3D modeling technology, like that used below, shows great promise in researching bodily attractiveness. Current technology allows actual bodies to be scanned and represented in 3D format. Here are two examples from published studies.
Alternatively, purely digital creations can be used.
The shapes of the bodies can be retained and variously presented: as either static images or rotating 3D movies. Features unrelated to body shape/size/proportion can be easily removed (like clothing, skin tone, complexion, facial features, etc.). Further, subtle, undetectable digital alterations in relevant features (such as shape/size/proportion) are easily implemented on the 3D images – which should enable researchers to explore more fine-grained aspects of bodily attractiveness. Depending on the research question, this technology offers several advantages over line drawings and photographs and I encourage beauty researchers to consider the use of this technology.
Mesh Skinned 3D model:
Fan, J., Dai, W., Qian, X., Chau, K.P., Liu, Q. (2007). Effects of shape parameters on the attractiveness of a female body. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 105(5), pp. 117-132.
Gray Skinned 3D model:
Brown, W.M., Price, M.E., Kang, J., Pound, N., Zhao, Y., Yu, H. (2008). Fluctuating asymmetry and preferences for sex-typical bodily characteristics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(35), pp. 12938-12943. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0710420105
Sydney 3D Model:
Available at: http://my.smithmicro.com/dr/poser.html