Artistic Facial Expression Analysis: Fake vs. Real Sadness – A Case Of Neil Entwistle At The Trial
There are many people in this world who try to trick others by hiding their real emotions. However, when the truth comes out, it can be kind of embarrassing, especially when the moment is broadcast across the entire country.
This guy, Neil Entwistle, killed his wife and daughter in 2006. At the trial, he fake cried to attract public sympathy in the courtroom, and it completely failed. It seems that he does not know how to make a sad face, so let me show you how the actual crying face works.
Clearly, he looks like he is about to smile or laugh in the picture on left, and in my illustration on right he looks like he is about to drop some tears. But, why? Let’s take a look at the details.
Usually, when a person is having deep, negative feelings, you could see some kind of pressure in the face. The first pressure that you can focus on is in the forehead. If he is closing his eyes tightly and having emotional pain, the Procerus muscles and the Corrugator Spercilii muscle will be contracted. Therefore, shading would be created above the eyebrows and on the forehead (A).
The corner of the lips is also an important part of a sad face. Imagine making a smiley face into a sad face. Would you keep the curve of the mouth as is? No, you would probably flip the happy curve 180 degrees vertical. That means that the corner of the mouth cannot be pulled up like in the picture on the left. It should be pulled down (B). This is a contraction of the muscle called the Depressor Anguli Oris.
At the same time the Depressor Anguli Oris contracts, the Mentalis muscles make the chin tighter, and/or push up the lower lip. When this muscle is contracted, many random small bumps can be noticed in the chin area (C). Also, sometimes the lower lips are slightly vibrating when sadness occurs, and there could be more pressure around the neck and below the cheeks (F).
(D), points at the medial section of the eyes and eyebrows. When a person feels either sadness, fear, or any type of pain, the shape of the eyebrow should start changing. The movement of the eyebrows cannot be seen much in the picture on the left, so I added a slight curve to it in my illustration. I also made the medial upper eyelids look like they are being pulled up a little. It is a small change, but you can see the emotion dramatically changed when it happened, right?
Lastly, this one is going to be the most subtle movement in the face of sadness: it is the cheek! When you smile, the cheeks puff up and become like an apple, because the corner of the mouth is pulled up to the side. Sad cheeks are very tricky, because the muscles that contract during happiness, and the muscle that contract during sadness are right next to each other. Sad cheeks do not have a smooth roundness like an apple. They push up in a more tight way. That is why I flattened the cheeks and added a more steep shadow in my illustration (E). It makes it look like the cheek is a little tighter, and pulled towards the ground.
Have you ever seen a situation when a person is laughing and crying at the same time and you can’t tell if the person is being happy or sad? The reason why it’s confusing is because the smiling muscle and crying muscle are lying right next to each other in our faces!
The muscle that pulls the corner of the mouth is called the Zygomaticus Major. This muscle is attached from the cheekbone, the Zygomatic bone, to the corner of the mouth. It contracts when we smile. It yanks the lips to the side, and creates a round hump on the cheek.
On the other hand, the muscle that creates a sad face is called the Zygomaticus Minor. This muscle only contracts when we feel sad. Just like the smiling muscle, the Zygomaticus Minor is also attached from the cheekbone to the lips. It lies parallel to the medial side of the Zygomaticus Major. Therefore, happiness and sadness are right next to each other. Both of the muscles pull the corner of the lips to the side, and create humps on the cheeks. This is why it is very confusing to tell if a person is laughing or crying; or both.
The feeling of sadness usually contains some kind of other feeling too, like anger, anxiety, or pain. Happiness is one of them. “Weeping of joy” is an action that happens when the happiness and sadness occur together at the same time.
It may be hard to draw the facial expressions that exist between a very fine line like this. However, you will be able to recreate this complicated emotion on paper when you learn a few small tricks. The best time to see happiness and sadness occurring together is when people’s hearts are deeply touched. To get a realistic reaction, let’s look at some famous YouTube videos that show surprises and emotionally-charged reactions.
Sample Movie 1: The Reveal To Grandpa
This is a video of a man who receives joyful news of his daughter getting pregnant. Watch the change of his emotion from being surprised, thrilled, and touched throughout the video. We cannot see any negativity in his face even when he is tearing. The characteristic of this expression is his bright, glaring eyes that look hopeful and excited for the future.
Let’s compare the expression of his pure, smiling face (Fig.1) with his “about-to-cry” face (Fig.2). The first recognizable difference is the triangle shape on his medial eyelid (A). The medial side of brows is pulled towards the center and upward (B). This is one of the main features that can be seen in the expression of sadness.
Also, we are able to see some differences between the contractions of the Zygomaticus Major and Minor. The smile that is created by the Zygomaticus Major has a smooth roundness on the cheek, and the Nasolabial Fold also creates natural curves. Although, when Zygomaticus Minor contracts, the Nasolabial Fold warps unnaturally, and the line looks like it is floating (C). The skin of the cheek looks tense (D), and the unnatural stretch of skin can be recognized next to the nostril (E).
There are three muscles that are contracted at the same time around the mouth area. They usually tighten the lips. The Risorius pulls the lips to the side (F), the Depressor Anguli Oris pulls down the corner of the lips (G), and the Mentalis pushes up the middle of lower lip to create a bumpy hump on the chin (H). The man’s face would be even more sad if the corner of his lips were completely turned down.
Sample 2: Mukhtars Fodselsdag – Denish Bus Driver Gets Surprise On His Birthday
The next video is about a bus driver who receives a surprise flash mob on his birthday while he is at his work. He seems very confused at first, but soon he figures out the situation. He shows a beautiful smile with warm tears on his face at the end. Even though I don’t speak Danish, I understand exactly what is happening. This video reminds me that we don’t need a wall of language to communicate each other’s feelings!
Let’s see his eye area. His eyes became slightly thinner, and his lower eyelids have a bulge (A), which means that he is smiling. His cheeks are round and it almost seems like the Zygomaticus Major has been contracted (B), but it is actually different from the natural roundness of a pure smile. This means that only the upper half of the Zygomaticus Major has contracted in his face. We can see that the Depressor Anguli Oris is pulling down the corner of the lips (C) and the lower cheeks have a shadow that indicates a sharp turn of form (D).
There are many contractions created on his forehead that we do not normally see on a pure, happy face. There is a small wrinkle in between his brows (E), and we can see some random dents above his brows (F). It looks like he is holding his emotions back, and might start to cry at anytime.
Sample 3: Surprise Pregnancy Announcement To Husband In A Photo Booth
The last video I would like to sample is a surprise announcement from a wife to her husband. In a photo booth, she told him that she was pregnant, by holding up a sign that says “Baby”. This revelation caused the husband to cry “happy tears”. It is hard to judge if he is smiling or crying because we only see his profile for most of the time. Although, there are some points that prove his true “weeping of joy”.
The first thing to focus on in his face is the shape of brows. We can see that the center of the brows is slightly pulled up (A). When drawing this expression, you can add some shading here to create the distorted brows even more (B).
We can also see the contraction of the Zygomaticus Minor on his cheek. The cheek has a large shadow and dent along side of the nostril to the chin can be recognized(C). This only appears when the sadness muscle is contracted.
Now, let’s look at his lips, which appear to be smiling. This form is very close to the pure, smiley lips; but the difference is that the corner of the lips are yanked very tightly, as if they are hidden behind the cheek (D). Also, we can see a very small gap between his lower lip and upper teeth (E). These are recognizable because the Risorius and Depressor Anguli Oris pull the corner of his lips downward and to the side at the same time. When people have a natural smile, only the upper teeth are shown.
The most recognizable feature of “Weeping of joy” from the profile is on the neck. When people sob, the skin of the neck gets tense and starts shaking. Also, the sheet-thin muscle that is attached from the neck to the bottom of the chin creates unevenness, and shows an unusual dent (F).
Sadness usually contains agony. When people experience sadness, there are also feelings of loss, pain, disappointment, or fear included at the same time. These emotions are expressed through subtle movements in the facial muscles.
The expression of sadness can be verified when all of the facial parts seem to descend with the weight of sorrow. This could be shown by a gesture of the head hanging, or by the sinking of facial muscles.
They enter a fake gun shop that was built for an experiment in New York City. Every gun in the store has its own history that involves murder. The customers are told violent stories that go along with each specific gun.
Sample 1: Sadness
The male who appears in time 2:07 has almost a pure expression of sadness in his face. The angle of his head and his eyes are both dropped. Also, there is a slight feeling of anxiety, and some fear mixed together.
The first act that has to be described is the triangle shape of the upper eyelids that is created when the brows are raised (A). It appears when the Frontalis pulls up the forehead (B), and the Corrugator Supercilii contracts and pulls down to the medial section in the opposite direction (C). This is the first sign of the beginning stages of sadness. Next, a shadow appears above the brow, because the Corrugator Supercilii creates a small crease when it is pulled down (D). This is an important gesture to learn when you are drawing the face of sadness. There is evidence of mixed emotion as well. Anxiety or fear is shown in a warping of his brow (E).
Sample 2: Concealed Sadness
Now, in sample 2, let’s pay attention to the mouth. This type of tightened mouth is only shown when people are unconsciously trying to hold back their feelings, or when they show a firm determination. In this scene, the former is indicated.
*A similar tightened mouth is also shown in the anger emotion. Here, the corners of the mouth would come down, as the center of the mouth pushes up.
The muscle Risorius contracts and yanks the corner of the mouth (A) that makes the lip line horizontally straight. Then, the Orbicularis Oris creates firm lips that cause the skin underneath to stretch and become rounder (B). The shade (C) proves that the Mentalis has contracted. Therefore, the important bulge in the mouth of sadness looks like an island (D), and the entire lower mouth puffs up in a small sausage-like shape (E).
His mouth is in a controlled posture, but his eyes are clearly dropped, which means that a feeling of sadness is hidden deeply inside of him. Soon, he goes into a depression and his entire head and body drop.
Sample 3: Understanding Micro-Expressions of Sadness
There is only a split-second moment that clearly captures the sad facial expression of the subject in the sample 3 video. Right after he shows this face, his head and body move back like he wants to escape from the tragic story that is being told by the employee. There are two visual characteristics in sample 3: the eye and eyebrow sadness (like in sample 1), and the drooping of facial skin that shows that the subject could not bear the weight of sorrow.
A very subtle triangle shape can be seen that is caused by the lifting of brows (A). A wrinkle that is created with frowning (B), and a crease that was caused by an action of the Corrugator Supercilii are shown (C). Except for these, there is no other specific movement in his face. However, an overall drooping of the entire facial structure cannot be missed. When sketching this sample, draw the droopy skin of the cheek and the narrowing corners of the mouth to depict this micro expression of sadness.
Sample 4: Sadness with multiple emotions
People show a complicated smile when they are placed in an awkward situation. In this subject’s face, we can see a mixture of the emotions of sadness and happiness. This expression is shown when a person is trying to hide their actual feelings, or trying to remember a bitter experience from the past. In this case, she must be trying to hide her deep sadness behind the veil of an awkward smile.
Sometimes it is hard to find out if the person is laughing or crying. It is because the lips are pulled to the side and the skin gets tighter in both emotions; but a clear difference is shown the angle of the corner of the lips, and how Orbicularis Oculi muscle acts.
Fake smile: A Moment Before the Sadness
The muscle that creates smiley lips is called the Zygomaticus Major. When someone smiles, it gets round and puffy (A). The lips appear to be in a smiley “V” shape, but the corners of her lips show a sudden descent of the angle (B). This proves that the Depressor Anguli Oris pulls the corner down to control the false smile (C). When sketching a stifled smile that contains sadness, use the line that is created by Depressor Anguli Oris to resist the risen of the corner of lips.
When a person is really smiling, the Orbicularis Oculi and Zygomaticus Major work together. The Orbicularis Oculi contracts and creates wrinkles around the eyes as the Zygomaticus Major causes the cheeks to rise. When a person is presenting a fake smile, the Orbicularis Oculi does not contract.
The Flattering smile is used to pacify an awkward situation.
In this case, a dimple has been created because one side of her mouth has strained and became higher than the other side (D). Usually, this means contempt. However, this is a flattering smile in an awkward situation because we can see a warped brow (E) and a several wrinkles in forehead (F) at the same time.