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About Deviant Core Member Justine LombardiFemale/United States Group :iconlandscapepainting: LandscapePainting
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Deviant for 8 Years
4 Month Core Membership
Statistics 185 Deviations 900 Comments 4,068 Pageviews

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Snowy Pine Study by Jlombardi Snowy Pine Study :iconjlombardi:Jlombardi 20 5 Winterfield by Jlombardi Winterfield :iconjlombardi:Jlombardi 29 8 Winter Stream by Jlombardi Winter Stream :iconjlombardi:Jlombardi 43 9 Christmas Card Collection Starry Skys by Jlombardi Christmas Card Collection Starry Skys :iconjlombardi:Jlombardi 28 2 Cosmos Themed Christmas Card v2 by Jlombardi Cosmos Themed Christmas Card v2 :iconjlombardi:Jlombardi 7 0 Cosmos Themed Christmas Card by Jlombardi Cosmos Themed Christmas Card :iconjlombardi:Jlombardi 11 0 Solar System v 2 by Jlombardi Solar System v 2 :iconjlombardi:Jlombardi 22 10 The Solar System by Jlombardi The Solar System :iconjlombardi:Jlombardi 20 8 The Dwarf Planets by Jlombardi The Dwarf Planets :iconjlombardi:Jlombardi 16 0 Uranus by Jlombardi Uranus :iconjlombardi:Jlombardi 10 4 Earth by Jlombardi Earth :iconjlombardi:Jlombardi 7 0 Neptune by Jlombardi Neptune :iconjlombardi:Jlombardi 12 0 Saturn by Jlombardi Saturn :iconjlombardi:Jlombardi 11 0 Mars by Jlombardi Mars :iconjlombardi:Jlombardi 17 2 Sun Facts by Jlombardi Sun Facts :iconjlombardi:Jlombardi 2 3 Sol by Jlombardi Sol :iconjlombardi:Jlombardi 3 0

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Jlombardi's Profile Picture
Justine Lombardi
United States
I am an amateur artist and high school psychology teacher. A few years ago I started to paint with acrylics and have found that art was a missing piece in my life. I use art as a way of relaxing and to develop my inner mind. Art helps me see the world in a fuller and more vivid way. Even a small cardinal in one's backyard can be an explosive experience of color and movement. My art journey has helped me perceive how lovely and incredible that natural world is. I have tried many mediums but I currently prefer watercolor and oil pastels. I recently became interested in water color illustration and hope to pursue that more in the future.

Twitter: @JustineLom

Prints, stickers, and Cute Stuff…



25 deviations
Eclipsed III

When you start up the Eclipse journal writer, there are no visible windows. The only thing hinting something can be written is a prompt hovering in thin air, stating Share what's on your mind...

Eclipse is full of such prompts which seem intended to sound friendly and familiar, but just seem odd and out of place in an interface: It feels like talking to a robot that does not understand human interaction rather than using a computer system. But for this prompt, I suppose I can.

I think rather long and hard before selecting a journal title, but on this occasion it just came spontaneously. Something about "Eclipsed" as an adjective just seemed to fit right, and beginning to realise why now a while in.

I have currently spent about fifty hours compiling and writing the review thus far - about twice as long as I spend on a full scale painting - and while nobody but myself is to blame for how I choose to spend my time, my output has suffered. In the past few weeks pretty much all my community involvement has gone into the be or not to be of Eclipse. I normally spend about half an hour a day picking out art for features and moderating groups - not so much currently. If I can I take an hour out of every day to comment and answer correspondence - sometimes, if there is a lot to say, I save a note and spend a few days writing a single long comment - but right now, that time has been spent on following the development of Eclipse. I received some great feedback and even some beautiful fanart recently, which I have only had time to briefly reply to. My regular community involvement has largely been eclipsed.

Considering the name of the overhaul, I feel tempted to make an ill-advised joke about getting blotted out by a coming darkness, or quote Majora's Mask. But we haven't really met with enough of a terrible fate to warrant it.

But be that as it may, let us go back to the deviation displays.

As said, one concern with the deviation display page is that the information about that art and artist is very broken up, first by the menu bar separating the art from the title and artist, then the tags and classification separating the artist from the description. This works in the item info box in a video game where the gameplay-impacting attributes are most relevant and the flavour text can be tucked away at the bottom, if there is room; but there has to be another way of doing it that creates a coherent flow, whether the viewer is more interested in what the artist has to say about their work, or how it fits into the systems of the site.

For example, the body of the page could be a box that displays either the artist's description or the file history and statistics. The green mobile version does a variation of this beautifully with separate tabs. Likewise the toolbar in the mobile version, as well as in the briefly glimpsed Eclipse mobile version, is simply a toolbar. Hopefully Eclipse will retain these aspects.

The problems with descriptions I hope shall be adressed shortly, especially when it comes to literature deviations. Currently Eclipse treats literature text as descriptions, and descriptions written through the green site are inaccessible. I feel it safe to say this is a work in progress, but currently literature deviations are not displayed in a favourable light.

Of course, literature deviations are not the only written text present on the site. What of journals?

On the good side, old polls and status updates are easily accessible in Eclipse: The Posts tab archives everything, which is great compared to the past mystery of where exactly status updates go when they drop off the page.

However, the display and browsing issues are the same for journals as for images - only worse.

There are only two display options: Large previews...

... and larger previews.

Status posts do not fare a lot better.

The green site displays a list of titles and upload dates, which makes finding a specific journal among what may be hundreds or thousands significantly easier, but Eclipse does not seem to have this function anywhere. For ease of browsing a large number of items and resource management on slower machines, an option to display journals as a list, either paginated or in columns, would be useful. In either case, since journals are per definition mostly text based and should have a descriptive title, there is no apparent reason to have enormous previews on desktop - especially not when the preview format shows quite little text compared to the thumbnail previews on the green site. Instead they seem to focus on making the first embedded picture a large header. Which carries over to how the actual journal looks when opened - and which looks more than a bit odd.

Hmm. On second thought, maybe I should have picked a journal with a less niched and perhaps not as macabre header. But do feel this illustrates another issue: The header has no adjustible height, and crops a bit as it pleases. Also, while the full screen mode was an excellent addition to the deviation page, journals and literature deviations are not currently viewable.

The addition of a measure of estimated reading time may be well intended, but feel more concerned with what unintended effects this may have. What exactly is this estimation based on? Is there a specific average reading speed? Considering the frequent complaints that attention spans are decreasing, what are the chances journals estimated too long to read will just be ignored?

And again, there is the toolbar slicing the page through. Is how many favourites and "loves" a journal has really more relevant than what is written in it? And is the need to share it on facebook really so urgent you need to do it immediately from the header containing the blown up first picture?

Come to think of it, the green site has a blind to pageviews option that disables view displays on profiles. Considering I am not the only one who has voiced concern over some of the perceived shifts in values promoted with Eclipse, do feel it would be appropriate if this function was carried over, or perhaps changed as a browsing option to display either Deviations > Watchers > Pageviews or Deviations > Comments > Favourites.

It should be noted here that of course, not all prominently displayed statistics risk being a source of distraction, feelings of inadequacy or outright needless envy. Some, such as the number of deviations, comments and favourites given, actually can be a clear source of encouragement and inspiration, since they directly measure things that are improved by own effort, rather than the approval and recognition which are both fickle.

So do feel a small nod of recognition is in order to the developers for changing the header bar to display the number of deviations ahead of watchers and views, instead of only displaying the latter two as in the earlier version. A good indication.

Again, the Eclipse writer is beginning to protest. Stay tuned for part four.

Eclipsed I

So anyway, I have recently been involved in the beta test of Eclipse.

It has been quite a ride.

I have not been involved in testing of any sort since doing QA on Magicka 2 some four years ago, so I am not in great shape to write a proper analysis - so I will not try either, but just write an essay as I usually do, touching on subjects as they come to mind. Also, with my meagre 7,5 EU credits of web design under my belt, I am not exactly in shape to suggest credible features nor solutions either, but I shall do my best.

Nevertheless, as there have been some heated feelings over the overhaul and how it has been announced, I do feel a disclaimer is in order: 1) For those who have not read my previous journals (as I presume most among the staff), I want to be absolutely clear I intend no insult if I write irreverently or make jokes at the expense of the design, and 2) The people whose names appear in the screenshots may not share my conclusions or endorse the suggested features; they just happened to be on screen when I subject came to mind.

I am running Windows 7 on an Intel Celeron 1,1 GHz with 4 Gbs of RAM and fully updated Mozilla Firefox. Let us dig in...

First impression when starting Eclipse compared to the old layout is that everything is very large. Not just the separate elements, but there is a lot of empty space as well. All in all Eclipse shows far fewer objects on screen at a time, be it thumbnails, comments or notifications. I ended up quickly zooming out to 80% to get the same level of overview as the old layout provided very quickly and found it far easier to navigate, if still not easy. (In this journal, screenshots from Eclipse will use full zoom while mockups use 80%).

There are occasions when the large element size works wonders, such as the front page and the DD tab - both are gorgeous! - but elsewhere, even at 80%, the large size and large areas of empty space quickly became a chore to navigate. Eclipse looks very sleek and professional in screenshots, but actually interfacing with it I often got the impression of viewing Windows through a straw; a design that seems made for a pleasing appearance first and ease of use second.

Let us take a bite out of the profile.

There is quite a difference.

First thing that comes to mind is everything is significantly larger. Second, not a whole lot of anything is shown. While the old layout shows a menu bar with dropdowns for pretty much everything you would ever like to know about somebody, the new shows next to nothing. It shows uploads, pageviews and number of watchers, along with your tagline, but nothing else. Watchers and pageviews are very prominent.

I do believe it is best I pause for a detour here, because that will be something I will return to a number of times in this entry.

I will not go into too much detail as I find it a difficult subject to write on, but I find pageviews and the number of watchers very distracting to view. On occasion, when I have felt inclined to write a journal but no subject came to mind, I have looked to see if there was a nice, round number of watchers or views that would warrant celebration. But most of the time, I find statistics stressful to view - and terribly so. It may not be apparent, but I suffer from bouts of poor self-confidence, and pressure to measure and compare can bring on feelings of unspecified inadequacy, distracting from the enjoyment and inspiration of the art and artists themselves. Sadly, I have heard many similar concerns throughout testing thus far, and it really cannot be denied the layout of Eclipse - while claiming to be about the art and artist foremost - puts a greatly increased emphasis on displaying quantifiable metrics over qualitative content.

One of the most dangerous threats facing aspiring artists, young and old, is the mistake to conflate success with self-esteem, and approval (from website systems) with success. And a demoralised artist rarely makes it back up. But enough on that matter for now.

As I heard a former CV state in no uncertain manner complaints over lack of personalisation, such as the current removal of custom boxes (a replacement may be in development) and CSS support are not welcome - a hint that should probably be taken very seriously - I will not repeat what others have already said better. And that being said, while the options that are extent do not make up for what has been lost, they are very good. The option of a header and a carousel gallery are excellent additions.

However, the header art option also has one significant problem. It is not an option.

I can see a number of problems arising from this. First, there is the obvious issue that the work of all artists is not suitable for large display; not to say anything of writers. I hear there may be standardised header images on the way, but when the option of a personal header exists, what fun is there is having a premade one? Second, not all artists may desire to have their work displayed cropped and faded - the reasons may vary, integrity of the work, stylistic preference, what have you. Third, while this is an exception, there is also the historicity aspect: Artists who are not currently active but whose work is curated on Deviantart, or deceased artists whose pages are left as-is as tributes. In the old layout those pages are perfectly viewable, but through Eclipse the profile of the venerable Amanda Payne (not deceased) looks like this:

For these reasons, I very strongly suggest header art should remain optional, and/or have optional size, with the page beginning above the username if no header art is selected.

There are also a number of peculiarities with how the header art is displayed.

It has been stated in update logs that the option to reposition and crop header art has been implemented, so I presume it is in there somewhere and I just cannot find it. For the time being, everything seems to be displayed centered and cropped to a fixed box. As a stock provider I hold in very high regard pointed out, for some this is likely to result in there being a lot of groins displayed, which may or may not be a good thing. Speaking of which, the header image currently allows mature art without restrictions. While this is not something that bothers me personally, know that the be or not to be of the mature content filter is a passionate subject for many, and can see the header image being exploited to circumvent filters as it is now. But what I find more immediately peculiar is how the header is displayed and presented.

There is currently no way I know of to display a flatter header image - it is exactly one screen tall, with fadeout into the background theme. First there is the problem that the scrollbar continues behind the menu bar and overlaps the submit button - but I find it sfe to say this is probably a bug being worked on, as several other scrollbars have also been reported as broken. The picture is also very grainy, but this as well is as far as I know a known issue. What is more peculiar is exactly what function a header image this tall serves in the current Eclipse configuration.

As shown in the pictures above, when entering a profile the viewer is presented with the owner's name about halfway down the page, little overview of the profile content, and the faded bottom of the header image. The initial state of the page is scrolled down- this may be a matter of habit, though, learning to use the built-in contextual "back to top" button rather than the controls built into standard browsers, but it feels a bit peculiar both are an option when thir coexistence in Eclipse leaves something to ask for.

Scrolling up displays the whole header, unobstructed by the profile menu bar or icons, but that still leaves an issue: The image is completely inert. This may be a design necessity as the header image is essentially a background, to avoid needlessly complex code (which Eclipse seems to have enough of, so am certainly not suggesting the inclusion of more!), but let us look at this from a different point of view.

The chief purpose of having a header image is not just to have a pretty background: It is intended to absolutely stun new visitors and make them want more - and moreso, it is intended to do so with the least amount of effort possible on part of the viewer. As it is now, the viewer has to actively seek out the full image, and when they so do there is no way of telling what it is or whence it came. Unless the same image is a featured deviation (I believe reintroducing this function has been discussed, but do not quote me on it), the viewer has to sort through the artist's galleries looking for what they first saw. Which may be considered an incentive to browse more, but when looking for something specific browsing can be a chore - and one the new galleries do little to aid in. But more on that later.

Basically, every user's page has a large empty space on top of the page that is essentially just a background.

However, among the additions to Eclipse the header art is probably among my favourites, and I can see a lot of potential in it, just being used creatively:

This is not a mockup, just scrolled up all the way and zoomed out to 80% as to not look quite as grainy as oatmeal with Guinness instead of milk.

All I can say - and I find it hard to contain the elation at this - is wow. Yes. Exactly. When I imagine a professional portfolio page, this is pretty much exactly the introduction I imagine. It feels like opening the title spread of an art book.

With just a little tweaking it would be possible to fit the profile menu bar neatly at the bottom, leaving all functionality of the current profiles accessible - with autoscrolling to move the menu bar to the top of the window when clicked, that is (it can be presumed when you click a tab, you want to see what is under it in its entirety).

I cannot put it any other way: This sort of layout is exactly what I want to see when entering a completely unknown page.

But let us say I did not, or that I already know exactly who I am visiting. In that case, I might rather be first presented with this:

Again, this is not a mockup. This is just the Eclipse profile scrolled down to show only the most vital parts of the header.

Seeing all this, it would probably be a good option to leave header images disabled by default, to preserve viewability of older accounts and for sake of users who do not wish to use a header image, or whose work is not suitable as such. Also, it would be preferable if there was the option to set header image height, choosing between full screen on banner format.

Lastly, on the browsing side, for users who are logged in and presumably visit some profiles more frequently than others, the option to set initial state to either the top of the header image or to default to profile menu bar may be useful for convenience. Some may say this takes away the artist's freedom to decide how their art is initially displayed - but with the introduction of the day/night theme this matter is completely moot anyway.

I will not speak much of the day/night theme since others, who have actual medical issues with bright light and contrast, have gone into the technical details better. All I can say is I exclusively use the night mode: The day mode is simply painful to look at, and while a third neutral option would be preferable the night mode will have to do for now.

Writing this in Eclipse, and the journal editor is very heavy on my computer. Going to split this - stay tuned for part two.



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ebjeebies Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2019  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you for the watch!
tsahel Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thanks for the fav ! :D
tsahel Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thank you very much for the watch and the fav ! :D :D :D
Jlombardi Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2019
NP :) 
BlackCatArtDA Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you very much for watching me! Aww 
inktopia Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
thank you for the fave:)
Supach Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2018  Hobbyist
Happy Birthday :D
Jlombardi Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2018
astroshadow Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2018  Student General Artist
Happy Birthday! birthday cake 
Jlombardi Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2018
Thank you!
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