I would like to commission a designer/ formator

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I would like to commission a designer/ formator

Postby SKitFox » January 16th, 2014, 7:52 am

I'm looking for a patient individual who is willing to help me with my SJ layout. I have tried, and tried, and tried a little more over the years to form even a rudimentary understanding of HTML, but it is not something I am remotely interested in (other than wanting to be able to manage this stuff on my own without having to cry in the forums for assistance), and so my brain goes 'nope, I'm going to sleep now! Have fun learning!'

And so I give up. And not only am I crying in the forum, I'm offering money :D

I'm ultimately looking for someone who will also be willing to help me later on if the need should arise, (on the offchance I break something, or need new pages).

What I want (if possible, not sure how much SJ layouts can be pushed):

- I would like the home page to be a slightly different layout to the content pages (for example; http://www.sssscomic.com/ . That's obviously not the layout I want, I would never wish to steal someone else's hard work. My reference here is how different the main page is to the pages once you get in. Not sure if it's possible to do on SJ, I really hope it is, because it's my most favourite thing for some reason.

- I also like the layout structure of the layout that Airse recently posted (viewtopic.php?f=16&t=14249) , with the menu fixed to the side as it is, and the content pages in a fairly standard SJ format. Only difference (layoutwise) is that I would probably have a small banner at the top of the page.

- I'm fond of commenting systems where I can reply directly to reader's comments. I've seen a couple of smackjeevers with that on their SJ comic sites, I'm fairly sure it's been disqus I've seen being used, so anyone who can help me implement that would be tops.

- I like an arrow-click next button, because I myself am lazy (not hugely necessary, but it certainly is on my 'yes please!' list)

Ummm... That seems to be all for now. I would obviously be providing all the graphics, so I don't need an artist so much as just someone who can turn my plans into computer mumbojumbo :) (oh, and lead me through putting that mumbojumbo places that it's supposed to go, of course)
Once again, I don't expect to be so demanding for free. I'm not rolling in dosh, but I do appreciate the time and effort that goes into these things.
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Re: I would like to commission a designer/ formator

Postby eishiya » January 16th, 2014, 9:37 am

Everything you said is doable, including the wildly-different intro page. I don't know whether I can offer my services, so here are some notes on a couple of ways to achieve for whoever ends up doing the intro page:
Spoiler! :
A. Naive way: Have a wholly different layout for the welcome page, and then copy+paste the "normal" layout onto all the pages, with only a minimal amount of code in Overall layout (such as the CSS).
B. Smart CSS way: Try to find a common structure between the welcome page and the other pages, and code that structure as the Overall layout. Use CSS acting on different classes to create the different looks, including repositioning/resizing elements if necessary. In SSSS's layout, the two pages have a relatively similar structure, the difference is really in the overhead banner size. Everything else is content, which can be hard-coded into the layout with no issues.
The hard part about this is there is no trivial way to assign class names based on different page types. Two options: 1. do it with JavaScript based on {PAGE_TITLE}. 2. Use {PAGE_TITLE} as the class names but make sure your page titles are valid class names since every part separated by a space is going to be treated like one. For example, when {PAGE_TITLE} returns "Comic Archive", "Comic" and "Archive" will both be classes for whatever element you're using them on. You could use ".Archive" in your CSS to refer to such elements. When it returns "Home" it's nice and simple. But when it's on a comic page, it'll return "Comics - (Comic Title)". You can use "Comics" as the special class name there, but the Comic Title part, if it contains numbers at the start of things or on their own, or spaced punctuation or anything, that'll be invalid class names. Icky. Most browsers can deal with it, but it's best to avoid it.


You said you'd be providing the graphics. Do you mean you'll do that based on the designer's layout, or do you intend to draw a layout first and then let them HTML-ify it?

By the way, you can reply to people on SJ too, and if they're registered they'll even get notifications (if they want). The problem is SJ doesn't yet support nested comments where the replies show under the parent comic, and that is why people use 3rd party systems like disqus.
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Re: I would like to commission a designer/ formator

Postby maplebee » January 16th, 2014, 12:00 pm

I suspect a very complex entry page like you linked is certainly possible with SJ, in terms of raw coding. But the problem you'll hit is such a layout takes a lot of images to construct. I'm looking at the code through Firebug and just the CSS aspect is pages longer than the entirety of most SJ layouts - and most of those elements relate to an image and its behaviour. The problem you'd run into with SJ, is those images all need to be hosted online somewhere, and you can't host them through SJ unless you have plans to pay for a Premium membership each year. Without the premium membership the images have to go to somewhere like Photobucket, which makes for terrifically messy links and a really fun time if you want to modify any of the images (you have to upload the new version to the image host, and then go change its link in the code by hand). Using something like Photobucket isn't too excruciating with only a few images needed, but the site you linked has dozens.

I don't know about anything as complex as that style of main page, but I can definitely construct a custom layout for you with side bars (tho personally I think things look tidier with the main navigation along the top) and with images for nav buttons. I coded the layout for my comic: http://www.brightstarscomic.com/, and I'm just finishing one for http://startraders.smackjeeves.com/

You can PM me if you're interested in commissioning me to do yours.
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Re: I would like to commission a designer/ formator

Postby eishiya » January 16th, 2014, 12:12 pm

maplebee wrote:I suspect a very complex entry page like you linked is certainly possible with SJ, in terms of raw coding. But the problem you'll hit is such a layout takes a lot of images to construct. I'm looking at the code through Firebug and just the CSS aspect is pages longer than the entirety of most SJ layouts - and most of those elements relate to an image and its behaviour. The problem you'd run into with SJ, is those images all need to be hosted online somewhere, and you can't host them through SJ unless you have plans to pay for a Premium membership each year. Without the premium membership the images have to go to somewhere like Photobucket, which makes for terrifically messy links and a really fun time if you want to modify any of the images (you have to upload the new version to the image host, and then go change its link in the code by hand). Using something like Photobucket isn't too excruciating with only a few images needed, but the site you linked has dozens.

SSSS's site isn't very cleanly coded and does a lot of unnecessary things with images. By utilising sprites (multiple images in a single file, displayed using fixed-size elements with offset backgrounds) and by using text instead of images where possible, one can produce a layout that uses less code, fewer files (and smaller files) but has the same visual impact.

I'd love to see what the OP has in mind, maybe we can both work on it xP
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Re: I would like to commission a designer/ formator

Postby Ddraigeneth » January 16th, 2014, 5:49 pm

Photobucket can be very useful for

a) Uploading new versions of images without having to change the URLs (have to go into settings and disable scrambling)

b) $3/month for unlimited bandwidth



I'd also be interested in helping, I coded all of the sites on my profile.
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Re: I would like to commission a designer/ formator

Postby SKitFox » January 16th, 2014, 7:13 pm

Thanks for the responses guys :)

eishiya wrote:You said you'd be providing the graphics. Do you mean you'll do that based on the designer's layout, or do you intend to draw a layout first and then let them HTML-ify it?


Since I'm not entirely sure how it all works, I was planning on drawing out what I wanted for the layout, and then giving that to my designer so that they could then tell me what they need in terms of images. I've been told that a single image can be split up for a layout, or it can be built with multiple images, so I'm happy to provide whatever is easiest for my designer.

eishiya wrote:By the way, you can reply to people on SJ too, and if they're registered they'll even get notifications (if they want). The problem is SJ doesn't yet support nested comments where the replies show under the parent comic, and that is why people use 3rd party systems like disqus.


Ah, that explains that then. I like nesting, I find it easier to follow.

mapelbee wrote:personally I think things look tidier with the main navigation along the top


I'm going to go and change my mind on that one :P I found an old scetch from what I'd like for the content pages, and I like it better than the scetch I'd done last night. So navigation at the top like everyone else after all.

eishiya wrote:
maplebee wrote:I suspect a very complex entry page like you linked is certainly possible with SJ, in terms of raw coding. But the problem you'll hit is such a layout takes a lot of images to construct. I'm looking at the code through Firebug and just the CSS aspect is pages longer than the entirety of most SJ layouts - and most of those elements relate to an image and its behaviour. The problem you'd run into with SJ, is those images all need to be hosted online somewhere, and you can't host them through SJ unless you have plans to pay for a Premium membership each year. Without the premium membership the images have to go to somewhere like Photobucket, which makes for terrifically messy links and a really fun time if you want to modify any of the images (you have to upload the new version to the image host, and then go change its link in the code by hand). Using something like Photobucket isn't too excruciating with only a few images needed, but the site you linked has dozens.

SSSS's site isn't very cleanly coded and does a lot of unnecessary things with images. By utilising sprites (multiple images in a single file, displayed using fixed-size elements with offset backgrounds) and by using text instead of images where possible, one can produce a layout that uses less code, fewer files (and smaller files) but has the same visual impact.


All my images will be hosted off site. Nothing against paying for hosting, but with photobucket I won't have to rush to do so so that I can complete the layout.

And I don't need fancy images for each button and the like, I was going to keep the menu links as text, will that maybe cut down on the messiness? (and... I think... if I try not to go overboard with images I can change images later on without too much hassel. maybe.)

Which leads me to another question. (I think I may be over thinking my layout a little, but I'd rather try everything at the get go rather than being stuck later) This is definitely not a necessity, but I have seen it done that each chapter has different banner images, so that the layout reflects that stage of the comic better. The layout stays the same, it's only the one image that changes, but would that kind of thing take a ridiculous amount of coding, or is a fairly simple thing to achieve?
(the comic in question is -> http://www.minnasundberg.fi/comicindex.php ... Sundberg again :P She has beautiful webcomic sites. But from her comments about updating her site it seems like it might be a pain to do)

I'll post a rough scetch of what I had in mind visually later (I don't have time just now, I'm already running late :P)
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Re: I would like to commission a designer/ formator

Postby eishiya » January 16th, 2014, 7:53 pm

SKitFox wrote:Which leads me to another question. (I think I may be over thinking my layout a little, but I'd rather try everything at the get go rather than being stuck later) This is definitely not a necessity, but I have seen it done that each chapter has different banner images, so that the layout reflects that stage of the comic better. The layout stays the same, it's only the one image that changes, but would that kind of thing take a ridiculous amount of coding, or is a fairly simple thing to achieve?
(the comic in question is -> http://www.minnasundberg.fi/comicindex.php ... Sundberg again :P She has beautiful webcomic sites. But from her comments about updating her site it seems like it might be a pain to do)

I agree, her websites (and comics!) are beautiful, though a tad impractical. I recommend against such a banner because it gets in the way of reading the comic.
It's possible to do what you ask, but it's an even bigger pain to do here than it was for her, so I'd advise against it.
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Re: I would like to commission a designer/ formator

Postby SKitFox » January 17th, 2014, 9:00 am

Recommendation noted :) It was definitely fluff, I doubt I will really want to create a new banner for each chapter anyway.
(And omg yes, her work is stunning all round. Have you read any of her comics? If you haven't, I certainly suggest to.)

Alright, so I said I'd come back with a rough example of my plans, so here they are;
Front page; It really doesn't seem as way out as I had thought it would, but I do know I could never code it
Spoiler! :
Image


And content pages, that really are no different to thousands of other SJ layouts. Only thing I definitely would like to have is that the banner goes right across the page. Most of the ones that kind of sit in the middle annoy me.
I'd still love to implement disqus, but it won't kill me to not have it either. I should probably stick to the path of least resistance and just keep SJ comments.
Spoiler! :
Image

Oh, and by 'image fades' I meant simply in the colouring of the image. I'm not expecting some crazy transparency magic or whatever.

Um, craptastic sketches, I know. But hopefully that gives people a decent idea of what I want. (do I even make sense?)

Also, sorry I haven't actually addressed those offers yet, I'm appreciating the feedback, and figured I'd show everyone my plans at once :)
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Re: I would like to commission a designer/ formator

Postby Ddraigeneth » January 17th, 2014, 1:37 pm

Looks pretty straightforward. Do you already have graphics done? I'd recommend making the banner(s) at least 1920 px wide, so it'll still look sharp at high resolutions, though depending on the colours you may want to save as a high-quality JPG to keep loading times down.
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Re: I would like to commission a designer/ formator

Postby SKitFox » January 18th, 2014, 7:59 am

I'm working on the graphics at the moment, but they'll be done by the end of the weekend. I hadn't really expected to find anyone so soon, to be honest.
I'll keep the sizing in mind when I finish up the editing, thanks for that :)
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Re: I would like to commission a designer/ formator

Postby maplebee » January 19th, 2014, 10:08 am

You'll want to keep in mind for your layout, too, that without having extra storage on SJ itself, adding extra pages like a Cast page requires off-site storage for more than just images (you need somewhere to put the .html file for the page). SJ only allows straightforward room for the comic, the news archive, and the comic archive. There are some workarounds if you don't want to use the news section for news, and rely on using the author comments under the comic pages. If you have off-site storage that allows for extra files as well as images then things like a cast page aren't a problem (i.e. let whoever you choose as your developer know where/how/if you'll be able to store those files).
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Re: I would like to commission a designer/ formator

Postby eishiya » January 19th, 2014, 10:45 am

maplebee wrote:You'll want to keep in mind for your layout, too, that without having extra storage on SJ itself, adding extra pages like a Cast page requires off-site storage for more than just images (you need somewhere to put the .html file for the page). SJ only allows straightforward room for the comic, the news archive, and the comic archive. There are some workarounds if you don't want to use the news section for news, and rely on using the author comments under the comic pages. If you have off-site storage that allows for extra files as well as images then things like a cast page aren't a problem (i.e. let whoever you choose as your developer know where/how/if you'll be able to store those files).

SJ lets you create extra pages and stores the HTML on SJ. Where did you get the idea that it didn't?
In the Comic management section, not far from the top is an "Extra Pages" link where you can create and edit extra pages. These can be set to use the overall layout, not. By default, the menu will list all the extra pages, but it's possible to create a menu that does not.
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Re: I would like to commission a designer/ formator

Postby maplebee » January 19th, 2014, 2:35 pm

eishiya wrote:
maplebee wrote:You'll want to keep in mind for your layout, too, that without having extra storage on SJ itself, adding extra pages like a Cast page requires off-site storage for more than just images (you need somewhere to put the .html file for the page). SJ only allows straightforward room for the comic, the news archive, and the comic archive. There are some workarounds if you don't want to use the news section for news, and rely on using the author comments under the comic pages. If you have off-site storage that allows for extra files as well as images then things like a cast page aren't a problem (i.e. let whoever you choose as your developer know where/how/if you'll be able to store those files).

SJ lets you create extra pages and stores the HTML on SJ. Where did you get the idea that it didn't?
In the Comic management section, not far from the top is an "Extra Pages" link where you can create and edit extra pages. These can be set to use the overall layout, not. By default, the menu will list all the extra pages, but it's possible to create a menu that does not.


Interesting to know! I put my comic on a Premium membership pretty much when I started it, and didn't realize extra pages were an available feature on the free accounts as well.
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