Posts tagged "Creative Cloud"

Succeeding with Creativity in the Enterprise

I recently presented a talk entitled Succeeding with Creativity in the Enterprise at Adobe MAX 2015. The recording is now available here.

The complexity of modern marketing puts stress on Enterprise Creatives, and Adobe Creative and Marketing Clouds can help mitigate stress through Connected Assets and Creative Sync, Workflows, Analytics and Automation. This talk explores the causes of the Creatives’ stress and demonstrates how Enterprises can engage with external freelancers while maintaining Enterprise control over the process. We also see how Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) provides insight into the relationships between assets, enhancing brand compliance and simplifying license management for licensed content.

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InDesign Server questions and answers

Customers often ask me about InDesign Server. InDesign Server? Yes, it’s true. InDesign is available as a server, which makes document automation possible for many kinds of businesses. It offers InDesign functions as a service, accessible through SOAP or other communication protocols. It is not the desktop version of InDesign available in a browser.

Companies have successfully used InDesign Server as part of workflows that:

  • Make greeting cards
  • Produce mutual fund documentation
  • Generate personalized mail pieces
  • Assemble and print on-board schedules on a cruise ship
  • Render InDesign documents as PDF for online delivery
  • Layout quarterly catalogs for industrial parts suppliers

These are but a few of the use cases for which InDesign Server is appropriate. In all cases, InDesign Server is part of a larger business process, usually driven by a web site or a Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution such as Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) Assets. InDesign Server is also included as a component of many commercial Variable Data Publishing (VDP) and Print on Demand (POD) solutions, but those servers are licensed only for use with those commercial solutions. You can learn more about InDesign Server partners at the InDesign Server Partner Guide.

InDesign Server is a service, really, that responds to questions like:

  • “Hey, InDesign Server. If I give you this InDesign template, can you merge this XML file onto it and then give me back a print-ready PDF?”
  • “Hey, InDesign Server. Here’s an InDesign Document. Can you extract all of the text frames as RTF files and re-link them back to their original frames and then save InDesign file as a new document with _relinked added to its name?”
  • “Hey, InDesign Server. Can you make a new document, import the style sheets from this other document, then import all of the images in this folder, each on a new page, and apply the object style ‘image’ to each image and put a metadata caption with the copyright data in the lower right hand corner of each image, and then export each page as a new PDF with the file name corresponding to the filename of the image placed onto it?”

Of course, those questions must be written as scripts in one of four languages: Adobe ExtendScript, JavaScript, AppleScript or Microsoft Visual Basic. AppleScript and VisualBasic are only available when the server is running in an Apple or Windows operating system, respectively. There is an SDK and many examples available at There’s really no limit to what you can do with InDesign Server, so long as you have coders who can ask the right questions and so long as you have enough capacity to process the volume of jobs you expect to handle. There are many companies who use InDesign server to build photo books and greeting cards from customer-supplied photos, for instance. They create web sites to help customers design their books and cards online, and the actual print-ready files are made by InDesign Server. They process thousands of jobs per day, so they need to have enough capacity to keep up with their demand. How, then, do you architect an InDesign Server application from the perspective of the servers themselves?

Here’s three questions you need to ask to help scope an InDesign Server application, and then some more detail about InDesign server.

  1. Will your use case allow internal and external users to access the InDesign Server directly? If you use InDesign Server to render an InDesign document as a jpg or pdf and then post the jpg or pdf on your web site, the end user does not have direct access to InDesign server. If you make a web form that lets your end user customize a document and deliver it to them on demand, they do have direct access to the InDesign server.
  2. What is your failover or disaster recovery requirement? The deployment architecture allows for both multiple dedicated servers as well as multiple instances on servers with multiple cores. The licensing will depend therefore on how you mix dedicated servers and instances on those servers.
    The deployment architecture will also depend on maximum expected throughput. We usually look at the peak demand per minute or quarter hour or hour, depending on the use case, as well as the end user tolerance for delay between requests and results.
  3. How do you plan to support development for InDesign Server applications? Deployments typically have one or more development instances, and then two or more dedicated production servers with multiple instances available on each server to provide fault tolerance.

InDesign Server is available as an add-on to a managed services instance of AEM. Customers can also purchase InDesign Server on their own from their channel partner or from Adobe directly, depending on their relationship with Adobe. 60-day Trials are available at

InDesign Server is licensed based on use case and deployment architecture, and it is available as an annual subscription like Creative Cloud. Enterprise customers can license in three year terms as part of an Adobe Enterprise Term Licensing Agreement (ETLA). Other customers can purchase annual subscriptions from their favorite Adobe reseller. Consult the Indesign Server Buying Guide for more information.

Across the use case axis, there is Limited and Premium.

  • Limited allows a customer to use InDesign Server for an application that only their employees can access. It does not allow the customer make an interface that exposes the InDesign Server to any external user. They would purchase Single- or Multiple-Instance licenses depending on how many documents they would process per day, hour or minute.
  • Premium allows a customer to use InDesign Server for an application that external users could access as well as internal users. Consider the photo book use case where they have a web site that allows customers to upload their photos and buy a photobook. The book is made using InDesign Server driven by a web application. Again, volume would determine whether you would choose Single- or Multiple-Instance licenses.

The deployment architecture axis has two options as well: Single-Instance or Multiple-Instance.

Single-Instance allows one instance of IDS per server per license, and Multiple-Instance allows multiple instances of IDS per server per license. There is no CPU counting required, as the Multiple-Instance license includes an unlimited number if instances on the same server hardware. For instance, if a customer has a 16 core dedicated server with 32 GB of RAM, they could use one IDS Multiple-Instance license and kick off 15 simultaneous instances of IDS at a time (InDesign Server is single-threaded and uses a single core per instance and ideally 2GB of RAM). Other customers choose to deploy many Single-Instance servers on different hardware for fault tolerance and disaster recovery. InDesign Sever has a job queue manager, but many customers choose to build their own queue manager and load balancer. Adobe Experience Manager includes an InDesign Server load balancer and queue manager as part of its integration with InDesign Server. Some customers choose to deploy many Single-Instance servers, while others choose to deploy few Multiple-Instance servers, based on their requirements and available server resources.

How do you decide whether to choose Single- or Multiple-Instance architecture? It is common for high volume use cases to have at a minimum of two Multiple-instance servers, each that can process multiple simultaneous jobs. Two servers provides for fault tolerance, but it does not account for disaster recovery, which would include another instance in a different data center. The number of servers is usually determined by the typical job characteristics measured in seconds to process a typical job, divided by the number of available instances, and compared against the maximum number of jobs that are expected to be processed in a meaningful time interval, usually one minute to an hour. If you are running a financial services company that is generating three hundred complex proposals per hour, and each proposal takes 15 seconds to process, and you have 3 cores available on your server, then your server can handle 3 jobs/15 seconds * 3600 seconds/hour =  720 jobs per hour. Since you need to process 300 jobs per hour, per proposal type, you have enough capacity. But, if you need to know if you can handle the volume at the end of the trading day, when you only have 15 minutes and not an hour to get the proposals out, then your server will fall short and you should likely add another server or two to the cluster.

The last consideration is how you plan to develop and test your applications. You should have at a minimum of one development server that matches your deployment configuration, and there is a Development license available with the same use case and architecture considerations. Developers use their development tools of choice. It is common to use the ExtendScript Toolkit, which is part of Creative Cloud. Using ExtendScript Toolkit, developers can connect to a desktop InDesign to test and debug their scripts. Once they are satisfied with the performance and results, those scripts would either be moved to the InDesign Server Scripts folder or would reside in the web application or DAM, which would send the scripts as part of their job payload.

InDesign Server offers customers document automation capabilities that can provide brand consistency, high volume document creation and even new business opportunities. Whether part of a commercial solution or part of a custom application, InDesign Server delivers performance, flexibility and quality to automated document processing.


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Bridge Survey Results

A few months ago, I asked Creative professionals to share how they used Adobe Bridge. It is very clear from the huge number of responses and the large variety of respondents that I clearly struck a nerve with my questions. I wanted to share those results with you, kind reader, and to acknowledge some of the details provided by the Creative community. Due to the volume of responses, I’ve summarized and consolidated. If you are a respondent and you don’t see yourself quoted, please know that all of the responses have been read and shared here at Adobe.

About You…


The respondents identify themselves with a wide array of jobs. We were looking for a broad spectrum of Bridge users, and we certainly got it! Photographers led the way, but Creative Directors, Graphic Designers, and sole proprietors were prominent as well.

We had a healthy blend of sole proprietors as well as Enterprise Creatives as well. We hear a lot from our individual users and small business users (think small agency or creative shop), but we don’t hear as often from our Enterprise customers. In this Enterprise shops, we saw teams as small as one and as large as 100.

Having this diversity of respondent is important to us. While Bridge is a mainstay for Creatives in general, as we look ahead at the future of Bridge, we want to ensure that whatever we build will continue to keep all Creatives productive while offering some specific benefits to the individual user as well as to the Enterprise Creative. One of the areas of interest across the board was scripting and automation.

More than a few of the individual respondents commented about how they used scripting to automate parts of their Creative process. This might include tagging images, running scripts in Photoshop or Illustrator, or making common items like comp sheets. Many of the Enterprise Creatives told us that they used scripting or even developed their own custom panels to connect to their business process systems like job planning and manufacturing. Automation and connection to other services is definitely important to everyone!

Let’s dig a little deeper into how the respondents spend their day.

Creative focus

On which media do you focus most?

It is clear that today’s Creatives are working on more than one media. This correlates with other research we’ve done over the years. We also heard that having access to all of the Creative Cloud tools as Creative Cloud members has made it possible to branch out into other areas. It is not surprising that there is a clear bias toward Print among the respondents, however, as many Creative professionals have print backgrounds. Web and Mobile focus is emerging but rapidly accelerating as tablets and mobile devices overtake Desktop computers as the primary digital consumption tool. I’ll be interested to revisit this question in a few years.

Impact of Bridge on respondents’ day

How often do you use Adobe Bridge?

Bridge usage across all types of users

Since this survey was about Bridge, we asked how often folks used it. Most of the respondents use it several times a day, which is not surprising. We expected that we would see wide adoption, since this survey was directed at Bridge users specifically. We are happy to have respondents who use it infrequently, however, as it provides valuable data points as we evaluate the reasons why folks choose to use Bridge or not to use Bridge. Here are some quotes from the survey:

I would get lost without Bridge.

Bridge is essential to my workflow.  I have tried using Lightroom as a substitute but it is simply not the tool that is best for the file examination that I do on a day to day basis.

[Bridge] does feel like an old application that is ripe for an overhaul.

We have built our image workflows in a way that makes good use of DNG and metadata (both for asset management and workflow), so Bridge is an interest for me but just as a piece of a larger puzzle of dependancies.

I wish I could show to everybody what we have achieved with Bridge in our image production.

I love Bridge for being simple yet extremely useful, and even with Lightroom I have not been able to create a workflow that does not include Bridge.

EVERYONE I introduce to Bridge instantly becomes a fan. Bridge is one of Adobe’s BEST products but seems to be given the least amount of publicity and attention by Adobe.

We use bridge as the hub for everything in an extremely adobe centric workflow for all our media.

Love bridge use it all the time still surprised to see how many of my clients do not use it.

Most important program of the cloud.

The CC Suite would be almost unusable without Bridge.

We have many, many users (possibly 10-20% of the 600+ reported above) that love using Bridge for their daily file browsing/management, even outside of the custom interfaces that we have built for Bridge. It is a great way to preview and manage files.

I can’t live without it.

I love Bridge! I would be a babbling, incoherent basket case without it.

As you can see, there is a lot of love for Bridge. There is also criticism, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t summarize that here.

It’s too slow.

The cache rebuild time is too long.

Scripting in Bridge CC is too hard.

Lightroom is a way better retouching environment.

Make it work better when browsing network storage.

It crashes all the time.

It takes too much memory.

The current Keyword management is archaic and obsolete.

I hear rumours Bridge isn’t been developed anymore.

These are not all of the critical comments we got, but we wanted you all to know that we read them all and take them to heart. Most of the criticism focused on performance, which we hear loud and clear. As for rumors, you shouldn’t believe rumors. Bridge is alive and well.

Tools you use

Creative Cloud tools that all respondents use regularly

Creative Cloud tools that all respondents use regularly

We took a look at how folks used other tools in their day, as a way to gauge the importance of Bridge to Creative workflows. Bridge is used predominantly as a companion to other apps, which is how it was designed. In fact, it was originally part of Photoshop, but it was so useful that it became its own product and expanded to include integrations with Illustrator and InDesign.

It is no surprise that nearly every respondent uses Photoshop regularly. It is also no surprise that InDesign and Illustrator have high adoption. It is interesting to dig a little deeper into the “other” category. There’s Muse, Acrobat, Mobile Apps, Audition, Lightroom and more in there. It’s clear that Creatives are using a broad spectrum of tools, and that Bridge should remain a general tool rather than one focused specifically on Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

Creative Cloud tools that Multiple-workflow Creatives use regularly

Creative Cloud tools that Multiple-workflow Creatives use regularly

When we sliced the data across workflows, the numbers shifted a little bit. For Multiple-workflow Creatives, the distribution closely correlates with the entire set of respondents. We expected this, as most of the respondents identified themselves as multiple-workflow Creatives. Here are some thoughts

Creative Cloud tools that Print Creatives use regularly

Creative Cloud tools that Print Creatives use regularly

Print-centric Creatives met expectations, with their primary tools being Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. There’s not much else to say here, except when we had asked this question just a few years ago, the number of Dreamweaver and Premiere users had been close to zero. This speaks to the transformation of publishing from paper-only to paper and digital. Here’s some comments from the Print-centric Creatives.

Since every application on my computer is a plug-in for Photoshop, you’d think that PS is the most important app on my computer. No. It’s Bridge.

My flow is simple, Bridge, Camera Raw, Photoshop, 3rd Party (if needed) done.

Would love for Bridge to be faster at building thumbnails/previews.

I’m sure there are other ways we can use Bridge to enhance our workflow. I just need time to go in there and research and explore more.

Creative Cloud tools that Web/Mobile Creatives use regularly

Creative Cloud tools that Web/Mobile Creatives use regularly

Web/Mobile-centric Creatives are more broadly distributed in terms of the tools they use. We were pleased to see how prominent Premiere and After Effects usage is, but with so much brand reliance on video for modern marketing, it is not completely surprising. Buried in the Other category are tools like Muse, Edge Animate, and the mobile tools such as Shape and Brush, too. Here’s some comments from the Web/Mobile-centric Creatives.

We have built a central script multi-user system that only works in our network which it ensures that everyone has the last studio color camera profiles (dcp, xmp), the latest script updates, etc. Bridge is a major part of this. It allows our product DB to be merged with image/product metadata. For example, I can automatically, sort my product images by camera ID, but also by focal length and by our product sub category.

I use Bridge instead of Finder/Explorer for all folder and file navigation and I love it.

I would just like it to load faster, sometimes its unusable because of how long it takes.

Creative Cloud tools that Video Creatives use regularly

Creative Cloud tools that Video Creatives use regularly

Video-centric Creatives all seem to use the same set of tools, or it looks that way from the tight correlation between Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere and After Effects usage. This group was the smallest among the respondents, but we had a reasonable statistical sample. Almost a third of the respondents say they use InDesign, too, which is very interesting. Here is some of their feedback.

Please provide better video playback and performance.

Bridge helps us with scanning and previewing images as well as organizing folders.

Its great for Batch File Renaming and Manual Sorting of Video Clips

What did we learn from this survey?

Overwhelmingly, we heard loud and clear how important Bridge is to you, our customers. We also know how important it is for individual Creatives and Enterprise Creatives alike. Automation and scripting kept coming up across users, as did performance with network file shares and large sets of files.

We also heard a lot of concern about whether Bridge will continue to be part of the Creative Cloud family. I want to reiterate that Bridge is alive and well, and you all are helping to make it better than ever through your direct feedback. Thanks for your honesty and I’m looking forward to sharing what’s next when I can.

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Fixing Adobe Drive after Yosemite upgrade

Like many Mac users, I upgraded my Mavericks machine to Yosemite. While the upgrade should be smooth for most things, Adobe Drive requires an update due to changes in the way that Yosemite manages file systems. Since Drive provides low-level file system services and the hooks to those services changed, the old installation needs to be removed and reinstalled in order for Drive to work properly.

The process is simple. Browse to the Adobe Drive Installation Page and download two things: Adobe Drive and the AdobeDrive5UninstallUtility.dmg. Mount the AdobeDrive5UninstallUtility.dmg, and then follow these steps:

  1. Open Terminal
  2. Type “sudo ” (include the space after sudo)
  3. From the mounted AdobeDrive5UninstallUtility.dmg volume, drag to Terminal so that your command in Terminal looks something like:
    sudo /Volumes/AdobeDrive5-UninstallUtility/AdobeDrive5-UninstallUtility/
  4. Hit enter
  5. Enter your computer’s admin password
  6. You should now see something like the following in the Terminal:
    OSX 10.10.3 release made changes to a few systems calls.
    Manually altering Adobe Drive's Installer Hooks to be compatible with new release...
    Done with file replacements!
  7. Quit Terminal

You can now mount AdobeDrive5_0_3-mul.dmg and install Adobe Drive successfully.

Customers who use Adobe Drive with Adobe Experience Manager may also need to install a package to ensure compatibility with Drive 5.0.3. Specifically, if you are using Drive with AEM 5.6.1, AEM 6.0, AEM 6.0 SP1, AEM 6.0 SP2 then you need to install a patch on your AEM server. The patch is delivered as an AEM Package, and you can install it on your Author instances as necessary. If you use AEM 6.1 or higher, then you do not need to install this package.

One last thing: if you will be using Adobe Bridge CC in the workflow (and who doesn’t?), ensure that you keep Adobe Bridge CC up to date to avoid unexpected crashing issues. If you are in a managed deployment environment, then contact your system administrator to ensure that you have the latest Adobe Bridge CC installed.

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New Layer Override behavior in InDesign a boon to fashion and product design

Have you ever placed an Illustrator file into InDesign and then used the Layer Overrides capability to turn layers on and off for that file? Have you ever placed the same Illustrator file several times with different Layer Overrides on? If you have, then you likely work in apparel or footwear design and use AI and ID in your workflows. You have also likely cursed out loud when you made a change to the Illustrator file’s layers, only to have to reset the Layer Overrides for each of those placed AI files in InDesign. If this sounds like you, then I have some good news.

The InDesign CC 2015.1 release includes an innocuous little switch that will change your life. Really.

Here’s the scoop. There is a new checkbox in the Preferences>File Handling that lets you change how InDesign handles Layer Overrides for placed AI and InDesign files. Enable the “Hide New Layers When Updating and Relinking” option to use the new behavior.

New option in Preferences>File Handling

Enable this option to prevent new layers in AI files from appearing in ID when you update the link

After you enable this option, you will no longer need to adjust the Layer Overrides on placed AI and InDesign files when you add new layers to the placed graphic. Yes, that’s right. Let’s say that you are working on colorways for a new shirt, and you typically do this by adding new layers to your base CAD artwork in AI. You can now place that AI file into an InDesign file many times and set layer overrides to expose the different colorways. When you add new layers to the AI file and update the link in InDesign, the new layers will no longer appear in InDesign. If you delete layers in the AI file, then those layers will disappear in InDesign if those deleted layers are enabled.

Can I get an “hallelujah!” from all of the folks who deal with the drudgery of updating Layer Overrides over and over as the colorways change over time?

Now, you may be asking yourself what happens with Photoshop. In the InDesign CC 2015.1 release, there is no difference with the way that Photoshop Layer Overrides work, so you will still need to go adjust the linked graphics in InDesign if you make or delete layers in your Photoshop files. However, with the constant pace of innovation here at Adobe, it is very likely that InDesign will enable the new behavior for placed Photoshop files in a later release. If you see an InDesign engineer on the street, give them a knowing nod and a thumbs up. This little feature is a big one indeed.

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