Web Network overhaul [late July 2022]

I used to *still* be renewing some of my domains through HostGator still (because those jerks won’t let me transfer them, and now their system’s so broken that the ability to renew the domains no longer exists in any functional form.)

So the reality here is that many of my domain names will be expiring over the next few months.

New (replacement) domain names will be announced here later but for now I’m keeping the new names quiet until they’re successfully registered. Keep in mind though that some of the core domains remain, including HornbostelProductions.com, HornbostelVideos.com, and TriumphantArtists.com. Those three I can guarantee will not change.

As far as the web network in general, I intend to redesign pretty much every single site in it over the next month. I’m already starting that process with what will be the replacement for RedeemerDocumentary.com, RedeemerChurch3d.com [domain acquired, site not all there yet]. This site will now be focused less on any history I had with that or other churches, and more on the 3d reconstruction project related to the church structure.

HornbostelVideos.com will be reworked with WordPress and will look a lot more YouTube-y with a far more modular layout that will make it simpler for me to integrate new video content there periodically over time.

Many of my domains will soon face other changes as well – more consistent and faster-loading banner ad code for example, integrated into [nearly] every page of the network with only a few exceptions. I’m well aware that despite all odds, some of my sites, this one included, are in the top 2 million most visited on the entire internet, according to the likes of Alexa, and should [in theory] be generating a few dollars/day per site, just by existing, and having a few ad slots on them. And as much as I dislike that, I’ll be going along with it, though I will try to minimize the disruptiveness of such ads. No pop-ups or pop-unders, just an embedded banner here and there. If this succeeds to any reasonable extent, it might be key to making the likes of HornbostelVideos.com viable. I have a plan in place for releasing almost my entire past video library there, and that plan should finally be live later this month [here’s hoping, anyway]

Other key updates? Etsy has stabilized nicely, and the shop there continues to gain ground with over 80 positive reviews, and I’ll be posting a few new paintings and other things there soon even though it’s obvious that the affordable printing services are mostly what is successful there. Itch.IO is starting to boom but the July 4th promo did not have the viral impact I hoped it would – I had $25 worth of gift cards ready to hand out and… people didn’t do what was needed to claim them. All the same, the core campaign did draw a few hundred people to the shop and resulted in a small number of sales. So hopefully, things will continue to grow there, and I do have three ratings/reviews there now so the shop is developing a positive reputation finally instead of the ‘no reputation at all’ it had for years. I’m still trying to get a list of things out there by end of summer, including two new VFX packs and a texture collection, more 3d assets, maybe even a game or two if things go smoothly enough.

My sister Katie is running a Kickstarter and I edited the video promoting it for her. You can check that out here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/debutworshipalbum/debut-worship-album-and-music-video

A quick note for the end of July…

Firstly, the July 4th sale went okay but mostly was underwhelming in terms of public response.

Nonetheless, I continue to push forward on more ambitious new product releases as much as I am able.

Between now and the Labor Day sale (which is sept. 1-10, 2021) I intend to release a bunch of new art items on Etsy, plus three more asset packs on itch.IO. Plans include:

-a substantial and high quality new 2.7k video VFX elements pack on https://matthornb.itch.io/

(the creation of this pack will cost at least a couple hundred $ doing a wide range of various debris bursts/falls, involving a mix of different materials, different types of FX stuff, maybe some good smoky billowing cloud tank FX too if this goes well, and that budget, of $200ish which is… roughly what I have available at the moment, and the way I want to do it – bigger and better -will be about $75 -$125 above that, so any support in the form of Etsy or Itch.IO orders in the next week or so will make it possible to do this better, with an even wider range of effects elements. But it has to be roughly within the next 20 days, by Aug. 20 or so, past that point, the scope of the collection will kind of be locked in and won’t change meaningfully between then and the Sept. 1 launch. )

-a new medieval/fantasy 3d asset pack there too. Think modular castles – interiors, exteriors – smaller structures, and many different middle ages period details filling all of them. At least 20 3d assets included at first launch.

-and a scifi pack as well with SF themed 3d assets. Sort of a mix of the darker gritty cyberpunk stuff and some cleaner / glossy future designs too, plus some alien / outer space environment elements. Again, well over 20 different 3d objects/assets included from the get go.

And those three new asset packs will have very nice preview images and materials showcasing them effectively. Which they should have, given that they’re each priced around $2.50 or so.

But: despite this accumulating mass of epic-scaled asset packs closing in on a $30 combined price, and fast approaching 3000 total files across all of them, don’t assume that you won’t still be able to find great deals from me anymore during holidays! Labor Day 2021, Halloween 2021, Thanksgiving and Christmas 2021 all will have the bundle of all my itch.IO products together for over 90% off the normal cost (i.e. under $3 for everything released to date)

That – the trio of entirely new packs – is on top of some new, and fairly substantial free additions to a few of my existing asset packs, my first submission to the Unity Asset Store, about a dozen more listings on Etsy bringing the total to 30+ listings… a relaunch and redesign of several websites including HornbostelVideos, and the release of a little adventure game called ‘Panoramic Worlds‘ across multiple platforms.

Yes, a lot is going on around here.

Some new Etsy items have already been posted, in fact.

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

Like this painting, or a brand new second set of model buildings, which will be visible in a preview image very shortly on NScaleScenery.com! (in the next 36 hrs! with the actual sale listings across multiple model scales posted for sale on Etsy within 36hrs after that!) This is a big deal! So much has been in the works here these last few weeks and I am hoping that as the results of that effort start to go public you will be thrilled by it all! ūüėÄ


Papercraft miniatures

I’m moving forward on a range of print products for sale on Etsy.

Art prints, posters, booklets, and – interestingly – papercraft miniature designs for use in model railroads and other scale models.

Related to that news, I’ve redesigned NScaleScenery.com, a long-dormant website, with a new layout and new content. Take a look at that if interested.

Some products, we’ll note, won’t be active until I have a high-quality large-format printer at home. So don’t expect big poster art or cardstock print sets above N scale until about a month or two from now.

The plan as it currently stands:

N, Z, T scale papercraft designs, the first British set anyway, will all be finalized and all listed – I’m pretty sure – within the next 48 hrs. The N scale listings already are viewable on Etsy.

I’m continuing to make some slight adjustments and these explain the occasional inconsistencies in the existing posted photos on Etsy. The clock on the ‘town hall’ building is now smaller, and not oversized. The church is being reworked to change the tower to a [more conventional looking] bell tower. And print contrast and sharpness has improved due to a few recent changes as well. Expect the showcase photos to be updated in the next day or two to reflect the last-minute improvements.

Posters and booklets are a ways off, but I can say that the booklets are VERY extensive and cover a vast range of my artworks over the past 20 years, in four volumes, and they’ll include a great deal of material not accessible to the public elsewhere. Some really cool and quirky stuff will be shown there. There was a cover design rendered in 3d for this, that incidentally is viewable and has been for some time, somewhere on one of my Pinterest boards. It’s the design titled ‘The Triumphant Artist’.

Posters – I noticed that creative maps are popular on Etsy and I’m well aware that the ‘cartoony’ stylized depictions of states, cities, and the landmarks within them, are perennial print sellers. I have been developing a concept of ‘3d-rendered’ versions of those sorts of things. The first one I’m doing? Texas, as it’s a huge state with a lot in it, and it’s a place that has a sort of independent state-pride streak that few other states have. So I’ve taken it upon myself to create a map graphic in 3d, complete with dozens of notable landmarks depicted in a somewhat stylized sort of 3d style, relatively prominent form all over the 3d, topographically realistic terrain. The map as a whole is very high quality, purely in pixel count terms we’re talking about a resolution of the source digital file, that is over 24k total image resolution. In other words, sharp and packed with details even though it’s covering an entire 13″ by 19″ poster surface!

More European building-set designs for papercrafters will arrive on Etsy in time for Valentine’s Day in February, potentially including some of the following:

-French city and rural buildings like those seen in Paris.

Amsterdam styled colorful buildings. And a windmill?

-Swiss Alps, architecture

-Venetian / Italian coastal town architecture

-Greek architecture as typical of places like Santorini, plus some ruins.

-Castles, with modular walls and drawbridges, of a generically Western-European sort, complete with banners and other medieval detailing.

If the miniatures sell decently out of the gate (even despite a few issues admittedly at the start) I might be able to justify expanding the product line to include HO and O scale by the end of February. I will also make an effort, in that event, to add other parts of the world beyond the European styles I’ve started this with. If you’re wondering what all this looks like, here’s one of the early diorama photos I’ve posted:

N scale diorama with some of my [admittedly somewhat shoddily assembled] buildings.

I encourage you to check the new website:

www.NScaleScenery.com

And maybe browse Etsy for cool new products this next month? There will be some interesting new things there, and yes, including a few new handmade original artworks soon as well. I haven’t given up painting!:

Etsy – watch for a new sale to start in early February up through Valentine’s Day!

In answer to a couple of recent queries:

No, no sale for Valentine’s Day on Itch.IO – sorry. But I haven’t stopped work on the stock media or the indie game dev stuff. Far from it! Right now, in fact, I’m about to submit the first collection of my stock media content to the Unity Asset Store! And then on the game dev side, well, just know there’s a great deal going on there too, and while I failed to post much new in December-January there should be some major updates put online for all to see, by late February, including many new images, GIFs, and video content as well. There’s a ton of work going into those games but right now the public-facing focus is squarely on Etsy momentum and print products, and I’m really hoping that goes well.

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.

 

 

Multi-item discounts, and ongoing website updates

As you may have noticed, the Oil Pastel art page now looks different from the other listings on the HornbostelProductions shop.

Specifically, it now includes a noticeable price reduction on larger items, and a far more staggering bargain available for any order of multiple items of the same size and medium. ¬†It’s occurred to me that my biggest cost as a seller on all such listings is in the process of shipping and that if I offer listings with two or three items made to order at once, not just one, well, I can reduce the per-item price considerably for customers simply due to the fact that in such a situation, multiple items can be shipped together in a single container. ¬†So, as I add this option to all my made to order art listings during this next week, think about the prospect of purchasing three items at once, for the price it’d previously cost to buy two. ¬†Great idea especially for situations such as Christmas. ¬†Say you’d like to order gifts in advance for a long list of family members, there’s now the option of getting handcrafted gift items, personalized in nature, focused on subjects that appeal to those specific people, an order of three of them, for a single, really stunning low price. ¬†These artworks can depict nearly any subject you want, so long as it is not extremely disgusting/obscene/offensive content wise.

That said, you could certainly ask for things like, say, a portrait of a person you care about, a landscape, or a portrait of a pet, a view of your home, indoors or out, or a view of a place you once visited, an imaginative sci-fi or fantasy scene, or something silly or unexpected, maybe fun and oddly specific, like penguins playing with a soccer ball:

Penguins playing with a soccer ball

You probably shouldn’t ignore the opportunity to do this, as it’s a fantastic idea for holidays or other occasions, but it’s also possible to order a set of two or three items designed not as entirely individual works to split up but as parts of a larger cohesive aesthetic display – a ‘diptych’ or ‘triptych’ that can be posted together along a wall in your house, or in a set of two or three rooms, as matching decoration!

Also cool – I’ve updated a LOT of the pages on TriumphantArtists.com, but the articles section is mostly notably absent from the revised structure. ¬†Well, that’s about to change, with a substantial overhaul of the articles area, plus new content in comics and a fun minigame all aimed for release by about the end of July. ¬†And there’s also some video production effort going on lately, which is a long way from making it online but I’ve got plans to get things online, batch after batch – dozens of elaborate videos I’ve made over the past two decades, revised and uploaded. ¬†Generally speaking, sales of handcrafted art are a big key to keeping those projects moving forward, so any customers who order here are greatly appreciated.

As mentioned (somewhat incessantly) I do have nearly 200 ratings now on my eBay account, all positive, and that’s a solid indicator of my integrity as a vendor. ¬†But I’d really love to see that expanded to my Etsy shop and to this shop on HornbostelProductions, so anyone willing to take that leap will find some great deals on both and will be glad they made the decision to try out my storefronts beyond eBay.