14 Replies Latest reply on Jan 10, 2017 1:25 AM by Laubender

    DAM Best Practise? Image-Workflow Question

    DBLjan Level 2

      Hello together,

       

      were about to upgrade our company tech, overhauling everything, evaluating our Digital-Asset-Management. But as we are stuck in our workflow, we are now in the process of writing down the needs/demands of our DAM, but really cant, only knowing -our- workflow and not whats Best Practice…

       

      So, all you guys with some kind of DAM are welcome to chime in and make some point here and help me out.

       

      Description of our image-workflow for print as it is now:

      - We mostly have compositions of different furniture in one image

      - Also the furniture needs to be without background

      - Over time the image gets retuches, like clearing the background from clocks or pictures at the wall (to house some overlaying item text there)

      - Here and then the model from the image needs to wear a red shirt rather than a green shirt

       

      We decided to use PSD as our main picture source, having all options at our hands: Alpha Masks for different isolated photographics ("Freisteller"?), Layer Compompositions for different arrangements and retuches, also the picture can get some finishing by our external photocompany.

       

      As for the daily workflow, its not ideal to download gigs of assets, because some PSDs got blown up to 1gb in size by modifications and layercomps. We have flyers and handouts to make and the image count can break 500. When I click "Download all assets" from our DAM, it could take ~25 mins until I can "start" to work, so how fast our internet connection is its a bottleneck with data as huge as this.

       

      But as we are free to evaluate if to look at OpenText, Cumulus, Celum, SAP-Hybris-DAM or whatnot, we need some user feedback if our PSD-workflow is too clunky for a DAM to handle. Because our research resulted in most companys not

      supporting PSD to the extend, that I could choose a layercomp or different alpha masks.

       

      Here are some questions Ill thow around:

      - What filetype do you prefer

          - containing smooth isolated photographics alpha mask(s)?

      - What whould your DAM do, to have different options per picture/versioning and how are derivats handed?

      - Or is PSD not as bad as a container holding everything, but a DAM has to be that powerful to extract layercomps and generate a derivat containing that alpha/comp? Is that "customizing" or does anyone know that from a DAM out-of-the-box? Im interested in the usability/UI of this, if thats possible.

        • 1. Re: DAM Best Practise? Image-Workflow Question
          Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          Hi DBLjan

           

          This forum is for InDesign queries - and this query has nothing to do with InDesign - I suggest you take a look at asking this question in the Photoshop Forum or perhaps Adobe Bridge forum?

           

          There's quite a few places to ask by asking the google Google

          • 2. Re: DAM Best Practise? Image-Workflow Question
            DBLjan Level 2

            Its a question, about which file type to use best in InDesign, to rather get all options and if a DAM could handle PSD in such manner, or better to go with a different file type to work with smaller data. I dont know wich way is best for InDesign.

            • 3. Re: DAM Best Practise? Image-Workflow Question
              Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              Hi Jan,

              complex stuff.

               

              I would also ask at hilfdirselbst.ch.
              Maybe in the "InDesign" section, maybe in "Druckvorstufe, Druck und Weiterverarbeitung".

              I would also invest some money in prepress consulting. Impressed comes to my mind…

               

              Regards,
              Uwe

              • 4. Re: DAM Best Practise? Image-Workflow Question
                Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                There is no generic file type that is best suited.

                 

                If it's a PSD file with vector paths, vector shapes and text layers, then Photoshop PDF is preferred.

                • 5. Re: DAM Best Practise? Image-Workflow Question
                  DBLjan Level 2

                  (Thanks Laubender, ill try that, but I thought the user-base here is more diverse and active)

                   

                  I hope the underlying image conversion renderer (mostly Image Magick) can dive deep in PSD to generate a new image with the selected layer compositions. That would ease all my problems with PSD, leaving the big stuff in the DAM and just get whats requested.

                   

                  Who knows,

                  - if IMAGE MAGICK ca do this?

                  - a DAM which can select PSD-LayerComps or -AlphaMasks and dish that out?

                  • 6. Re: DAM Best Practise? Image-Workflow Question
                    Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    Hi Jan,

                    PhotoShop PDF is not only recommended if vector information or font information should survive after placing with InDesign.
                    It is necessary. And if PhotoShop PDF, then not PDF/X-4, because that format could include a white background object that is not there in the PhotoShop file as Rob Day and I recently detected (couldn't find the corresponding thread here, the search function of this forum is horrible).

                     

                    I would not rely on any 3rd party image renderer for PhotoShop psd files.

                    The psd file format could change with every version of PhotoShop and an image renderer could fail on this.

                    In my opinion the best bet is to work with placeable PDFs. PDF version 1.4 and above.

                     

                    Regards,
                    Uwe

                    • 7. Re: DAM Best Practise? Image-Workflow Question
                      DBLjan Level 2

                      Hello Uwe,

                       

                      i started a discussion in german here http://www.hilfdirselbst.ch/gforum/gforum.cgi?post=554790;sb=post_latest_reply;so=ASC;foru m_view=forum_view_collapsed;;p… Druckvorstufe, Druck und Weiterverarbeitung.

                       

                      Im quite clunky discussing this not natural speaking :-)

                      • 8. Re: DAM Best Practise? Image-Workflow Question
                        Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        Hi Jan,

                        I read your post at hilfdirselbst.ch.

                        What keeps me here is discussing the "ideal" InDesign placeable exchange format that is slim enough (fast transfer) and feature proof when it comes to PhotoShop. And will stay so in the foreseeable future (reliability aspect).

                         

                        And I only can say, the format is and will be PDF.

                        The "problem" with PDF is, that it is not as flexible as PhotoShop's psd format in some aspects.

                        But it has many advantages:

                         

                        1. It can contain and transfer a perfect rendition of the PhotoShop contents to InDesign.

                        PhotoShop's own psd format cannot do this when used with InDesign.

                        2. If a new feature in PhotoShop comes out, I bet, that the PhotoShop developers will make it compatible as possible with PDF and that it can be exported or saved as the best rendition possible to the PDF ISO standard. And thus InDesign can place it.

                         

                        Not so with PhotoShop's own psd format.

                        You cannot bet on InDesign, that its feature set will always keep up with PhotoShop's psd format.

                        It did not and it will not. (My assumption of course.)

                         

                        Here one example that revolves around PhotoShop and best practices to get from PhotoShop to InDesign:

                        So I accidentally created a magazine in Photoshop... :-/

                        Live text in PhotoShop stays "live text" in PDF, at least something like this. A placed psd with InDesign would be hopeless:

                        Re: So I accidentally created a magazine in Photoshop... :-/

                         

                        Then here in the same thread the problem with the "white background" when PDF/X4 was exported from PhotoShop:

                        Re: So I accidentally created a magazine in Photoshop... :-/

                        Solution: Do not use the PDF/X4 setting. Instead:

                        Re: So I accidentally created a magazine in Photoshop... :-/

                        Re: So I accidentally created a magazine in Photoshop... :-/

                         

                        Back to the DAM (Digital Asset Management) system

                        In my opinion a DAM should be able to:

                         

                        1. Administrate and preview every kind of PDF reliably.

                        2. Write out a specific version of PDF from PhotoShop.

                        And I do not mean converting a psd file to PDF!

                         

                        This second feature is the hardest, I think. Access to PhotoShop itself, not only the file format psd.

                        Being capable to save versions out of Layer Compositions and what-not…

                        Something like a PhotoShop Server that offically does not exist.

                        ( Accessing PhotoShop by ExtendScript or every other means one has automating PhotoShop )

                         

                        I think that's the core feature set you need.

                        Doing variants and administrating variants of images and exposing them to the InDesign user would be the next step, a user-friendly UI to manage the assets.

                         

                        Regards,
                        Uwe

                        • 9. Re: DAM Best Practise? Image-Workflow Question
                          rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                          It is necessary. And if PhotoShop PDF, then not PDF/X-4, because that format could include a white background object that is not there in the PhotoShop file as Rob Day and I recently detected (couldn't find the corresponding thread here, the search function of this forum is horrible).

                          Starting with #12 here.

                           

                          Re: So I accidentally created a magazine in Photoshop... :-/

                           

                          It the PDF/X standard that forces a white background.

                           

                          If the question is really about managing assets then it seems like PDF as a universal image format would have its own set of problems. Newer versions will let you reopen a Photoshop PDF back into Photoshop, but if you (or a less experienced partner) accidentally miss that checkbox the file is toast. The only way to reopen in PS would be as a flattened raster.

                           

                          It seems like the Lightroom or Bridge (digital negative) concept is necessary for high quality, but maybe not the speediest of asset management, where there is a single master file (the negative) and the positive is exported as needed—full res PDF or PSD for print and lower res flattened JPEG or PNG pixels for screens.

                          • 10. Re: DAM Best Practise? Image-Workflow Question
                            Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                            Hi Rob,

                            I would never recommend a two-way exchange: PSD <=> PDF with PhotoShop.

                            Just a tool (the DAM system) that would manage the PDF output from PSD through PhotoShop. Just one-way: PSD => PDF.

                            If the psd file changes—edits are necessary and made—the DAM would be responsible to update all the PDF assets on a server.

                             

                            Regards,
                            Uwe

                            • 11. Re: DAM Best Practise? Image-Workflow Question
                              DBLjan Level 2

                              I assume every DAM software producer is able to read/preview a PSD with meta. But how powerful is the underlying image interpreter/converter? Who knows from a product, which can out-of-the-box read/preview/convert PSD alpha masks or layer comps?

                              FYI: Some years ago we went with a DAM, and it came we needed a JPG-convert for externals. No problem you think? Yes, psd->jpg, no problem. But the underlying image converter wasnt able to convert and transfer the clipping paths into JPG, thou JPG is able to.

                               

                              You see: It is key not just to know PSD? Yes! but some more stuff under the hood is important.

                              • 12. Re: DAM Best Practise? Image-Workflow Question
                                Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                DBLjan wrote:

                                 

                                … You see: It is key not just to know PSD? Yes! but some more stuff under the hood is important.

                                As I said, the DAM has to use PhotoShop. Not only to convert from one file format to the other.

                                 

                                Regards,
                                Uwe

                                • 13. Re: DAM Best Practise? Image-Workflow Question
                                  DBLjan Level 2

                                  Just to let you look into our PSDs. The structure was not made/thought of by me. But for the normalization-process its okay. But the bit of having all option without changing the image file was requested by our ecommerce. That time we had no database whatsoever, we linked image to items by hand and now had all variants/retuches at hand. Assets were searchable on fileserver because of item number = filename.

                                  This construct is about to get a real database connection throu the SAP hybris enviroment.

                                  But the "old" DAM is still being filled with our questionable process:

                                   

                                  photographer RAW » Litho: Normalization into PSD + aplha +comps » Upload into DAM.

                                  I as a Designer:

                                  Download from DAM » HUGE PSD » Only one option is needed (but has to be easy-to-use exchangeable without great hassle)

                                   

                                  Here is which structure our litho uses to enhance the quality:

                                  Bildschirmfoto 2017-01-10 um 09.51.23.png
                                  Every image has at least one alpha:

                                  Bildschirmfoto 2017-01-10 um 09.51.38.png

                                   

                                   

                                  Now it gets more complex:
                                  Heres an image with retuches…

                                  Bildschirmfoto 2017-01-10 um 09.54.16.png

                                  …resulting in diverse alpha masks…

                                  Bildschirmfoto 2017-01-10 um 09.52.04.png

                                  …and diverse layer comps:

                                  Bildschirmfoto 2017-01-10 um 09.52.15.png

                                   

                                   

                                  I propose, that it will be very messy to assign that loose layer comps structure within PSD to any database, nor let priint:comet choose a right version of the image.

                                  • 14. Re: DAM Best Practise? Image-Workflow Question
                                    Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                    I think, a DAM connector with PhotoShop should be able to go through every Layer Composition and export e.g. a PDF version 1.6 out of it. Or a TIF file if you prefer that (I'd go for PDF not TIF).

                                     

                                    The problem may be how to assign meta data to different layer compositions in a PhotoShop file perhaps. I'm not too deep into PhotoShop if there is something like inDesign's Script Label (or Label) property that could hold this kind of information or can be used to identify Layer Compositions (other than by their names; but maybe naming of Layer Compositions is sufficient) and connect to special metadata fields.

                                     

                                    Regards,
                                    Uwe