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 Anthropomorphism in Animal Figures

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barracudacat



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PostSubject: Anthropomorphism in Animal Figures   Mon Sep 05, 2016 2:20 pm

This is something I've wanted to talk about for a while because I've been noticing that many companies are opting to make more anthropomorphic animals (meaning animals with humanlike features) rather than the more traditional neutral designs.  What are your thoughts about it?  Do you prefer your animals more neutral and naturalistic, or do you like for them to have some character?

My personal opinion is that I generally prefer the neutral animals but I sometimes like anthropomorphism if it is done well.  If it's done wrong however, it can kill the look of a figure.

An example of this is some of Schleich's newest dogs.  I thought their Labrador was a huge improvement over their last two attempts, until I noticed she actually resembles a herding dog more than a retriever.  Herding dogs are known for their focused eyes and assertive personalities, both things this retriever seems to poses.  I've also noticed their recent herding dogs resemble huskies or toy breeds, often have snouts that are way too short or rounded, and seem more proud than focused.  Of course, some people may really see them this way and anthropomorphism could be subjective based on life experiences or tastes but to me, they look off.

Here is an example of what I think is anthropomorphism done correctly.  This Doberman is not in any way vicious or aggressive, but curious, quirky, and funny like how I see the real thing as.  So what do you think about this subject?

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PostSubject: Re: Anthropomorphism in Animal Figures   Mon Sep 05, 2016 3:24 pm

I have never looked that way in an model.
When i think about it is  a bit far  fetched for me,
maybe  because i really project my antop. ways on real animals.
Like; aw the dog is sad (because he  looks that  way)
Ore look how happy that horse is eating (just because its is eating)
Intresting. .. i  will look in your  way someday and see with your '' glasses''

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PostSubject: Re: Anthropomorphism in Animal Figures   Mon Sep 05, 2016 4:21 pm

Hmmm. I am not sure I understand you correctly, but one thing about dogs is their great mimics.
For instance the doberman there. I am sure a doberman can look like that when he is relaxed and looking at something interesting.

But Schleich , for instance, is famous/infamous for cuteness in their models : big heads, short limbs etc.
Esp their later apes can surely be accused of anthropomorphism...or is anthropomorphism not the same as cuteness ? scratch

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Bloodrayne



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PostSubject: Re: Anthropomorphism in Animal Figures   Mon Sep 05, 2016 4:34 pm

To me "Anthropomorphism" means ascribing human form or attributes to a being that is not human.

In your example I see a Dobermann dog looking at its chewtoy.
That is animal behaviour to me. So I don't see any anthropomorphism in that.

If however this dog was scratching its forehead with its frontpaw, indicating deep thinking in wonder what to do with this toy, then yes. That would be anthropomorphic to me.

So, I'm confused where to go from here, because
I don't think your example of what you think is anthropomorphism is anthropomorphism at all.
Now what?
We agree to disagree?
We fight?
We never talk to each other again?
Or do we have a beer together sometime and laugh about how you started a discussion on STS once?
Basketball

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Roger
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PostSubject: Re: Anthropomorphism in Animal Figures   Mon Sep 05, 2016 5:32 pm

Honestly, that's a subject that I bring often to random topics in my comments and that I find very interesting. Actually, it is just talking about design decisions that are often premeditated and not lack of talent from the sculptor. Antropomorphism is very common in toy animal figures but I think better examples when animals assume poses or features more according with humans. A panda that bears his baby as a human Mother instead of in the most natural pose to the species behaviour, some animals that have clearly human eys or expressions like smiles or so. Or still the recent Schleich horses that look like little girls, etc. Human features are so strong over toy design that it is also common that it works into the subsconscious of the sculptor. For example, it is rare that an animal with 5 toes is wrongly sculpted with 4 toes but it is quite common that an animal with 4 toes is sculpted with 5 toes instead.
Though, your example with the Doberman seems to be another close related tendency, I think you mean that the Doberman is not stereotyped, I mean, that it is not made according with the most common perception that we humans have of that creature. Prehistoric figures are often abusive in this regard, while herbivores are poor desesperated creatures, carnivores are often represented as evil monsters, showing their big teeth. Laughing
A mixed example of antropomorphism and stereotyped is when chimps are made as little clowns. clown They are not clowns, human are clowns and used these animals like that to the point that the common sense is that chimps are naturally clowns. So, as you see, these two aspects of toy design are closely related. Maybe we can discuss about both ways and give here some examples, I am sure we can turn this topic even more interesting. Idea Very Happy

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barracudacat



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PostSubject: Re: Anthropomorphism in Animal Figures   Mon Sep 05, 2016 8:44 pm

These are some excellent answers!  I find it very interesting that almost everyone sees something different when they look at the model.  Some say he's just looking at a bone or looks sad.  It must mean that this topic is far more involved than I initially gave it credit for and personal opinions do have a lot to do with it.  What's even better is that no one is right or wrong because it seems to be the truth for each individual viewer.  

Quote :
If however this dog was scratching its forehead with its frontpaw, indicating deep thinking in wonder what to do with this toy, then yes. That would be anthropomorphic to me.

So, I'm confused where to go from here, because
I don't think your example of what you think is anthropomorphism is anthropomorphism at all.

Interesting question.  What I'm referring to is simply inserting humanlike characteristics or emotions into figurines rather than full-fledged human/animal hybrids like your awesome icon.  The most obvious examples are what Roger said about Schleich making their horses resemble girls, but it can be subtle as well like Scheich's newest Hanoverian gelding pushing his chest out like a prize fighter.  Perhaps anthropomorphism itself differs based on who the viewer is.  

Quote :
Though, your example with the Doberman seems to be another close related tendency, I think you mean that the Doberman is not stereotyped, I mean, that it is not made according with the most common perception that we humans have of that creature. Prehistoric figures are often abusive in this regard, while herbivores are poor desesperated creatures, carnivores are often represented as evil monsters, showing their big teeth. Laughing
A mixed example of antropomorphism and stereotyped is when chimps are made as little clowns. clown They are not clowns, human are clowns and used these animals like that to the point that the common sense is that chimps are naturally clowns. So, as you see, these two aspects of toy design are closely related. Maybe we can discuss about both ways

You're right that some species of dinosaurs as well as chimps do have it worse as far as stereotypes.  As an example, you could realistically cast Spinosaurus and its relatives as peaceful fish eaters (or even T-Rex can be peaceful if you don't humanize his prey), or the herbivores as dangerous fighters, but you never see this.  I know chimps can have all sorts of attitudes, but you rarely see this depicted in media as well.  It is a different topic since breaking stereotypes involves giving them different humanlike emotion than normal, but it very much interests me as well.

Quote :
Esp their later apes can surely be accused of anthropomorphism...or is anthropomorphism not the same as cuteness ?

Personally, if you think it their cuteness differs enough from the real animal, then it probably is anthropomorphism. Then again, this seems to be very subjective. Perhaps I can define anthropomorphism in figures as something you personally notice that looks human that can either detract from, or enhance the enjoyment of a figure.
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Bloodrayne



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PostSubject: Re: Anthropomorphism in Animal Figures   Tue Sep 06, 2016 4:32 pm

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These are some excellent answers!  I find it very interesting that almost everyone sees something different when they look at the model.  Some say he's just looking at a bone or looks sad.  It must mean that this topic is far more involved than I initially gave it credit for and personal opinions do have a lot to do with it.  What's even better is that no one is right or wrong because it seems to be the truth for each individual viewer.  

Quote :
If however this dog was scratching its forehead with its frontpaw, indicating deep thinking in wonder what to do with this toy, then yes. That would be anthropomorphic to me.

So, I'm confused where to go from here, because
I don't think your example of what you think is anthropomorphism is anthropomorphism at all.

Interesting question.  What I'm referring to is simply inserting humanlike characteristics or emotions into figurines rather than full-fledged human/animal hybrids like your awesome icon.  The most obvious examples are what Roger said about Schleich making their horses resemble girls, but it can be subtle as well like Scheich's newest Hanoverian gelding pushing his chest out like a prize fighter.  Perhaps anthropomorphism itself differs based on who the viewer is.  


My icon indeed displays a form of Anthropomorphism.
Thank you for noticing.  sunny

I don't disagree with your topic, but I would like to disagree with your use of the word Anthropomorphism.
For example:
Inserting humanlike characteristics or emotions into figurines is what humans do to pets as well.
They threat their dogs or cats like a human beings.
And interpret any animal behaviour as a human response.
But that is not anthorpomorphism. That is ignorance.
It is a human flaw.
In fact, it hurts the animal when threated that way.

Anthropomorphism is a display of human threats, like smoking a cigar, or wearing a towel after showering like Donald Duck.
Not because a dog looks happy or sad, or because it looks curious or angry.
That is indeed based on who the viewer is, because animals don't have those kind of feelings.
That's what makes them so awesome.  cheers

In my opinion, animals only have two "emotions".
Leaders or Followers.
Any "emotions" (we think we can see as human beings) like facial expressions, or body language, are for making sure the other animal they encounter knows which path they have chosen.

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PostSubject: Re: Anthropomorphism in Animal Figures   Wed Sep 07, 2016 1:45 am

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..........
Not because a dog looks happy or sad, or because it looks curious or angry.
That is indeed based on who the viewer is, because animals don't have those kind of feelings.
That's what makes them so awesome.  cheers

In my opinion, animals only have two "emotions".
Leaders or Followers.
Any "emotions" (we think we can see as human beings) like facial expressions, or body language, are for making sure the other animal they encounter knows which path they have chosen.

I so 100 % totally and completely do not agree with you there !!! Shocked

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PostSubject: Re: Anthropomorphism in Animal Figures   Wed Sep 07, 2016 5:49 am

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[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
..........
Not because a dog looks happy or sad, or because it looks curious or angry.
That is indeed based on who the viewer is, because animals don't have those kind of feelings.
That's what makes them so awesome. cheers

In my opinion, animals only have two "emotions".
Leaders or Followers.
Any "emotions" (we think we can see as human beings) like facial expressions, or body language, are for making sure the other animal they encounter knows which path they have chosen.

I so 100 % totally and completely do not agree with you there !!! Shocked

I'm also almost 100% sure that animals have emotions, and can be happy, sad, curious, angry, even jealous or bored. At least that would be for mammals and birds but I wouldn't be surprised if others also.
There is a quite long article about the subject on Wikipedia : [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] . It seems a lot of research had been done, and apparently many scientists agree that animals do have emotions but some criticism of that idea also exists study It's not something that can be easily proven, but there is some evidence and I think many owners of animals believe they can see that.

As for anthropomorphism in animal models, I understand this as giving shape, movement or gesture typical for a human to an animal model. So the perfect example would be Papo Animal Warriors line.
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I don't see anthropomorphism in this Doberman model, he has typical shape and behavior for dogs, I think Smile

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Bloodrayne



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PostSubject: Re: Anthropomorphism in Animal Figures   Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:51 am

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[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
..........
Not because a dog looks happy or sad, or because it looks curious or angry.
That is indeed based on who the viewer is, because animals don't have those kind of feelings.
That's what makes them so awesome.  cheers

In my opinion, animals only have two "emotions".
Leaders or Followers.
Any "emotions" (we think we can see as human beings) like facial expressions, or body language, are for making sure the other animal they encounter knows which path they have chosen.

I so 100 % totally and completely do not agree with you there !!! Shocked

Yeah, after reading back my own post 24 hours later,
even I don't agree with some of things I said.
No more Chardonnay for me when typing serious things on STS. lol!

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PostSubject: Re: Anthropomorphism in Animal Figures   Wed Sep 07, 2016 12:48 pm

Hiccup ! drunken cheers lol!


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barracudacat



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PostSubject: Re: Anthropomorphism in Animal Figures   Wed Sep 07, 2016 3:21 pm

Quote :
As for anthropomorphism in animal models, I understand this as giving shape, movement or gesture typical for a human to an animal model. So the perfect example would be Papo Animal Warriors line.

Very cool figure!  I actually consider fully anthropomorphic figures like this one as well as cartoony or heavily stylized figures (like My Little Pony) good designs in their own right.  I have a few of the Ugglys dog figures and they are extremely cartoony and fun to collect (although I can't seem to find them anymore).

What I'm talking about here is when the human exaggeration sneaks its way into figures that are supposed to represent the real thing.  I know when Schleich, Bullyland, or some of the other companies do it, they're trying to make their figures look cute or more human, but if your idea of the animal differs from the one they made, it can be really off-putting or remind you of something it was never intended to be. Perhaps uncanny valley is a better name for it.

Quote :
I don't see anthropomorphism in this Doberman model, he has typical shape and behavior for dogs, I think

I still see him as exaggerated in a goofy manner, but that's okay if you don't.  People seem to view these things very differently and that's okay.
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PostSubject: Re: Anthropomorphism in Animal Figures   Wed Sep 07, 2016 3:43 pm

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......if your idea of the animal differs from the one they made, it can be really off-putting or remind you of something it was never intended to be. Perhaps uncanny valley is a better name for it.
.....

Laughing Laughing I know what you mean What a Face

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PostSubject: Re: Anthropomorphism in Animal Figures   Thu Sep 08, 2016 2:58 am

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Quote :
As for anthropomorphism in animal models, I understand this as giving shape, movement or gesture typical for a human to an animal model. So the perfect example would be Papo Animal Warriors line.

Very cool figure!  I actually consider fully anthropomorphic figures like this one as well as cartoony or heavily stylized figures (like My Little Pony) good designs in their own right.  I have a few of the Ugglys dog figures and they are extremely cartoony and fun to collect (although I can't seem to find them anymore).

Yes, I think they are fun Smile I don't really collect them but I think they are very nicely designed too Very Happy

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
What I'm talking about here is when the human exaggeration sneaks its way into figures that are supposed to represent the real thing.  I know when Schleich, Bullyland, or some of the other companies do it, they're trying to make their figures look cute or more human, but if your idea of the animal differs from the one they made, it can be really off-putting or remind you of something it was never intended to be. Perhaps uncanny valley is a better name for it.

Quote :
I don't see anthropomorphism in this Doberman model, he has typical shape and behavior for dogs, I think

I still see him as exaggerated in a goofy manner, but that's okay if you don't.  People seem to view these things very differently and that's okay.

I think I know what you mean. I think we probably understand the term "anthropomorphism" a bit different. I see anthropomorphism in figures mainly in these quite obvious cases (as the animal warrior from Papo for example or in Peter Rabbit book Laughing ) . Other stylisation I would just classify as a personal style of an artist (or company) or cartoony style etc.
Yes, I see stylisation and some exaggeration in this Doberman model, I surely agree about that Smile

It can be indeed quite annoying in some cases when models are too cute for example, but we expect realism. Sometimes an almost perfect model is smiling and this little smile somehow destroys all realism because we know that certain species cannot do that in reality.  

To some degree almost all models have a certain level of exaggeration, as it would be difficult for an artist to make perfectly naturalistic model of an animal. Some character, even if it's only a choice of a pose will always sneak in the work. And I personally consider it a good thing, it makes collecting more interesting.  
If you scan a living animal and 3D print it, it would have a perfect shape of a real thing and no stylisation or exaggeration at all. But I'm not sure if this is always what I expect from animal models? scratch  study

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PostSubject: Re: Anthropomorphism in Animal Figures   Thu Sep 08, 2016 4:52 pm

Humans are also animals. ^^

The only anthropomorphism figures are the papo mutants. (and some greek mythology from other brands) I like them and want more for 2017.

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PostSubject: Re: Anthropomorphism in Animal Figures   Thu Sep 08, 2016 5:32 pm

Not exactly only Papo mutants, Barracuda introduction is a little ambiguous but it was already clearly explained. Barracuda is clearly talking about antropomorphism in my opinion and it doesn't need to be obvious to be considered antropomorphism. I find it very interesting in the subtle things that sculptors use to turn their animal sculptures more attractive, charming or merchantable. Sometimes, a little smile in an animal that in real never looks like smiling is enough. We have several examples of that.
There are several levels of antropomorphism, for example, everyone knows Goofy and Pluto from Disney. Both are dogs, both are antropomorphic, although Goofy is much more than Pluto. An extreme example of an antropomorphic figure is the fox from Zootopia, made by Bullyland but I believe Barracuda is much more interested in these subtle ones.

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PostSubject: Re: Anthropomorphism in Animal Figures   Fri Sep 09, 2016 2:39 am

I do think it is a very interesting topic, really. It also shows that sometimes the same term can be understood differently by different people. I think Barracudacat and Roger, for example, understand the term wider than me. After considering it that way it opens my eyes for some new aspects Smile

I will have a new play today trying to find some subtle signs of anthropomorphism in models of my collection. If I find some funny examples I will post here. Very Happy  

Another aspect of this story is when people anthropomorphize their pets, especially the needs of their pets. A silly example but not uncommon is like: "my horse has 10 blankets in all colors, he must be so happy about that!". While the horse really doesn't care about fashion or does he? Wink

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PostSubject: Re: Anthropomorphism in Animal Figures   Fri Sep 09, 2016 5:03 am

I suddenly thought of these bears. A wonderful set, if just they not been smiling Suspect Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: Anthropomorphism in Animal Figures   Mon Sep 12, 2016 10:11 am

Very nice animals!  The bears are really cute and do look like they're smiling.  I think Roger seems to know what I'm talking about.  We do anthropomorphize or stylize all figures and real animals to a degree, but the results can either be appealing like the creatures from Zootopia, the bears, or the gorgeous Maia & Borges dogs (which I would love to own), or they can be a little bit unsettling.

I have a better example of what I mean and it comes from the Ugglys series of animals.  Most of them, despite being cartoons, are very nice examples of their breeds and species and are easy to identify.  However, this dog here is not supposed to be a chow chow or Pomeranian, but a border collie (or Bored Collie as he is called).  I know somebody made him this way because they believe this is how border collies are humanized but in my opinion, he doesn't look anything like one.  He does make a decent Pomeranian, though.

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PostSubject: Re: Anthropomorphism in Animal Figures   Mon Sep 12, 2016 11:00 am

The only animals figurines I consider to be"anthtomorphized" in the animal figure range are the Papo Mutants. I think of Zootopia, and like Lion King for Anthromorphism.

I don't think a figure having an expression really makes it anthromorphized... The doberman in the first post just looks inquisitive or curious. I don't consider that to be anthropomorphism. Dogs are perfectly capable of showing interest in objects like a toy.

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PostSubject: Re: Anthropomorphism in Animal Figures   Thu Sep 15, 2016 11:39 am

Lovely smiling bears Susanne! Indeed they don't look serious with those smiles but are very charming. Very Happy I think especially the Malayan Sun Bear would look quite much better without the smile. The other ones look more natural. The spectacled bear made me smile, he is so relaxed, did he drink some beer? Laughing

Very funny dog Barracudacat! I wouldn't recognise a Border Collie in it. Laughing I agree it looks a bit more like Pomeranian. It has a funny face expression!

I have found some examples from my collection. I think they are somewhat anthropomorphized. But maybe it's just in my head?

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The Bandai Blue Footed Boobies, they look like they want to say something Laughing

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This old lion, he looks tired. And those sad eyes, I think it's not a face expression typical for lions Smile

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Proud looking baby hippo. Not sure if hippos can move like that one, to me he looks like he is dancing  Basketball

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OK, hard to say about anthropomorphism when it comes to great apes, but this one has very visible whites in his eyes (only some gorillas and humans have them as far as I know?) and the gesture of his hand is maybe not very typical for apes?  monkey

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The Papo hyena is maybe just cartoony?

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PostSubject: Re: Anthropomorphism in Animal Figures   Thu Sep 15, 2016 12:54 pm

Wonderful expressions there cheers

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PostSubject: Re: Anthropomorphism in Animal Figures   Fri Sep 16, 2016 3:43 am

Thank you, Susanne! Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Anthropomorphism in Animal Figures   Sat Sep 17, 2016 1:04 am

Very cute animals! I actually like that hyena, even if he does look a little funny. The orangutan definitely has some sort of humanlike vibe. He's still appealing, like the hyena and the others, but that is a perfect example of what I mean by anthropomorphism.
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PostSubject: Re: Anthropomorphism in Animal Figures   Today at 8:33 pm

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