By: admin                Categories: AnimationBooksGeneralInspirationSIGGRAPH

As the SIGGRAPH 2011 countdown clock gets closer and closer to zero (39 Days to go), we are gearing up for our busy conference season with Focal Animation attendance at Comic-Con and SIGGRAPH. We are excited to meet friends of Focal, our authors and all the attendees at these shows; stay tuned to the blog for details on the shows or follow us on Twitter for real-time insights from these shows.  

Conference excitement has grown even more palpable at Focal HQ with the announcement of the Computer Animation Festival winners and runner-up films for SIGGRAPH 2011. As a multi-year SIGGRAPH attendee, I’m always struck by the creative energy and focus found in these dynamic, gorgeous and innovative films, developed by leading professional and student talent.  

 Capturing our attention as well as the “Best in Show” award is William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg’s short, ” The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.”  Self-described as old fashioned and cutting edge at the same time, the short is inspired, in equal measures, by Hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton, The Wizard of Oz, and a love for books.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore Trailer from Moonbot Studios on Vimeo.

We know we were won over when the story line was described as a “story of people who devote their lives to books and books who return the favor.” As publishing professionals, we are book lovers at heart and have devoted our careers to developing great content. I now fancy myself to be like the woman at 0:15 with the book cluster, flying off into the sky. I did mention the whimsy of the trailer, right? The trailer alone captures a whimsical love of story and craft with an impressive mastery of animation techniques, including the use of minatures as well the seamless integration of 2D and computer animation. 

In addition to the trailer, Moonbot Studios has also release three short “Making Of” featurettes, discussing the story development, animation styles and minature use in the short. This will be a nine-part series of behind-the-scenes segments. Each are a fascinating addition to the trailer itself.

The Making Of Morris: Part 1 (The Power of Story) from Moonbot Studios on Vimeo.

The Making Of Morris: Part 2 (Animation We Cherish) from Moonbot Studios on Vimeo.

The Making Of Morris: Part 3 (Thousands Of Books) from Moonbot Studios on Vimeo.

Come August, you’ll find a happy editor at the Electronic Theatre at SIGGRAPH watching this short and the others that were nominated and awarded this year. What are you most looking forward to for SIGGRAPH 2011?  

 Posted by Katy, Associate Acquisitions Editor, Animation and 3D.  Interested in writing for Focal Press, reviewing a proposal or just chatting about all things animation?  Visit Katy’s Linked-In page.

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By: Cedric                Categories: AnimationGeneralInspiration

Hello, I’m excited to introduce myself as the the latest addition to Focal Press – Marketing Manager for Animation, Gaming, and Web Development.  As the newest member of Team Focal, I want to dedicate this post to all of the new guys and gals working hard to prove themselves.

Today’s Animation Inspiration comes from Joaquin Baldwin, a relatively new talent in the industry.  Last week, Baldwin celebrated the three year anniversary of his short film Sebastion’s Voodoo which has garnered over 100 awards and honors as well as appeared in a plethora of film festivals around the globe.  The short was completed as Baldwin’s second year project at UCLA – he has since graduated in 2010.  Personally, I can’t wait to see how his career progresses.

Sebastion’s Voodoo impressed me with its ability to create a painfully suspenseful world with characters that evoked emotion in less than five minutes sans dialogue.  This feat was accomplished with Baldwin’s beautiful animation, masterful storytelling, and a moody soundtrack provided by Nick Fevola.  I hope you enjoy this story of a brave voodoo doll’s selfless act of heroism.

Sebastian’s Voodoo from Joaquin Baldwin on Vimeo.


Posted by Cedric, Marketing Manager, Animation, Gaming, and Web.

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By: admin                Categories: AnimationGeneralInspiration

by Mike Mattesi

The eternal chicken-and-the-egg question of which comes first, form or shape?


Mike Mattesi is the director of the Entertainment Art Academy based in Southern California. He has been a professional production artist and instructor for almost 20 years with clients including Disney, Marvel Comics, Hasbro Toys, ABC, Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Dreamworks, and Nickelodeon. He is the author of Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators and Force: Character Design from Life Drawing.

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By: admin                Categories: AnimationGeneralInspiration

In honor of the incredible animations coming out of Annecy 2011, we wanted to showcase several trailers from films debuting at Annecy.  All four of these films were designed and created by students at Gobelins L’Ecole de L’Image or Goblins School of the Image. Gobelins is a Parisian school, dedicated to the visual arts, known worldwide for it’s stellar animation program.

While these trailers are only minute long, teaser snippets of the full animated short, they are hard to ignore for their diversity of technique, the variety of animation styles, dynamic story development and sound design. Each trailer is a unique joy to watch. We are especially in love with the “Hello Brooklyn”  short for it’s lighting and colors. Keep your eye out for these films to make the film festival circuit.  We will of course post the shorts as soon as they are available for full view online.

Hello Brooklyn: New York, in the 50’s, five young people are wandering in Brooklyn streets, riding bicycles accross the alleys of Central Park and loafing around on the beach of Coney Island.

Lights Out: In the city at night, the light spawns its way into the shadow territory.

Oh Gee, Oh Why: The participants of a parade get into place with a mix of panache and pandemonium.

Grand Central: A trip across a megacity’s streets visually revealed by an hypnotic line game.

 Posted by Katy, Associate Acquisitions Editor, Animation and 3D. Interested in writing for Focal Press, reviewing a proposal or just chatting about all things animation?  Visit Katy’s Linked-In page.  

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By: Lauren                Categories: AnimationGeneralInspiration


Since Annecy 2011 is a mere three days away, we thought we’d feature a short from Annecy 2008.  “Garuda” follows a young boy in India chasing after his dream.  The vibrant, dream-like colors and impressive perspective shots makes this short the perfect kick-off to any creative weekend! “Garuda” was animated at Les Gobelins in Paris by Nicolas Athane, Meryl Franck, Alexis Liddell, Andres Salaff, and Maïlys Vallade.


Posted by Lauren, publishing assistant, animation, 3D, and gaming.  Follow me on Twitter @FocaLauren

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