By: Cedric                Categories: General

Between bouts of animating, photographing, filming, game development, and of course reading Focal Press books, we know you all secretly desire being immortalized in the latest animation title from your favorite publisher…

Well, consider your dreams fulfilled!  Focal Press author Patricia Beckmann Wells is writing a new Focal Press book – Face It – on multi-ethnic 3D facial construction and seeking models to be featured.  No previous modeling experience is required.  Please see the details from her call for models below.

Call for models:

We are not seeking traditional models

Seeking two types of models

1. Faces with ethnic features for publication in an art reference book – FACE ONLY.

2. Faces with pronounced features – pronounced nose, pronounced lips, scars, etc. – FACE ONLY

Author with well-known textbook publisher seeks models with ethnic and non-traditional faces for reference book on facial construction. Highly interested in photographing several members of one family to show age progression in similar facial features.

Asian Pacific, Indian (India), American Indian, Middle Eastern, Latin American and African reference models. If you are not represented in this mix, we may still need you . . . multi-ethnic is very interesting to us as well!

Models will be compensated, please contact Patricia Beckmann Wells for details.  Models are required to sign a model release to allow images to be published in an academic textbook/online reference. Duration of photo session will not exceed one hour. We will shoot at the USC campus on December 3, between 12pm and 6pm.

If you are interested, please send a recent photo (no professional headshots please – just a candid image of your face) with your preferred email address and answers to the following questions in order to identify your ethnicity. Please do not send any confidential information and be sure to include your email address.  You will receive a confirmation email.

1. I claim the following ancestry (or ancestries)

2. On my mothers line, my family comes from . . .

3. On my fathers line, my family comes from . . .

4. If you have family members who are also interested in participating and being photographed in our family study, please let us know how many are interested, their sex, age, and ethnicity. We are interested in studying shared facial features.

Thank you!

Patricia Beckmann Wells

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By: admin                Categories: AnimationGeneralInspiration

We are posting the Focal Animated Short a little early this week since we all will be off enjoying our Thanksgiving holidays on Friday. You’ll more than like find this editorial crew napping after the holiday dinner or quite possibly up at 3am with the fantatical deal savers outside Best Buy for Black Friday deals.

We bring you a charming, cute and silly Thanksgiving short. Even though they spell Plymouth incorrectly and refer to Massachusetts as a state (Fun Fact for not-Friday:  Massachusetts is actually a Commonwealth), we could not ignore this catchy animated short. I mean, come on,  it features pilgrim ghosts, haunted pumpkin pies, parades and gluttony. When you sit down for your second helping of pumpkin pie, do think of the ghost pilgrims, folks. 

Ghost Pilgrims : A Thanksgiving Carol from Scott Benson on Vimeo.

We also happen to love the list of short creator Scott Benson’s list of things for which he is currently thankful.  While we certainly count caffiene, pies and Venture Brothers in our list,  our wonderful authors, incredible Focal readers and dedicated animation fans top our list of things for which we are thankful for this year.

Happy Thanksgiving Focal Community! Wishing you a safe and wonderful holiday!

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By: admin                Categories: AnimationBooksInspiration

With Christmas caroles already on the radio, our first season snow behind us at Focal HQ, Pre Black Friday sales and Thanksgiving next week, it seems like holidays are on fast forward this year.  Well, merry revelers, you should start to consider planning your Oscar party!

Oscar buzz is already starting to build momentum with the recent announcements of the 18 feature animation films and 45 animated shorts that are in consideration for the 2012 Academy Awards for Best Animated Short and Best Animated Feature Film.  These films have yet to be nominated officially but are being considered. We would be remiss not to at least share some of the trailers for the 45 animated shorts in consideration. 

Focal Press’ own Producing Animation, 2nd edition, written by Catherine Winder, Zahra Dowlatabadi and edited by Tracey Miller-Zarneke features a case study of the creation of  “Luna” which is included in the list of the 45 animated shorts in consideration.   Watch the full short “Luna” by Rainmaker available at

 I’d love to list all the 45 animated shorts under consideration but for the sake of your Friday morning entertainment while you are willing the weekend to be here, find a few of the 45 animated shorts long-listed for the Oscars.  Want more? Check out the full list at Cartoon Brew.

Which ones are your favorites?

Carlos Lascano – “Shadow of Blue”


A Shadow of Blue / Teaser from Carlos Lascano on Vimeo.

Damian Nenow and Platige Image – “Paths of Hate”

PATHS OF HATE long trailer from Platige Image on Vimeo.

Moonblot Studios- “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore”

Read more about this great short in our blog post.

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

Pedro Rivero and Alberto Vázquez- “Bird Boy”  based upon the graphic novel PSICONAUTAS by Alberto Vázquez

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: General

I’m off to another show for the love of Focal Press, animation, and all things creative! This weekend, I’ll be spending time with some animation greats and up-and-comers at the Creative Talent Network Expo (CTNx).  This meeting is feverishly heating up with opportunities for animation professionals, students, and teachers to network, exchange creative energy, and have a great time. We couldn’t pass on getting involved with the seductive allure of CTNx’s focus on traditional and digital animation – our kind of girl!

If you are attending CTNx, I hope you’ll drop in our booth -B33- to say hello, record a video testimonial of why you love Focal books, enter our contest for free books, join us for the Producing Animation book signing, and best of all; take advantage of our special show discount on our animation books!

As I said, we will have two members of the team that wrote and edited Producing Animation. Zahra Dowlatabadi and Tracey Miller-Zarneke will be in the Focal Press booth signing copies of the new edition of the critically praised title on Saturday, from 3pm – 4pm. Check out my recent post on the book.

I also heard animation greats Tony White and Bill Plympton may be lingering around our booth as well… I’m sure if you ask real nice I can dig out a signed copy of Tony’s latest title – Tony White’s Animator’s Notebook.   Come by the booth and learn more about Bill Plympton’s upcoming Focal Press book, publishing in 2012  – you never know who will be in the Focal Press booth so come on down.

I’m looking forward to a great time learning more about animation, meeting some great people, and getting an idea or two for that next great Focal Press animation book. See you in sunny Burbank!


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

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By: Lauren                Categories: AnimationGeneralInspiration

Happy Friday, Focal-ites!

Today, we bring you an animated short simply titled, Oxygen. It’s another day on the playground, and a young Oxygen would just like to play with his fellow elements.  However, he soon realizes the consequences of joining Helium on the carousel, and hopping on the see-saw with Berium…

Posted by Lauren, editorial project manager at Focal Press.  Follow me on Twitter @FocaLauren.

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By: admin                Categories: AnimationGeneral

The Sun Setting on Flash?

 Image Source

 The interwebs are all a twitter with some clever and not so clever hyperbolic statements about the future of Adobe Flash with Adobe Systems lamentable announcement of the restructing of their business with a 750 person layoff.  The company will refocus efforts, ceasing the development of mobile browser Flash with a renewed energy towards HTML5.   This shift will allow Flash users to package native apps with Adobe AIR for all the major app stores. 

Heading straight to the Adobe source and ignoring the hyperbolic grave stones for the Flash platform offers insight into the shift. Danny Vinkour, Vice President and General Manager of Interactive Development at Adobe announced this development in a blog post yesterday on Adobe’s Featured Blogs:

These changes will allow us to increase investment in HTML5 and innovate with Flash where it can have most impact for the industry, including advanced gaming and premium videoFlash Player 11 for PC browsers just introduced dozens of new features, including hardware accelerated 3D graphics for console-quality gaming and premium HD video with content protection.  Flash developers can take advantage of these features, and all that our Flash tooling has to offer, to reach more than a billion PCs through their browsers and to package native apps with AIR that run on hundreds of millions of mobile devices through all the popular app stores, including the iTunes App Store, Android Market, Amazon Appstore for Android and BlackBerry App World.

I would also check out Lee Brimelow’s blog post yesterday. As an Adobe Evangelist, he posted a very calm, level headed approach to the announcement that was not full of corporate rhetoric. His post can be found here.

Adobe Flash users run the gamut of shock, dismay, heartfelt sadness, apathetic weariness and some anger at the announcement. Many echo the late Steve Jobs’ sentiments about Adobe Flash while others are looking at evaluating their own workflows, tools and solutions in a marketplace that is ever changing.

While the duststorm swirls for Adobe Flash users and the message boards are nearly set ablaze with all sorts of opinions, I’m curious your thoughts Focal Flash Community. Are you considering or in some cases reconsidering your workflows in light of Adobe’s announcement? Will this impact you as an animator and digital artist?  Leave a comment and your thoughts! No Adobe or Apple hating please- just comments about how this decision will affect you, what are you doing to stay on top of an ever changing industry?

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: admin                Categories: AnimationGeneralInspiration

Commissioned by Anywalk for it’s promotional art exhibition TREKX featuring 9 artists from London and China,  “Don’t Swim After Lunch” was directed and designed by Jens Blank with Jussi Honka on sound design and Paul Pringle on the musical track.  Self described as being ” about daydreaming, [Don’t Swim After Lunch] plays with the idea of turning mundane environments into something exciting.” 

While a relatively common creative concept of ordinary transformation into something extraordinary, I love the integration of the live action setting of the dining room table with the geometric, oragami-esque animation style.  The soundtrack is perfect, dynamic and engaging.  This style and technique could easily be translated into an advertisement or a longer style animated short, 2 to 3 minutes in length.

Be sure to check out the making of blog post with concept art, photos from the art gallery exhibition and screenshots from the rigging of the scene.  I would totally purchase a screenprint of the penguin or even the birds.

Even with the making-of blog post, this short leaves me wanting more and more.  I want to see beyond the penguins swimming. What happens when diner brings a glass of wine to the table- a vinery in Napa pops up?   I don’t necessarily think this short would benefit from any sort of plot line, character development or story but I want more penguins diving through the rough dining room table waters and the birds navigating a wooded forest.  How great would it be if someone brought a burned grilled cheese to the table and you end up in a scorching deserts with  lizard’s sunning themselves on rocks.

What other shorts are out there that you wish you could extend beyond it’s 2 to 3 minutes? Would you add an extra few minutes? Where you would take the short creatively?

Don’t swim after lunch from Jens Blank on Vimeo.

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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