Pixar story artist Matt Jones is working on a broader range of emoticons for Facebook, so we can express more subtle and complex emotions online using the simple images.
BuzzFeed reports that Jones was set this task by UC Berkeley psychologist Dacher Keltner, after he heard about Pixar’s research into facial expressions for their new film by Pete Docter. Keltner had just started work with Facebook to improve their emoticons and approached Pixar, which is how he met Jones.
Keltner gave Jones some universal emotions to represent as emoticons and was impressed by the results so he then handed him Charles Darwin’s The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. Jones has also been experimenting with color, 3D, and animation. He told BuzzFeed:
Facebook was canny enough to realize that traditional emoticons are quite bland. At Pixar we consider emotional states every day with every drawing we make. Our work is informed by the years of study we do, constantly studying people’s gestures and expressions in real life.