Another DAM Podcast

Audio about Digital Asset Management

Another DAM Podcast interview with David Barron on Digital Asset Management

Here are the questions asked:

  • How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
  • Why does a organization focused on sporting goods use Digital Asset Management?
  • What is the big idea behind using master images in a DAM workflow?
  • What advice would you like to share with DAM Professionals and people aspiring to become DAM Professionals?


Henrik de Gyor: [0:02] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset
Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with David Barron. David,
how are you?

David Barron: [0:10] Hey, Henrik. I’m doing great.

Henrik: [0:13] David, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?

David: [0:16] I’ve been in production most of my career, since I got out of college
in 1989. I managed a service bureau for about three years in the early ‘90s,
which gave me most of my troubleshooting capabilities. Then I worked in advertising
and marketing throughout the rest of that 20 years, where I worked at
places like CAPS Digital and Leo Burnett. I worked at a HBO startup company.
[0:46] I worked at The Marketing Store, the Integer Group and SM Marketing,
and several other places that I started to do a little consulting with. I was a production
artist who also did photo retouching and design. But always doing tech
support, too. Probably because, as a Macintosh user, the IT departments don’t
always fully support the Macintosh platform. So there was always a lot of technical
stuff that had to go on.
[1:21] I started thinking about Digital Asset Management while I was working
at The Marketing Store and trying to get a system in there that would help
us to manage our digital assets. That’s where I fell in love with Digital Asset
Management, and all the capabilities that you can have with Digital Asset
Management. Although I was a production artist at that time, I had to assume
the role of a Digital Asset Manager and technologist.
[1:55] I started here at Wilson Sporting Goods, two years ago, as a Digital Asset
Management Consultant, for their Xinet system that they put in. I had purchased
the exact same system at The Marketing Store, five years prior. I started to
consult on that system because I had known it really well. After about a year of
being here, they hired me full time, where I administered the asset management
system. I can still consult the designers on best practices as I continue to oversee
things from the front end, all the way to the back end of the system.

Henrik: [2:42] Why does an organization focused on sporting goods use Digital
Asset Management?

David: [2:47] I would argue that every company that creates digital artwork and
videos needs some level of Digital Asset Management. Once you have one file,
you have the need for Digital Asset Management, and you have some level of
managing that. So much is being created digitally. At Wilson Sporting Goods,
they create a dizzying amount of graphics per year. Small, 20 some creative
services, employees crank out work like crazy, every day.

[3:22] We have our own staff photographer who’s been working tirelessly here for 27 years. Just taking product shots. There’s terabytes of data, images and tons of people who need them. So wrangling these assets for internal use alone could be considered valuable.
But there’s offices worldwide, partners and dealers that all want to have an
image of “The Duke”, or whatever product they’re trying to sell for their website,
for their own catalogs.

[4:02] Trying to find these assets and getting them the correct one, the one
that’s retouched and outlined or whatever, is a big challenge. So Digital Asset
Management is key here.

Henrik: [4:17] What is the big idea behind using master images in a
DAM workflow?

David: [4:24] The master image paradigm is one that I’ve been percolating in
my brain for several years now. While working at marketing agencies, the workflow
as always to see each job as a closed loop, a single entity. All the art created
for that one job remained in a links folder, in a job folder. Even if you were
working on several pieces with the same images, you’d often duplicate those
images into the links folder of the new job, in order to keep a collection of files
current for that single entity. [4:58] If a product or image changed at the 11th
hour, which never happens, I understand. You were up late replicating those
changes to all those separate folders and all those separate files, and derivatives.
The thought came, “Couldn’t we just keep an image library to link to,
instead of all this duplication?”

[5:19] It was always work that nobody wanted to do or had time to work on.
Even though, in the end, it would have saved time. So this master image idea
was born out of this frustration in production. The temptation to collect all
the images into a job folder is pretty strong, but when the files are linked to a
master image in the master image library, the benefits are pretty fierce.

[5:44] That image is what I heard called, at Henry Stuart New York this year, “The
single version of the truth.” The high resolution images come in or are shot,
and they’re tagged with metadata. They get outlined, retouched, and they go
into the master image library, nested into several folders of hierarchy. You might
have a football folder and inside of that, NFL footballs and leather footballs.
They get nested into this library, like digital shelves.

[6:19] So everybody knows where they are. We keep two of them, one for in
progress images and one for published images or files that are ready to go
to the general public. But there’s only one file that is current. So that changes
to that one file, happened on that one file. Any of the work that’s being used,
that’s all they have to do, update the image in that layout.

[6:47] That way, there is no migration at the end of the job, where we take all
those images and then file them accordingly, so that people can see the images
and grab the images from the latest catalog. They’re already there. There’s no
wondering whether or not, “Was it this image, or this one next to it that looks
similar, that was used in this catalog?”

[7:14] Because they’re linked, and the DAM system shows that link. The files are
tagged with the name in that catalog. It’s really been revolutionary when it’s
done properly. The one thing that really makes it work, because a lot of people
have said, “What if I have a Photoshop file that’s got several images composited
in there? I’ve got to make a new file. How do I track what files are being put in
that Photoshop file?”

[7:50] It’s really difficult. You can put it into metadata. I’m really encouraging
people, now with WCS platform, you can do a lot of compositing effects in
InDesign and Illustrator, for that matter. Although I’m sort of against doing any
page layout or major Photoshop compositing in Illustrator. But to do your compositing
within InDesign, it just makes everything so much easier.

[8:28] Because of the transparency effects that you can do, you don’t have to
afraid of transparency. You just have to work a little bit differently, because
you’re not working with pixels in InDesign, but if you can do your composites in
InDesign, you still maintain that link to the master image. If you need to move
things around, it’s a lot easier to move things around in one program than it is to
have to go back into Photoshop, make those changes, and move it in.

[8:57] Then resizing, if you’re doing a banner for one person and an ad that has
to look the same, your resizes are a lot easier. You don’t have to worry about
making multiple file images. That’s been a challenge to get that through, but
when it’s done, and I’ve seen it done really well, with all kinds of things, like
reflections and drop shadows and set down shadows, color and vignettes, and
everything, all done in InDesign. The time savings alone are worth it. Just in
terms of versatility.

Henrik: [9:33] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and
people aspiring to become DAM professionals?

David: [9:39] I would say that if you’re aspiring to be in Digital Asset
Management, some people say that you need to be a student of library sciences.
Sadly, I don’t have that expertise. From my perspective, you really have
to know your users, more than the assets themselves. How they work, and the
needs and the skills of those users who are using the system more than library

[10:12] Because you can easily put more than you need to into the
DAM system, or more than what the users need. That’s where your concentration
should be, is do your homework on who’s contributing to the workflow or
to the image library, and who needs to get the stuff out. Then you’ll have all the
answers you need.

Henrik: [10:40] Putting people first. That’s a great idea.

David: [10:41] Thanks.

Henrik: [10:43] Thanks, David.

David: [10:44] Henrik, it’s been a pleasure.

Henrik: [10:46] For more on Digital Asset Management, log onto Another DAM Podcast is available on Audioboom,
Blubrry, iTunes and the Tech Podcast Network. Thanks again.

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Author: Henrik de Gyor

Consultant. Podcaster. Writer.

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