Christmas 2020 to New Year 2021

Happy Holidays / Merry Christmas, to all of you out there.

We’ve – that is, my family the Hornbostels – had a pretty small holiday celebration due to the 2020 pandemic but hopefully, next year will be better?

Anyway: A few notes as of late December 2020:

– a modest volume of about another dozen additional textures have been added to the 2020 texture asset pack.

-a batch of minor updates (new 3d assets) has been added across various 3d asset collections. (well over half a dozen new 3d objects)

-A set of new artworks have been posted on Etsy lately with another one or two at least, likely to show up around the end of December 2020 and a few more beyond that in January, bringing the total count above 15 (which is still admittedly a small inventory as far as Etsy shops go)

Flower, dropped in rainfall

Amazon Rainforest

-I’m making a launch of much of my Itch.IO stock media on Unity’s asset store a priority during the next month or so, but that doesn’t mean it’ll get approved immediately or all at once. I would not expect any of that to go live until the end of January at the earliest. And if the first batch of the content’s rejected for some trivial formatting reason I’m missing, maybe even later.

-Next planned update to Itch before the current Christmas to New Year sale ends on January 3rd, is more about game productions than actual fresh stock media. I am trying to, even if the games themselves still need a lot of work still before launch, at least set up a bunch of new GIFs, video, stills, etc, relating to the game dev projects so the pages reflect the current state of those projects – especially a lot of materials relating to the four minigames that have been teased forever with nothing new to see – and a lot of that should show up in the next few days, by Dec. 31.

-I’ve been running a ton of lean, efficient ad campaigns quietly for the past 50 days and they seem to be generating escalating levels of good-quality traffic on Itch.IO… at a rate of at least 40 new visitors a week. These campaigns will be expanding in rate of acquired traffic at least 4-5x from tonight through to the end of the sale. To put the data in perspective: expect close to 200 more people to visit my Itch shop by the end of this sale. But traffic’s never been my Itch shop’s problem. I’ve had 5000+ visitors since the shop opened. The issue is not sales either, though that’s sort of an issue. But I’ve made over 40 sales there total, and at least half of those have been in the year 2020. No, the real issue is a lack of useful feedback from customers. I have never seen any of my asset packs actually reviewed. Not once. I’ve had two commenters and that is basically it. And one of the two comments was to let me know that there was a link defect in some of my .MTL files. (I’ve since fixed that everywhere it was an issue.) So I’m convinced that if a bit more feedback arrives from buyers, it’ll massively improve the rate at which visitors become buyers, buyers respond to the product with additional comments, ideas, suggestions, and/or reviews, and that? That could cause a massive deluge of new activity there. It could be a positive cycle that means the whole endeavor grows on an unprecedented scale. So I’m really hoping that works out soon. It’s why I am running this campaign but… also why I’m offering this: for every bit of feedback left on my Itch pages from December 2020 to March 2021, I promise another 3d asset posted for free to everyone. Note, at least four of those itch pages have free downloadable stuff already that can be reviewed or commented on. So if even 10% of the people who download there, and 10% of my buyers, leave feedback in the next 3 months, that equals – likely – between 12 and 25 free assets posted as a result. When I say ‘asset’ I don’t just mean a singular file but either: [a seamless texture map + any other useful related maps for PBR use] or [a 3d mesh in .FBX and .OBJ format plus a custom-designed PNG texture map UV-mapped onto it.]

Whether any of that works out in a big way, is up to all of you.

HERE ARE THE RELATED LINKS:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/MatthewLHornbostel

https://matthornb.itch.io/

Happy Holidays (2019)!

Hello everyone, hope you’re having a good time as 2019 nears its end.

I’ve got a few key updates for all of you.

Etsy update – My often dormant Etsy shop actually has some listings available again. One of them has already sold!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/MatthewLHornbostel

Better: All prices are 25% off during the Black Friday/Thanksgiving/Cyber Monday span. So if you want an item… now is a good time for 25% off.

Remember my Etsy shop? It’s active again. Here’s a pumpkin pie painting I made.

Happy holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hannukah, New Year’s, etc.

Pinteresting… As a result of posting a ton of freshly revealed .GIF clips from my video productions and other projects, I’ve had a staggering 800+% spike in Pinterest views from October to November, which I suspect drives some of the activity I’m seeing elsewhere [the above Etsy sale, for example].

Check my Pinterest boards to see why that’s taking off like crazy:

Pinterest – Matthew Hornbostel’s profile

And also active [through Cyber Monday is a jaw-dropping 81% off sale on all of my Itch.IO stuff [asset packs with 3d models, stock video FX elements, and texture maps] bundled together. Five asset packs (AND) an early Miniature Multiverse preorder, for $1.69.  Here’s a direct link to the bundle page:

Holiday Bundle – Cyber Monday sale!

There are some new GIFs, video clips, and stills scattered across my ITch.IO pages to showcase the evolving status of my asset packs. I pushed a big update recently to some of them and will be posting some smaller incremental updates very soon – fixes to a few texture-file links and a couple of other small but noticeable glitchy details [like the dandelion texture which I noticed issues with] and I’ll also be adding the long-awaited hanging spanish moss to the ‘Marshes & Meadows’ pack. So those fixes will be posted soon. I tried to participate in the Icehouse Game Jam but fell behind my intended schedule and opted not to submit a very incomplete minigame. However, I’ll still finish the mystery game production [teased on Twitter & Pinterest] at some point.

A new plan… I am working on overhauling HornbostelVideos.com and TriumphantArtists.com. 

There will be a lot of new  stuff for everyone, massive improvements in content and responsiveness for various devices and the new drop-down navigation is way nicer, plus my video-player setup is way cooler, with a wide range of professional-ish features. Plus it’s all way cleaner looking and no giant endless blocks of text. And long awaited comics and a few more articles actually posted which are not currently available.

HOWEVER, VIDEO IS STILL A LEGAL MESS:

There is a tangled mass of challenges in terms of dealing with video content I have made over the years. I’d love to hit the ground running VERY FAST the day this large-scale new overhaul goes live in mid January of 2020. I need to convince the assorted family and friends to accept terms I’ve laid out [quickly] but that’ll require them to believe signing on [ie allowing their roles to be public and facing possible embarrassment] will somehow be worth it. I have a way to do this but it’s a bit tricky in a few ways, and I will NOT guarantee the online survival of the site video content beyond its first year. I do think I could pull off the plan [but] it’s contingent on this stuff finding an audience.

TV networks need subscribers or millions of live viewers bombarded with commercials, and I will not intrude on my stuff with video ads stalling the video content, nor will I require a subscription or paywall. There will be a still, not animated, banner ad at bottom of each page below the video stuff, and a widget for social media sharing, and that is *it*. So I expect far less revenue per viewer, as a result, than ‘TV’ because I refuse to be intrusive and wish to respect my audience.

Resulting harsh truth: I’ll launch with about 25-30 videos in the site library, and each of them needs to, on average, hit nearly 7,000 unique, REAL views/month. Minimum. That is, 2 million total [combined] video views in the first year. I have had family express skepticism that my VFX-laden, comedy and/or action videos will be of any interest to the broader world.

Well… Pinterest is a fascinating case study. The REASON my Pinterest views have exploded to 800-900/day has mostly to do with about a dozen amusing .GIFs from my video projects. Some of those have been seen by *thousands* of Pinterest viewers. So I figure, if a 5-10 second GIF loop from me grabs a thousand viewers in the past week… how well might the actual high-res video do? I truly believe what my family finds fun the world will too. So that’s why I’m emboldened to give this a shot.

THE SCHEDULE:

Currently, the Cyber Monday sales are active –  and some Etsy art is viewable and some Itch.IO asset packs updated, but little else is new.

Lots of gamedev, video, and web design stuff is going on in the background during December, though.

Jan. 20th, 2020 – the web network updates go live including way more video content, new design, comics, articles… etc.

Feb. 15, 2020 – the Miniature Multiverse extras pack and a bunch of new preview material gets posted online, generating further buzz.

March 15th, 2020 – the full game (Miniature Multiverse) hits Itch.IO and Steam.

Shortly after that I will be reevaluating my plans based on how successful or not, that game’s been. If it goes well, more will happen faster. We’ll see.

 

 

Another Etsy item listed!

This 18″ x 24″ gouache original handmade artwork is now available on Etsy for $40 with free shipping within the USA and $0.99 shipping everywhere else.

A fantastic bargain!  The Etsy listing is right here.

Winter Landscape
Snowy winter landscape.

In other news:

-It looks like the Vineyard video production group may be postponed to September (assuming the church approves it)

-Ongoing revisions to the Still Art page to include new artworks as they’re finished.

-New content heading to the stock media section around end of March 2017, among other unique and exciting products soon to be posted.

Fortress Siege 2

I recorded a lot of material for ‘Fortress Siege 2’ over the holidays and will add completing that project (and 1999, and Globe) to the massive pile of video-completion to-dos the next few months.

This picture reveals some of the costumes people wore while acting in front of bluescreen. Obviously it’ll look way more epic once the computer-generated backgrounds are added. It’s the eighth video I’ve directed with my extended family over the past 14 years. The first one was ‘Snow Siege’ in 2003. I am going to be working towards getting many of my old (and new) video projects online this year.

I attended the Art Market at the Houston Vineyard in December 2016

Firstly, big thank you to the Houston Vineyard for putting this together, lots of artists in the area had booths, which was great, and the atmosphere was very nice, well decorated, good snacks, pastries, and hot cider, coffee, hot chocolate, etc. The live nativity was cute, some church members filling in the roles, including a baby as the baby Jesus. There were three goats and a donkey there and they handled the bright lights and music and guests well, though one of the goats was apparently a bit rambunctious and kept messing with the guy playing Joseph. The main issue here was, I think, the lack of local promotion beyond the obvious laminated banners at the building itself. Simply put, visitors were sparse, and many of the ones who were there were already church members. I think there were more vendors than visitors in the art market, at all times, only at most six or seven people browsing at any one point and most of those not interested in buying anything. I cannot say anything about foot traffic with confidence, of course, as my booth was in a dead-end section of hallway leading to a door to the main area of the church (off limits to most everyone during the event) and I didn’t notice every single person who walked into the venue. However, even though there weren’t many people looking at the arts/crafts the few who did show up at my table were awesome. Everyone commented on the art on display, many people were impressed by the Southwestern piece I did specifically for the show, and there were also many other items that drew attention. Ann Armstrong and some other local artists walked by when the pace slowed down and we chatted. Ultimately, I sold three items. One was a small pastel work on paper, of a dog, one was the NYC skyline artwork, which has been pulled off of my Etsy shop because of this event, and won’t be activated there again. The third was the Southwest oil pastel mentioned earlier, which I fortunately was able to photograph before selling it. Southwest Artwork, oil pastel I also had some people really impressed by the video reel (vfx reel and short films) that I was playing on a cheap Android tablet on the table. There was a lot of enthusiasm as there often is when people actually see my video work. I still want to get hours of that content online in the next year, and if things go well enough business wise that should be feasible. I have had a former cast member, Bradley Wallace, once say, “One day we’ll look back and say, we knew Matthew years before he became famous”. That’s something he said that I still remember, and although I’m hardly ‘famous’ and my work is still very cheap (“You’re undercharging”, say my uncle and other family members) it is sometimes valued higher later simply because it’s so cheap to start off with. A decade ago I sold a triptych (three paintings) for $90, which was later appraised at $150. That was at another crafts fair way back in the old Redeemer days. My work is *still* quite affordable, obviously, which you’ll realize once you learn that the image above was of a 36″x54″ oil pastel item, which I sold for just $45.00. I’ve probably put a total of around 6-7 hours into it, so I made more per hour with this than with the vast majority of the work I do. (My usual going rate is around $3.50-$5/hour in practice.) People say I undercharge, but in my experience this is how much my work is valued by the art market; if I aim anywhere above $5/hr the stuff usually won’t sell. (Art valuation is really screwed up, BTW, and I feel much of the modern art out there is grossly overvalued simply because the artist has a ‘name’, but maybe that’s just me.) $4/hr or so, instead, seems to be the sweet spot right now. It used to be $2-3 per hour but business has been really good lately and now it’s up to $4. And really, I’m very happy with $4/hr, even if most others wouldn’t be. It’s a type of work I love doing, and if I can line up 7 1/2 hours of work per day at that rate that’s $30/day which is not at all bad, IMO. At $30/day, if I can do that consistently, I’ll make $10,500 in the next year… enough to pay bills and recurring baseline costs, pay a bit in rent to my parents, and with an extra 4-5 hours a day free to work on my own personal projects! I could get several game productions and a couple dozen videos released online next year if this goes as well as I’m hoping. Maybe some of that will be lucrative in its own right, which would be phenomenally awesome. (By lucrative, I don’t mean I’m trapping that content behind a paywall. It will all be free but with some ads and also DVD editions available on this shop.)