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Na'vi, Avatars, Noses and You

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Today we're going to study avatar noses.

They are a particularly interesting subject as there is a lot of variance used within the movie, and yet, (in my opinion) the noses look very similar to their real life counterparts.  Before we get into that though we're going to look at the basic shape of the Na'vi nose.

First lets start with this image

To understand a na'vi nose, we must first understand the human nose. It is important to know the anatomy.  Starting from the bottom of the nose and moving up, we have the Septum,  the nostrils, the tip, the run and the flats, the bridge and the brow.

-The septum connects the tip of the nose to the upper lip, and separates the nasal opening in two.
-The nostrils are ... well i'd be suprised if you didn't know what they are. They connect the sides of the nose to the tip.
-The tip of the nose is exactly that
-The flats of the nose are the areas of that are basically the tubing that leads to the nasal cavity. They connect the tip and nostrils to the brow, bridge, and cheek.
-The run of the nose is actually several sections, the tip and the bridge together.
-The bridge is where the nose shifts from cartilage to bone. It can be extremely visible (particularly in people who have had their noses broken) or it can be hardly noticible. It connects the tip and the flat to the brow.  
-The brow is the bone structure that basically connects the temples. It runs from the end of one eyebrow to the other.  Basically when bridge meets the skull, the brow is formed.  

Furthermore, The nose can be broken down into basic planes:
Anterior, Inferior, Flange Left, Flange Right, Superior Left, Superior Right.

Right, now that we know the human nose, lets compare it to Avatar/Na'vi noses.

Right off the bat it is clearly different.  While the nostrils on the human nose are the widest part, the na'vi nose's widest part is the outer part of the bridge. The flats are no longer flat, but are instead rounded, the septum comes halfway down the original upper lip, and the nostrils themselves do not curve around inwards to the sides of teh septum. Instead, they curve upward.  The result is that the nostrils are not clearly defined, and circular, but are instead more crescent shaped, with no real continuous edge.  The brow is less prominent, the tip is much much sharper, and the run of the nose is much thinner.

Additionally we can see a ridge of sorts that outlines the nostrils, which is really a very, very thin Anterior plane,

though for the na'vi we'll need to do a minor reclassification of plane terms.  the 'Anterior' plane is split in two, and becomes Anterior Left, and Anterior Right.

Alright. Lets look at how the Na'vi nose breaks down, anatomically:

The Na'vi nose is clearly a cat  nose, and as such, cat anatomy needs to be considered, which means the skeletal structure.

 Unlike cats, however, I don't think that the bone runs right to the end - the deformation of the nose as seen in various points in the movie indicates that it is flexible and thus mostly cartilage, like ours. However, I do think that the bridge runs about 50% of the way down the nose, unlike our human 30%

It may be important to also consider the difference between a Na'vi and an Avatar nose, but only really for the female gender. Female Na'vi Have the same smooth, wide Y shape . However the only female Avatar we really get to see is Grace, and her nose is far more human than na'vi.  Clearly this was done to get Sigourney weaver's characatiure across. Though I also think that in order to maintain human femininity the bridge and brow, and general shape of the female avatar nose was redone. the wide brow/bridge works fine with Na'vi females, because in order to make up for the larger nose, the eyes are HUGE, 1.5x the size of a human's. The resulting effect makes the nose appear smaller, and thus, more attractive. With female avatar's though, the eyes are still pretty large, seen here:

though I just had a thought - The key with rendering an avatarization of oneself is to maintain key features throughout the rezising and transformation steps. With males, this tends to be easier because the features are more cut and angular, wheras female faces tend to be smoother, and less obvious ... subtle.  The Nose for females may be a stronger indicator of likeness overall by comparison to females than males.

So for now, If you're female and reading this, or doing a female conversion, you could try using this sorta guideline, but you might experiment with making the nostril width smaller.


The biggest mistake I see that people have when it comes to the nose is that the edges become too sharp. The nose flats become too flat, the anterior plane becomes WAY too flat, and the result is a nose that resembles a cowbell.  Its hard to divine the underlying structure, particularly when there is either warpaint, or facial stripes that screw around with your perception of form.  lets have a look at some more ref:

In these three we can sort of divine how the nose folds into the face, and basic, exaggerated contour.

Knowing this, there are several ways to go about rendering an avatar nose, which will be explained next.

Thus ends part 1. I'm still working on this and hopefully part 2 will be finished tonight. For now, though I need to make dinner.

SQUEEEEEEEE! Thanks a million.

Holy hammerhead.


You mean Skxawng knows stuff?

Tengfya swizaw:
Skxawng? You're awesome.



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