When CG Art Nexus was opened it's virtual doors on the 4th of July 2014, it did so in a bit of a hurry. The site was built in reaction to the closure of ImagineFX Magazine's forum by Future Publishing. As notice of the closure was given only a few weeks before hand it didn't leave a great deal of time for us to not only discuss the possiblility of creating a new home for the great people that inhabited the forum, but also to build something worth going to and to do so in time to let people know it was there.
Unfortuantely the rush to put the site together meant that things weren't as good as we wanted them to be, and features that were originally planned were never implimented. So even when the site opened, the intent was always to rebuild it.
So here it is, CG Art Nexus version 2: Son of CG Art Nexus.
So what's new?
While the site remains fairly similar in some places, there are many changes. The site has been completely rebuilt using a new framework and under the surface things are a little better organised, and the site has been restyled to try and make things feel a little more consistent across the board. The layout of the home page has been improved to display information from across the site more cleanly.
Log in and registration. The log in form has be moved to the registration page and it is now possible for new members to register using their accounts on several social media sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter). Existing users can choose to link their account here with their accounts on those sites allowing single click log in with their social media accounts (you can unlink at any time through your profile settings).
We have also changed the cookie notification system, which will now have less impact on the usability of the site and not interfere with user log ins as the previous system did, while still meeting the (stupid and annoying) EU legal requirements.
Forums. The forum remains mostly unchanged apart from some visual differences (some of these help the problem some users had with differetiating individual posts from one another). Each thread now contains social sharing buttons for Facebook, Twitter, and Google +. There is also a new "top row" slider displaying thumbnails for stand out threads on the forum (if you see a thread you think needs recognition for awesomeness, let any of the admin know and we will look at adding it). Forum posts can now use custom Icons (selected from the post editor), these allow the creator to, for example, highlight the post with a mature content warning icon. One other new feature is mentioned below in the new blog function.
*A last minute addition, the forum is now accessible through Tapatalk.
Blogging. When the site opened orginally, many users expressed an interest in creating a site related magazine, well, now they can. Site members can write their own blog articles under a number of categories (if you think the categories don't cover what you want to write about sugggest some more in the feedback and suggestions section of the forum and we will consider them for addition). Each article can be rated by other users, and can be shared via a large selection of social sharing icons. Registered members of the site can also comment on blog articles which ties into the forum. Article comments automatically create a new discussion thread on the forum to allow wider conversation.
Gallery. The gallery has undergone an organisational change. Previously users were limited to uploading artwork in preset themed categories. The way this was arranged lead to other organisational problems for example, when viewing an image from a users profile, clicking the next and previous buttons displayed images from the category and not from other images by that user. The new category set up fixes that problem. Now users have their own category (created autoamtically on their first log in to the site). You can now create your own subcategories and organise your artwork the way you want.
Member Directory. There was a user list before but it was fairly hidden away and easy to miss, it is now moved to the main naivgation and is much improved with better content and search options. The directory also contains a "Profile of the Day" featuring a random user profile (this requires users to upload an avatar in order for their profile to have a chance of appearing). Also new is the member map which will display avatars (linking to profiles) showing the locations of registered users (this requires the user to have their location field filled in in their profile - it is recommended not to be too specific when filling this in). Want to connect with other members in your area, then this is the place to look.
FAQ. Previously we posted help information on the forum but we now have a deidcated FAQ (located under the Help menu). This will continue to be upated with information and guides on using the site, so if you can't find the info you are looking for then let us know and we will try and add it.
Profiles. User profiles have been changed to allow a small amount of customization and to add and improve functionality. You can now choose from several theme templates to change the appearnace of your profile. There are a number of new additions similar to those found on other social networks which enable you to interact with other members. Hopefully these options will enable users to make more of their user profiles, whether you wish to use it as a personal portfolio to present your artwork, or a form of social interaction with other members. You have options to enable or disable different functions and information to create the profile you want.
Users can now also invite people to the site using the cleverly named "invites" function. Every user can invite up to 10 others to join the site, an email is sent using containing a code which the recipient enters during registration. Once registered the site will automatically create connections to the invite sender and the newly invited member.
Some additional features were not yet ready in time for the update, and may arrive at some point in the future. We hope these updates to the site will encourage more activity and growth.
Thank you for your support.