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Single-File Philosofy of digtial assett managment

June 11th, 2010 Comments off

Many projects I work on are benefited by my single file philosophy. It’s a simple guiding principle which is often missed in digital imaging workflow. Multiple files are unnecessary when the project can be contained in a single file. I much prefer to have a multiple layer single file open in Adobe Photoshop for may projects. I also prefer a multi-page Word Document for a single project in Microsoft Word.

Using multi-page and multi-image files requires some rethinking of computing technique. Outputting Photoshop layers as individual directive files is necessary. Also, jumping to pages via links is necessary in Word. Most necessary program processes are very close to one of these two techniques. Once you have these two skills mastered then you’re ready to start using the single philosophy.

The use of multiple files comes from a day when programs could not open and operate on large files at once. That day is over and very large files are very accessible. Sometimes it’s just helpful to gang things up into one large file.  If you want to see it all at once and work on it all simultaneously, then get it all into one file.

The fewer files you have to mange the better off you are…that’s a fact.  However, there are many reasons to keep multiple files!  Be smart about when you use multiple files VS a single file with layers or a multi-page Word Document.

Think about the way you can delete previous e-mails and save one if all the copy has been included.  This is the bases of the single file philosophy of digital asset management.  Fewer files are rapidly becoming the workflow for digital imaging.  At the forefront of this movement in digital imaging is the DNG file format which is incorporating multiple versions of the imag rendering instructions.  That’s right there’s’ all kinds of ways to interpret the original camera data and rapidly there are more and more ways to save that data in a single file.

I expect there to be more ways to navigate through the mass data in larger files in the future.  When doubling computer resources, why not double file size?  And wile we are all doubling things, think about doubling viewing space.  Our eyes have incredible ability to send tuns of data to our brains, so generally looking at more data at once is a good thing.  I can’t live without two high resolution 30 inch monitors.

Edward Tufte can explain viewing realestate far better than I can.  His books on visual information are amazing and his lectures are equally charming;  a must see for creative professionals.

Please consider the single-file philosophy of digital asset management and workflow whenever you working with similar files.  I think you will find  it useful in many cases.

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