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Wren - Minimalist and free portfolio theme for Wordpress.

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polycounter lvl 6
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Sythen polycounter lvl 6
So I'm not sure whether or not I'm posting this in the correct area, if one of the mods could assist if it's not correct that'd be awesome.

I've started development of a Wordpress theme that I intend to release for free called Wren.
The theme itself is a minimalist customizable portfolio theme specifically aimed at the CG Artist community,  it's also responsive so that it works well on mobile.

I've developed the theme to be as light as possible, and plan to release soon. So I decided to create this thread to show the progress, and to take in any suggestions you guys may have!

Below is a promo shot. Special thanks to  Wiktor Öhman ( Disting on twitter - www.artbywiktor.com ) for allowing me to use his work to showcase the theme.



Let me know what everyone thinks! C&C's very welcome.

Wren v1.0 Released: http://wren.scottbaker.eu/
Fork on Github! https://github.com/Sythenz/WrenPortfolioTheme

Thanks,

Replies

  • DoctorClot
    This looks really nice so far.

    I look forward to its release.
     
    Need to get my portfolio up anyway. Might do that with wordpress :)
  • Sythen
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    Sythen polycounter lvl 6
    Thank you! I'll be posting some more screenshots soon and uploading a live demo for people to test and see what they think. Are there any requirements you think could be generalized for release? :)
  • Stromberg90
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    Stromberg90 polycounter lvl 9
    Good job on this, very clean looking.
    Can't come up with much to say before trying the live demo.
    I have not used wordpress themes, but how open to customization is it?

  • DoctorClot
    Ok

    1. So easy to customize
    2. Easy to set up

    That is my only two requirements :)
    Keep in Mind that I have never used WordPress... 
  • Sythen
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    Sythen polycounter lvl 6
    I'm intending to expose as much as I can to the the customizer built into wordpress, this feature allows you to see all updates you're doing in real time. I just spent the last second or two doing a high contrast test. Here's an example of it in wordpress's theme customizer just to give you an idea. Sidebar can be swapped left or right, and all colors are exposed. More to come!


  • iadagraca
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    iadagraca polycounter lvl 5
    NICE! About time someone made a focused one like this  :D

    I wish you luck man! My personal site is custom built by me but i don't consider it a portfolio yet. Maybe I'll use this for the portfolio side since I don't have time to dabble with my own lately. 
  • RaptorCWS
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    RaptorCWS polycounter lvl 8
    Looks awesome. Let us know when you release it. Wordpress definitely needs a theme for 3d artist. The one I'm using right now is the closest I could get to what I wanted, but it looks too much like a blog. Your layout and color  was exactly what I was looking for. I will definitely switch to your theme when you release it.
  • Sythen
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    Sythen polycounter lvl 6
    I'm really happy to see the feedback & best wishes from you guys!

    @Iadagarca I've checked your portfolio, and it's awesome work! Very art-centric, and nice style.

    @raptorcws very happy to hear that. Once I get the demo site up, perhaps I can get some of your input :)

  • xvampire
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    xvampire polycounter lvl 12
    ooh so gladly I am using wordpresss, good timing too , i have quite update next year.  will keep my eye on this


    my comment  probably, it would be nice to add     space for banner image.    it will add so much personality on every   portfolio despite using the same template. 
  • soulstice
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    soulstice polycounter lvl 9
    This looks really nice, cant wait to try it! Thank you!!
  • Sythen
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    Sythen polycounter lvl 6
    @xvampire how do you mean banner image, as in a featured portfolio item above or on a specific portfolio item's page?
  • xvampire
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    xvampire polycounter lvl 12
    the one above like on, twitter , Facebook, and Artstation
  • Sythen
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    Sythen polycounter lvl 6
    Hmm, interesting! I can add it as an option. :)
  • vmrnv
    Yeah, this looks really well! It also would be great to have a blog button, where artists could post their tutorials and other stuff. 
  • Sythen
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    Sythen polycounter lvl 6
    @VMRNV great idea! I'll add that to the customization :)
  • Sythen
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    Sythen polycounter lvl 6
    Hey there everyone, so I'm ready to show everyone some current work in progress - I definitely have a lot more work to do on the theme, but this link will be updated with each version.

    http://wren.scottbaker.eu/demo/
    I've also set up a twitter: https://twitter.com/wrentheme

    Please let me know what you think!
  • beefaroni
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    beefaroni sublime tool
    Damn! This looks great. It will definitely be a go to recommendation for everyone looking to setup a site. 
  • Sythen
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    Sythen polycounter lvl 6
    beefaroni said:
    Damn! This looks great. It will definitely be a go to recommendation for everyone looking to setup a site. 
    Thank you! That's great to hear.
  • RaptorCWS
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    RaptorCWS polycounter lvl 8
    I really like the demo. Is the contact and resume buttons going to be able to link to a page editable in wordpress and will they have a similar theme to the home page? This is, in my opinion, better than all of the paid themes wordpress has to offer.
  • Sythen
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    Sythen polycounter lvl 6
    RaptorCWS said:
    I really like the demo. Is the contact and resume buttons going to be able to link to a page editable in wordpress and will they have a similar theme to the home page? This is, in my opinion, better than all of the paid themes wordpress has to offer.
    Yes, Wren has Standard & About page templates that can be used to show your CV and contact information. The buttons themselves can be linked anywhere as they are available in the Wordpress customize panel. You can even link them off site if you wish! :)
    As soon as I finish the about/contact style templates I'll get it up on the demo site!
  • iadagraca
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    iadagraca polycounter lvl 5
    Shouldn't contact info be displayed on the main page and every page? Much like you would watermark contact info on a portfolio image?
  • Sythen
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    Sythen polycounter lvl 6
    iadagraca said:
    Shouldn't contact info be displayed on the main page and every page? Much like you would watermark contact info on a portfolio image?
    This was something I've been debating, and opted with a contact 'call to action' button that links to an about page, with all relevant contact information. I'm putting in an option to show contact info on the sidebar, but after testing it doesn't seem to be as nice in the layout. I'll show an example later!
  • Francois_K
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    Francois_K greentooth
    Definitely going use this. Can't wait!
  • iadagraca
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    iadagraca polycounter lvl 5
    Maybe just put it in the spot where "Wren Theme Demo (v0.1)" is in the demo? 
    That way it can be a single phone number or more likely an email address mailto: link. Maybe replace the mailto link at the bottom with that and use a custom (or maybe sketchfab) link instead? 
    Speaking, how would a sketchfab embed look in this?
  • Sythen
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    Sythen polycounter lvl 6
    iadagraca said:
    Maybe just put it in the spot where "Wren Theme Demo (v0.1)" is in the demo? 
    That way it can be a single phone number or more likely an email address mailto: link. Maybe replace the mailto link at the bottom with that and use a custom (or maybe sketchfab) link instead? 
    Speaking, how would a sketchfab embed look in this?
    Some good suggestions, in terms of the 'Wren Theme Demo' line, this is fully customizable - you can have whatever you wish here! I.e: you can hide the contact button and just have a phone number there on that line if you wish :) The email icon down the bottom links to a mailto: link. If there are any more suggestions I'll add them to the social media icon list.

    Sketchfab integrates well, I'll add an example to the demo when I get the chance :)
  • Panupat
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    Panupat polycounter lvl 13
    Love it! I'll try it out as soon as you allow it :) Thanks!
  • Fwap
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    Fwap Polycount Sponsor
    This looks amazing, i wouldn't mind switching over my portfolio to this when released.
    I don't suppose you have an ETA or anything do you? I ask only because i graduate in a few weeks, and this would be awesome to present my folio with this theme during the industry walk through.
  • MMKH
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    MMKH polycounter lvl 8
    Cool, would Sketchfab thumbnails work (as in be clickable and load the models in each one)?
  • Sythen
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    Sythen polycounter lvl 6
    Hey guys, with work at Quixel right now, I've had to stop working on Wren for the next week. After the next week I will be fully on finishing Wren!
  • Lazerus Reborn
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    Lazerus Reborn polycounter lvl 8
    Excellent work @Sythen
    Wren ticks everything a good portfolio needs in terms of UI/Load times. The layout is simple and efficient and is in the current ideal style. Seeing how fast your site is, I'll probably have to remove the bloat from mine now haha! 

    Just a quick one, the current demo of the site shows a black border around the first three images, upsetting the flow a bit. Would it not be better to 'zoom' the images in a bit more when you take the thumbnail or are they auto generated based on relative image size? 

    Will you be integrating 'Contact form 7' on the contact page, or will the button link directly to a mailto? I suppose the users can do this themselves though!

    Bit of a note: With anyone using a wordpress based site, make sure you install a security plugin to prevent/ reduce attacks, I recommend, iThemes Security, as it warns you of attempted attacks and locks the user's IP out for 'x' amount of days. It also offers a routine backup and the usual protection needed. I average 1-2 lockouts a day from brute force attacks. 

    This has replaced my recommended portfolio for new people at any rate. I'll be passing it around my usual circles when it's finished :) 
  • iadagraca
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    iadagraca polycounter lvl 5

    Just a quick one, the current demo of the site shows a black border around the first three images, upsetting the flow a bit. Would it not be better to 'zoom' the images in a bit more when you take the thumbnail or are they auto generated based on relative image size? 
    Yeah that's the fault of the image used, they're likely auto-cropped. I don't know how he's set up loading images in the portfolio but it should be easy enough to make the thumb (featured image) a pre-cropped image if the other ones are letter box. 

    That said, whats the logic in letterboxing portfolio pieces anyway?

    Also as a side note to your post bruteforce attacks are useless if they never guess your username. I run a few wordpress sites and i used to monitor the activity of bots on the biggest one. I'd see TONS of bot login attempts but they were more often for assumed user names not the actual admin accounts or any accounts at all. I'd just say make an admin account and a separate 'posting' account and they'll never guess the admin account username cause it will never be in a post. 

    Another security tip is don't be too plugin happy, at least don't use really old plugins that haven't been updated in forever (like a year or two for something advanced). You might end up with your server compromised and ithemes didn't help me with that. 

    That said though if you run multiple social sites SNAP is ultra important. One post on your personal site updates EVERYWHERE customzed to your liking.

  • Sythen
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    Sythen polycounter lvl 6
    Excellent work @Sythen
    Wren ticks everything a good portfolio needs in terms of UI/Load times. The layout is simple and efficient and is in the current ideal style. Seeing how fast your site is, I'll probably have to remove the bloat from mine now haha! 

    Just a quick one, the current demo of the site shows a black border around the first three images, upsetting the flow a bit. Would it not be better to 'zoom' the images in a bit more when you take the thumbnail or are they auto generated based on relative image size? 

    Will you be integrating 'Contact form 7' on the contact page, or will the button link directly to a mailto? I suppose the users can do this themselves though!

    Bit of a note: With anyone using a wordpress based site, make sure you install a security plugin to prevent/ reduce attacks, I recommend, iThemes Security, as it warns you of attempted attacks and locks the user's IP out for 'x' amount of days. It also offers a routine backup and the usual protection needed. I average 1-2 lockouts a day from brute force attacks. 

    This has replaced my recommended portfolio for new people at any rate. I'll be passing it around my usual circles when it's finished :) 
    The black borders on the first three images are caused by the letterboxing added to the Bombus, Feisar and Mech. These were added to the images by Wiktor, I'm trying to get versions of the renders without the letterboxes for the portfolio - but they are being auto-cropped by wordpress.

    Thanks for the plugin shout-out, I'll make a compatible area for Contact Form 7. :)

    Generally I've never had any issues with wordpress for security, making sure you have an adequate password, disable user account creation or alternatively hide /wp-admin and /wp-login.php by changing their ftp access permissions is the most simplest of ways to lock any 'bad guy' out from wordpress.

    In relation to passing it around: Great to hear!  :D

    IADAGRACA: No thought process behind the letterboxing, it was created as these are promo shots for other Quixel mediums. The letterboxing works well everywhere else (Facebook, quixel.se etc.)
  • kolayamit
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    kolayamit polycounter lvl 11
    This theme is the best, i am using google blogger right now. Was thinking of switching to wordpress, perfect timing :). Thank you SYTHEN.
  • root
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    root polycounter lvl 14
    Looking forward to when you roll this out! I already use wordpress for my portfolio site and I'm eager to switch over. :D 
  • FullSynch
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    FullSynch polycounter lvl 8
    Itching to give this a go! Any updates? :)
  • weee
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    weee polycounter lvl 3
    not many quality minimalist wp themes out there, this is one of them, thanks for the efforts, looking forward to the release.
  • Rurouni Strife
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    Rurouni Strife polycounter lvl 10
    I'll be checking this out for sure. I'm fairly happy with my current them (that I paid for a while ago) but something more minimalist definitely has my attention for a spring/summer update.
  • Sythen
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    Sythen polycounter lvl 6
    Getting everything ready for release! Will keep everyone posted :)
  • Fwap
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    Fwap Polycount Sponsor
  • kolayamit
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    kolayamit polycounter lvl 11
    Yesssssssssss......
  • lotet
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    lotet hero character
    awesome! cant wait!
  • th00mmas
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    th00mmas polycounter lvl 5
    Any update on the theme? I can't wait to use it! 

  • Sythen
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    Sythen polycounter lvl 6
    Hey everyone! Firstly, I'd like to apologize for the delay. Things got very busy, very quickly. 

    Wren v1.0 has been released! You can find it here: http://wren.scottbaker.eu/
    Demo: http://wren.scottbaker.eu/demo

    Wren installs by extracting to your wp-content/themes directory, after that activate the theme from your Wordpress dashboard and go to customize, you'll need to set the sidebar to the left or the right to get started. When making a portfolio item, be sure to set a featured image so that it shows up on the homepage.  

    And let me know what you think!
  • pior
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    pior veteran polycounter
    That looks rock solid. Very nice !
  • lotet
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    lotet hero character
    Awesome, gonna take this for a spin and see what it can do. :)
  • battlecow
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    battlecow polycounter lvl 9
    you're the boss mate, can't even begin to tell you how gratefull I am.
  • Fwap
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    Fwap Polycount Sponsor
    My god, it's beautiful.
    Switched over immediately, my folio looks great now.
    Small problem though, I can't get my Contact/Blog/Resume buttons to appear, I've set up the links for them but they aren't in the side menu. The 
  • CandyStripes05
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    CandyStripes05 polycounter lvl 9
    any chance of getting a weebly version? Guess I can just make a wordpress folio instead - thanks for the work friend!
  • Sythen
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    Sythen polycounter lvl 6
    Fwap said:
    My god, it's beautiful.
    Switched over immediately, my folio looks great now.
    Small problem though, I can't get my Contact/Blog/Resume buttons to appear, I've set up the links for them but they aren't in the side menu. The 
    Hey! Try clearing the fields (names of buttons) and typing into them again - I believe the value just needs a reset, but I've added it down as an issue.
    battlecow said:
    you're the boss mate, can't even begin to tell you how gratefull I am.
    Thank you! ^_^ 
    any chance of getting a weebly version? Guess I can just make a wordpress folio instead - thanks for the work friend!
    No.  I stay away from Weebly. :wink: 

    So! I've already had a few users report some minor issues, so in the next day or so I'll be getting out another update, you can either watch the git for a latest commit or wait for a post here with another update!
    https://github.com/Sythenz/WrenPortfolioTheme

    And don't forget to show me what you guys come up with, I'd love to see your uses of Wren! :)
  • iadagraca
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    iadagraca polycounter lvl 5
    AWESOME :D

    I'll probably end up making a subdomain to use this for a more "direct" portfolio site cause my current one is more like a blog.

    Also I shared it on twitter for ya!
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