Facebook tags illustrator to overhaul expression symbols

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Facebook wants to help you express yourself more deeply.

The online social network is looking to overhaul the range of emoticons that users can add to their posts to convey different feelings. Symbols that show a smiley face for happiness or a frown for sadness are among the most common. Get ready for perhaps contemplation, determination and resignation.

Facebook has asked Matt Jones, Pixar story illustrator and former storyboard artist at the Wallace and Gromit studio, to design the new emoticons, reports BuzzFeed.

He’s qualified, of course, because of how Pixar studies people’s expressions and movements so as to make amazingly realistic animations. Jones is reportedly working independently with Facebook and not on behalf of Pixar.

Dacher Keltner, co-director of University of California-Berkeley's Greater Good Science Program, who also had started working with Facebook on enhancing its emoticons, learned about what Jones was doing and offered him Charles Darwin's The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, which looks at likenesses between human and animal facial movements.

And while not all the feelings Darwin outlined are scientifically supported and some are now antiquated, Jones said trying to draw what Darwin was thinking was a good challenge.

Keltner has been testing Jones' drawings with people in various countries and Jones is playing around with colors, although when he used "Facebook blue" he thought the emoticons appeared to have hypothermia.

And while Jones advocates using animation with the emoticons, a big challenge will be how to distill his drawings down to only a few pixels wide, BuzzFeed reports.

Can’t wait for Jones’ emoticons to show up in your Facebook news feed? PCWorld has you covered with a story on how to add symbols to your Facebook updates.

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