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Ever just woken up and gone "shit, does the world around me exist"?
I only asked again yesterday about the thanks button and said it should be the first thing that gets put back when things start moving again - shortly I hope.
In my opinion the entire structure of the forum needs a dramatic overhaul. You can change the skins all you want but it doesn't hide that the core structure is archaic and outdated. Yeah, there's a lot of wisdom on the site, but when you look at the home page and see an obscene amount of text and links everywhere, who is honestly going to dig through all that unless they already know exactly where they need to go. Everything is buried in a messy heap of links, ridiculously long scroll menus and too many layers of subforums. Shouldn't be happening in 2013.
Also the community needs to have a sense of unity. With a strong community a forum can survive on the barest of features. But when a community is split into a million little groups, it will die off as the one or two key members from each group move on. As the community dies off, there are fewer community-driven activities which accelerates the lack of activity. This is another reason why the structure of the site needs a dramatic change.
Last edited by Ian Barker; December 7th, 2013 at 12:14 AM.
I honestly don't know what to say after reading all of these posts, but I can say that this site is in need of a much needed makeover. This upcoming redesign should not only look good, but it also should have a good degree of functionality. And this is coming from someone who doesn't come here very often anymore.
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Anybody else feel like this?
Artists want to hang around smart, talented, motivated, connected-up peers. They want to be inspired, enlightened, and rewarded. And they want to exhibit their work in the best possible venues for clarity of presentation, so as to properly engage with art directors, potential clients, and motivated fans (i.e. paying fans, willing to buy their wares. Because "likes" don't pay the bills, kids.) This becomes a particularly acute motivation in hard economic times, as now. Pros don't want to wind away hours with undisciplined amateurs with endless need for hand-holding who have education expectations which rarely involve payment. And such denizens seem to have increased as a total percentage of conceptart.org's population over the last three years.
Secondarily there is an inherent conflict on this site, because educational content is both free and behind a paywall. The presumption of that model, whether one is conscious of it or not, is that the educational content that is behind a paywall is worth paying for, while the content available for free is not. I think for that very reason, when a greater emphasis was placed on the purchase of educational content on this site a few years ago, I noted a precipitous drop in pros providing the free educational content, which I presume was one of the main drivers of site hits. There was an accompanying kind of loss of ideological belief in this place. All this happened slowly, over time, but it seemed recognizable as a trend, at least to me and my friends in the business.
Another way to look at this is, if a pro is going to give away free advice, it would be much smarter, business-wise if he was the direct beneficiary of his generosity. In such a large site as this, one gives away advice on, maybe, a one-to-five basis, it being buried on a thread (in a subforum of a subforum of a subforum) that may sink into oblivion in a week's time. Since the OP/student usually doesn't even know whether he is getting advice from a pro or a clueless high school kid, the value of any advice given just seems to accrue to the site as a whole, as a community. Thus the pro and the amateur are presumed to be equally valuable to the community. This is great for the amateur and terrible for the pro.
All of which is why there is Muddy Colors, I would imagine.
Going forward, as I see it, whether pros return to this site is entirely dependent on incentives. The lure of a spirit of egalitarianism and utopian sharing becomes increasingly unlikely as the web matures and shows its true economics.
At least Icarus tried!
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I hope this site lasts forever or as long as we have the internets
Can we bring back the donate function and a store for t-shirts / hoodies ?? I would buy it.
But with donate function there has to be like a way were funds dont get mis apropriated
and the user that does donate DOESNT get any added benefits over others why you ask?
donating is volantery.
thats my 3.5 cents.....
Thats the problem with a site that started out as a place for artists to share their knowledge freely with others. Asking for money on down the line looks like it runs counter to that idealogy.
But as this site grows, there's no way it can function on a free basis. It's a huge database of information and images, along with a huge membership. Just keeping that kind of platform running month to month costs a lot of money.
Muddy Colours is great for a small group of people to share what they know, and the blog format creates a buffer between them and the masses so they don't have to deal with whatever unwanted hassle the internet throws up. But CA.org cant function on that kind of basis. It's just too big.
So the harsh reality is, this place needs financial input on a regular basis, whether that comes from donations, subscriptions, stores, paid tutorials etc, or there wont be a site in the long run.
I also think there needs to be a change in perception of how knowledge and information are given out. I see people begging artists to make video tutorials but without any expectation of paying for them. Yet these same people get up in arms when artists arent being paid or paid enough for their work. It's a double standard and a nasty attitude of entitlement that I'd like to see stop.
There's probably lots more I'd like to say but I'm kind of distracted at the moment so I'll have to come back later. Just wanted to add my two bob's worth before I forget it.
I lurk CA from time to time (since '08), but I've been out of the loop, so if anyone be so kind and tell me what happened here? I noticed a lot of features disappeared and overall the look of the forum is poor compared to what it was before. It sorta has this "abandoned" feeling like a lost puppy. Though the crit and the sketchbook sections are very much alive and kicking.
If I ever had a dilemma or question this was the place to get pro advice. The thing about CA is that this is a place where pros hang out and post, even if some people left, there's still value of art excellence and development. In other forums, if you post something you just get "oh that's amazing I wish I could draw like that", you get those here too, but mostly it's "oh dude the arm's too big" or "the bg needs detail" etc.
I really hope CA overcomes whatever it is it's going through and continue its noble tradition of supporting artists as it used to.
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"I lurk CA from time to time (since '08), but I've been out of the loop, so if anyone be so kind and tell me what happened here?"
I'm in the same boat... been away for a while and have no idea what's happened in the meantime.
Without pros around to share their own hard-earned knowledge and experience, you're not going to get much aside from a) constant asspatting, and b) lots of n00bs who don't know what they're doing, don't have any idea that they don't know what they're doing, and try to be 'helpful' by sharing something they heard someone say, but haven't understood yet. Having pros around is CRITICAL to getting a corrective when someone on the boards says something that's actually misleading. Having pros around is important because when they talk to each other, you pick up knowledge that you're not going to get otherwise, because you don't even know it's out there to look for. The value of the boards is only as good as the quality of the knowledge being shared.
Siddhartha I am not sure if you remember when CA started but it was just me and Andrew at first...then a few others...but of all the main page members who were around at the start, and actually participating, we were all just 2-3 years out of art school. Andrew was two years out at that time. There are many people here at that level now and most the younger cats can paint better than we could back then. I guess what I'm saying is that there are a lot of great people that still post around here and it's a shame to write that off I think. A lot of the cup and comers here will go farther than anyone even imagines. Those are the folks who inspire me the most. There is professional presence...and there will be more in the future. People come and go in every community...and competition is fierce for time. We certainly have a lot of work to do here to improve the place. That much I am aware...so thanks for all the input.
With that said, I have been working on the thanks button stuff all night and the issue I am running into has to do with how we restricted things after the hack, so it is time to ask the programmer for help. Will keep folks updated.
This thread is inspiring and there is a lot of great info here. I will review it in full.
Thank you. tons.
Donate button is up, as well as the donation progress bar. Some of the new mods and changes I am able to do myself, although I need to edit the template for the green donate button yet. Those changes which require extensive database changes require programmer resources, which means funds. We put up some new live and on demand classes including composition, color theory, and now female character design to help fund that stuff, as well as the donate button. will keep at it.
Jason, just to be clear, I wasn't writing off the site or its members. Just the idea that we don't need more experienced people here. Communities of passionate artists, even just students, are a great atmosphere for growing, but I was responding to D and pointing out that you improve the quality of that community immeasurably when someone who knows what he/she is doing shows up. I can't count the number of times I've seen threads that were stuffed full of misinformation until someone like dpaint or JeffX99 came in and set the record straight.
I haven't been active here in a long time. In fact I just visited the site out of curiosity.
I remember when I first joined the boards were very simple. Simply organized, simply designed, without the banners everywhere and it seems without the cliques and sub-societies. It was more open and organic is what I'm saying.
I believe the site is still education focused, but it's more about rich media and less about one-on-one dialogues and groups.
That being said, being as I haven't visited the site in a long time, and haven't been active for even longer, this may have changed. I have the feeling that it hasn't though.
I think it would be interesting if the site were broken down into a series of smaller sites more catered to certain demographics, rather than one mega-site trying to appeal to all demographics.
www.conceptart.3d.org for example
Something like that, then people could go in and be sure that when they post something they will get greater exposure to the group they are targeting for this particular WIP, study, or what-have-you.
Just donated, hope it helps.
Maybe I missed this before, but do we need 4000USD per month to run a forum? Or it is yearly expense or something else? Looks like outrageously high amount of money for domain and file server. Not complaining, just curious.
I will donate as soon as I put up PayPal account
The site is over 10 years old. It has literally thousands upon thousands of pages and data. Im preety sure its not cheap. I m also preety sure its not just for a doman name and server server, but to help keep this community running and also help to add features and updates.
Help support CA's future and your own art future, and help Fund
Does the CA donation thing support Dreamfuel as well or does it only go to CA?
Sepulverture: I'm not sure I agree about breaking the site into smaller units. One of the great things about the forum is all the cross-pollination that went on. The sight size junkies could learn a lot from artists who can whip up entire compositions from imagination. The kids who only look at grizzled space marines could stand a lesson from Bill Whitaker about how much beauty you can find in a loaf of bread.
I found this place when I was 15, I'm now 24. Still great stuff on here but the activity has fallen significantly.
If I were to try and get more traffic into this place now I would get rid of the forum clutter, reorganize the forums based on importance to building the community and bring in some contrast and saturation to this drab looking place.
The below image is what I wish this place looked like (don't hurt me). I think it would help first time traffic.
Wardrum that looks really nice. Not to sure about the bar right the top, other than that it looks preety awesome. More exposure of the challenges etc and news about the site at the top like you have layed out would really look nice.
Shut up and give wardrum all my money.
This is by far the best CA.O design mock-up I've seen in the last few years. Great job man!
The main problem here is that such a design is veeeeery hard to do. Being limited to vBulletin gives tons of restrictions and making a whole new design with such "features" would need a very good designer who knows vB like his hometown.
IF there is someone out there you can make such a beautiful design, then he's probably either busy or costs thousands of dollars.
Just to be realistic.
But still, getting a design like this should be priority number 1. Just looking at it makes me want to be active again because it's less cluttering.
I tried to get a handful of friends over to CA.O but most of them stopped trying to figure stuff out after a few days.
It's a way too big mess for a completely new user right now.
Sup, dropped my 2 cents, now it's Jason turn.