Found out about the new "Eclipse
" format that DeviantART
is planning to roll out in the near future. It's hard to appreciate how much this site has changed in only the last five years, but even compared to that timeline, Eclipse looks like a completely different site. In fact, it looks an awful lot like Artstation
. That's not a bad thing, but I sometimes worry about the homogenization of platforms. Everyone wants to be Facebook
, but I wouldn't want DeviantART
to be like Facebook
for the same reason I don't want my dentist to use the same tools as my auto mechanic.
Speaking of social media platforms, when it comes to DeviantART
, its identity in the webscape has always been split between, well, the art and the deviants (us). It's got perfectly adequate chops for exhibiting the art, and while the comment/reply/note system looks like what the IMDB
message boards used to be on their best day, it worked. It was a good, solid platform for artists to network and provide feedback to one another.
In short, what Eclipse feels like to me is DeviantART
trying to put a greater focus on exhibiting the art while putting the community to the side. On the whole, it makes perfect sense. People often forget that DevART
is older than Twitter
, and YouTube
. Before that big social media boom brought on by MySpace
and carried to dizzying heights by Facebook
had to wear a number of hats. It couldn't settle for mere comments and direct messages. It had to provide a host of separate yet joined services in one complete package. It worked. It kept people happy and, most importantly for any website, keep people in one place. This multi-tasking has become unfashionable by now, which I honestly think is why Instagram
is still flourishing despite complaints about its "non-chronological" feed and Vero
is struggling to extend its proverbial 15 minutes. I can't find any good data on its traffic or revenue, but there's no denying they did not live up to their own hype, which wasn't even that terribly outlandish to begin with.
Speaking of hyped up living, I'm going to go through some of the key features and give some very rough impressions of them.
It seems kind of odd how widespread the whole banner image thing took off. I kind of want to say it started on YouTube
, but I don't think that's accurate. It's appropriate for DA
as we're moving away from our profiles being tiled modules on a uniform page into something more personalized. Beta testers here have had options to customize their front pages in terms of color schemes and layouts, but to me it always looked like a MySpace
page, and we've all collectively decided (somehow) we don't like that and prefer something that feels more like Minority Report
and less like Hackers
This just looks weird to me. I don't know how to put it. It reminds me of something I read about store brands. There was a European chain of small grocery stores that had an in-store brand which used the exact same packaging for everything, with only text to distinguish corn flakes from laundry detergent. The boxes were literally the same shape and size, same minimalist cloudy sky pattern, but one was cereal and one was detergent. It's somehow painfully mundane yet disturbingly surreal.
As much as I dig the mystically mysterious "undiscovered" option for the front page and my search results, this love meter has a bit too much of an echo chamber vibe to it. I don't think it's anywhere near as dangerous as the echo chamber effect as it manifests itself on social sites like Facebook
, or even Tumblr
. It's only art, after all. If you're going to have confirmation bias about something, let it be about the art you like, see if I care. While politics are everywhere, and there's certainly no shortage of politically charged stuff here, I feel like it's a small slice of the pie at best and
lots of squares.
Eclipse feels very grid-like, with lots of square tiles only rarely offset by a few slightly more squat rectangles. Sure, this is most likely the result of the featured artists chosen who probably have stronger followings on Instagram
, which has fetishized the square aspect ratio. I'm not knocking it for that; I adore Instagram
and its Lomography
-inspired aesthetics. I also won't deny it's had an impact on my own work, but going back to what I said about doing a root canal with a tire iron, there's stuff from IG
that I don't post here and stuff from DA
that doesn't go on IG
, primarily because of the canvas dimensions. I also have to wonder how the new format is going to look for gifs and pixel art.
PC master race?
What I truly wonder most about what the future holds for DeviantART
with this new "Eclipse" direction is what it will mean for the mobile app?