Global Feature List 1.0
Global Feature List 1.0
Hi all!

We took some time off production to share a list of features that we’re planning to add to CAS! We’ll start with new features and we’ll follow it up with improvements on existing features.

Keep in mind that all of the described features might change during production and are still open for discussion. This is not the order of priority as it changes constantly, and it’s not all.. we have many more things to do and bugs to fix. But these are the features that we currently have in mind! Please let us know what you are looking forward to or have any questions about the features!

------- NEW FEATURES -------

Study Sessions
We believe that from just speedpainting you’ll evidently stop improving. That’s why we want to add a new set of Sessions, called Study Sessions. Study Sessions will have the same durations as the original Concept Art Sessions, but instead of Topics we’re planning to divide Study Sessions into Art Fundementals. Here are some possible options:

  • Color/value/light study (Draw from a random still-life picture)
  • Composition study (Draw from a random movie-still)
  • Anatomy study (Draw from random animal or human anatomy reference)
  • Shape/perspective study (Draw a random 3D object from another angle)
  • Concept study (Make as many designs as possible out of a single concept, for example a picture of a gear, engine or scissor)

We’re still unsure how we’re going to get all of this content legally, but we’re planning on creating a place just like the Improve Tags page where photographers can upload their work for us to use. More ideas on this topic are welcome!

Feedback Tool
We want to add a Feedback Tool that gives the ability to give quick and easy feedback on pieces. It works like a poll. An artist can select a number of disciplines (perspective, color, anatomy, etc) that are present in the piece. Other users can click the Feedback Tool button below a piece which will bring up a popup showing the chosen disciplines and asks the user to choose the best and the worst performed discipline.

By monitoring the results the artist can more easily pick a Study Session that focuses on the worst performed discipline. We believe this tool could make a clear connection between the Concept Art Sessions and Study Sessions.

We’re coming to a point where it’s almost impossible to give everyone quality feedback on their submitted art. That’s why we want to add a feature called Mentorship. The idea behind Mentorship is that you as a mentor can dedicate yourself to the the learning process of your students. Users on CAS will be able to setup a mentor/student relationship much like friend requesting, but in this case they can choose a fixed duration (a week, month, year, etc). Mentors can give their students tasks in form of Sessions (with a description of focus for that lesson), making the student receive the task as a notification.

When students finish a session they will get the option to use the piece to complete a task from a mentor. Mentors would then receive a notification and can accept the piece or make the student redo it (with feedback attached).

We believe that this feature can be a lot of fun for novice and experienced artists, but we’re also very interested in how schools might be able to use it! That’s why we’re currently talking to some schools that are interested in this feature, to setup a design that they are willing to use in their program.

Improved User Gallery
We want the User Gallery of CAS to be more impressive so it becomes a valuable way to share your art. We want to redo the entire design and fit it in a fullscreen popup like when viewing a piece. These are some features we want to add (namings are still negotiable):

  • Featured Pieces (Sessions that are hand-picked by the author to be on the frontpage of the gallery)
  • Sketchbook (Personal Art that’s not from CAS)
  • Inspirations (Art from CAS that is manually assigned as Inspiration)
  • List of Paintovers
  • More info about the user (real name, description, portfolio sites, email, whether or not open for freelance work, etc.)

Freelance Job Offers
As owners of CAS, we’ve been asked multiple times to connect employers to an artist that’s up for a freelance job. We think we can automate this via CAS. We want to add a feature for artists to set whether they are open for freelance job offers. Then employers can submit a job offer, making the artists receive a notification with a description of the job. Artists can choose to decline or accept the job, giving the employer a list of all artists that have accepted with their email address. The employers can then send a personal message to the artist of their liking with more detailed information about the job!

Tag Popup
We want to show a bit more of a Tag’s background in a small popup. The popup should include the following:

  • Description/meaning of the Tag with the author of the description. A button to suggest a description if there is none. Tags in the Active Session should have a small question mark (or any other icon that fits) if the Tag has a description of its meaning.
  • Metadata such as the original creator and the creation date
  • The number of Tags that are positively connected using the Connect Tags tool
  • The number of pieces using this Tag
  • An option to notify spelling errors

Comment Positionals
We want to add “Positionals” to comments so you can highlight a section of a piece when giving feedback. It should work a lot like tagging someone in Facebook. Next to the Add Paintover button, a Positional button will show. Clicking this will enable you to click on a position in the piece, inserting a small link in you comment’s textarea. After posting, hovering this link will visually show the Positional in the piece.

CAS Guide
We want to add a page that summarizes all functionality available on CAS the website will be easier to use for new users.

Help/Tutorial Page
We want a page that helps beginning artists to get up to speed with a step by step guide that suggests a selection of paint software, how CAS works and some art introduction tutorials.

Piece Process Videos
We would like to add an option to submit a YouTube URL with your piece. This video should switch with the original piece just like the rendered version or a paintover can.

Chat System
We’d like to add a chat/messaging system that allows users/friends or mentor/students to communicate with each other more easily.

We want a CAS App for mobile devices that has a complete visual redesign that embraces touch controls and small displays.

We want to add the ability to allow other users to buy a print of a piece you’ve made.

------- IMPROVED FEATURES -------

Rendered piece
We believe that taking the time after a session to make improvements is one of the most effective ways to learn and improve. That’s why we want to make a distinction between a paintover and a rendered version of the piece.The author of a piece will get the option to upload a rendered/finished version with a short description. Doing this should bring the piece back up in the feed and stand out so it’s clear that a rendered version has been made.

Session Additions
There are a lot of ideas of extra session options and it’s impossible to add them all without losing the simplicity and recognition of the site. These are some features that we do want to implement:

  • Random Topic/Duration
  • 24 Hour Duration
  • Daily Topic (A topic that you can only do once a day, where everyone has the same tags that the admins can pick)

Optimize loading times
The Popular feed is currently not as optimized as we want, it takes about 4 seconds to load. As this is the first thing people will see when they view CAS we really want to put some effort into reducing the loading time. In addition to feed loading times, CAS has a lot of individual icons (right menu, session topics, etc.). Combining these icons in one big spritesheet will increase the loading speed of the page by a lot!

Forum Improvements
There are a number of improvements that we want in the forums.

  • Threads should show whether you’ve viewed them since the last activity (read/unread)
  • You should be able to mark threads so you know you want to respond later on
  • A list of all threads that are unread or marked by you
  • Forums should include image uploading
  • Forums (and piece-comments) should include emoticons
  • Forum search functionality
  • Forum post/reply likes

Piece Features
Here are some features that we want to add to the Piece Popup:

  • We want to add a black/white filter that’ll work just as a paintover so you can easily check the values of a piece.
  • We want you to be able to click on a piece in a popup to zoom into the piece, enabling you to click and drag to pan around.
  • We want to add previous and next buttons to navigate through a selected gallery or feed when in a Piece Popup.

Usertype Icons
We want to add small icons to the user-avatars that’ll communicate the usertype of a user. Usertypes are Admins, Super-Admins and Users that Donated. We’re also planning on using this feature for Achievements later on, so you can display that you’ve submitted 30 characters for example.

CASTimer Improvements
We have some ideas in mind for the CASTimer so it can stand more on its own. It should include login, Session start, Tag display and upload functionality. We also want to add a way to enter your own deadline timing, which won’t be like a real Session but just something you can use for own practices or external contests. Last but not least, we want to port the CASTimer to Mac.

Downvote Tag Connections
We currently have the Connect Tags tool that helps the tag generator to produce tags which are connected by other users. But we do not yet have a way to disconnect the tags which evidently do not go together well. We want to add a popup that shows up when refreshing the tags in a session (we know you do it!) in which there is an option to give feedback on the tagset. You can tell the system which combinations you didn’t like, making them go together in a session less often.

Mature Content
Sometimes pieces are submitted with a lot of gore, or even naked people! To make sure that we can all still browse through CAS safely we want you to be able to set pieces as mature content. This will initially hide the piece with a big button to unhide it. It should also be easy to re-hide it afterwards. Users will get an option in the Account Settings to automatically show mature content.

User registration via Gmail and Facebook
The current user registration routine requires an email validation, but it’s much faster to integrate Gmail and Facebook so new users can link their CAS account and create an account in seconds. Making it able to link your Facebook account should give the ability to automatically post new pieces on Facebook.

Comment Improvements
We want to add the following features to the piece-comments:

  • An edit button
  • A preview button
  • URL and @username recognition
  • Emoticons

Autoloading feed
We want the feed to reload every few seconds when the page is active so you don’t have to spam F5 to get the newest feed.

Improve Feedback Request
We’ve got some ideas in mind to make requesting for feedback more interesting:

  • We want pieces that are requesting for feedback to stand out more by highlighting the piece (for example making an icon that grabs attention).
  • We want to make an extra feed-filter that shows the most recent pieces that request for feedback so other users can easily search for pieces to give feedback on.

Extra Account Settings
We want to add some extra abilities to the Account Settings:

  • Renaming your username
  • A button to delete your CAS account

Connect Tags Improvements
We want to improve the Connect Tags tool. Here is a list of the most important features we want to add:

  • Give an option to select a Topic. This should also show the connection count for each topic.
  • Show the "Now you can add more tags..." also when only adding one tag so I can see my tag that is added
  • Weighting newer tags so they appear more often and get the chance to connect more
  • A way to open a popup that shows all individual connections in the current connection. This should include an option to select a pair that will not get interconnected, but still connects with the other tags.

Again, please let us know what you are looking forward to or if you have any questions about the features!
RE: Global Feature List 1.0
Oh wow
RE: Global Feature List 1.0
YES YES YES.. all these things sound wonderful! The study sessions for me sound the best of all. If you guys pull all this stuff off (and I know you can), I believe you've got one of the best FREE art learning website there is!

The mentorship sounds great as well!

RE: Global Feature List 1.0
RE: Global Feature List 1.0
Im wondering how you'll get the screencaps of movies legally aswell, and these new features sound super duper awesome
RE: Global Feature List 1.0
You guys are doing it right.

Excellent ideas all across the board, I'm excited for it.
RE: Global Feature List 1.0
I think, focusing on the Chat System, adding Visitor/Personal messages, overall, focusing on the communication between people will increase the popularity of this site the most because, what kept me around CAS wasn't really the super-awesome-unique Session thing (which I really do love) or the good User Interface or whatever. It was the community... Some of which I got to know from the Google Hangouts.. Ha! Funny thing to say, since it isn't really a CAS thing. Knowing people from this site makes me want to come back to it and open the tab every day. The more people you know on a site, the more often you visit it. Having no way to communicate decreases the possibility of getting to know someone drastically, under-picture comments don't do the trick.
For the distant future, I think having something like a Google-Hangouts daily chat (with sharescreen, not just chat, since we're talking about an art thing here, and probably drawing will be a main subject in the chat) will really increase, not the community in numbers, but in strength. What will be the difference between the Hangouts and the CAS chat then? Well, many people do not enter the hangouts because: 1. It is not a CAS feature and 2. They have to download stuff, create accounts, overall, bother. I'm not saying that if it's a CAS feature it won't require downloading, but it will be much more accessible. I think that activity increases popularity because more sessions will be started per day, more threads in the forums, more doing stuff and not just checking the site like Facebook. Speaking of which, I haven't started a session since a long time.

Wall of texting again, stupid me. What I really want to say is, I guess, prioritize the stuff on the to-do list, because they are a lot and it will take, I assume, a lot of time to do all this. Focus on those that include Mentorship, Interaction, Chats, Forum stuff. In the last few months I got a bit saddened, seeing as the members hadn't increased that much, I was hoping I'd be seeing 2k this year. But the activity has really increased. So little people, yet so many sessions per day. It's awesome!
RE: Global Feature List 1.0
Very good points Mephisto! We really needed some feedback from the users at this point, so thanks a lot! :) Although we still have lots of ideas for CAS we've been struggling a while about what to do with CAS. Right now CAS is stable, people are doing sessions every day, from time to time new users sign up but there is no really significant grow. With not a lot time left, we got more picky on which feature to add, and this resulted in not working on really big features for a while. Only small improvements.

I agree with you on adding more features to improve communication for users on CAS. Adding a chat/message system is something we've been talking about already and seems like a feature that would really help grow the CAS community. Another idea we had was the ability to share a session with another user. This could connect people to each other as well and of course...its fun! :)

Thanks a lot again Mephisto! If other users on CAS have opinions about this as well, please share! :)
RE: Global Feature List 1.0
Yes, thanks for sharing your thoughs Mephisto.. We're gonna look into ways into implement the chat system! :D
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