Hello. This is Heliobaric, an ongoing, rarely-updated website experiment that I use to host my vector traces and play around with under the hood from time to time. Think of it as an old muscle car that you keep in your garage to tinker with and occasionally take for a drive, except you do a lot more tinkering than driving (and you don’t really do that much tinkering in the first place). Really, all it does is drain your bank account once or twice a year when you buy parts that you don’t really need.
This turned into a better metaphor than I thought it’d be.
I’ve been vector tracing on and off since 2005 (mostly off, as it happens), and like most people, I started with the basics. The gallery above is in reverse date order (which I think is how you say newest at the top, but I’m not quite sure), and for those interested in that sort of thing, there’s a cool kind of visible progression in both skill and ambition until about when I finished the Negima swimsuit trace. That’s roughly when I realized that I didn’t really have the inclination to spend hours upon hours tracing relatively complex promotional art or grainy panels from manga scans when, really, all I ever wanted was to make halfway decent wallpapers.
So these days, when I trace, I focus a little less on complexity and a little more on execution, namely composition and color choice (fancy, artistic words that sound refined but have little to no actual meaning). But mostly what’s different is the 4K meme. The more ambitious ones from back when I cared are, of course, offered with transparent backgrounds and all of them are free to use—by anyone—under one of these, but I’m not so particular about the Attribution clause. If you want to namedrop me, maybe link back here, that’s cool. If you don’t, I don’t really mind. You’ll notice I’ve long since stopped signing them.
Thanks for stopping by. Stay out of trouble.
10 Jan 2019
Finally snagged the domain, I’m quite pleased. It’s a nonsense word that I made up on the spot (relating to solar pressure?) but it sounds cool and it’s based on my initials so there you go. Oh, and happy new year.
28 Oct 2018
Went through and fixed it, trace gallery works again.
25 Oct 2018
I’ve had the option to upgrade my hosting to PHP 7.2 for a while now, and I have ignored it—I knew it meant work. My hosting provider sent out a message the other week saying they were updating everything to 7.1 in the coming months and I decided to pull the trigger a few weeks early. I was right; it meant work. It broke my (very old) database interaction code, but that’s okay. Fixing it shouldn’t be too hard, I’ve just gotta sit down one day and actually do it. That day is not today.
22 May 2018
Plex was fun but it’s time to go back to the good old tried and true. It’s a real shame font handling is so fucking garbage on Windows but it’s one of those things I’m going to have to learn to live with, I guess.
13 Jan 2018
Happy New Year! I decided to ring in the new year with a minor look and feel switch by changing from Neue Haas Grotesk and Freight to IBM’s new typeface, Plex, in its multiple variations—even the monospace version! It’s nice. It’s also open source.
How it Works
16 Dec 2017
The way it works is simple: there are several .md documents stored in a folder on the server that are simultaneously parsed as HTML and inserted into the page via a PHP include. I’ve used a PHP Markdown parser in the past, but it hasn’t been updated in a while so I decided to switch to Parsedown because it maintains the simplicity I’m after: upload and include a PHP file, then call the function whenever it’s necessary. The old system used the same database as the traces, but it was irritating to both use and maintain.
I’ve wanted to use something like this for a long time; the basic concept of a PHP template that serves up Markdown files is very appealing to me, though in all honesty I don’t have anything important enough to say that needs saying on multiple pages. Heliobaric’s current form is proof enough of that: it’s a page that is defined by an image gallery and the rest is simply added as an afterthought. With this, I get the feeling of modularity that I wanted without actually having to create any content. One
about.md file to talk about the traces and the page, one
blog.md file to blab on incessantly in the form of a blog, and maybe more .md files in the future.
The beauty is in that all it will take is a simple include!
A New Leaf
15 Dec 2017
Heliobaric is still alive and kicking, and by that I mean I’m still paying my server bills. I’ve spent the evening tinkering with a new backend, getting rid of the old SQL-based journal/blog system I had set up in favor of Markdown documents stored elsewhere on the server which are included and parsed as HTML when the page is served. The database now only keeps track of the traces in the gallery above.
Markdown is cool in that I can use a word processor (like iA Writer) to maintain it and am no longer constrained by a shitty HTML input box.