Firestone Toyland - How many Photoshopping days 'till Exmas?

The midwest is still neck-deep in a puddle of crotch sweat today, so let's get ready for Christmas everybody! There's only 157 shopping days left till Exmas, so get out your peppermint striped pencil with a little elf head in place of an eraser and make out your list. First stop, the Firestone dealer!!!
Actually, it's been 21,432 shopping days since this ad came out, so if you were really interested in all of these toys, you could have bought all of them several times over even if you flipped burgers for a living... not that anyone could endure the physical demands of a fast food job for 59 years.

I didn't know that Firestone ever made an effort at being a toy mecca, but here's our proof. Putting up a toy train display is, in my mind, the pinnacle of Christmas shopping commitment.

Santa looks like he's seen better days. He must have been up really late the night before the photo shoot. Even if the artist was on a tight deadline for the ad, he/she has made a few horrible mistakes that give us this stoney / hungover Santa. Click through the picture to see what I mean in the large version. This is not a matter of technology. It's just basic drawing, and it takes the same amount of time to get it right as to get it wrong. The problem starts and ends with Santa's eyes.
Here's a standard "neutral expression" eye. The iris (colored part of your eye) touches the bottom eyelid, but tuck under the top eyelid. The pupil (black dot) should just touch the edge of the upper eyelid, with a little space between itself and the lower eyelid.
Happy eyes can be tricky. It's really easy to screw these up, making your person look insane. For a happy eye, the top eyelid can move up a tiny bit or stay in the same place as normal. The real key is the bottom eyelid. People squint when they smile.. a REAL smile at least. Fake smiles use the mouth only and the eyes remain "dead". Welcome to Hollywood!

Push the upper eyelid up too high and you get criminal insanity. Shrink the pupil for that sympathetic nervous reaction "I'm going to stab your brain with this freeze dried earthworm I made" look. I've seen some scary pictures of celebrities looking this way on the red carpet. Blame their plastic surgeons.

Anyway, let's use our newfound understanding to sober up Santa Claus. On the left is "sweaty drinky uncle Santa". On the right is the same guy after some down and dirty Photoshopping. Top lid went up. Bottom lid went WAY up. eyebrow tilted from angry to jolly. I'd buy a train set from that guy any day.

All the wisdom and alchemy of facial expressions I learned from one Jon McClenahan in my former life at a place called StarToons. There's more than I related here, of course. Jon had a chart listing all the expressions of the eyes in combination with the expressions of the mouth, and the resulting attitudes they conveyed. My copy of that must be somewhere in the bottom of a drawer. Basically Jon taught us that the eyes show what your brain is thinking and your mouth shows what your belly is thinking. Various combinations of happy, sad, etc,  gave you a chart that could give you enough expression ideas to get you through a career in animation... if only there were enough people around who still wanted to pay you to make them.

Hey! There's the Melton movie viewer!
In this ad, it's being sold to kids, along with a Howdy Doody and a Hopalong Cassidy reel. As you may remember from a previous episode, we saw it being sold in the pages of Popular Mechanics to view material of a "tittier" nature. It's good to know that a family only needs one viewer. Just remember to take your reel out when you're done "using" it, dad.

Here's your Christmas present. It's the DFH of the engineer boy from the train section of today's ad. He'd be funny next to almost anything. He's been scanned at 1200 dpi, pen tooled out of the background, resized and flipped for your sanitation. Left and right. Big and small. You're welcome! Rude finger right click in three, two, one....


Michael Leddy said...

Hilarious and instructive, both. Can you do something about Santa’s cheek? I can’t help seeing it as a horrific blister.

(I found my way to your blog via Boing Boing.)

PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

Haha! yeah, the red rosy cheek is part of Santa's identity. How many burst capillaries does it take to make a holiday myth? All of them! The best I could do would be to just pop his cheek blister, and that's for Missus Claus to do.

Thanks for reading, Mike, and for letting us know how you found us. Cory Doctorow has linked to the site a few times and every time the hits go through the roof. Truly, he is a kingmaker!


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