Crash before I read the books, so I can't help but see James Mason in Humbert Humbert and Elias Koteas in Vaughan. Except I can't figure out whether those were great casting choices, or whether my brain is seeking out and amplifying the similarities.

Also damn if Mr. Rochester doesn't look exactly how I pictured him.
posted by griphus at 1:39 PM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's appropriate that you quoted Tom Ripley's thoughts in the post because:

1) That's the one that seemed the most 'right on" to me for all the examples I had previously read.

2) Like the character, this whole thing is creepily awesome.

God, I love Patricia Highsmith
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:40 PM on February 9, 2012


Wow, who knew there were so many books about ventriloquists' dummies?

(Seriously, either the software sucks or the person using it has no idea about the proportions of the human face.)
posted by Sys Rq at 1:41 PM on February 9, 2012 [9 favorites]


Keith Talent is SO WRONG. For one thing, in my head he's always wearing a Captain's hat.
posted by COBRA! at 1:42 PM on February 9, 2012


What I learned today is that if you have an underbite, you have a 80% chance of being picked out of a lineup.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:42 PM on February 9, 2012


Mr Ripley seems awfully familiar.

MetaFilter: The Talented Mr. Haughey.
posted by The Bellman at 1:42 PM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Humbert doesn't look movie-star enough for me but I think Bovary, Ripley, and Rochester are dead on.

Also cause the composition software makes them look like characters in a very literary Bethesda Softworks game.
posted by The Whelk at 1:42 PM on February 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


...are you thinking of Clare Quilty, Whelk?
posted by griphus at 1:43 PM on February 9, 2012


Oh my god where can I get this software...
posted by odinsdream at 1:44 PM on February 9, 2012


Nope! Humbert being movie star rugged is a major plot point.
posted by The Whelk at 1:45 PM on February 9, 2012


Holy shit, I need to read London Fields. That excerpt was amazing.

Anyway, I had no idea digital composite sketching was such a primitive science. All the drawings seem like fundamentally the same dude, including Emma Bovary.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 1:46 PM on February 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Was it? I need to re-read actually finish that novel.
posted by griphus at 1:47 PM on February 9, 2012


Keith Talent is SO WRONG.

Heh, I thought Keith Talent was absolutely spot on. The rest of them just look like Keith Talent in a bad wig/fake scar/comedy sideburns.

My only encounter with this kind of software was incredibly depressing. A friend was assaulted, so I went with her to the police station for moral support. The rozzers spent half an hour showing her photos of young Asian men to pick from, even though she was 100% certain her attacker was middle aged and white. Eventually they gave up trying to frame some Asian boy and asked her to do a composite sketch like the ones on the linked site, but they couldn't get the application to work - in the end I had to reboot the frozen PC, recalibrate its monitor and launch the software. The policeman 'trained' to do the composite sketches didn't know how to do any of these things.
posted by jack_mo at 1:54 PM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


No Holden Caulfield?
posted by jonmc at 1:58 PM on February 9, 2012


Was it? I need to re-read actually finish that novel.

WHAT HOLY SHIT FRIENDSHIP STATUS: HIATUS
posted by shakespeherian at 1:59 PM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Many of them have unnaturally narrow chins and necks. Is that a quirk of the artist or the software?
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:00 PM on February 9, 2012


Is Jesus described anywhere in that bible thing?
posted by item at 2:12 PM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Edward Rochester needed more sideburn
posted by Blasdelb at 2:13 PM on February 9, 2012


Do Palmer Eldritch!
posted by battleshipkropotkin at 2:17 PM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


the composition software makes them look like characters in a very literary Bethesda Softworks game

Yes! I'm really curious about how the software works. My guess is it's something like making a Mii on a Nintendo Wii.
posted by exogenous at 2:17 PM on February 9, 2012


"Is Jesus described anywhere in that bible thing?"

In Revelation 1:12-16 the triumphant returning Jesus is described sort of, and only as what he will look like upon returning,
    12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
but the New Testament is pretty indifferent to physical appearance in general.
posted by Blasdelb at 2:21 PM on February 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


I vsaguely remember seeing something about this software on TV years ago, then looking it up online and finding only a highly restricted shareware version. Maybe that's what this guy's got.
posted by jonmc at 2:22 PM on February 9, 2012


Anyway, I had no idea digital composite sketching was such a primitive science. All the drawings seem like fundamentally the same dude, including Emma Bovary.

I'd completely agree.
posted by OmieWise at 2:38 PM on February 9, 2012


"... and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters."

Ancient autotune?
posted by vidur at 2:38 PM on February 9, 2012


Well HELLOOOO Edward.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 2:41 PM on February 9, 2012


This is a super approach and I'd like to see them reach a little further afield for their subject undesirables, e.g. a police artist impression of the Color out of Space.
posted by jfuller at 3:10 PM on February 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


The one thing they don't seem to capture are facial proportions. You've got the hair and the scars, maybe different cheek bones, but all the faces are the same width, nobody had a stronger or weaker jaw, and it felt like the spacing of features was invariant across different faces.

Each one seems like the same twelve year old boy in different makeup and maybe a wig. The eyebrows give it away.
posted by anotherpanacea at 3:20 PM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Twelve year old boys in wigs commit the majority of crimes.
posted by The Whelk at 3:20 PM on February 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think the Misfit looks dead on.

I wanna see Alexey Karamazov.
posted by duvatney at 3:22 PM on February 9, 2012


Where is Richard III?
posted by bukvich at 3:24 PM on February 9, 2012


Also does somebody have an inverse where you put in your pic and out comes Dickens' description of you?
posted by bukvich at 3:26 PM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also does somebody have an inverse where you put in your pic and out comes Dickens' description of you?

No, but I think some talented MeFites could do such a job just as well.
posted by vidur at 3:27 PM on February 9, 2012


Samuel Spade's jaw was long and bony, his chin a jutting v under the more flexible v of his mouth. His nostrils curved back to make another, smaller, v. His yellow-grey eyes were horizontal. The v motif was picked up again by thickish brows rising outward from twin creases above a hooked nose, and his pale brown hair grew down-- from high flat temples--in a point on his forehead. He looked rather pleasantly like a blond satan.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 4:03 PM on February 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Darts, Keith. Darts.
posted by TheRedArmy at 5:19 PM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


They all have the same mouth, and that's rather creepy.

All of the renderings landed squarely within the Uncanny Valley for me.
posted by spitefulcrow at 9:08 PM on February 9, 2012


Edmond Dantes. Abbe Busoni. The clerk of Thomson and French. Sinbad the Sailor... Where is Le Comte de Monte-Cristo???
posted by Jesse Hughson at 9:33 PM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


That looks nothing like Matt Damon!
posted by Burhanistan at 2:00 AM on February 10, 2012


They all look alike to me. Is that what they mean by Everyman?
posted by MtDewd at 11:18 AM on February 10, 2012


Other than Rochester, they all have strangely pointy chins.

Nobody out of Dickens yet?
posted by tangerine at 11:45 AM on February 10, 2012


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