The perfect face - a study of female cartoon charcters
A recent study by the University of Toronto has determined the perfect proportions for a female face. So I've extended their study into the realm of the cartoon lady.
- The background
- First up, Cheetara
- And now the queen, Jessica Rabbit
- Marge Simpson, the rank outsider
- Daphne Blake, next in line
- The iconic Betty Boop
- She-Ra, our last contestant
- And one last thing
I was sitting at home one night, mulling over the options for my next piece of in-depth research when I stumbled across a BBC article about the dimensions of the perfect face. It's all about 2 simple ratios. You can see these in my carefully prepared diagram to the left.
Apparently, if the distance between a lady's pupils is 46% the distance between her ears, and the measurement between her eyes and her mouth is 36% of the distance between chin and hairline, you're onto a winner guys.
An interesting piece of work I thought, but perhaps they should have continued beyond the average, everyday female. What if the research had ventured into the cartoon world? I decided to boldly step into this scientific void, and with my trusty digital imaging software, measured some of the most beautiful, animated females ever to grace our screens.
First up, Cheetara
Every man my age remember Cheetara, a lone figure of femininity in the otherwise macho world of the Thundercats. Her feline movements were matched by her proud, statuesque face. Surely a good first candidate.
(I'll just mention an experimental procedural point here - on faces where ears and eyes are obscured I'm had to use my life experience to make a best guess. And you can be assured I've no bias either way.)
Ok, and the results are in... Cheetara scores an impressive 50% ratio on the pupils, and 37% on the mouth! That's pretty damn close to perfection on the first go... my god this is exciting.
And now the queen, Jessica Rabbit
In most people's eyes, the Angelina Jolie of the cartoon world. Surely Jessica would score highly? I admit that I found her a tricky subject, given her trademark fringe over the eye look. However, I used the latest imaging techniques to measure and calculate.
And a shock... Jessica Rabbit is so far away from perfect I had to re-run the test. But my ruler was right first time. Her pupils are 56% her ear width, but her mouth-eye distance is just 24% the height of her face. 24%!
Jessica's high forehead and low mouth put her well out of the running. The favourite falls at the first!
Marge Simpson, the rank outsider
Yes, even Marge looks shocked she's in with this company. But she is one of the biggest stars in cartoon history, and in those flashback episodes she looks pretty good when she's younger.
So on with the test. Again tricky as I struggled to find a picture of Marge looking directly at the camera. Which is maybe suspicious - has she something to hide?
But wait a minute - a 56% ratio on the pupils, and a 39% on the mouth? That puts Marge in a respectable second place.
Daphne Blake, next in line
Now here's a girl that added some glamour and class to an otherwise childish Scooby Doo cartoon. And perhaps the fact she looking confidently into the camera is a sign? On with the test...
Yes! Closest yet on the pupil ratio, with 48%. And 33% on the mouth to eye distance puts Daphne in joint first place with Cheetara! Who would have thought it? What drama...
The iconic Betty Boop
OK, I'll admit she's not my type. But Betty Boop has a lot of followers out there, and I'm a crowd pleaser. Yet again, no ears on show but Betty is guiding me home with those hoop earrings.
But it seems my instincts are correct. Betty, although a considerable beauty in her own time, measures up badly against modern standards. Those famous eyes provide her with a near perfect 44% pupil to ear ratio, but something has gone badly wrong vertically. I've tried to measure her chin to hairline distance but she hasn't got a chin!
Even being kind to her, I ended up with a 25% ratio for mouth to eye, way off the ideal 36%. And so we move on. Can anybody beat Cheetara or Daphne?
She-Ra, our last contestant
A look straight down the lens. A winning raise of the arm. It's almost as though She-Ra knows something. Let's do the math.
First up, pupil to ear ratio. Remember we're looking for 46%, deemed to be ideal by the Toronto's finest. And the result - a perfect 46%!
My hands trembled as I measured the mouth the eye ratio... surely it couldn't be 36%, the perfect score?
No! Just she's just 1% away, on 35%... but still that makes She-Ra, twin sister of He-Man, the most beautiful cartoon character of all time. What a result.
And one last thing
As you can imagine, for this piece of science I spent a while trawling the web for appropriate images to survey and measure. I'd just like to point out the extraordinarily high levels of faked pictures of cartoon characters that include nudity and other states of undress. Not to mention a disturbing number of semi-bondage style images.
I'm no prude, but this all seemed a little strange.