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[General Discussion] - Setting up a quick portfolio site

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Rick Stirling polycounter lvl 14
It seems that every week there are dozens of new portfolio sites popping up - sometimes they look good, and sometimes they look bad. Storage space is often hard to find, some free hosts make it almost impossible to directly link to your images, and some peple are still manually editing and upload HTML.

Why not use the easy route? Blog it.

I'm going to show you how to quickly create a portfolio site that will look good, be simple to update, and display your art easily.


I'm writing this as an article for my own site, and it'll be shaped by any feedback here.

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  • rooster
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    rooster mod
    yus! good timing man I'm all ears

    edit: I have a pretty advanced knowledge of html though, my most advanced technique is making frames.. yeah!
  • Jeff Parrott
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    Jeff Parrott polycounter lvl 15
    Sweet Rick. After reading the walkthrough you did with Mojokey's site I am going to switch mine over to CSS when I get some time.
  • Rick Stirling
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    Rick Stirling polycounter lvl 14
    Ok, I shall continue!

    Firstly, we need a blog. There are dozens to choose from, but you'll want one that lets you integrate other sites into it using an API. I'll use Wordpress for this example, but you could equally use LiveJournal, Blogger, Moveable Type, Typepad or whatever.

    So I went to http://www.wordpress.com and signed up for a blog. This took about 30 seconds, and they emailed my password to me, and http://rickstirling.wordpress.com/ was up and running. Using Wordpress is a breeze - just click 'Add new post' and type away.

    So, in 2 minutes I had a site - but it looks like every other Wordpress site out there. My rsart site is Wordpress site, but I used my own hosting and installed their blogging software myself. I really went to work on rsart, editing all the stylesheets and layout to get something that worked for me, and you can do this on a wordpress hosted account just as easily. But since this article is all about speed, for now we are simply going to pick a template design.

    If you go to the Presentation tab on the Wordpress dashboard you can edit the CSS, or you can simply pick from one of the 40 or so themes that are just sitting there (with nice big preview images). I went for Benevolence - it was the first one on the list that I liked. Of course, I could edit that theme as much as I wanted to.
  • Rick Stirling
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    Rick Stirling polycounter lvl 14
    Now we need an image host - and we might as well use Flickr as it has excellent ties with Wordpress. I already have a Flickr account, so I'll not set up a new one, but I assure that it is simplicity itself. When you sign up you get a coded id, like n001828-a, but you can change this to something much easier to remember. I choose rickstirling for mine, and you can view my images at http://www.flickr.com/photos/rickstirling/

    Once you account is setup you can upload you images. Flickr has a web based uploader, but you can also upload by email or by using a variety of applications. I have a plugin for iPhoto that lets me upload directly to Flickr. Since I have a lot of images online, I'll not upload a new one and instead I'll use an existing image for my blog.

    We need to configure Flickr to know where our blog is - fortunately this is easy. By going to http://www.flickr.com/blogs.gne you can add a blog to your Flickr profile. Choose the blog type (in this case it's Wordpress), Then you fill in the API address - flickr tells you what it is, in my case it will be http://rickstirling.wordpress.com/xmlrpc.php and then I give my blog login details. Press next and Flickr will try to verify this - 15 seconds later I'm good to go.

    Now the final stage - getting an image onto your blog. This is the easiest part - simply upload your images to Flickr, navigate to the image that you want, and click the 'Blog This' button. This brings up a text editor, where you can give the image a different title and write a blog post about it. Press Post, and a few secodns later it's done. Flickr has posted a blog post onto your site with the image.

    http://rickstirling.wordpress.com/
  • rooster
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    rooster mod
    this might be a dumb question, but what if you have a host and all the pics you have are sitting in a directory online? do you just use standard html tags
  • Rick Stirling
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    Rick Stirling polycounter lvl 14
    Yup, just link them.

    Wordpress has excellent image uploading built in too (though the offline editors do a better job).

    If you download Ecto (or even Windows Live Writer), you can edit the blog offline and insert images. These will be uploaded to the Wordpress side and included into your post.

    This was just a quick simple tutorial, once you get under the hood of Wordpress you'll see how powerful it is. My entire site www.rsart.co.uk is built in it. All the pages? I just created a new Page in WP, and set it's parent. SO I have a Page called About, which is all about me. I have a Page called links, and I use the WP link system to store, categorise and display all my links.

    You are basically getting a fully functioning web portal - no more uploading HTML
  • animatr
    I have a dumb question...
    What if i want to use this as an animation blog?
    what's the best route to go there? you tube?
    Thanks Rick for doing this. It's really cool.
  • Rick Stirling
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    Rick Stirling polycounter lvl 14
    animatr - You Tube will probably work. I'll go do some research.

    at the end of the day it's just a site, so you can add anything you want. I choose Wordpress and Flickr simply because they integrate so well and take so much pain out of it.


    I'd be interested to see someone try the whole shebang from start to end. I'm betting that it takes under 10 minutes to have a portfolio site up and running.

    Go on, give it a go.

    If someone tries that, we can work on customisation.
  • Rick Stirling
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    Rick Stirling polycounter lvl 14
    Ha!

    The latest Wordpress has got video embedding built in. You just go to Embed video and use [youtube=http: or [googlevideo=http: and add the link. Then its done.

    This is for wordpress.com sites, not a custom WP install. This is because the WP.com site is upgraded all the time. I'd expect this feature to be in the next standalone install, but int he meantime you can use WP plugins to easily embed the video.
  • animatr
    Nice!
    That's pretty sweet!
  • Tulkamir
    I *heart* you Rick!

    Seriously though, thanks man. This is great, just what I need and at the right time. smile.gif
  • pior
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    pior high dynamic range
    Woo, I tried it and it's indeed very fast. Started at 11.41pm, everything was up and running at midnight, nice.

    But I created my own database and update system for my own website so why bother laugh.gif Php and Mysql For Dummies gave me all I needed, I hacked a working system out of the examples in a week of evening efforts. But then again, It requires to know a bit about HTML and CSS.

    Something to bear in mind is that Wordpress charges you if you want a pesonal custom CSS theme tho.

    My point of view on the whole dynamic conent would be as follows :
    Having blogfast updates is really nice and handy since it prevents you from manually editing content from your webpages. New art is added gradually which is great. However I think it is crucial to delete old works now and then, as bad old crap can pile up and play against you. Also, comments are fine for holidays blogs, but over-verbose portfolio don't look professional in my opinion.

    Last but not least : Painfully handwritten folio sites have their benefits. If kept very simple it is still a great way to showcase works : Actually, a page filled with great images as a nicely put together skills overview does a great job.

    Less clicks still wins!
  • Rick Stirling
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    Rick Stirling polycounter lvl 14
    Ok, this is now edited and online

    http://www.rsart.co.uk/

    And a permalink: http://www.rsart.co.uk/2006/08/26/setting-up-a-quick-portfolio-site/


    Pior - Don't like comments? Turn them off. If you mean the text comments you tag onto each image, well, turn that off. At the Flickr end you can customise the post it sends to your blog.
  • pior
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    pior high dynamic range
    Oops yeah I guess past-midnight posts sometimes lack recoil :O What I meant was, the default behaviour of blogpowered sites is kind of overbloated with text in my opinion, and in some cases, making a very simple site from scratch with html basics at least prevents this.

    Apologies if I sounded like an ass, haha laugh.gif Then again, I tried all that Rick mentionned in the posts above and it is surprisingly easy and fast to setup! Yo!
  • hawken
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    hawken polycounter lvl 14
    someone sticky this! smile.gif
  • bearkub
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    bearkub polycounter lvl 13
    sticky for a bit, archived later.
  • SHEPEIRO
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    SHEPEIRO polycounter lvl 13
    youll see one from me soon, thanks alot dude,
  • Jeremy Lindstrom
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    Jeremy Lindstrom polycounter lvl 14
    What about joomla?

    http://www.joomla.org/

    It's pretty easy to setup and tons of themes already out there and it has some nice image options..

    I'm using that currently on my site.
  • Ryno
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    Ryno polycounter lvl 14
    Wow, after seeing this post, I thought that I'd add a blog to my site. The wife and I have a baby on the way, so I figured it would be a good way to keep the grandparents updated on stuff. In about 2 hours, I came up with this: http://ghouseproductions.com/blog/

    Wordpress was available through the company that does my hosting, so I just went with that. Very simple to get going. It was so darn easy, I think that I might just add a few extra pages, and move my entire portfolio over. It is just so ridiculously easy to maintain, that I might actually keep my portfolio up to date just for the sheer hell of it.

    Nah, that's a stretch, but I could! tongue.gif
  • AstroZombie
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    AstroZombie polycounter lvl 15
    Our Wives are expecting at almost the same time, Ryno. We are also keeping the name we have chosen a secret which is driving my mother-in-law crazy.

    Sorry for the off-topic post. I've been thinking of doing a baby blog as well, though.
  • Jeremy Lindstrom
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    Jeremy Lindstrom polycounter lvl 14
    If you are looking for cheap hosting as well, http://www.siteground.com/

    I've never had a problem with them.
    Site hosting is 4.95 a month and great tech help. They use a admin backend called fantastico that will install wordpress, forums, joomla, etc all with one punch of a button.

    FREE Domain
    40,000 MB Web Space
    900 GB Traffic
    99.9% Server Uptime
    15 min Response Time
    24/7 Top Customer Care
    CPanel and Fantastico
    Immediate Activation
    FREE SiteBuilder
    Unlimited MySQL DB
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    E-commerce Pack
  • Penzer
    Thanks for taking the time to write it all up. I've gotta get rid of my flash site that I made for a flash class. One more thing to add to my list of stuff to take care of before graduation smile.gif
  • IronHawk
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    IronHawk polycounter lvl 10
    Is it possible to add an option for clicking to larger pictures in the blog posts? I set up a basic site but would like to use smaller renders in the body of the blog that link up to larger images.

    - Jesse
  • Rick Stirling
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    Rick Stirling polycounter lvl 14
    Yup - wordpress automatically creates a thumbnail and uses the thumbnail linked to the image by default. You can alter the size of the thumbnail in the WP editor, or in most off line editors such as Ecto or Windows Live Writer.
  • chathog159
    maybe im retarded; i dont understand why.
  • Rick Stirling
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    Rick Stirling polycounter lvl 14
    Mebbe yer ma dropped you as a wean?
  • Justin Meisse
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    Justin Meisse polycounter lvl 15
    I'm not trying to be a jerk or anything but this seems more like a personal blog site instead of a portfolio. I had to click on content > artwork > Album:Artwork > personal to get to your latest work.

    I want a site with a bar of thumbnails along the bottom that you can cycle through and the full size image above that, I've looked into gallery and 4images but they all seem to share the same annoying trait of too many clicks.
  • Rick Stirling
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    Rick Stirling polycounter lvl 14
    Did you bother to read this thread or just click?

    My public site is a blog, not a portfolio.
  • Justin Meisse
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    Justin Meisse polycounter lvl 15
    Yes, I've read it and you are talking about setting up a blog with a photo gallery, so I fail to see the "quick portfolio". I'm surprised I'm the first one to mention anything because portfolio sites like this usually get the "keep it simple, open on your best piece" comments here.
  • Joseph Silverman
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    Joseph Silverman polycounter lvl 14
    [ QUOTE ]
    Ok, I'm trying to be a jerk now:

    rename the thread to setting up a quick blog

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I think the name's fine. It could also be renamed setting up a quick blog which, if only used for posting images, can operate perfectly as a portfolio, though, if we want to be specific.

    (Edit: Since you've edited your post would you like me to remove the quote?)
  • Justin Meisse
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    Justin Meisse polycounter lvl 15
    alright Rick, I take it back (damn your eyes!)

    I guess the word blog automatically puts a bad taste in my mouth. I gave it a shot expecting to hate the end result but It bothers me less than the frames that the Photoshop Automator uses.

    wordpress
    http://artbyjustin.com/blog/

    VS

    photoshop automator
    http://www.artbyjustin.com/
  • poopinmymouth
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    poopinmymouth polycounter lvl 14
    [ QUOTE ]
    Yes, I've read it and you are talking about setting up a blog with a photo gallery, so I fail to see the "quick portfolio". I'm surprised I'm the first one to mention anything because portfolio sites like this usually get the "keep it simple, open on your best piece" comments here.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I'm also going to agree with you. I definitely wouldn't treat anyone's site seriously who had this type of treatment. It's ok for the trendy people who want something quick and simple, but as far as the best way to present something, I find it poor. I'd prefer to look at a directory listing of jpegs.

    To expound: Blog type websites are good for incremental updates. However 99.9% of portfolio sites are not checked incrementally. Someone visits one time, and wants to browse all content. Having long lists of posted images is not a good way to do this. There is a reason almost every single site offering a large amount of images uses thumbnails. *hint* it's not because they were waiting for Web 2.0 to be invented.

    I don't understand how this is any easier than making a simple html page with small thumbnails linked to larger images. That would not only be easier to navigate, it'd have less garbage to visually sift through.


    poop.gif
  • Joseph Silverman
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    Joseph Silverman polycounter lvl 14
    [ QUOTE ]

    I don't understand how this is any easier than making a simple html page with small thumbnails linked to larger images.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Well, it does include hosting.
  • Rick Stirling
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    Rick Stirling polycounter lvl 14
    The main point of this was that rather than someone learning (bad) HTML and spending ages making a horrib, hard to navigate website (we've seen a half dozen of those lately, remember), you get a VERY quick, fairly-professional looking (with 40 odd styles to pick from as standard) site.

    A site that is hosted for free (with free iamge hosting on e the site, or via flickr), doesn't have an address with /~ in it, and is simple to update.

    Pior database driven site is much better for a portfolio, or people could use Gallery (like I did http://www.rsart.co.uk/wp-gallery2.php?g2_itemId=164) and make the main page on their site (for my site I choose NOT to have a game art gallery up front, it's not a gallery).

    Not everyone has access to php however, certianly with most free hosts, and those that do rarely have the knowledge to use it well or the time to learn.
  • poopinmymouth
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    poopinmymouth polycounter lvl 14
    Fair enough, this is slightly better than most of the horrid html sites we have seen, and the free hosting is nice (though I still say a url with anything in it other than your info is a ref flag). I still say that a handcrafted folio with an eye focused towards usability and ease of use is much preferable. Bad Html < wordpress < well-designed html.

    poop.gif
  • SHEPEIRO
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    SHEPEIRO polycounter lvl 13
    aaaaargh, ive got a job possibility that needs to see some work, and ive been lazy over the last couple of months so i aint got a working updated portfolio.

    so i thought id try this just to get sommit reasonable to show.

    ive hit a problem though i have all my images in a photobucket account but i cant seem to access them in wordpress.

    ive got an account set up, and when i go to edit/post anything instead of getting the normal posting box thing with buttons to create the cody crap (ie click on button, paste image address, write rest of post, post) aint there and my attempts at getting images in using type in the posting box bring up the image icon but no image loads.... aaaaagh.

    apparently wordpress has a beginner and advance mode to change the post writing, but when i go to where the help guide tells me it aint there......

    aaaargh pooh.

    if someone could show me the correct html tag to get an image uploaded in wordpress, or tell me whats going on id much thankfull
  • SHEPEIRO
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    SHEPEIRO polycounter lvl 13
    hang on after 3 hour of hair pulling it was dead simple


    bleh its easy when you know how to fecking do it
  • SHEPEIRO
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    SHEPEIRO polycounter lvl 13
    ok this is my new site took me roughly an hour to set-up (not including scratching of head 2hrs), including uploading images (longest part)

    what do you think.

    gonna make a few changes here and there

    my brand new webspace for free cheers rick

    actually ill probably make alot of changes, the order of the pages, the front page image, the colours once i get the upgrade, etc etc
  • Rick Stirling
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    Rick Stirling polycounter lvl 14
    I think the logo you've used to watermark all your images is somewhat distracting.

    But perhaps this post would be better on P&P?
  • erik!
    Thanks Rick, this is way better than deviantart. hah!
    Here's my go at, not much of a professional set up, but just something to get my stuff out there: erikwithak.wordpress.com
  • Wahlgren
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    Wahlgren polycounter lvl 10
    Here we go... (hijacking this thread a bit)

    I decided to redesign my webpage and since my webcoding god/friend will do all the nasty coding for me i will have to come up with a design so i´ve been checking out piors page alot since i like what he has. I wanted to get away from that dark "haxxor"-underground thing i´ve been having for awhile now aswell.

    Here it is as it would look when finished. Banner is a WIP and the characters will be presented the same way as pior does it, (can´t render it out right now since im on the family comp).

    http://www.pigged.net/stuff/designtest-hemsidafinaltest3.jpg



    Is it to simplistic? Does it look like shit to you? Am i an idiot? Some guy said i should go black-tribal-border on it instead of the plain ones i use now but... hmm. I like it right now even though it might be plain.
  • pior
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    pior high dynamic range
    Same comment than in my email reply:
    http://www.elpasorugs.com/paintedshades/silhouette_shades/ghvaquero.jpg

    -edit haha ok I see you removed them now :P
  • Wahlgren
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    Wahlgren polycounter lvl 10
    [ QUOTE ]
    Same comment than in my email reply:
    http://www.elpasorugs.com/paintedshades/silhouette_shades/ghvaquero.jpg

    [/ QUOTE ]Dang you´re fast. I also edited my post. Just so you know. Im putting the silhouettes in right now to better show what i mean. smile.gif

    EDIT: You saw the "behind the scenes"-picture. This was the public one without those renders. Im not that much of an idiot, really.
  • pior
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    pior high dynamic range
    Bah no problem! now get that website up and running! wink.gif
  • Wahlgren
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    Wahlgren polycounter lvl 10
    [ QUOTE ]
    Bah no problem! now get that website up and running! wink.gif

    [/ QUOTE ]Bah! :P

    Why get a website running when you can sit and tweak for all eternity. Here´s another one. Don´t know about ze colorz though but.. i kinda like the menu. Will see if i can put some nice graphics into it. smile.gif


    http://www.pigged.net/stuff/design2.jpg
  • MoP
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    MoP polycounter lvl 14
    Notorious P.I.G: Possibly if you're looking for feedback on your site designs, you could post a new thread with them so as not to clutter up this one unnecessarily... or you could even put them in the "What are you working on?" thread.

    IMHO you should either make that diagonal-pattern background into a solid colour, or a larger-scale pattern... at the moment it just looks like pixelly noise and is tearing my eyes away from the main content.
  • sevenfingers
    While this might be a quick way to set up your folio; this is even quicker:

    http://www.carbonmade.com/

    looks pretty decent too.
  • Snowfly
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    Snowfly polycounter lvl 14
    Here's my go at a portfolio blog. I must say Wordpress lends itself pretty well to this type of thing...custom pages = win

    http://snowfly.wordpress.com/
  • pior
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    pior high dynamic range
    nice design Snowfly, and totally 'you' in terms of style.

    This http://snowfly.wordpress.com/portfolio/ should be the intro page tho!
  • Snowfly
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    Snowfly polycounter lvl 14
    I was trying to figure out exactly how to do that just now!

    edit: woo! It's fixed
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