miscellaneous ramblings

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

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.