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The Ins and Outs of Gallery Making

by minaru


So, you’re surfing around your fellow Neopians’ lookups, wasting time ‘til the Snowager decides to take his afternoon doze.

Or maybe you’ve been directed from the ‘Shops’ Neoboard, in interest of someone’s Plushie Angelpuss that they’ve been advertising for the last hour.

Whatever the reason, you’re sitting here, staring blankly at their user lookup, and before you click anywhere else, you notice they have a Size 63 ‘Gallery.’

Galleries. What’s the point? Why would anyone spend so much money just to show off items? They’re basically expensive Safety Deposit Boxes right?

Well, the answer to that isn’t something any one person can say for a fact. However, there are a lot of galleries out there, and a lot of people who make them without having a CLUE as to how to manage them. After awhile of staring at *insertusernamehere*’s gallery, you decide to make one for yourself. What do you do, though? Below I have listed some suggestions on how to get your act together. At the bottom of the walkthrough, I have made a summary checklist to keep you on track.

Getting Started: Choosing your Theme

Before you run off to spend your entire bank’s worth of Neopoints on random items, stop and think a moment. Why do you want a gallery? Are you trying to express a favorite theme? Show off some rare items you recently received? You read some article and they told you to? Well, first things first. Think of what you want to put in your gallery and WHY. Any theme will do. With that point made, I’d like to bring up that all the following advice and suggestions are for those with interest in the Gallery Spotlight. Anyone else with any other motive for his or her gallery is welcome to follow the advice, but it isn’t mandatory.

Okay, you’re thinking of a theme. There are a few things to consider.

1: How expensive is your theme going to be? Surely, you must have a rough idea. Are you willing to deal with the price?

2: If you’re shooting for the gallery spotlight, think about this. Is your theme common? Look around for other galleries with the same theme. Ask people on the “Spotlight and Galleries” Neoboard. Common themes are not bad, but if you’re looking to stand out or win the spotlight, you’re really going to have to work hard to make your gallery shine.

3: In relation to 2; keep this in mind. No matter HOW unique you think your chosen theme is, there might be someone out there with the same idea. Neopets has A LOT of users. So there’s always a chance that someone else is doing the exact same thing.

Summary: Think of a theme. Make it original if you can.

Getting a Picture

I know, I know… “I’ve chosen my theme. Get on with it!” Patience, people. Making a gallery that’ll stand out is actually a very hard thing to do.

Your next step is to think about how you want to present your gallery. Go find other galleries similar to your theme. Even if you think it’s uber unique, go looking for them. See what your competition is going to do. Draw ideas from other galleries.

My next suggestion is a boring one in most cases, but… Go look at the previous Gallery Spotlight winners. You don’t have to do all of them, but it helps to do so. See what made them unique enough to win. Now you’re about ready to get started with the handiwork.

Summary: Look around for ideas. Form an idea of what you want your gallery to look like.

Gathering Items

Rather you finally got the ‘Pack Rat’ avatar and already have some, or are making a shopping list of items. Always consider future possibilities. When you look at an item, think ‘is this really going to fit?’ If yes, then great! Throw it in your pile of 'showcase-to-be's.

If you need help making a list, go look at other galleries again. Go look at shops. Or you could search the Internet for Neopets item databases. There are a few, and they are EXTREMELY helpful.

Summary: Figure out what items you need and obtain a few.

Setting up the Gallery

Okay, so you have a few items. There are two ways to make an actual gallery.

You’ve gone to ‘My Items’ and hit the ‘Item Gallery’ link. Here, you can buy a gallery like you would a shop and start adding things. There is another option, though. You can convert your existing shop into a gallery. Doing this would revert your shop size back to 1, but create and increase your gallery to the size of your shop before it was converted.

Simply put, your shop is size 4. You want to turn your shop into a gallery. You push the button to do that. Your gallery is created and is now size 4, while your shop returns to size 1.

However you obtain your gallery; it is there now, and waiting to be filled with your items!

Summary: Buy your gallery space.

Picking a Layout

This step is to make your gallery attractive. This step is a little more optional than the others.

If you know HTML/CSS etc., good! You shouldn’t have too many problems here.

If you don’t, you have a few options. There are a few pet pages within the Neopets network dedicated to helping people with these problems. CSShelp the Kougra’s pet page is one example. Or you could search the Internet for tutorials and explanations on what to do. The first step would probably be coming up with a color scheme. Make sure the colors flow well and complement each other. Let’s not get into any hot pink with yellow lettering please! It’s just blinding.

If you are absolutely convinced that you cannot make your own layout. Again, turn to the Neoboards. The ‘Help’ and ‘Spotlight and Galleries’ boards can be helpful for this assistance. If you are polite enough about it, someone might make you one.

Summary: Start piecing together a layout. If you cannot, find help.

More Items

So, you have a few items coming into your gallery. You feel the pull on your pockets as upgrading your gallery starts eating your money. You have your layout slowly coming together. What’s next?

Adding more items!

If your theme is a particularly small one, think of some items that can be related to your main idea and throw them in.

You have items? Okay. Think about this.

With your layout and your item count, how accessible is your gallery? Will it look good to all Internet Browsers? Aha. What about those on slower Internet connections? A common mistake I see, personally, with people’s galleries is they fail to think about people with dial-up connections. After all, if you want a popular gallery, you have to be userfriendly.

How to cut down on the wait time for them. Well, you could always categorize your items. Categories and item ranks are available to make your gallery more organized. Working at these options right might even give your gallery a bit of twist.

So you don’t like categories. You’d rather see your items sprawl down forever in this endless list of your accomplishments rather than grouping them together in small little packs. Not to worry, even if you were to categorize your items, you can still see that big list of yours by clicking ‘View All Items’ within your item options!

Summary: Add more items, think about organizing them.

What to Write: Layouts prt2

A gallery page layout can be different things to different people. Each person has different opinions as to the parts needed to be a presentable page. One thing that is very important, but rarely recognized, is your text! What are you going to write on your page? This is dire, especially to those with their hearts set on the Spotlight. Here are some things to consider.

Do write:

-A story or summary about your theme. Why you picked it. How it is important to you.

-Thank yous to people who have helped you.

-Advertise if you have other galleries.

-Anything else you think is appropriate. This is a very free subject, have fun with it!

Don’t write:

-Advertisements for your guild.

-Advertisements for your pet in the Battledome.

-Anything that could be considered rude or inappropriate.

Never say:

How people should like your gallery because you’ve worked so hard on it and spent your whole X amount of Neopoints on it. This one I cannot stress enough. I’ve seen it written in the boards and on galleries so many times. It is considered rude and arrogant, especially when there is always someone else who has poured so much more money, time, and work into their galleries. Just don’t, please.

Around this point I suggest thinking of your gallery name. Generally, that’d be one of the first things you’d do, isn’t it? Well, gallery names can be changed and altered by the items and layout so very much, that the best names can sometimes come from waiting ‘till you have the rest of it put together.

Summary: Write something in your gallery, about your gallery. Make sure it is appropriate.

Will people like it? Am I ready for the spotlight?

Well, if you need opinions, again go looking for them. However, keep in mind, if you ask people you know, more than often they will sugar-coat their responses in telling you how great your gallery is. If you want real opinions, the best place to get them is the ‘Spotlight and Gallery’ board. The people there are always looking (for/to give) ratings. If you want comments or ways to make your gallery better, ask for them. Also, if someone asks your opinion on their gallery, oblige them. We’re here to help out, after all.

Keep in mind, a lot of the people in the Spotlight and Galleries board can be a bit harsh. We do this on purpose, not to be mean, but to tell you that something is wrong and get the point across. If you get a harsh rating, do not get upset about it unless it was purposefully hurtful. It’s not hard to have good judgement on this type of thing. Though if you know for fact that you cannot handle constructive-criticism, you might not want to do this.

In the end, the only real opinion that matters is your own. Are you happy with your gallery? Do you think it needs to be played with a bit more? If you think your gallery is just fine the way it is, then keep it that way. It’s your gallery, no one else's.

Summary: If you want, ask for opinions about your gallery. Do not get upset if you do not get a good score at first. You can improve.

Entering the Spotlight

Well, it's that time. You think you’re ready for the spotlight. When to enter?

If your theme revolves a certain time of year (example, a Christmas Gallery revolves around Christmas), that time would be a good time to submit your gallery. But, wait, as you’re submitting, think to yourself: “Would my gallery only have a chance at winning around that time?” If the answer is yes, then you’re not ready. Have confidence in yourself. If you truly think you could win the Spotlight any time of the year, then you have a better chance at winning. As long as you are confident in your showcase, then nothing else matters. Good luck!

I’m done!

Well… no, you’re not. Unless you’re truly tired or content with your gallery, you’re never done. Those who start them often find themselves working on them even after they think they’re done. Neopets will always add new items. There will always be more possibilities. Maybe you want to use your pet’s pages for a Gallery ‘Website’. Go for it! (It’s especially helpful for wishlists!) Possibly you can change your theme around and start all over again. Add whatever you’d like to your gallery. Just have fun with it.

Summary: Often times, galleries are neverending. Have fun with your gallery as long as it shall live.

That’s the end of my little guide. I’m sure it is far from perfect, but keep these things in mind while you are working. Often times, the path to gallery making seems a lot easier when you actually take these little tips into consideration.



Summary Checklist:

[ ] Think of a theme. Make it original if you can.

[ ] Look around for ideas. Form an idea of what you want your gallery to look like.

[ ] Figure out what items you need and obtain a few.

[ ] Buy your gallery space.

[ ] Start piecing together a layout. If you cannot, find help.

[ ] Add more items, think about organizing them.

[ ] Write something in your gallery, about your gallery. Make sure it is appropriate.

[ ] If you want, ask for opinions about your gallery. Do not get upset if you do not get a good score at first. You can improve.

[ ] Often times, galleries are neverending. Have fun with your gallery as long as it shall live.

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