Thursday, November 29, 2007

Dan Zen Gives Pecha Kucha Talk on Focuso at FITO, Toronto Flash User Group

Focuso FITO Talk

Inventor, Dan Zen gave a Pecha Kucha talk Nov 28th, 2007 at FITO the Toronto Flash user group, largest of its kind in the world: The event was packed and was held at the Pixel Gallery in Kensington Market, Toronto - (Element156 - Digital Media Center, 156 Augusta Avenue Just North of Dundas, Just West of Spadina - a great gallery to check out!)

Pecha Kucha, apparently Japanese for chit-chat involves showing 20 slides for 20 seconds each, traditionally with a format of no speaking or sound - however, we have westernized it to include speaking and sound. The gist of Dan Zen's Pecha Kucha is as follows:
Focuso Pecha Kucha Talk

As interactive designers and developers, we often build features with a foreground and a background where the content for the foreground is created by the user. We design the background or the environment.

If the foreground is considered in focus, the background might be considered out of focus. It is the context for the content.

Focuso is the art and philosophical aspect of out of focus or Focus out - Focuso. In particular, it can be demonstrated by photographs that are purposely out of focus for artistic reason.

This Pecha Kucha talk shows how Focuso has been used in a number of Dan Zen features, often as background, yet it stands alone as an art form as the pictures to the right attest.

It is hoped that the samples will encourage designers and developers to think about focus as a way to handle background much like we drop opacity. These days, with the blur filter in Flash, it is very easy to do - but of course, there is always the camera!

Dan Zen
mad inventor
meets Internet
finds peace

Professor & Industry Liaison,
Sheridan Interactive Multimedia
Canadian New Media Awards Programmer of the Year 2002
Dan Zen Flickr

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Focuso Artistic Desktop Backgrounds

Focuso - Out of Focus Photographic Art - Desktop Backgrounds

I have been shooting photographs that are out of focus on purpose as artistic expression. This allows us to concentrate on form, composition, color, mood and avoid some of the everyday details that can make a picture too complex. Often these pictures take on the look of a painting because the blur is similar to a paint stroke. The genre is called Focuso. Focus Out.

I have put together a site which makes it easy for you to save Focuso pictures for your desktop background. Thanks Amy for the suggestion.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Focuso Paintings - Out of Focus Pictures as Art

Soft Trunk

This series of photos in the woods have a painterly feel. Some find them a bit more accessible than the abstract at night shots.

It can take a little adjustment to appreciate focuso. After you get used to the focus issue, you start to appreciate the composition and color. A good way to do this is to set a piece to your desktop picture. Go to the big picture (click on this picture then select the all sizes link above the flickr picture and choose a bigger size) and right click to save as desktop - you can probably chose stretch for most cases. I will set up a site specifically for focuso that would be good for the desktop.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Focuso People - Out of Focus Photographic Portraits

Focuso Dan Zen

Girl on Path en Focuso

Focuso Portrait of Edgar Breau - Simply Saucer

Above are four examples of focuso portraits - photographic portraits taken out of focus on purpose for artistic reasons. In some many cases, the person can be made unrecognizable and abstracted. Hunt through the flickr pics in the focuso group and you can find examples. In other cases the character's features are there but blurred to posterized type effect.

In lightest focuso, it might be said that there is only a softening. I have been blending focuso over an in-focus photo and applying effect. It works to blend the features and is quite beautiful. See the models set.

Have fun with this - take a few shots in focuso along with your regular shots and see if you can capture the essense the aura of a subject. The picture at the bottom is one of my favourite pics ever. It is of course, shot out of focus on purpose.

Please leave a message below if you give this a try and let us see the results!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Focuso Tag in the Vernacular!

Foucso Heather

Above is Dave's Focuso shot (not mine) and it is very nice - I would be happy to call it mine ;-).

He has tagged his picture as Focuso! Making it perhaps the first tag by the general public as the word Focuso works its way as a meme...

Also came up with the concept of Focusolo - the effect of motion in a picture due to out of focus areas - usually in curves between colors. You can see an example in

Come on by and see how the Focuso Explosion Set is coming along:

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Coins 2020 - the Future With OLED Technology

Coins 2020
Originally uploaded by Dan Zen.

This simple Focuso photo received a comment saying "you gotta love focuso" which might be the first time the general public has used the term in the vernacular.

Coins 2020 is one in a series of 2020 Focuso photographs imagining what basic items in our world will be like when they glow like this due to OLED technology or other.

The picture is also part of the Focusp Explosion Contest for a free Flickr Pro Year. Please come by and comment at

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Focuso Explosion Contest!

You can win a free year as a Flickr Pro if you are the first to comment on each of the upcoming sets of the latest Focuso Explosion!

Read more about it and see the pictures at the Flickr Focuso Group - and in particular this post.

Dan Zen

Focuso - Focus Out! From Photography to Philosophy

Focuso is a technique to go out of focus on purpose. This can be used in photography to find a more abstract visual view. Focuso can be used in creative thinking to broaden and blur ideas.

On the photographic side, this site will draw on the Flickr Focuso Group at I have also posted a number of photos in the Dan Zen Focuso Set. A brief intro to Focuso Photographic examples can be found here:

Your thoughts about Focuso are certainly welcome and we look forward to any pictures you may care to share!

Dan Zen