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Facebook Hires Pixar Artist to Re-Imagine Emoticons

Facebook has hired a Pixar artist to re-imagine emoticons, although it won't form an official partnership between the animation studio and the social network giant.

Matt Jones is working independently on the project and is very excited about it. Facebook has hired him to create a new set of emoticons that are more expressive, as well as cover a considerably wider range of emotions than the current ones.

He was chosen for the job because he's studying facial expressions for his work on an upcoming Pixar movie. The movie is being directed by Pete Docter (director of "Up" and "Monsters, Inc."), which takes place in the mind of a young girl. The film is referred to as "The Untitled Pixar Movie That Takes You Inside the Mind" and is scheduled for a June 2015 launch.

Dacher Keltner, co-director of University of California, Berkeley's Greater Good Science Program, was given the task by Facebook to find an artist for the job. After asking Pixar for assistance, Jones was given simple emotions to recreate by Keltner, and he was impressed. Subsequently, he gave Jones emotions from Charles Darwin's "The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animal," as seen below.

A select number of emotions were simple, while a few had lengthy descriptions. Either way, Jones found a way of creating simple but expressive representations of emotions, which applies to emotions that haven't been scientifically studied including gratitude, relief, awe and guilt.

Jones has seen himself adjusting to how he could create the emoticons due to the scale related to displaying them in a chat/message box. He originally wished to implement shoulders for shrugging gestures and noses, but the scale would be too small. Consequently, he found that he could portray what he required with combinations pertaining to the tilt of the head, angle and curve of the eyebrow, as well as the angle and curve of the mouth.


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