Posts tagged "Creative Cloud"

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…

Jobs-Word-Cloud

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 UninstallUtility.sh to Terminal so that your command in Terminal looks something like:
    sudo /Volumes/AdobeDrive5-UninstallUtility/AdobeDrive5-UninstallUtility/UninstallUtility.sh
  4. Hit enter
  5. Enter your computer’s admin password
  6. You should now see something like the following in the Terminal:
    /Volumes/AdobeDrive5-UninstallUtility/AdobeDrive5-UninstallUtility
    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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Creative Workflow Specialist seeking data on, well, creative workflows!

I recently became a Creative Workflow Specialist here at Adobe. In this role, I spend a lot of time working with customers, helping them understand how Adobe’s diverse technologies knit together as an end-to-end content development to syndication to monetization to measurement platform. I also spend time learning about how customers have developed their own workflows using our tools, and that is the subject of this post.

In almost every meeting I attend, Bridge appears as a critical part of the workflow. This was the intent of Bridge when it was released back in the day, but it amazes me at how differently people use the same tool. Some use it simply as a file browser. Others use it for managing metadata on assets. Still more use it to interface with their Digital Asset Management (DAM) system. I have even encountered customers who built custom plugins for Bridge to allow users to interface directly with the company’s project management and product lifecycle management solutions. Wow!

I want to thank everyone who responded to the survey that I had posted here earlier in the year. We have completed our information gathering and have presented our findings in another blog post. To all of you who responded (and there were a LOT of you who responded), thanks for your insights, and keep on being creative!

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Protecting your Outlook database with Creative Cloud

I use Outlook on my Mac for email and calendaring. While I have access to Office 365 and the web versions of the apps that comprise it, I am more comfortable using the desktop application. In addition, I use email rules to help manage the large volume of messages I receive every day. Since I get a lot of email with a lot of attachments, my Outlook database gets large very quickly. Also, it goes corrupt from time to time. When I rebuild the database, very often my mail rules get confused and they need to be adjusted to point at the appropriate target folders. This is annoying. I decided that I needed to come up with a plan to make it easier to recover from database failure, and this article provides a solution, or at least some security if not a true solution.

Creative Cloud offers desktop file syncing for customers who install the Creative Cloud Desktop app. This works much like Dropbox, in that there is a folder on your computer that the CC Desktop app syncs with your CC folders online. This is a very handy feature for sure. You can learn how to enable desktop file syncing here. You can also share a folder with one or more other Creative Cloud users. In that case, all of the collaborators have access to the same files on their desktop. This is handy if you are working with a team and need to ensure that you all have the most current assets. You can learn how to share a folder with another Creative Cloud user here.

One of the benefits of using CC file sync is that your files are versioned in the cloud, which means that when you replace a file in your synced folder on your computer, the previous version is stored in the Cloud along with your current version. According to the CC Versioning FAQ, The Creative Cloud stores previous versions for 10 days, which is long enough for most users to be able to recover from a disastrous “Save” when you should have chosen “Save As…” Versioning is also our friend when we consider the Outlook database, because if I have previous versions of the database available, then I can roll back to a previous state and get back to work. Unfortunately, Outlook writes to the database frequently, so it is not a good idea to put your Microsoft User Data folder in your Creative Cloud folder. If you do, then CC will try to sync your Outlook database all the time, causing errors on both the CC side and on the Outlook side. A better strategy is to copy the Outlook database to a folder in CC on a schedule.

I use Automator to copy the Database, but it’s not as simple as “copy the Outlook database to my Creative Cloud folder.” Before you copy the database, however, it is best to ensure that Outlook is done with it. The best way to ensure that the database is “at rest” is to quit Outlook. Once Outlook has shut down, then it is safe to copy the database. When the copy is finished, then we need to restart Outlook. At the end, it is polite to send a message that the operation was successful. If you follow this flow, then you will safely have a versioned backup of your Outlook database going back 10 days.

In Automator, I created a workflow and used Calendar to schedule it. It uses the following actions in sequence:

  1. Quit Application: Microsoft Outlook
  2. Get Specified Finder Items: your Outlook Database file (not the enclosing folder)
  3. Copy Finder Items: to a folder in Creative Cloud called Database Backup
  4. Launch Application: Microsoft Outlook
  5. Display Notification Center Alert: Some message to let you know everything was successful

In order to send a Notification Center alert, I used a nifty Automation Action from Automated Workflows, LLC. Read about it and get it here.

The backup Outlook workflow in Automator

The backup Outlook workflow in Automator

If you would like to download the workflow and modify it for your own use, you can download the BackupOutlookDatabase workflow. Unzip the workflow and double click it to install. You will need to modify the workflow in order for it to work properly. Whether you download mine and modify it or make your own, you need to save the workflow and then save it again as an application in order to execute it with iCal.

To save your workflow as an application, you need to expose hidden menu options in Automator. Hold down the Option Key and click the File menu. You will now see Save As… Choose it and then save your workflow as an Application to a place you can find later.

Advanced Options in File Menu

Hold down the Option Key to expose Advanced Options in File Menu

Save as Application

Save as Application

Now, you need to schedule the workflow to run at a convenient time. I used Calendar to schedule the event, since the whole premise here is that the Outlook Database can become corrupt. If we use Calendar, then there is some built-in peace of mind because we’re using another system to backup the system of record. In Calendar, create a new calendar called Automator so you can hide the daily backup events. In the Automator Calendar, create a new event called “Backup Outlook” at a convenient time for you. I chose 2:00 am Eastern Time. Set this event to recur every day with no expiration. Set the action to Open File>Other… and browse to your Automator Workflow Application that you made in the last step.

Det the calendar event properties

Det the calendar event properties

There you have it: an automated backup for your Outlook Database using your Creative Cloud account. It is important to note that your computer needs to be in a state to run the Workflow at the time you designate, so if you have a laptop, you might want to leave it open or on overnight. It’s OK if the computer goes to sleep. The workflow will run so long as the computer isn’t powered down.

I mentioned that another benefit of using Creative Cloud for the backup is that the Database will be versioned in the cloud. This lets you go back in time if you inadvertently backup a corrupt database and need to go back a few days. To view file versions in Creative Cloud, go to your Creative Cloud account in a browser and click on Files, then click through to your Database file. Click on your Database to open the details view, and then click on the Activity link to view the file activity. Here, you can view annotations and versions in a timeline on the right. Choose the version you’d like to restore, and then either click the Restore link or the Restore icon to the left of the version.

Choose Versions from the Activity Timeline

Choose Versions from the Activity Timeline

Select a version and click Restore

Select a version and click Restore

Once you choose Restore, you will need to confirm that you really want to restore your version.

Confirm that you want to restore a version

Confirm that you want to restore a version

Once you click Restore, your previous version of the Database will be restored and will immediately begin to sync with you CC Desktop folder. Depending on your Internet speed, it may take a while for the previous version to appear on your computer. You will get an alert from CC telling you that the file has been updated. Once you get that alert, you can safely use it to replace your corrupt Outlook Database file and get back to work.

This method has saved me hours of frustration, and while I don’t wish Outlook Database corruption on you, using this method could save you hours of frustration, too.

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