Gallery Makeover Project
|7 min read
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Moonbeam13's avatar
By Moonbeam13   |   Watch
59 176 17K (2 Today)
Published: March 8, 2013
Hello everyone :)

Recently my team and I worked tirelessly on a project to help improve the gallery descriptions and thumbnail examples.  While that project was indeed tedious with almost 4,000 categories in our system, it was also educational.  What I learned from sorting through thousands and thousands of categories was that we have a lot of redundancy and a lot of categories that seem to have been created on a whim that are now simply homes for junk.

Over the years, the desire to appease niche communities and people who just wanted a specific area has led to some categories that go up to 4 levels deep, and it's really no wonder it's so confusing for people to figure out where to submit their artwork.

The conclusion I've come to is simplicity.  While I'm not about to rip apart everything and make 6 stand alone categories, I do believe that there is a lot we can do to simplify the category tree.  That includes some of the following:

1. Merging categories that make sense.  For example, Digital Drawings is now merged with Digital Paintings creating one Digital Drawings & Paintings category.  The Digital Art > Drawings subcategories will be merged with the existing Digital Paintings subcategories and you don't need to do anything.  Right now a gallery pointer is in place but we will move all of that content into the appropriate place.  The reasoning is pretty simple, the difference between Digital Drawing and painting is not something that is so discernable it requires a separate category.  In fact if you browsed through either they were a mixture regardless because people themselves didn't get the difference.  This Digital Drawing/Painting merge will be something that will occur in all Digital Media galleries over time.  

2. "Other" categories.  Recently all 'miscellaneous' categories were renamed to "other" because the term Miscellaneous seemed to imply that anything under the sun could go there.  In some instances the "other" category has been removed.  For exampled: Digital Art > Other has been closed to submission.  The artwork there will be moved to appropriate digital art categories so do not panic :) However, to really emphasize the absurdity of some categories.. The Digital Art > Other category had 18 subcategories.  There was even a Digital Art > Other > Other.. WHAT?  I appreciate that there was an animations gallery that accepted gifs that will be moved to the main Digital Art category so it will be Digital Art > Animations.  Animations of that sort will also be permitted in Mixed Media > Other and Drawings & Paintings > Other, once a fix has gone in.  

3. Retiring outdated categories.  Some categories served a purpose years ago but since then have died out or, for example, in Customizations, perhaps the system or program doesn't exist anymore.  Retiring a category will mean that there is a sufficient enough of accurate submissions to leave the gallery browsable for historical reasons but it will be closed to further submission to avoid having it littered with misplaced deviations.

4. Removing dead categories.  Some categories never took off and there's not even one valid entry in it.  These will be removed from browse and submit and you likely won't even notice ;)


After reading all of this I ask you not to panic. Over the next few weeks, volunteers from specific niche communities with categories we believe can use some simplifying will be reaching out to their communities for feedback and thoughts.  If you are interested in helping with this process, please ensure you are watching communityrelations and the volunteer associated with the gallery you want to contribute your thoughts to.  Nothing about this project is malicious and the cooperation and feedback from the community is very important to me :)  It's possible that many galleries won't be touched at all but I truly believe that if we have the ability to simplify a structure, it's within our best interest to do so.  The 4 level deep galleries of the past are archaic and difficult to navigate, even for the veteran deviant and it helps contribute to people just dumping artwork in the first category they can find because it's too taxing to bother to find the right one.  Should you decide to provide input during this project, I want you to try to imagine yourself as a new deviant, and if you can get that far, try to imagine yourself as one that doesn't speak English as a first language.. and you'll see the nest of insanity in a whole new light :D

This isn't going to happen overnight, and like I said earlier, it may not affect you at all but it is the direction I'm going in and I hope you join me on this crazy journey! It's going to be quite the adventure :heart:



Recommended Journals
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Comments (161)
catluvr2's avatar
catluvr2|Hobbyist General Artist
Out of pure curiosity, how is this coming along?
Reply  ·  
The-Build's avatar
The-Build|Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Sounds like an awesome idea, I've got some ideas but would happily poll them first and ask for additional opinions and ideas.
Reply  ·  
Moonbeam13's avatar
Moonbeam13|Hobbyist Photographer
Sounds great :)
Reply  ·  
Sarah-BK's avatar
Sarah-BK|Hobbyist Photographer
My suggestion is half photography and half general related, hence I am leaving it here :)

There is a wide variety of photomanipulations out there. I understand that photomanipulation is "a piece of art which contains two or more photographs combined together".

Sometimes they are minor manips (eg just another layer of bokeh stock over the main photograph) and are not really that much to be considered digital art, like the more elaborate photomanipulations with bits cut out from everywhere. However, being photomanips, they technically do not fit in photography. To the viewer, seeing such a piece of art in photography, would think that the bokeh was achieved in the photograph itself rather than being another layer over it - it can be misleading.

I personally think that photomanipulations should be a category of their own, just like photography or digital art. Then, it can be divided into whether it is more photographic or not :) It's a rather big category and I think would be very popular and will decrease the much confusion I encounter of whether everything in the photo was achieved in that photo or not... :)
Reply  ·  
ValentinaWhite's avatar
ValentinaWhite|Student Photographer
Yes, I totally agree.
It gets complicated to categorize photos since some or most of them require a slight editing, but - especially if you want to contribute to some groups - the chances to have your work declined double, and you find yourself with some people saying "we declined it because it's a photomanipulation" or, either way, "it's been declined since it's photography".
It really becomes confusing. Plus, to edit a photograph doesn't really make the artist a digital artist, right?
I think they are very separate and different thing, and having a proper category could clear up some troubles.
Reply  ·  
kowai-usagi's avatar
kowai-usagi|Hobbyist General Artist
I hope this comment is not going to get lost. >_<;
So, I had a look at ^kingmancheng's journal and after I looked at the list, I was left with some questioning that ^kingmancheng advised me to forward to you.

COPY/PASTE/ARRANGE
Since I didn't see it in the list in his journal (I'm not sure/I don't get where it went in the list), I would like to have a word about Architectural Design.
Currently, you find it under the Design & Interface section. And I think that it could be partly a problem.

That Architectural design goes together with Industrial & Product design, Theater Design and somewhat Vehicular Graphics sounds logic to me.
But it is a whole different story when those are drowned into web graphic designs that are subdivided in many categories right from the root of the folder (the main problem)(grouping what concerns web design (web interfaces and buttons) and mediation (corporate, advertising and signage) together would be a good start in my opinion).
Also, I think there should be subdivisions in the architectural design category: One for Architecture, one for Landscape & Urbanism and one for Interior.

Lastly I just realized that fashion looks very tiny in there...
Reply  ·  
Moonbeam13's avatar
Moonbeam13|Hobbyist Photographer
Thanks we'll include this in the list of things to consider :)
Reply  ·  
kowai-usagi's avatar
kowai-usagi|Hobbyist General Artist
Thank YOU for the hard work! :)
Reply  ·  
Shadowflashdabearded's avatar
Well done, you could try looking at the approach trash for treasure bar personal scaps category if it helps.
Reply  ·  
fanficbug's avatar
fanficbug|Hobbyist Digital Artist
Sounds good to me! :)
Reply  ·  
Dawgit's avatar
My Thoughts on all this is simple. First define the categories. Make the changes. Inform all the deviants via a message od said changes. Versus the hit and miss action. Your message has been moved to scraps versus please review your deviation in selected category to what ever new options you have available after your makeover. No panic, no outrage and a lot less messages to the help desk or reports of policy violation.
Reply  ·  
ankewehner's avatar
ankewehner|Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well, as a complete makeover, I'd appreciate the categories acting more like tags than a rigid hierarchy, mostly because of cases where an image could go in two different main branches. Like, fantasy images drawn in manga style. I'd also like the option to browse e.g. ALL scifi submissions, not have them split into digital, traditional, and possibly other places.

Barring that big changes, I think a place to send "hybrid" images that use both traditional and digital elements would be awesome.
Reply  ·  
rainbow-heron's avatar
rainbow-heron|Hobbyist General Artist
Idea I've had for awhile:

Make Submit & Search mirror functions of each other (looks like an Advanced Search box).

How:

On the submit or deviation page editor, a series of 3 types of Catergory checkboxes.
-MeduimCat: the medium[s] used to create the deviation (ie: oil, pasted, digital, photo, beads)
-GenreCat: the genre[s] (ie: manga, steampunk, abstract, pixel, fanart)
-EtcCats: currently, every deviation is pidgoen-holed in the almighty Heirarchy. Hard to find is easy to bury, thus murder to manage. Only certain specific areas (stock images, pixel art, avatars) really need any heirarchy to them. These would be the EtcCats: like Digital Dolls are always Digital and never under Oil; yet there are some Emoticonists who enjoy Vector rather than Pixel.

Checkboxing:

This could automatically make the items checked like fields in a spreadsheet, creating its own keywords for searching (less work for the artist and searchbar), and potentially a way for the artist to edit multiple submitions (long-requested). Multiple fields means multiple cats for deviations that don't conform to just one Cat, like a Fanart piece that's in Art Nouveau style for a Community Project wich was done in Oils, Pastels, *and* Charcoals.

The 2 Supercats- Medium & Genre:

Multiple cats also means a more specified search. If you make Submit like Search, you can eliminate the current duplication problems you have (like an Abstract section in 3 or more locations). In this new way, you only check the (GenreCat) Abstract once and from there and retain the flexability to expand or narrow your search by overwhelming the searchbar less.

EtcCats: (yeah I hate the name too)

For sections that truly need hierarchy, and to help cut down the miscatting, only link the *parent* of the Cat as yes/no to other Medium/Genre Cats and everything under the parent link only 'yes' to the parent itself, thus nothing can be buried under it. This way, you cannot hide a celebrity photo pack in the emoticon section, because it would be easier to avoid or spot, recat, and eliminate.

Search box:

Use the searchbox only as a keyword search; the Artist's inputs that can't be checked by the 3 types of Cat boxes.

Addendum:

It would also be nice if all of the checked catergories and keywords per deviation were listed on the deviation's page the way the current tier results are now under the Artist's name. As you're redoing the tiers, you'd probably have to do that anyway.

The Next New Thing:

Submit being like Search also paves the way for a better Artist Search! Find someone to commission a piece from or find someone new in your favorite genre, when DA generates a list of what the Artist checks under their Submit's MediumCat and GenreCat. Add it to the Artist's profile. Search for your Artist the same way you search for their art: by Medium, by Genre, by a more specific catergory. This helps with exposure if an Artist works in multiple mediums, like traditional oils, photography, and metal sculpture.

Again, as a mirror of Submit (the Artist) and Search (the User/Patron) it could also make things easier for the Admin, as the systems are all smoothly similar to each other.

In the end:

I personally, think this method overall would provide more exposure for the Artist, more flexability in Searching, be more true to the individual Deviations themselves, and help cut down on the Admin's headaches. You're already using an associative version of searching with your More Like This to help with the EtcCats' associations. You just need to de-tier the existing overall catergories, and leave the heirarchy only to the specifics that need it.

Just my :twocents:, thanks for reading! :dalove:
Reply  ·  
icefire8521's avatar
icefire8521|Hobbyist General Artist
When someone uses an equal amount of both digital and traditional art, where would it go? I think it's supposed to be something like which is more dominant or the focus, but when both combined is the focus, it's kind of hard. Maybe a mixed medium category (as a main category) would be useful? Just a suggestion.
Reply  ·  
Cyangmou's avatar
Cyangmou|Professional Digital Artist
thumbs up for you
Reply  ·  
ibjennyjenny's avatar
ibjennyjenny|Professional Photographer
In Application Resources, it would be so much better if you separated the Free content from the premium.

Oh and the Lightroom Preset Category is so good, the quality is just amazing in there, I am totally impressed.

That's all, thanks for all your help.
Reply  ·  
SwackAttack's avatar
SwackAttack|Student Filmographer
I really hope an animation digital art category comes up soon so i can start posting my stuff.
Reply  ·  
digikijo's avatar
digikijo|Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
:thumbsup::D
Reply  ·  
Borntothevoid's avatar
Borntothevoid|Professional Traditional Artist
All sounds good. :)
Reply  ·  
TehAngelsCry's avatar
TehAngelsCry|Professional Interface Designer
Out of curiosity, what is the difference between a digital drawing and a digital painting? ._.

Digital Art > Other > Other sounds like TEH BEST CATEGORY :squee:
Reply  ·  
pica-ae's avatar
pica-ae|Professional Interface Designer
Because the answer to that is so not easy, it is easier to say there is none ;)

I have been part of many discussion of this issue and seen a lot of them. Even tho there is a consens on Drawings being more about lines, and Paintings about shapes, not everybody agrees on that and the whole issue can easily become confusing and is extremely subjective :B
Reply  ·  
TehAngelsCry's avatar
TehAngelsCry|Professional Interface Designer
Ahhh I see o_o thank you for the clarification - no matter how ambiguous it may be! XD
Reply  ·  
anonymous's avatar
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