What is Digital Asset Management?
The name says (almost) says it all. Digital asset management is used to help you organize, sync and keep track of all your stock photos, graphic elements you re-use, template directories, and client files/project folders.
I’m not going to tell you how to organize your files, I’m going give you a tip on how to access those files easier and faster.
This article is aimed at the small freelancer, and by small I mean a 1 person crew with 2-3 collaborators that may come and go based on what kind of project you are working on. This will likely not help a medium to large sized studio. I will not be covering or reviewing software from other companies specifically built for DAM. There are too many, and I personally believe they are too expensive to justify the time saved for anything smaller than a 3-4 person team, these costs range from $2,000 to $15,000 and up. If you got to this page on accident and are looking for a solution like that, here is a link to the industry standard Extensis Portfolio Server.
There are essentially 3 ways to manage your assets.
- Manage them yourself by moving, copying, and pasting files.
- Using another software from Widen DAM or Extensis or others.
- Purchase a server or a hosting plan.
DAM the inexpensive way.
Lets say you are like me and you have collected a couple thousand stock photos, files, templates, code snippets, psds and more, but you have a desktop computer as well as a laptop? I have always been terrified of going to work remotely and accidentally saving over a more current file, or worse, having a linked file required to complete a project. So I started using Skydrive, in combination with Google Drive to sync up a project folder I knew I would be taking with me. These worked ok, but limited at the free 5 or so gigabytes you get. Enter copy, a simple service like Sky Drive or Google Drive, but they give you 15gbs off the bat (an extra 5 for a total of 20 if you use the links on this page) as well as a good android/ios app, web app and a copy folder to place wherever you’d like. I personally recommend it, but feel free to use any cloud storage you would like.
So what do I do after installing copy?
Make sure its on all the devices you would like to sync, a laptop and desktop for example. you can either pull the files you want to sync into those folders or tell copy which folders to sync by right clicking the tray icon, selecting “preferences”, then “manage my files”. This might take a while so feel free to grab yourself a coffee while the folders are syncing up.
Now that you have everything synced up and ready to go, it’s time for the next step.
If you don’t have something like adobe bridge yet, I highly recommend it. You can batch process large amounts of files to change their file names, extensions, sizes and more. The crucial part to this is Adobe Bridge allows previews of adobe’s file extensions, .tiff, .png, .psd, .ae, .ai, and all the rest. The final step? Navigate in Bridge to your copy folder and add it to the favorites panel on the left.
Thats it! Seriously, this is most of the functionality you get from the big boy software thats out there, syncing files, organizing them and giving you access to them wherever they are.
- You are limited to the storage you have available on copy. 250gbs through copy is $99 year however, much easier than $2,000 or more.
- Adobe Bridge works great, but a regular file explorer won’t do much to help you with organization.
- You can’t check files in/out that I know of.
- Piece of mind. Your content is stored on the cloud, your desktop and a laptop (or other devices), helping to keep backups of your files.
- Saving a good amount of time and money.
- Organization of your files that don’t have to be duplicated for each device.
- Quick and easy way to share a single folder to a client or collaborator.
Hopefully I helped a few of us freelancers out there save some time and money!