Show Your Photos, Share Your Comments!

It’s been some weeks since the last update on sylights.com!

What kept us busy for that time? First, our Sylights for iPhone application. The beta is currently running and we’ve had some really helpful comments and reports. Thanks to all the testers who are participating!
You should expect some news in a near future about this, so if you own an iPod Touch, an iPhone or an iPad, stay tuned!

A lot of work has also been done on sylights.com, and this is what we are going to address here. The short version is: Flickr photo import, comments, design improvements. The long version comes after the jump.

Until today, you and other photographers were using Sylights as an external tool to create diagrams, and then mainly publish them on blogs (as Westcott’s #Tog Tuesday or Capture-the-light). This is great, but our intent is to provide a platform where photogs can actually share about their lighting setups. Today’s update addresses this goal by adding some new features to sylights.com:

Import your photos from Flickr
One of the most important feature is to be able to share the results of your lighting setups along with your diagrams. But why upload your photos twice? If you have a Flickr account, you’ll now be able to connect to it and import any public photo from your photostream to Sylights.
Just go to your diagram page and click the “add photo” link next to the diagram’s thumbnail. You will first have to authorize us to connect to your Flickr account. This is a mandatory step to allow us to find your photos.
Back to Sylights, you’ll be presented with a list of your photo sets. Browse to the photo you’d like to add, click it and that’s it!

You can attach up to five photos to each of your diagrams. This should be enough for some setup shots and “actual” photos at the same time. When you’ve made them available on Flickr, we will display some EXIF data along with your photos. And of course, any photo you import to Sylights remains in your possession: we display the license you chose on Flickr for each photo to reflect your rights on the image.

If you don’t have a Flickr account, don’t worry: we are going to add support for other means of photo attachment. If you’d like us to interface with a specific service, don’t hesitate to mention it in the comments or on our feeback page.

 

Comment on other’s diagrams
You can now receive advice or answer questions on your diagrams! A comment thread is available for each diagram to enable communication between photographers. You have to be logged in to comment on a diagram.
And I guess that’s all there is to say! The comment system is a bit rudimentary for the moment, but we believe that enabling discussion is a major step to allow you to share knowledge and techniques about lighting.
Should you have suggestions to improve this comment system, please let us know!

 

Enhanced diagram page
We have dramatically changed the page presenting your diagrams. Our first version showed minimalistic information and a small diagram image that could be enlarged… as we were not happy with it, we made it all over again!
Diagrams are now displayed bigger and a sidebar provides additional information and actions:

  • Basic author information
  • A permalink field which can be copied to your clipboard with a dedicated button
  • A download link to the higher resolution image of the diagram
  • A deletion link if you’re the owner of the diagram
  • EXIF and license information about the photo, if a photo is displayed

The sidebar also shows a toggle button that’s here to help you in your study of a diagram: when you are watching a photo, you may at some point wonder how a specific shadow, highlight or other effect is achieved. The big “Show Lighting Diagram” right above the EXIF frame toggles the view from the photo you’re watching to the lighting diagram. Have a quick look at it, and then click again to come back to the photo and continue studying it.

 

Format your texts
This is a small feature, but it can help being a bit more legible: you can now format your diagram descriptions and your comments with some patterns, which will transform to bold text, italic, superscript, hyperlink, and so on.
A “formatting tips” link is available close to the text boxes where formatting is enabled.

 

This is it! You can now begin to add photos to your diagrams and leave comments to your favorite ones.
We hope you are going to enjoy sharing your work on Sylights! We are eager to see the first photos coming in :)

As usual, don’t hesitate to react in the comments!
Are you planning to share more diagrams in the future? What’s still missing on Sylights for you to do so?

 

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