Mar31
2014

By: Elyse                Categories: 3D AnimationInspiration

By Richard Tilbury

Software Used: Photoshop

In this tutorial we will be painting a human eye. The first thing to do is to gather as many reference pictures as you can – including a mirror! You will notice that all eyes are unique in both color and shape, and that the skin will vary in every image. Lighting also plays a key role in determining how reflective the lens looks, as well as the skin itself. (more…)

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Mar26
2014

By: Elyse                Categories: GamesGeneral

Who loves game dev?! One thing is for sure… Focal Press sure does!

March 17 – 21, 2014, the Focal Press animation & gaming crew made the trek from Boston to San Francisco to exhibit at GDC 2014, alongside our friends at CRC Press.

We were amazed by the fantastic exhibitors, inspiring attendees, beautiful city… and did we mention warm weather?!

Here are some of the highlights from the trip…

See all of our photos here.

(more…)

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Mar24
2014

By: admin                Categories: AnimationBooksGeneralInspiration

The first Beauty and the Beast treatments were very serious. Well, it’s a serious original story. There is nothing funny about a beast. I always compared it to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs where you have the serious part with the witch and the dwarfs for comic relief. In Beauty and the Beast, we wanted to do it in a similar way, with the enchanted objects in the castle. But when I heard for the first time that the plan was to change it into a musical, I was shocked. It’s difficult for Europeans to understand how these ideas come up in the New World. We are very serious and would never even think about such an insult. I made jokes about a singing beast.


However, I was wrong. It worked. In addition, I must admit, I even like the music – which I cannot say about the look and some of the animation!

And, it started a new era in animation, with the following musicals: Aladdin, The Lion King, The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, Pocahontas and Hercules. Even in Mulan there is a lot of singing. And Beauty and the Beast was the beginning of the Golden Nineties in animation. I am happy I had a chance to be part of it.

In 1989, Disney started another London “adventure.” Probably after the good experience with the European artists in London who worked on Roger Rabbit, Disney chose Dick and Jill Purdum as the directors for a new adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. Dick and Jill had an animation commercial studio in the West End. Their own work commitments did not allow them to leave London immediately to work on the project in Los Angeles, so they all decided to move some of the Disney artists for a few months to London to work on a story-reel of the project. There was Don Hahn, the producer; Andreas Deja and Glen Keane from animation; Tom Sito from story; Jean Gilmore from visual development; Derek Gogol from London, production design; Michael Dudoc du Witt, from storyboard; and me for storyboard and design.

We all worked in the Purdum studio during early fall of 1989. I will always keep these weeks in my memory as one of the best work experiences, to be in such a creative environment with all these high caliber artists and especially with Dick and Jill as the “parents” of the project, and Don Hahn with his unmatched humor.

We were all so committed that we worked 14 to 16 hours a day. At that time I remember that I did not see anything of London. We just worked like crazy. And we finished a story reel in color in a very short time, about 50 minutes long. The First Act: It was not a typical Disney movie, more a European version. But we all believed in it.

Well, they didn’t in LA, and since they felt so bad to throw all our work in the trash, they decided to send us to the Loire area in France, where Beauty and the Beast could have happened in one of these beautiful castles. Our trip lasted 4 days, maybe 20 castles, and lots of driving, even more historic stories from “historian” Tom Sito, and so much fun. We were a family. That never happened again in my whole career. I felt so much at home. All the others did as well. We had good French food and even better wine. Of course nobody understood that some Germans liked sweetbread, horse steak and Bambi filet. From then on, they looked at me as the barbarian.

That reference trip could have created an incredible looking movie. We shot thousands of pictures, video, and did tons of sketches. Unfortunately, later in the movie it was decided not to use any of the reference and to do just another generic looking Disney movie. Anyway, the good memories stay!

As you might notice, the very first designs I did for Beauty and the Beast very much shows the European influence. I wanted the village to look like a real medieval village. I always admired the architecture and look of the German silent movies Der Golem and Faust and some of the Siegfried forest scenes in Die Nibelungen. My approach was a bit influenced as well by movies that had just been released at the time: Amadeus and Dangerous Liaisons. And of course I used the painters of that time, Fragonard and Watteau, for inspiration.

Excerpt from Dream Worlds: Production Design for Animation by Hans Bacher © 2007 Taylor & Francis Group. All Rights Reserved.

About the Book

A truly unique visual delight offering insight into the development of animation classics like Bambi, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Lilo and Stitch as well as a tantalizing examination of unfinished Disney projects.

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Mar19
2014

By: Elyse                Categories: GamesGeneral

Tweet for a Treat giveaway at GDC 2014!

It is quite simple… all you have to do is follow the following instructions –

Step 1: Tell us something – your favorite game, resource, anything! It can be simple… but, don’t be afraid to be creative.

Step 2: Use Hastags: #tweetforatreat #GDC2014

Step 3: Make sure to tag Focal Press in your tweet @FocalPress

One lucky gamer will be randomly selected to win 1 free Focal Press book of your choice… and, we’ll retweet our favorites!

You don’t have to be at GDC to participate – so, what are you waiting for?!

Need some inspiration? Check out our new gaming titles featured at GDC!

*Contest starts March 12, 2014 and ends March 22, 2014

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Mar17
2014

By: Elyse                Categories: 3D AnimationGeneral

For this chapter’s supporting exercise you will be creating a photoshoot scene similar to those that appear in the glossy motorsport magazines.

In this scene I have provided you with one Pontiac Solstice. Let’s go ahead and take a look at the scene.

For more information on this topic and to download the companion files, please visit www.focalpress.com/cw/Wylde (more…)

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Mar12
2014

By: Elyse                Categories: GamesGeneral

Attention all gamers!

Are you attending GDC 2014?! Good news, we are too and we want to see you!

Focal Press and CRC Press will be sharing a booth, featuring all of our new and best-selling titles. Stop by Booth # 502 & 508, say hello to the team, and receive a 20% discount on all Focal Press and CRC titles.

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GIVEAWAYS @ GDC2014

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AtGames Classic Console Giveaway!

Sign up for a chance to win one of two consoles, Sega Genesis Classic Game Console and the Atari Flashback 4 Classic Game Console from AtGames. A special thank you to our sponsors,  AtGames – visit them @ www.atgames.us

(more…)

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Mar10
2014

By: Elyse                Categories: BooksGames

The basic principle of sound in Unity is determined by two Game Object Components—the Audio Listener and the Audio Source. Both of these components work in combination with the sound file itself. You can think of the Audio Listener as you—or, more specifically, as your ears, or perhaps a microphone—while the Audio Source is, as you might expect, the source of the audio, which can be any object in the game world.

Audio Listener

The Audio Listener Component is usually attached to a first- or a third-person controller combined with a camera (which represents your eyes or your view of yourself). An Audio Listener is necessary only if the sound functions within a three-dimensional environment; it is not generally needed for a two dimensional game. Unity limits you to only one Audio Listener.

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Mar05
2014

By: Elyse                Categories: BooksGames

Thinking Differently

In this chapter, we will explore the concept of engagement-led design in more detail and look at some specific tools we can use to build mechanics that respond to the player’s evolving needs. This isn’t intended as a prescription to define a formula for game design, but is intended instead as a tool to help you review your game designs and to identify potential problems, as well as ways to punctuate each stage of play with experiences that can help build deeper engagement, perhaps even to “upsell” players to the next life stage, to spend money, or simply to keep playing.

We need to grab the player’s attention in just six seconds and lead them to a meaningful success within the first minute. But how do we do that; what design principles can we use to deliver on something like that?

The Bond Opening

Let’s take an analogy from the film industry and look at the James Bond movies, which always deliver a spectacular opening moment. Within the first ten minutes or so, we are treated to a condensed experience with all the guns, girls, chases, cars and, of course, quips that we expect from the genre. This isn’t a random indulgence. This reintroduces us to Bond himself, what he does and, importantly, just what he is capable of at his best. It’s a benchmark against which his abilities are measured, allowing us to understand the difficulty to overcome his opponents later. The story of that opening is separate from the rest of the plot. This moment is about setting up the conditions that allow us to make sense of the plot later in the story, hopefully without giving anything important away. This is about explaining the environment of the world Bond lives is. Then it ends with a classic staged moment, we look at the archetype “licensed to kill” spy down the barrel of a gun. This reinforces the continuity between the films and whoever is playing Bond on that occasion. It’s a level of familiarity that creates a concrete connection between the viewer and the film, settling everyone into place for the journey that is to come. This approach makes us willing to forgive all kinds of incredible or flawed plots as it gives us permission to turn on our “suspension of disbelief” and turn off our critical thinking.

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Mar03
2014

By: Elyse                Categories: AnimationGeneralInspirationInterviews

Last night at the star-studded 86th annual Academy Awards, Hollywood paid tribute to the incredible work in animation and VFX this year.

Frozen, directed by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature.

“Let it Go,” written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, won Best Original Song. This win gave Robert Lopez the rare EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony), in which he is only the 12th person to ever achieve such a feat. Though, with Idina Menzel’s wickedly (pun intended) good performance, none of us were surprised that this song captured the Academy’s heart… and likely a few downloads on their iTunes account.

The French short, Mr. Hublot, by Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares, took the award for Best Animated Short.
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