Various enterprises and personal interests, such as Man-Machine Interaction (MMI), gesture studies, signs, language, social robotics, healthcare, innovation, music, publications, etc.

Category: Cartoons & Animations

A Human-Elbonian Handshake

Coincidentally, the daily Dilbert comic also features a somewhat alien handshake, as was the case with Robonaut’s handshake.

A Handshake or a Mitten Kiss?

Wally nicely takes advantage of the gullibility of his Pointy Hared Boss, who, like so many induhviduals, apparently believes in what one might call ‘Inter-Cultural Gesture Determinism’. It is one of the The Biggest Misunderstanding About Gestures that you should be wary of using gestures when talking to strangers. I believe that, generally speaking, when you meet people who speak another language or come from another culture, gestures are your best friend in communication.

Latest Garfield Gestures


Are there ever enough posts about Garfield’s gestures?

Whoever thinks gestures are not like words should be forced to read through half a year of Garfield comics 🙂

Even more Garfield Gesture

Browsing through Garfield comics always make me smile, partly because of the nice gestures Jim Davis draws to convey Garfield’s communication.

  • Cheer with two arms in the air
  • Two hands wringing together in joyous glee
  • Garfield and Odie point Jon to his proper place in the universe; Jon makes a ‘Bah’ gesture
  • Jon reinforces a self-reference with a thumb point
  • Odie whistles innocently
  • Silent triadic communication between Garfield, A Nightmarish Remote Control, and his friend the Garage Door Opener

And here is an old but nice story about a woman sueing a fast food restaurant that gave her kid a Garfield toy that appears to be giving the finger.

Toy Garfield giving the finger

Toy Garfield giving the finger

Funnily, a spokesperson for the restaurant defends as follows:

“It is Garfield’s paw, people should not read anymore into it. Garfield is a cartoon cat that doesn’t have fingers but paws.”

Well, I beg to differ…

Earlier lists: here, here, and here. Or just search for Garfield in the search box.

Some more Garfield gestures

A pleasurable pastime it is. Browsing through Garfield comics and smiling at the nice gestures Jim Davis draws to convey Garfield’s communication. I created a couple of lists ealier (here and here), and here is another list:

Polite palm out point & reproach with arms on hip
Here’s me! arms wide & reproach with arms on hip
Thumb pointing backward
Challenging grin
Jon’s angry glance and Garfield’s defensive point

Nadia Magnenat-Thalmann at the FG2008

One of the more interesting lectures at the FG2008 conference was a keynote speech delivered by Nadia Magnenat-Thalmann, director of the MIRALab in Geneva. She talked about Communicating with a Virtual Human or a Robot that has Emotions, Memory and Personality. She went far beyond the simplistic notion of expressing ‘the six basic emotions’ and talked about how mood, personality and relationships may affect our facial expressions.

Example of MIRALab's facial expression techniques
The talk by Magnenat-Thalmann focused on facial expression. (source)

By coincidence I got an invitation to write a paper for another conference, organized by Anton Nijholt and Nadia Magnenat-Thalmann (and others), called the Conference on Computer Animation and Social Agents (CASA 2009). It is organized by people from the University of Twente but held in Amsterdam. Call for papers: deadline February 2009.

Nadia also mentioned a researcher at Utrecht University called Arjan Egges. He got his PhD at the MIRALab and is now working on “the integration of motion capture animation with navigation and object manipulation”.

Nijntje Signs

Nijntje DVD in Nederlandse Gebarentaal (NGT)

There is a new DVD for kids created and sold bij Nederlands Gebarencentrum with translations or enactments of ten Nijntje stories in NGT.
It is the first of it’s kind in NGT, but similar to this ASL video of Click-clack Moo. In both cases the images of the children’s books animate the story. But in the Nijntje example the ‘storyteller’ dressed up like the Nijntje character. Funny though that may be it seems a bit beside the point. The voice-over in spoken Nijntje DVD’s does not represent the voice of Nijntje but is a storyteller. But here I go again with the sour comments. Stop it! It’s fun and good.

ps. It reminded me of Woof woof way, an ASL DVD where the storyteller dressed up as Paws, the dawg.

Look at me, I am thinking

Here is a nice Garfield comic (always a good source for gestures, see here and here). It illustrates how a bit of fidgeting (thoughtful lip-touching) can be turned into a pose. Suddenly Jon displays a gesture of thoughtfulness instead of actually being lost in thought.


Garfield gestures

I browsed through half a year of daily Garfield comics (20 April 2006 – 20 Sep 2005) to mark the gestures they feature. It was a fun and interesting exercise. I know of no comic where the gestures are so true to life.


Index-finger-up Making a Point 2 3 4 Getting the point Got-it Claiming-for-oneself Announcement 2 3 4 5 6 Attend-my-request 2 3 Hang-on Pull-my-finger? Mark-my-words
‘Real’ Pointing Index-point 2 3 4 Thumb-point-self 2 3 4 Accuse-point Center-attention 2 3 Point-at-body-location-self-stand-in 2 Point-at-body-location
Palm-presenting Triad-presenting-vertical-palm 2 3 Triad-presenting-palm-up/vertical 2 3
Triad-presenting-concept-2hands-out/spread-wide 2 3 Repeat-apology-1h-horizontal Triad-presenting-self-2hands-spread Presenting-grandiose-thought Center-Attention-2H-downwards
Palm-down 2hands-keep-it-down Affectionate-granting-dismissal-wave 2 Dismissal-next-subject-1h Small-horizontal-1h-you-wait
Palm-out Ooh-Admire-2h-out Welcome-cheer-2h-spread Pick-me-up Happy-surprise-palms-up Look-no-hands Get-ready-for-this-2hands-palms-out Scream-1h-palm-up Implore-Heaven-2h 2
Greeting Salute-1h-palm-out-show Wave-bye-1h-finger-wiggle
Give-me Gimme-2hands-reach Give-me-1hand-request Reach-tentative-pinky
Smile-Grin Big-Grin 2 Grin-smug 2 3 4 Grin-subtle-joke Schadenfreude-grin Tease-Grin
Cheer Big-Cheer-2Fists-Victory 2 Cheer-mime-honk-1fist Subdued-cheer-elbows-out Cheer-on-1fist-high 1fist-air-yeah
Other Puzzled/baffled-lip-touch 2 3 4 5 6 Thinking-lip-touch 2 3 4 5 Lip-pout 2
Threaten-to-claw 2 Looking-cool Pat-pat Pat-belly Clench-fists Eyes-rolling Table-Drum Elbows-out-dominance 2 Fist-forward-action-now Angry-shout Disappear Exasperation-face Amplify-hearing-it 2 Lock-hands-contemplate 2 Yawn 2 Frame-Picture Glare Mime-inhaling-1nostril Depressed-face Thumb-up-Good 2 Disgusted-face Shock-face Amplify-speech-1h-by-mouth 2 3 4 Flex-biceps-strong Brush-hair-smug Frantic-waving Yes!-Fist-Driving Cover-Eyes-Shame 2 Making-me-sick-finger-throat Pose-confident-yo!-snap-finger

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