How to Build a Spotlight Worthy Gallery
So you want to win the Gallery Spotlight?
Maybe you have admired the lovely trophy that comes with winning the Spotlight. It is quite shiny and pretty, isn't it? Perhaps, you want the recognition that comes from being Spotlighted on the News page. You may want a more interesting lookup. Well, I am here to help!
When TNT goes through submissions (they get a lot of them!), they are looking for specific qualities.
Does the gallery have a specific theme? TNT often looks for galleries that may fit into an upcoming day on the Neopian Calendar. Is Illusen Day getting close? Does your gallery fit a random day they have planned? Generally, they will pass over galleries that don't have a specific theme. If your gallery has plushies, grooming supplies, gross food, and Lab Maps all thrown together, there is no central theme. If there isn't a theme, it looks like no thought was put into the gallery. TNT is going to start looking at other galleries because you didn't catch their attention. Did I say they get a lot of submissions? The best themes can take their breath away. Even for half a second while they wipe the drool off their faces. Instead of a gross food gallery (which isn't half bad), you can title your gallery, "Don't put that in your Mouth!" Include jacks and other small things that any concerned Neopian wouldn't want their pet to put in their mouth. Now you have toys and gross food together (maybe even other categories) and they make sense. As an added bonus, if you can be witty enough to make TNT laugh, you better your chances of winning. Try to come up with a totally original idea they haven't seen before! Think of various items and their connection to one another. It is okay to have a gallery full of only Paint Brushes, Plushies, or Faerie items. Just keep in mind, it's been done many times before. You would have to go the extra mile and code your gallery. This can be extremely time consuming and some people don't know how to code. I fall in that category. That's why I like themes.
Is It Complete?
Next TNT checks to see if you have a high percentage of your chosen theme. If your gallery is Plushies and you only have fifty, it doesn't matter how nice they are. You won't win. It is okay to be missing two kites if you have every other kite in Neopia. In my opinion, a more broad theme can help you. If your theme is Let's Play Outside, it may or may not contain Yoyos. It is more up to interpretation. Really search around and make sure you have a high percentage of your theme before you submit to TNT. Every incomplete Plushie gallery with fifteen Plushies in it wastes their time. They take the time to look at it when they could be working on getting our plot prizes ready. That's why we sometimes wait months after a plot for our prizes!
Seriously, though, show TNT that you have done your homework. Submit a complete Gallery!
Is it organized nicely?
Another thing TNT looks for is organization. You may have a nice theme with most of your category, but if it's tossed in your gallery willy nilly, it won't look that nice. Under the gallery settings, you can see a clickable link titled Rank Items. This is how you number your items in the order you would like them to appear. There are limitless ways to organize your gallery. You can order them smallest to biggest. For those who like colors, place all the purple items together. If your theme is Black and White, try alternating the colors like a chessboard. If your theme is Look to the Sky, arrange all the kites, balloons, and balls in their own groups. If one specific piece is your focal point, arrange the others to draw attention to it. Use your imagination!
Does it have a layout?
This one is not important to win. I have seen Gallery Spotlights with no layout at all. Their theme, organization, and being complete knocked TNT's socks off! A Layout is the background, sidebar, all the other things that require coding. Coding is not my speciality so I will briefly cover this area. There are many guides out there that can explain in great detail how to make a gallery layout. My suggestion is to ask on the spotlight boards. I am sure some nice Neopian can direct you to a handy petpage. If you do decide to do your own layout, keep in mind, it is many hours of work to learn and many more to put it all together nicely. Many layout artists draw using paint and edit in things relating to their theme. If you can do this your gallery can be simply breathtaking!
Things Not To Do
Now we should examine things that can reduce your chance of winning the Gallery Spotlight. I don't believe I have ever seen a gallery win using these tactics.
Copy and Paste Flash Images
Since the Dancing Kiko falls under the layout category, it shouldn't be placed in your gallery. Unless you have a Kiko gallery, I suppose. Then maybe TNT will overlook that it's not your original work. Real life bands, tv, or other influences don't belong in a Gallery Spotlight either. Generally, flash images can slow down page load times. You want a nice clean gallery with quick page loads.
Post other Neopians Names
It is great that you want to thank joesmo5 for donating to your gallery. However, TNT may worry that you didn't get permission from joesmo5to post his user name. When you win the Gallery Spotlight, joesmo5 may get a lot of unwanted Neomails.
Use a Layout you didn't create
This one is a big no-no. It may seem easy to copy and paste the layout another user made so generously, but the spotlight requires your original work. If you can't make a layout, don't. You can win without one. Many people have, so don't despair.
I hope this guide has been helpful to you. Good luck!
Thank you always to my guild for cheering me on towards the trophy. To a VERY special Checkered Blumaroo, I wrote the Chessboard part just for you!