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By: Alex Beaumont,
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Supplementing real dogs with digital animation produces performances that have benefits on many different levels. Firstly, they are much more effective dramatically because they can become more anthropomorphically expressive to suit the needs of the story. Economically they are less time-consuming and therefore less expensive because the performance is no longer determined by the unpredictable or intractable volition of real animals, however ‘well-trained’. The problems that arise even when working with ‘professional’ dog actors can be exasperating.
The post Dogs in digital cinema appeared first on OUPblog.
Kickstarter is a great way to raise money for creative projects. But up until now, the project pages have only been good as long as the campaign is live, making them slightly obsolete once a project has been funded. That has changed.
The crowd funding site has introduced Spotlight, a new way to update project pages for projects that have already been funded. The idea is to help creators continue to showcase their work beyond the funding phase and into the production, distribution and sales phases. It makes a lot of sense considering that Kickstarter pages are often in the top search results for projects funded by the site, and these mini web sites include a lot of details about a project.
One of the best parts is that Kickstarter creators can now use these pages to sell completed works. Now an author can list their book for sale on the Kickstarter page and include links to purchase the book from a bookseller like Powell’s or an eBook from iTunes.
The new spotlight view also includes a timeline feature, that shows a creator’s story at a glance. This helps supporters gain a quick visual chronology of news and updates about the project. The original project page will continue to exist behind a “Story” tab. Below is a video demo which explains how it all works.
Oyster, the eBook subscription service that has been described as a Netflix for books, has hired Jeannie Mun as the company’s first CFO. The company has also hired Barry McCarthy, as a new advisor.
Mun comes to Oyster from advertising technology company MediaMath. “Jeannie’s not only an impressive and experienced executive—she’s also an enthusiastic Oyster reader herself,” explains the Oyster blog. “Recently, she’s been reading the Berenstain Bears on Oyster to her kids, and she used our travel selection to guide her on a last-minute trip to Panama in February.”
McCarthy previously served as the CFO of Netflix. He is also on the boards of Spotify, Rent the Runway, Chegg, Eventbrite, NatureBox and Wealthfront.
Google has created a Doodle to celebrate Anna Atkins’ 216th birthday. The botanist became well-known as the first to incorporate photographic illustrations in a book.
According to TIME.com, Atkins self-published Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions in 1843. It features “sunprinted” pictures developed through the Cynanotype process which is “an iron-based chemical method that creates a white image appearing on a blue background.”
In the past, Google has crafted Doodles in honor of Pride & Prejudice author Jane Austen, Little House series author Agatha Christie, poet Langston Hughes, and more. Here’s a video from Google headquarters spotlighting the artists behind the doodles. Which authors would you suggest as future Doodle subjects? (via The Independent)
Jared and Kirsten Maughan partnered with Page Foundry, Inc. to create the Clean Reader app; it instantly blocks profanity from being displayed on eBooks.
The Washington Post reports that the profane language under target includes the F-word, the S-word, the names of different divine beings, and racially-charged insults. According to the developers’ website, users can download it for free on both iOS and Android devices. Some people have raised concerns about censorship while others argue that Clean Reader does not hinder freedom of speech.
Here’s more from The Huffington Post: “To be clear, however, Clean Reader isn’t censorship; anyone who’s read a book of Shakespeare’s stories for children or an abridged classic for younger readers has experienced a similar curation. Parents who value learning and yet want to protect their children from adult material have long found other ways to introduce their young ones to classic and challenging texts. If an adult reader wishes to similarly expurgate their reads, many of us may not agree — it seems tantamount to preferring the awkwardly scrubbed daytime version of Sex & the City — but it’s a personal choice, not a governmental one.” (via Bustle)
Digital news organization GlobalPost is hoping to raise $95,000 on Kickstarter in order to hire a senior conflict correspondent and a dedicated conflict editor.
“War reporting is expensive and dangerous, yet it is vital to the public interest,” explains the project’s Kickstarter page.” We need you to help us keep it going through the financial challenges of a rapidly-changing media landscape.”
The video below explains more.
Because of World Book Day, I'm out visiting schools all this week (all over the place as usual) but, luckily, I just managed to get my mural artwork finished first. It was a skin-of-the-teeth thing - I didn't sign it off until 7pm last Friday night.
I'm enjoying being out and about again, as I have been locked at my computer for ages. The artwork stage has taken 3 weeks, working really long days mostly, but it is finally done. Hurrah! Below are the various sections, travelling around the walls anti-clockwise (ie from right to left), viewing what will be floor-to-ceiling once it's installed (though the emptier sections will be obscured by furniture):
There were so many different jobs to do and of course much of it took longer than expected - I think it's because I underestimated just how many individual characters and little objects I could cram into the huge space. Luckily, Wakefield Libraries have been absolutely LOVELY and said they will pay me for the time I've actually spent on it, rather than what I originally quoted them.
Every one of the new, high-res scans that John did of the various animals, books, trees etc had to be individually matched to their position on the low-res template I created earlier, re-sized to fit and then laboriously cut off the children's white, background paper in Photoshop.
Each component also had to have it's 'levels' balanced, to match the weight of the rest of the design, and then have extra colour added, so it was punchy enough. I even had to subtly go over some of the children's pencil outlines in Photoshop, thickening them up where they were too spindly.
And that's without all the graphic elements I had to draw for the background, like the distant forest and the various kinds of grasses and bushes.
Because I had to create the artwork in 6 sections (to keep the file sizes from blowing the brain of my computer), I also had the job of making sure the different sections joined accurately. That was a bit of a nightmare to be honest, as one millimetre's inaccuracy at each joint would obviously add up, and then the error would also be multiplied by 4, because of the artwork being 25% of the actual size. Yikes.
I was very good at remembering to 'save' all the time, not just to the computer, but also to an external hard drive, just in case any of the files decided to corrupt along the way. I got away without 'losing' anything, which is a great relief.
Then, just when I thought it was all finished, I realised I had forgotten the area of 'bleed' beneath the library's computer table! I had remembered to continue the design behind the bookshelves, so I don't know why I forgot the table. Tired I guess.
The colour boosting was the last job. I wanted to keep the mark-making from the children's colouring, so I made my final artwork translucent, then created a layer beneath the design, where I 'scribbled' half-opacity colour, so the effect was subtle and blended seamless with the children's coloured pencils. It was time consuming, but was worth it, as the boost made a huge difference. Look at the difference between the section above and part of the same section, before the extra colour:
Notice too, in some places I had to do extra tricksy things with the colour in Photoshop: look at the original colour of the desk, immediately above, then the colour it ended up.
Did you notice by the way, in the 2nd section from the beginning, I left my 'signature' on the computer screen? Sneaky huh? Actually, I suspect that most of this area will be obscured by book-bags, but I only really put it in as an after-thought.
The next stage is a final chat to the printer who will be transferring my design to wallpaper, ready to paste onto the walls. I'm a little concerned about how on earth we will manage to get things to line up where they are supposed to, what with crooked walls and wonky ceilings. For instance, all the creatures' feet, which need to be on the level with the tops of the bookshelves.
I am crossing fingers it all works out okay, as there isn't much I can do about that side of things.
You may have heard of Katniss Everdeen and Tris Prior, but what about Valentine Neverwoods? This character stars in a parody story that is being published through the @DystopianYA Twitter page.
Less than one month after its debut, the eye-catching social media page has drawn more than 15,000 followers. Dana Schwartz, a writer and comedian, genuinely enjoys reading young adult dystopian novels. In an interview with BuzzFeed, she explained that she launched this hilarious social media account after realizing that many recent titles belonging to this genre feature similar attributes such as “trains, overly simplified first-person narration, and love triangles.”
Initially, Schwartz intended to write “a collection of random sentences and elements.” After receiving a plethora of positive responses from the Twittersphere, she wants “to try to add plot and tell something from start to finish.” Below, we’ve collected a selection of hilarious tweets in a Storify post embedded below—what do you think?
What are your favorite love poems?
The Hobbit actor Richard Armitage serves as the narrator for the Classic Love Poems audiobook. BuzzFeed reports that this 22-minute long compilation features 15 different pieces written by William Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and more.
The SoundCloud clip embedded above features Armitage performing a recitation of “I Carry Your Heart” by e. e. cummings. Follow this link to download the unabridged audiobook for free.
By: Metin Seven,
Blog: Sugar Frosted Goodness
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The electronic musician — pixel artwork in a minimalistic style.
Available as a high-quality art print.
More images: MetinSeven.com.
David Chen and Joanna Robinson have raised more than $1,900 on Kickstarter for the “A Cast of Kings” podcast. With the money, they will be able to continue producing a podcast to re-cap the forthcoming new episodes of the Game of Thrones HBO series.
Here’s more from the Kickstarter page: “It’s only because of your generosity and support in the past that we’ve grown this podcast to the point where people are interested in sponsoring us on a large-scale level. We are eternally grateful to you, our listeners, for getting us here and look forward to an awesome season of Game of Thrones discussion ahead!”
Welcome to our Kickstarter Publishing Project of the Week, a feature exploring how authors and publishers are using the fundraising site to raise money for book projects. If you want to start your own project, check out How To Use Kickstarter to Fund Your Publishing Project.
Digital startup Booktrope is trying to bring together the best of both worlds in publishing: the structure of traditional publishing with the high royalty rates of self-publishing tools.
The company is aimed at small publishers and indie authors who want to collaborate on a book and then share the income the project generates. The company’s site fosters a community of authors, editors, designers and marketing people. The idea is that these creative people can join forces and bring their skills to the table to help develop books. A good editor and a good book designer can really improve the quality of a manuscript that an author brings to the table.
When the project is complete, Brooktrope has the tools to publish the book in print or as an eBook directly to Amazon and Barnes & Noble. There are no fees. Booktrope takes 30 percent and the team of creators keep 70 percent of the royalties.
Sharing book excerpts online is a great way to connect with readers, especially if you are a lesser known author.
London-based startup iAuthor has a tool to help authors and publishers share excerpts. iAuthor is a site for book discovery where readers can search for potential books to read based on genre or keyword themes. Authors can share samples of their work on the site and make it sharable, so that readers can embed the excerpt around the Internet. Using the iAuthor dashboard, authors and publishers can track audience engagement with the text online to see how many people have read the passage and shared it and so forth.
The book sample includes retail links, so if a reader wants more, they can simply click through to the book retailer and buy the book.
NOOK has unveiled a new Reading App for Android users, specifically designed with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK in mind.
The 4.0 edition of the app features a new designed home screen along with updated navigation that mass it easier to browse books. An update algorithm makes it easier to search for titles and helps facilitate discovery based on a reader’s prior searches and purchase.
To promote downloads, NOOK is giving away a free $5 credit to new customers that download the app and set up an account.
Stan Lee, Michael Uslan, and David Uslan have established great careers within the comics and entertainment industry. Soon, they will also take on the role of educators.
EdX, a nonprofit education organization, will present three newly-formed massive open online courses (MOOCs) developed by the Smithsonian Institution. The “Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact on Pop Culture” class will feature instruction from the three comics legends.
Lee gave this statement in the press release: “It’s a great honor being invited to share my views on the evolution of superheroes and the genre’s overall impact across all generations of people. Throughout my career, characters have evolved so much – from drawings on a page to other-worldly special effects only animation could produce, to live-action and so much more. I can’t wait to dive into these discussions thanks to Smithsonian and edX.” (via The Hollywood Reporter)
Andrew Shaffer (pseudonym Fanny Merkin) has written a sequel for his Fifty Shades of Grey parody novel.
Gone Grey, the follow-up for Fifty Shames of Earl Grey, was influenced by Gillian Flynn’s hit thriller, Gone Girl. The story follows the protagonist, Earl Grey, as he deals with the disappearance of his wife.
Follow this link to download the free eBook. For more Fifty Shades laughs, check out this trailer of the film adaptation re-made with legos.
Have you ever felt a little lost while reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings? The team behind the C.G.P. Grey YouTube channel has created two videos about this beloved book trilogy.
Part one (embedded below) contains a general overview about the mythology behind this epic story. Part two (embedded above) offers an explanation about the all powerful “one ring.”
Fair warning, viewers may encounter spoilers so proceed with caution. What is your favorite fantasy novel? (via Fast Company)
An anonymous group of New York City bibliophiles launched the “Hot Dudes Reading” Instagram account in early February. Less than one month after its debut, the eye-catching social media page has drawn more than 277,000 followers.
Thus far, 19 photos have been snapped from the subway. Some of the books being read by the subjects include John Green’s The Fault in our Stars, Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, & Steel, and Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl.
Here’s more from The Huffington Post: “The creators are a group of 20 and 30-something male and female New Yorkers who, as they told HuffPost, ‘appreciate men with good looks and good books.’ As the creators told HuffPost, ‘Reading is fundamentally hot, and who doesn’t like to fantasize a little bit about the sexy stranger we spot sitting across from us?’ We can’t argue with that.”
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Google has created a Doodle to celebrate Laura Ingalls Wilder’s 148th birthday. The image features Wilder and her older sister Mary Ingalls. Follow this link to learn more about the creative process behind this piece.
In the past, Google has crafted Doodles in honor of Pride & Prejudice author Jane Austen, poet Langston Hughes, Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, two-time Caldecott Medal winner Maurice Sendak, science-fiction novelist Douglas Adams, and more. Here’s a video from Google headquarters spotlighting the artists behind the doodles. Which authors would you suggest as future Doodle subjects? (via The Independent)