It's vaguely digital and up-and-to-the-right. What more can you ask of a stock photo?
New Server, New Templates, Old Hobbies
For the first 6 months of running IntroCave, my render servers were constantly on fire. The vast majority of that load comes from free preview renders. I was doing a lot of site improvements to make it easier to browse the site and find the right intro video, but the backend renderers couldn't keep up with the increased load. I made some tweaks to how the load was balanced and things seemed to smooth out in 2019, but with the overall traffic drop it, was hard to say whether the server troubles were gone for good. Up until March 31, the most I had rendered in a single day was 1346 previews all the way back in August of 2018. On March 31st, I set a new record:
1441 previews in a single day.
Every day of April has been significantly higher than that. The average (with a couple of days to go) so far:
1826 previews per day.
If you take any one day in April, it would be significantly higher than the previous high water mark. The servers have mostly held up okay, but I've started to notice a little bit of queuing and longer preview render times over the last week or so. I don't know if this traffic surge is going to continue when things go back to "normal" (if there is a normal anymore), but I've started bringing more render nodes online to take some of the demand.
Besides dealing with the servers, April has been a pretty chill month. I took the week off for Spring Break to do some craft projects around the house, and I've been slowly fixing up old intro templates and adding new videos to the site.
New (and Updated) Templates
I may continue to tinker a bit with the audio and how the logo fades out at the end, but I've wanted a water-themed intro for the site for quite some time.
While I'm cleaning up the existing template library, I'm also taking a closer look at which templates are performing well. Logo animations do better than text animations, so I'll continue to take text-only templates that perform well and add logo versions.
Vivid Title Reveal
Just to go completely counter to what I just said about adding logo versions, one place that I notice text intros doing quite well is more white/clean/business-friendly templates. While you could already use my text-to-image tool to create a "text" version of this intro, I wasn't completely happy with the layout there.
Holographic Glitch Logo
I had a customer request come in over spring break to take the blue hologram and turn it red. I don't normally do custom work, but they happened to catch me with some free time on my hands. I didn't build the original template, but I was able to open it up, poke around, and get a pretty good red version banged out. Rather than simply upload a red version to the site, I built in some dynamic color controls so that customers could make the hologram any color!
I took the week off for my kids' spring break and used that time to recharge some of my creative batteries.
If you're active on Twitter, you've probably noticed the home baking Renaissance that's going on right now. I have pretty much zero interest in nurturing a sourdough starter and baking bread from scratch, but I do have a pretty fancy bread machine that's been sitting unused for about 5-6 years. It worked great when I lived in California, but now that I'm somewhere more humid I could never get the "basic white bread" recipe to turn out right.
During the break, I started making 1-2 loafs a day. The first 5-6 were terrible, but we finally got the recipe dialed in and are getting pretty good bread now. We've done a few experiments (vanilla bread, chocolate bread) and will probably try a few sweeter varieties in the next couple of weeks (carrot bread, Hawaiian bread).
I tried making this mask with the fabric we had on hand, but our fabric is too thick and my sewing skills aren't quite good enough. I did manage to produce 3-4 of these, but they're all really sloppy and awful. I switched over to the ragmask and have had a MUCH easier time. The design is easy to scale up to my big dumb head, and I'll probably end up making 3-4 of these for each person in my family.
I have 10 4x4 raised garden beds in my yard. In previous years, I've used a small electric tiller to clean them up for my spring planting. My tiller broke last summer, and with shelter-in-place still going I didn't want to go shopping for a new one. Enter the simple garden hoe. It's a hell of a lot more work to fight weeds with a hoe than with a tiller, but I managed to get all 10 boxes cleaned up (and some winter compost distributed).
This year I'm doing tomatoes, green beans, squash, and cucumbers—all plants that tend to do fairly well on their own without much babysitting. I'm attempting to incubate some fancy white habanero seeds in my bathtub right now, with an eye towards making some white hot sauce (that's white hot sauce and not white-hot sauce) later in the fall.