The Long Overdue Cospix Update
Hey there, Vince here!
I'm sure many of you are wondering what has been going on with Cospix.
TL;DR: Cospix is still ALIVE-ish..?
Before we begin, let's get some definition out of the way, and then I'll explain where each of these ended up! The name "Cospix" refers to several different things all at once. This website has always been known as "Cospix.net", owned and operated historically by "Cospix LLC", which also operated the "Cospix Photo Booth" at Anime Expo each year. We've also had "Team Cospix", our ~30 awesome and wonderful volunteers that have helped out with each of these items over the past several years (almost a DECADE now!?)
First up, the legal business entity that we all worked under. This was an entity made up of 3 co-owners who had equal share of the business, of which I was one of the owners along with Peter and Brian. In early 2019, the ownership group made the rough decision to formally close the Cospix LLC business entity, ending our business partnership. This was a full year before the "current times" with lock-downs, so that had nothing to do with this decision. The three of us however have remained awesome friends, and still hang out together as much as possible considering world circumstances, and not all living in the same states. More on this later!
The Cospix Photo Booth
With the closure of the business entity, we could no longer legally run the photo booth at Anime Expo, so in 2019, this is why we didn't attend. Additionally, the stress of running that booth was a large part of the decision to close the business in the first place. For me personally, pre-con preparations and post-con photo editing took every waking moment for two months straight. Burnout is real, and it hit hard for me every single year. Please take care of yourselves, unlike what I did to myself during that time running the photo booth.
This is probably the most exciting part of all. Despite not having that focus on Cospix anymore, we all remained amazing friends, and new projects started to emerge! Two of the awesome volunteers in Team Cospix have taken it upon themselves to start photo booths of their own which they now run at Kumoricon and Sakura-Con! Myself, along with Brian from the former ownership group of Cospix LLC, assist at the photo booths at both of these conventions. Peter, the third former owner, also loans us equipment and provides additional back-end resources to help with the success of these new photo booths. These new teams have also recruited several other former Team Cospix members. In the end, we're now operating with different leadership and under a different banner, but still the same amazing awesome group of friends producing high quality and free cosplay photos for any and all that want them. That classic Cospix spirit of "Promoting Positivity" still lives on!
With the split of Cospix LLC, company owned assets were divided up. All intellectual property returned into my personal possession; this includes the web site, logo, trademark, and more. For the past few years after dissolving the business, I've maintained a steady state with this web site, keeping it online, and that's about it. There has been no active development at all, and minimal bug fixing. With this post and the work done recently, that is finally changing again! So where do things go from here...?
Cospix.net is going to see some major updates over the summer. The first major change is the removal of several dead-weight features. We're no longer maintaining a list of conventions, so the calendar and map will disappear. There are other sites doing a much better job at that service, so it's not worth my time duplicating that effort. Next up, all 3rd-party login systems will be disabled. This means only a Cospix.net Username/Password pair will work to login to this site. Emails with instructions on how to migrate an account over will be sent out prior to that change. I personally have not had a Facebook account for several years now, thus have no active way to test that functionality, and just assume it is broken. There will also be some minor updates to the website layout to streamline things with these features removed.
So then, what is being IMPROVED? Glad you asked! The one thing Cospix.net has always done better than any other web site in the world is the quality of photo gallery navigation. This is going to become the core feature of this web site, along with an improved image viewing experience. I want everyone to show off their best images without compromising quality. This was a core goal of the initial Cospix.net web site that was lost over time due to massive feature creep. It is time to go back to our roots.
This is where I want to hear directly from YOU! Cospix.net started out with a series of focus groups with cosplayers, photographers, prop makers, commissioners, wig stylists, makeup artists, and more all sharing their feedback of existing web sites, finding their pain points, and trying to build a system to address them. I want to get back to this approach, making Cospix.net a community driven project once again. Please tweet at me or DM me at @CospixNet.
Cospix.net source code was open-sourced a few years ago without any announcement. It is fully public and licensed so anyone can use it. This is great, except it was never complete. A goal of mine is now to finish getting the bootstrapping/installing process running, so anyone can use this source code to host any image/photo gallery they want on their own. Why? Because I'm selfish as hell! Wait, what? Well, it turns out I've been doing a lot of non-cosplay photography during the past couple of years without cosplayers and conventions around, and every other photo hosting service out there has annoyed me greatly. I spent years building the best damn gallery imaginable, so why NOT make it more universal for more purposes!?
- Vince (AKA "That One Cospix Guy")