miscellaneous ramblings

Miscellaneous Ramblings is a place where we will post stuff related to MandalaGaba, mandalas, and other stuff related to that stuff.

New drawing styles made possible thanks to recursive drawing (and the talent of an amazing artist!)

Never had we thought our online mandala maker could generate the following pieces of mandala magic :

Interstellar bird from the confines of the galaxy

Interstellar bird from the confines of the galaxy

Direwolf

Direwolf

Dragon of Light

Dragon of Light

The creator of these designs is Lara Laubert, an amazing artist and regular user of Mandalagaba.

Please check out her work here:

  • Lara’s instagram: https://www.instagram.com/laralaubert

  • Lara’s Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.fr/Lara_Laubert

Lara used one of Mandalagaba’s new features which is recursive drawing to create those awesome effects.

Now that the website has been separated into multiple facets (you can read the blog post Complete Mandalagaba overhaul for more information on this), you can find the recursive drawing features here:

  • https://plant.mandalagaba.com: This is a fun little guided drawing experience we published to let users play around with recursive drawing

  • https://pro.mandalagaba.com : This Pro version of Mandalagaba allows users to generate mandalas with every feature we have to offer. It is with this facet that Lara produces her amazing work.

Complete Mandalagaba overhaul

Last week we pushed a big update. The idea behind it was to separate various features we had built into Mandalagaba these past two years. We had various reasons to do this, the main one being that the interface was becoming an puzzling mess. Our theory is that 90% of our users were only using 10% of Mandalagaba’s features and tools, and we decided that was somewhat of a pickle if we wanted to increase our user base.

Sure Mg is fun and all (from now on Mg is Mandalagaba) but we have been dealing with the same number of users for the past year although we have implemented tons of new features, redesigned the controls menu, built an online presence, created marketing content, etc. Basically we’re stuck at an average of 500 unique visitors per day. By actively promoting Mg we are gonna get bumps here and there. When we get a wave coming in from Reddit, or from a Facebook post or ad, we can generate enough interest to flow in thousands of people (up to 28 000 visitors last December on our Snowflake Designer Reddit post we did last year) These waves and bumps have a tail of course, but its usually fairly short lived and doesn’t bring in much peeps on the long term.

We have our theories on why this is and most of them have to do with the overdose of icons the old Mg was undergoing leading to users not really knowing what to do with the platform once they fiddled arround with a design or two.

We also know that implementing accounts will help out in terms of having people come back to the platform, and those are on the way.

Anywho, to solve this issue we started thinking about ways to make Mg more user friendly and understandable, and one of the first solutions we found was to divide Mg into its different facets.

Here’s a little breakdown of the awesome entertaining zen mantra-guru-massage-lounge tools and features Mg offers to the world for free (‘cause that’s how we roll):

  • Mandala creator

  • Tessellation builder

  • Snowflake manufactuer

  • Matchmaker

  • Replays

  • A network engine

  • A session fork tool

  • Session statistics

  • A plant designer (this is brand new)

  • Recursive drawing apparatus (also brand new)

So to make things easier, we separated Mg into 5 facets for now.

Behold:

  • The mandala maker:

Is found at: https://mandala.mandalagaba.com

In effect, Mandalagaba allows people to draw mandalas. That much is fairly easy to understand. The etymology of Mandalagaba come from the ancient latin word mandaleum, which means “For where thou art, there is a mandala in thy hearth”.

That was made up.

Anyways, here is what the new Mandala facet of Mandalagaba looks like:

Screenshot 2019-03-06 at 17.32.45.png

In this new version, we took out a lot of stuff to give it a breather. We want people to have a hands on approach to using the interface, and we want to reverse those percentages cited above: we want 90% of the users to master 90% of the tools right off the bat.

This is just the first step of our simplification process, and there’s still lots to improve in terms of design, but we believe this is a good first step in the right direction.

For good measure, here’s a beautiful mandala design by one of our users from Brisbane, Australia in 107 pen strokes.

b0054A_G2YSZC - Brisbane 107.png
  • A tessallation builder!

Can be found at: https://tessellation.mandalagaba.com

To tessallate: To form into a mosaic pattern

In other words tessallation are mandalas that are not only multi-axial, but also multi-centered.

We applied over-simplification to the tessallation facet much like we did for the mandala maker.

These are the controls you are left to play around with:

Screenshot 2019-03-06 at 17.53.50.png
 

Here is superb tessallation created by one of users from Pocos de Caldas in Brasil in 62 pen strokes.

Screenshot 2019-03-04 at 18.37.46.png

This next one is created by the infinitely creative Hava who helps us out a lot at Mandalagaba, who is super nice and who defied the laws of rationality and creativity in regards to how she masters Mandalagaba (I can assure you this is one of the most simpler ones):

Screenshot 2019-03-04 at 18.40.31.png
  • A snowflake manufactuer

Can be found at: https://snowflake.mandalagaba.com

We added a neat little twist to the mandala maker allowing user to design snowflakes in a jiffy. It’s also a pretty efficient tool to create transformer masks.

Screenshot 2019-02-03 at 11.48.42.png
  • A plant grower!

Can be found at: https://plant.mandalagaba.com

Say hello to our new addition: the mandala plant creator!

Ben has been working hard on adding recusrsive drawing to the Mandalagaba engine, and now he’s got something pretty awesome to show for it. Most of the recursive drawing tools and parameters are only present on the “pro” facet of Mandalagaba which we’re gonna talk about in just a sec.

This plant growing facet is a cool variation that guides you into drawing alien like plants to which you can add leaves and flowers of different colors.

Screenshot 2019-03-07 at 23.27.25.png
  • Mandalagaba Pro

Can be found at: https://pro.mandalagaba.com

If you want every single feature Mandalagaba has to offer all in one package, and that your brain is resilient to icon pandimonium, head over to the “pro” facet of Mandalagaba. We call this pro because only our hardcore power users tend to play with mosts the devices and gadgets this facet proposes.

It’s only in the Pro facet that you are going to find numerous paramters, tools and functions such as the recursions paramters, forking, access to match making, etc. Hopefully sooner than later we are goind to be dispatching all those tools more conveniently across Mandalagaba’s other facets.

The picture below is an attempt I made at using every single feature Mg has to offer in one single drawing:

I got caught up in colors and reconnected with my five year old self.

I got caught up in colors and reconnected with my five year old self.

Collaborating on mandalas

The basics of Mandalagaba’s network engine

Mandalagaba has a robust networking engine at its core. Essentially this means it is possible to have multiple people drawing on the same session.

A word about Mandalagaba sessions:

Everytime one loads up Mandalagaba, he falls upon a random empty session. This sessions has an ID that can be found in the URL.

It is also displayed directly on top of your canvas:

Session ID.png

This session ID is unique and links back directly to your session exactly as you last left it. This means that whatever you do on your session, everything is saved in real time and stays put indefinitely.

This also means that you can share this session ID with anyone so they can access your session at any time and start drawing on it. All they have to do is copy the ID and paste it right after the URL http://www.mandalagaba.com. (for example: http://www.mandalagaba.com/#uwCEeX).

A great number of people can connect at the same time on the same mandala session and collaborate together on creating amazing designs.

Mandala Matchmaking

We have been wanting to push the network engine aspect of Mandalagaba a bit further for some time. To do so, one feature we implemented recently is some sort mandala matchmaking engine.

The concept is very simple:

You head to http://match.mandalagaba.com and you are brought to a page where you wait for a random person to be matched to.

We added one filter option for now: your gender.

Screenshot 2019-01-05 at 18.04.08.png

Once you are matched with someone, you are both brought to your new empty session and you can both start collaborting on designing wonderful mandalas.

Humongous printed Mandalagaba mandalas!

A very cool and insightful person by the name of Amy Walker made some awesome mandalas with Mandalagaba and printed them out on huge sheets of papers for people to colorfy them!

This happened during the annual Renfrew Ravine Moon Festival (http://stillmoon.org/) last week-end.

Yup. That’s one of our mandalas. Couldn’t find the original in our daily digests.

Yup. That’s one of our mandalas. Couldn’t find the original in our daily digests.

Write here…

Bird mandala!

Bird mandala!

Paintified bird mandala

Paintified bird mandala

Flourescent Bird Mandala

Flourescent Bird Mandala

Coloring our mandalas is something we are working on. We are going to let users decide whether they let other users color the mandalas they create on the platform. This concept will make much more sense when we will be adding user accounts and user galleries.

Another really cool aspect of this initiative is the collaboration side of it. Mandalagaba is built on a hefty network engine allowing collaborations between users, but for various reasons, most of whom are related to us not communicating enough about it, this features is unknown or misunderstood by 90% of our users.

Multiple facets of Mandalagaba either need to go through some fine-tuning or some simplifications to make our network engine more user friendly, and that is also something we are working.

In any case, we really appreciate that Amy did the Renfrew Ravine Moon Festival.

More about Amy Walker and her Make Mobile workshops can be found on the Make Mobile website. Check it out at http://www.makemobile.ca !


A word on the upcoming MandalaGaba Zen

“I have no idea what I’m doing, but this feels right”

“I have no idea what I’m doing, but this feels right”

We are currently working on making a simplified version of Mandalagaba.

The idea is to zenify the platform and strip it of all the little complex details and features that only appeal to our power users.

We want to produce an environment that will be ultra zen and that will focus only the essentials.
We are also going to add cool stuff like background images and relaxation music for good measure.

On top of that we will have user account where it will be possible to actually save your mandalas and better network with others.

As to when all of this will come to fruition, only time will tell.

Mandalas and music

Screen Shot 2018-09-13 at 22.42.40.png

In addition to working on Mandalagaba, we are also putting together a little relaxing music project called InnerSelf Music.

In the same way creating mandalas through a computerized system such as Mandalagaba's provides a sense of empowerment to the user because of the immediate and simultaneous generation of multitudes of pen strokes on a canvas, producing simple music with the aim of soothing the mind is something we find quite fascinating.

You can listen to our first albums and subscribe to our playlists here: https://spoti.fi/2KI7Cml

The InnerSelf Music website: https://www.innerselfmusic.com/

Let us know what you think!

Also, if you produce relaxation music and want to placed in our playlists, shoot us a DM or an email.

1 Million pen strokes: Check. Aiming now for 1 billion.

As of yesterday, Mandalagaba is now a millionaire.

In pen strokes that is!

1 million pen strokes have been drawn on the platform since Ben published the website back in December 2016.

Awesomeness.

I'll leave you with this marvelous screenshot of one of our session's Session Info box where we monitored the passing of MandalaGaba in the millionaires club.

1 million pen strokes.png

Users can now playback their mandalas, drawings, designs, pieces of art, what have you

Yeah so this is old news actually but better talk about it now than never: you can now draw something on Mandalagaba and replay all the pen strokes of your beautiful magnificent creation.

Here is how it works:

  1. You draw, doodle, scribble.
  2. At any time you click on your Session Info button.
  3. Inside the Session Info pop-up you click on the replay link.

What is the Session Info button you might ask?

Session info button + replay link.png

Here's a Gif showing this in action:

Replay.gif

And to maximize the entertainment factor of this post, here's a nice little replay generated from a mandala drawn from one of our users. I added some relaxing piano on top for good measure:

Explaining the fill function: An HTML5 canvas Flood Fill that doesn’t kill the browser

I took the longest time implementing the fill tool  on Mandalagaba. How hard could it be? Recurse through pixels looking for a color and update them to a new color.

While this method certainly works and is easy to implement, it is also extremely slow. Slow in a way that hangs the browser, yielding infamous messages from the browser.

Screen-Shot-2018-06-22-at-10.01.53-AM.png

Here we’ll take a look at various Javascript flood fill implementations along with their drawbacks. Jump to #4 if you are only interested in the best one.

In all cases, the code is available in the example iframe, look for the function flood_fill.

Screen_Shot_2018-06-23_at_3_07_40_PM.png

1. Simple Recursive

Not much to explain here, we simply recursively call the function on adjacent pixels when they match the color we are trying to fill over.

See example of the recursive technique by clicking on this link.

It’s reasonably fast but the problem with this one is that any fill area slightly large yields too much recursion which breaks subsequent JS. This Canvas box is 200x200px and at 300x300px, Firefox complained about:

Screen-Shot-2018-06-22-at-1.47.31-PM.png

It’s easy to see how this implementation will not satisfy a reasonably featured paint program. Even if your browser let you stack more function on the heap, I would bet it would lead to slowness.

2. Iterative

We simply take the previous idea of looking at adjacent pixels and filling them, and make it iterative instead so the function calls don’t get stacked to a ceiling.

See example of the iterative technique by clicking on this link.

The problem with this is is that is is sloooow. So slow it stalls browser. Most of time is spent having to keep track of pixels_stack. Recursion doesn’t have that need but as we’ve seen, it has other issues.

3. Recursive-Iterative (AKA catch-your-breath iterative)

This is a twist on #2 which every so often, recurses on itself via a setTimeout to let the browser catch it breath a little. It also yields a cool visual effect.

See example of the recursive-iterative technique by clicking on this link.

I really like the visual effect, and it makes the slowness tolerable. But the issue is that Mandalagaba has a network engine and allows for re-rendering of one’s work. So synchronization is a big deal, and you know what makes synchronization easy? Not having to worry about it.

So as long as I can help it, my life is a lot easier if the operations the users can perform are atomic. Operations need to be able to be processed one after the other counting on the fact that the ones that came before have completed.

The first 2 solutions are atomic but suck; this 3rd one, however cool it may be, isn’t.

4. The Holy Grail

 

I’m not sure where this algorithm originated from, but I’ve gotten to know it on this web page which explains it very well (with GIFs!). It is iterative and goes about finding pixels to fill in a much smarter way.

See example of the holy grail by clicking on this link.

That’s it, no drawback here 🙂 I’ve tested it on large canvasses and this is what is implemented on Mandalagaba. Now of course, in a real application there is a ton more complexity dealing with smoothing edges and blending alpha. I only wanted to expose boiled down versions of these algorithms so they are easier to wrap your mind around.

Feel free to ask questions in the comments.

(This text was originally written on Ben's amazing blog)

 

Fill tool finally up and running

Fill tool.png

The fill tool button has been present for a while, but it was greyed out. We teased it in an effort to make our users think that releasing it was just around the corner. The truth is that this was a "hard nut to crack" (one of Ben's favorite expressions used to refrain for becoming extremely vulgar when it comes to not having easy wins against his code).

So essentially, the fill tool fills stuff. In Mandalagaba, we define stuff as being any surface delimited by pen strokes. A user can draw about anything and as long as there are stokes defining areas with closed borders, he or she can fill that area with any color.

Pretty neat.

Making mandalas with a Leap Motion

 

Man, producing what you just saw was frustratingly tough.

First time I set up the Leap Motion, I thought this was going to be easy. I thought I would be able to mass draw amazing mandalas just by waving my hands in the air like I just don't care. Turns out you have learn to master the Leap Motion before you manage to make anything more meaningful than a smudge on your screen.

Actually, the first thing that was super challenging was to get the stupid thing to left click. I followed the basic instructions and read best practices on the net on how to set it up but I was having a very hard time calibrating the damn thing. It kept on right clicking, making extremely irritating "Thump!" noises over and over again and being very good at being very imprecise.

At first I thought my Leap Motion had issues. I am still not putting that possibility aside entirely but here's the thing: the more I practiced using it, the more I mastered its quirks and managed to be precise.

That being said, I doubt I would ever be able to do anything fancy with it. To put this into perspective, I was thrilled to be able to produce the ultra simple mandala you saw in the video above. In other tryouts I had managed to do crazy things like changing colors (which I actually really got a hang of after a while), adding tessellation grids and even changing stroke thickness when I was really lucky, but making all that happen in a flawless single shot with no bugs felt impossible.

I'm not pulling the plug on this yet though. Making retarded mandalas using my Leap Motion became somewhat addictive. I'll definitely try to get better at it in the future.

 

 

The Power of One Stroke and the Reddit hug

We posted the GIF below on Reddit yesterday and it blew up. Here I have to post it as a video because SquareSpace doesn't accept images bigger than 20 megs, but originally its a GIF.

By blew up I mean it took off. Our stats skyrocketed. Just by posting a simple GIF with a catchy title on a popular website where people share stuff.

This isn't the first time that this happens. Every now and then Mandalagaba finds itself on Reddit and we try to make the most out of the attention. The user feedback is invaluable, we learn a few lessons about server load balancing and new users try their hands and bring new styles we've never seen before.

We noticed that GIFs worked really well for the type of content we publish. They are very popular on most sharing-driven environments. Have a cool simple video that you don't even need to play and you got yourself one nifty dopamine generating machine.

Baby Mandalamania

Exploiting babies for mandala art. Artist Photographer Gabriele Dabasinskaite should be ashamed of herself...

Kiddin' of course. Just yankin' your chain.

This artist came up with an amazing series of babies placed inside of circular symmetrical forms. Works wonders. Beautifully original. Ultimate cuteness is pushed to its climax.

Behold.

We also find it quite amazing that Gabriele Dabasinskaite's website is called JustGaba (MandalaGaba... JustGaba... Get it?)

I picked up this story on My Modern Met's website : Sweet Photos of Newborns at the Center of Handmade Mandalas

Looking for online mandala websites? Look no further friend.

We thought we'd share some websites that do what Mandalagaba attempts to do: let cool people build cool mandalas online, and for the most part do it for free. We all have a different take on how we go about it, and the tech is always different as well.

Most of these services are free just like we are. We even made the iOs app free. We prefer accumulating good karma.

Anyways here's the list of mandala making websites we found browsing through the interwebs. If you happen to know any others, please let us know about them (essentially so we can go steal their ideas, concepts and design 'cause we're the mandala gangstas yo!).

MandalaGaba

If you're reading this article, then you probably know what MandalaGaba is. In case you don't, please let me introduce ourselves. MandalaGaba is single page website that hosts various tools to design and create multi axes symmetrical designs.

We started off by allowing users to simply create mandalas (so symmetrical designs constructed around a single center). With just a simple set of tools, users from all around the world managed to produce jaw-dropping mandalas. Some of our favorite designs can be found in our MandalaGaba Mandala page.

Not long ago, we added a tessellation engine to allow for the creation of multi-centric symmetrical designs (a tessellation = an arrangement of shapes closely fitted together, especially of polygons in a repeated pattern without gaps or overlapping). We also re-designed our controls panel to the dismay of many of our users, but now we're hearing a little less fuss about it so I think they are cool with it.

In the future we plan on allowing users to create accounts. This will allow them to save their designs, share them with the world more easily, collaborate with other users in a more practical way.

One thing we don't communicate enough on is the fact that Mandalagaba hosts a robust network engine. Every time you load a new session, that sessions get an ID associated to it. This ID is present at the level of the session's URL. For instance, if you load the URL http://mandalagaba.com/#oHrDhQ you will load a session I created for the purpose of this article where I wrote "Hello World". Essentially this means that any user having created a session can easily share their session with anyone else just by sharing its URL. Another user that goes onto that session can start drawing on it and all the new pen stokes will be registered. Makes up for a wonderful collaborative environment.

Thanks to our network engine, you can also fork your sessions. Forking will allow a user to take an existing session, copy it (fork it) and start designing from the new forked session without altering the initial session (sorry for the overuse of the word "session" in this paragraph). This allows you to start creating designs form a preexisting design by keeping a copy of the original. Pretty neat.

180311-gif-01-1.gif

The Kaleidoscope Painter

The Kaleidoscope Painter is a pretty cool little website to doodle around with. It has got some neat features like Dynabrush that automatically adjusts pen stroke thickness according to something (have no idea what though), and Autodraw that automatically draws mandalas for you. I like that Autodraw thingy. You can just sit back and watch it do its thing. Another interesting aspect about the The Kaleidoscope Painter is that it chooses your strokes' colors for you and gets really creative about it too. Only taking magic mushrooms can counter the effects of the exuberance going on here. I reckon it chooses a set of colors and gradients and does its thing. Pretty cool results. Here's my piece of art:

Color Mandala

With Color Mandala you don't actually draw mandalas. You design them by incrementally adding figures and shapes and by playing around with various settings. I must say the creative process in which it engages its users is quite peculiar but the person behind this project clearly thought things through.

Screen Shot 2018-03-01 at 20.11.11.png

Mandala Creator

Mandala Creator is quite fun to work with because they added tools such as RegularFill, SmoothFill and PolyFill that do stuff I don't fully comprehend but that generate cool wow-effects. In just a matter of seconds you can create very interesting designs. Behold.

Screen Shot 2018-03-01 at 20.20.08.png

Mandala Maker

Basic and simple. Not much else to add. No fancy features. Just mandalas and other things described below.

Screen Shot 2018-03-10 at 15.39.53.png

MandalaMaker offers other cool little creation tools too:

Screen Shot 2018-03-10 at 15.45.39.png

In their own words, you "choose the mandala you want and then print it and color it , fill it with beautiful colors
be creative and have fun with our Beautiful mandalas coloring pages".

Spiral-1.gif

Makes spirals. Funky

Screen Shot 2018-03-10 at 16.24.39.png

Just lol.

Myoats

Myoats is one crazy piece of work. Very fancy stuff going on here. You have a bunch of different tools to create some pretty amazing designs. One thing that really sticks out from the other mandala sites we've discovered is that you can create an account, save your designs to your gallery and engage with the Myoats community.

Screen Shot 2018-03-10 at 16.31.05.png

WeaveSilk

With WeaveSilk you create symmetrical designs very easily with a psychedelic twist. Very beautiful wow-effect rainbow unicorn pumped-up pen strokes right off the bat.

Screen Shot 2018-03-10 at 16.43.00.png

Drawerings

Drawerings seems pretty basic but it actually hosts tons of little nifty features. For instance its records all your pen stokes gives users the possibility to replay your drawings. It also proposes to animate them by moving your various layers around. User account creation is seamless and its community is quite active.

drawering-gif.gif

That about does it for now. There are certainly other only mandala creators out there. I haven't gone past the 2 first pages of my googles searches.

If you find any others, please let us know.

The story behind Mandalagaba

I just realized no explanations of how Mandalagaba came to be were present on this blog. That's unacceptable so here goes.

MandalaGaba was coded by Ben a cold winter day by a fire in a remote location in Vermont. No expectations, just an eagerness to code an online mandala maker that didn’t suck. An amazing Reddit post later and people are passing by everyday creating mandalas on the website.

User feedback was overwhelming. People found MandalaGaba to be a stress-reliever, a creativity enhancer, a cool mandala creator.

Users are given the possibility to save their mandalas, which in turn gives us the possibility to share those mandalas. You can see most of them on our Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/mandalagaba/) and you can view some of our favorites in our "mandalagaba mandalas" gallery present on this website.

To code Mandalagaba, Ben does math. Real math with numbers and things. Absurd stuff that looks like this:

IMG_01261-e1518842061325-1024x791.jpg

 He also doodles math thingies like this:

IMG_01191-e1518842037588-1024x659.jpg

His 7 year old son Robin even lends a hand:

In Ben's own words " I love that Robin copies what I do no matter the understanding level, we’ve had lots of talks about what is going on.

In Ben's own words "I love that Robin copies what I do no matter the understanding level, we’ve had lots of talks about what is going on.

My name is Robin and am just here to help because I really like what MandalaGaba represents.

We are currently trying to make the website better by redesigning it, adding features and making it more collaborative. We don’t want to overdo it because we are firm believers that simplicity and efficiency beats complexity and overzealous design.

In the previous blog post you can see that we just released a new version of the website.

For people who have any kind of interests in drawing, addictive online thingies, mandalas, digital art, doodling, time wasting and procrastination, please feel free to give MandalaGaba a try.

Don’t forget to let us know what you think.

A new verison of Mandalagaba is live!

For a couple of months now we have been working on various features we really wanted to implement to make mandala making with Mandalagaba more dynamic and interesting.

We added a tessellation engine

Literally, tessellations are an arrangement of shapes closely fitted together, especially of polygons in a repeated pattern without gaps or overlapping. Our reasoning was that it would be super cool to duplicate the mandala creation process multiples times to generate beautiful mosaics. We chose triangles, squares and hexagons as polygons for now.

Here's a little gif showing you what this means:

Gif-test-01.gif

New control panel tools and features

Lots is to be said on these new little gadgets. We are going to start producing tutorials explaining how they all work but in the meantime here is a small breakdown.

Mandalagaba control panel explanation 01.jpg

1. Decrease numbers of axes
2. Axis count
3. Increase number of axes
4. Free form mode (no symmetry)
5. Simple symmetry mode
6. Mirror symmetry mode
7. Mandala mode: allows you to draw mandalas
8. Triangle tessellation mode: The axes are limited by triangle patterns
9. Square tessellation mode: The axes are limited by square patterns
10. Hexagon tessellation mode: The axes are limited by hexagon patterns
11. Pattern size ruler: Modifies the size of the patterns' grid
12. Draw tool
13. Straight lines tool
14. Area fill tool (not available yet)
15. Canvas background tool bucket: allows you to change the color of your canvas
16. Color picker tool: allows you to select a color on your canvas and load it in your colors palette.
17. Undo
18. Zoom out
19. Zoom in
20. Stroked thickness
21. Stroke smoothing tool
22. Scroll tool (only for mobile devices): allows users to scroll around their canvas.
23. Advanced options button: opens up the advanced tools.
24. Adjust centers on/off button: this tools allows users to activate designated shapes within their design
25. All shapes are off: all shapes will be turned off
26. All shapes are on: all shapes will be turned on
27. Display keyboard commands
28. Canvas size
29. Adjust canvas to screen
30. Color palette

New session option menu

We decided to separate the session related data from the control panel. That made sense on various levels. Number one reason was to declutter the controls panel as well as to regroup things coherently.

Session options menu.jpg

1. Save button: Saving opens up a big panel where you see your design displayed and where you also various options to share it
2. Fork button: forking allow you to duplicate your design and give a new session URL
3. New session button: This button allows you to create a new session with a blank canvas and a new session URL
4. Session stats button: This opens a pop-up that displays multiple stats and and numbers about your session
5. About button: This opens up a pop-up that displays various information about Mandalagaba
6. You current session link

Still a work in progress

Mandalagaba still has many more goodies up its sleeves, most of which take a lot of time and effort to conceive, code and implement properly, so please bear with us. We are also quite aware that we released this new version with a couple of bugs and incoherencies here and there. We're doing our best to neutralize the vermin.

Here a couple of things we have planned for the future:

  • Allow users to create accounts, stores their mandalas and better collaborate with one another.
  • Get the Area fill tool to work (much more a pain in the a.. than one thinks)
  • Get Mandalagaba translated in different languages so people living on the other side of the planet don't feel left out.
  • Add shapes and/or structures that delimit the pen strokes (still don't know how to go about this but eventually we'll get to it one day or another).
  • Allow 3D renditions of holographic tessellated mandalas to be sent to the moon and back.

For your information, everything we have planned for the future can be found in the roadmap we publish on this blog. Its link it located in the header menu of this page.

We also added a changelog to this blog. A changelog is basically a place where we will be letting you of every little update worth sharing Mandalagaba is getting. The changelog's link is also part of this website and it located in the header menu of this page.

The social network conundrum

Social networking is a tricky business.

I started our first post on Tumblr because it was engaging. Plus using a platform to write stuff on that already harbors a community also makes sense. But there is too much noise on Tumblr. I find it irritating.

I had been thinking about using Squarespace for the no bs sober design side of it.  Might keep Tumblr active too, just to see if I can leverage it's peeps to get to know more about Mandalagaba.

Diving into social media marketing shenanigans is tougher than I thought. At first we only wanted to concentrate on Instagram just to share the mandalas our users we’re creating and generate some awareness for our project. Then I realized I needed a Facebook page out of being struck by social-media fomo. Fomo means “fear of missing out” just in case (anyone investing in cryptocurrencies knows this acronym well enough). So my fomo syndrome is caused by wanting to reach as many people as possible. Not out of wanting to be popular but rather wanting to leverage our chances to attract eyeballs. Instagramers are not necessarily on Snapchat, nor are Facebook people on Twitter. Back in the day we were all on MySpace. Made things simpler. Communities can cross borders but they like sticking to their guns. In any case, I am feeling slightly overwhelmed by how many social networks we are tackling.

Here’s the current mapping of MandalaGaba’s online presence:

- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mandalagaba

- Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/mandalagabazen

- Twitter: https://twitter.com/MandalaGaba

- Deviant Art: https://mandalagaba.deviantart.com/

- Imgur: https://imgur.com/user/Mandalagaba/submitted

- Gfycat: https://gfycat.com/@mandalagaba

- Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.fr/mandalagabazen/

- Tumblr : https://mandalagaba.tumblr.com/

- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsI0ggJHtMeBp0IQFht2eTg

I don’t think this is overdoing it. What this certainly is though is a pain in the ass. I mean maintaining everything in an orderly fashion and on a daily basis. As of today this is still something we have yet to accomplish. I'm not that consistent for various reasons, the main one being that I'm in my mid-thirties, got an active social life, a full-time job and other projects on the side.

In any case, there's a learning curve to maximizing what we get out of each one of these sites, and that too is a pain, but the bottom line is to post regularly to keep things alive. That basically means having a daily routine where you go from profile to profile to post your content. I know platforms out there exist to manage multiple accounts in a single interface. I've tried a couple already in trial mode (like AgoraPulse nd HootSuite). Didn't cut it for me for reasons I won't get into here. I used Iconosquare for 3 months for Instagram postings. Was cool but it only deals with Instagram, which is awesome if that's your main thing. They have got several features that others don't, mostly in on the analytics side. But I needed something that could manage other services so I looked for something else. I stumbled upon this post from Buffer's blog (who are one of the main actors in the social media management game) that actually convinced me to reconsider my position. I'm easily influenced.

This blog post has actually been under construction for about a month and this gave me time to test Buffer these past weeks. It's really cool and I stopped my subscription on Iconosquare. Not much to add on that end. It just works and cross-posting on the various social networks they propose is easy. Too bad they don't integrate with Tumblr, or even Giphy, Gfycat and Imgur. Have a hard time understanding why it's not possible to find one soft that manages every single one of these platforms.

Welcome to the MandalaGaba blog

In this here blog we share whatever crosses our minds regarding mandalas, MandalaGaba, tech, art, stuff related to what we do or are trying to do or, what we're in and what we looking forward to getting into.

Here we also share content such as:

  • Images and videos of awesome mandalas our users created as well as images and video we produced,
  • Our Changelog that we are going to try to keep up to that (essentially a Changelog is a place where you publish all the worthwhile tech updates we bring to the MandalaGaba platform),
  • Our tech Roadmap where we will share what we are working on and what we planned  for the future in terms of features, functionalities and so forth.

We believe in transparency. It's always interesting to see what a project has in store for you. It also forces us to stay focused on what we want to achieve.

In any case, we're gonna try to make this blog interesting in one way or another.