AI & DAM: five ways AI can make life easier for DAM users

We’ve created a two-part blog series about Artificial Intelligence & Digital Asset Management after testing the most advanced tools available. This post looks at the key features the major image-recognition tools provide and shows how they can be applied within Elvis.

For our top 3 things DAM users need to know before getting started, check out part 1 here.

The tools

We’ve been testing the functionality of the three key players in image-recognition AI - Google Vision, Amazon Image Rekognition and Clarifai.

Each tool has its own merits and provides different sources of data that can enhance the usability of your DAM. AI and Elvis were practically built for each other - not only were these integrations simple, they’ve also been incredibly effective very quickly. See it for yourself in the demo below.


The key features

Object Recognition

This is the core functionality that Image Recognition AI provides DAM users. As you see in the video, we upload files within Elvis and the API automatically includes the metadata in the returned assets within Elvis.

At this point, it’s always important to validate the metadata - and build on it with additional information your users might need. From here users can either search, or filter by the tags you approve - providing multiple options to find exactly what they’re looking for. This could save thousands of hours (and a lot of frustration) for DAM administrators everywhere!

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Clarifai has consistently delivered the richest, most varied metadata throughout testing, but the other tools are catching up quickly.

In our demo we’ve created specific fields for the different tools so you can see what each provides. You see already that there is a big difference between the type of metadata that is retrieved so when evaluating the different tools, it’s important to relate this back to your requirements check-list.  


Image searching  

Imagine you’ve come across the perfect image you need online and you need to find something similar in your own database. Simply drag and drop that image to the plugin search function and Elvis will automatically deliver a bank of images with the same tags. The image you searched with will not even added to Elvis, meaning you keep a clean database of your own assets.


Facial analysis

Here, we can filter by characteristics like mustaches to find the exact image we need.

If your image library features a lot of people, being able to break it down by searching for things like emotion, or personal characteristics can save significant amounts of time.

Amazon shines in this area, and with a simple integration within Elvis, it’s easy to keep this metadata as a separate field. By doing this it makes it very easy to refine searches by filtering, as you might with taxonomies.

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Geo-searching landmarks

Today’s AI software is powerful enough to identify major landmarks - and Google Vision will even append this with their exact co-ordinates. This benefits of this are twofold: 

1. Users can search for the landmark by name without administrators having to manually add it

2. The asset can automatically be added to the Maps integration that already exists as standard within Elvis’ sample plugins.

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Search similar

In a similar way to the image-search feature, if you’ve already found a great image within Elvis but need more options, you can just right click and search similar by installing a simple plugin. With the extensive tags provided by AI this will help ensure users return the greatest volume of relevant results.

Image recognition and Elvis   

These are just some of our favourite ways that AI may enhance DAM usability, but there will be plenty more to come as the technology evolves. Elvis is evolving just as quickly, and these integrations will be publicly available very soon.

Keep up to date with the latest WoodWing news to make sure you don’t miss any announcements, or contact us with any specific questions you may have.

AI & DAM: 3 things DAM users need to learn before getting started with AI

We’ve created a two-part blog series about Artificial Intelligence & Digital Asset Management after testing the most advanced tools available today. Part 1 provides an overview of AI technology and the 3 things all new DAM users need to know before getting started.

For a demo of the tools in action within Elvis, click here for part 2.

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The past few years have been incredibly exciting for AI. Tech giants like Google, Microsoft, Amazon and IBM have been investing heavily in the technology and it’s evolving rapidly (that’s one of the key benefits of machine-learning after all!). 

Today’s AI has been used to enhance search engines, self-driving cars, personal phone assistants - and yes, now DAM usability. But in order to make it one of the most time-saving additions to your DAM toolbox, it’s important to first understand what you can get out of it and the limitations of the technology.  

That’s why we’d like to share 3 key lessons we’ve discovered whilst testing the most advanced image recognition tools available to DAM vendors today.  


AI Lesson #1 - the technology is narrow, but it’s about to expand your metadata.

It may sound futuristic, but current AI technology is known to experts as ‘narrow AI’. Simply put, it means that it is designed only to perform limited tasks. Take for example a search engine algorithm or a self-driving car - the technology is used to achieve one clear task.

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Facial analysis from Amazon Rekognition, one of the most advanced tools on the market (image courtesy of AWS).

When it comes to DAM, this task revolves around Image Recognition Technology. The technology can identify a host of criteria within every image uploaded - from landmarks to emotions on individual faces.

These criteria are ranked on a scale of accuracy as you see on the image above. Users are able to set the parameters - so if you want a lower volume of highly accurate characteristics, you might set an accuracy level of 90% or above.

The identified criteria can then automatically be added to an image’s metadata. This instantly builds a much larger and richer range of terms to help users search out the perfect asset.

AI Lesson #2 - don’t trust robots blindly.

As sophisticated as image-recognition might appear or sound, it’s still in its infancy. It hasn’t yet matured (emotionally or analytically).

For example, we’ve observed that current software easily identifies positive emotions but struggles to detect negative ones. Beyond that, analysis can sometimes miss the mark completely - like identifying a man as a woman, or a lizard as a tree.

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Fortunately machine-learning evolves very quickly. The more images analysed, the more accurate and robust the results become. And as the big image-recognition providers analyse billions of images every day, they’re catching up very rapidly.

So whilst the technology may lighten the workload, the role of DAM administrators is as pivotal as ever to validate and enhance the metadata provided by the technology. And regardless of how sensitive the robots become, the relevance of attached metadata will always be defined by your end-user needs.

AI Lesson #3 - define your AI requirements before selecting a vendor.

When looking to acquire a DAM, the first part of the process is always to list the specific requirements and functionality required. Why? Because different product features help you to meet those exact needs.

It helps you to evaluate what will be most useful to you, without getting swept away in dazzling sales presentation.

The same is true with AI vendors.

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We’ve been testing the functionality of the three key players in Image Recognition AI - Google Vision, Amazon Rekognition and Clarifai. As you’d expect, they provide a lot of data that can be really useful to DAM users. But each have strengths in different areas.

Making sure you can make the most of this technology means considering how it can be used, practically, by the people who use your DAM every day. This way you can avoid getting swept up in the excitement of what the technology can do, rather than what will make it useful for you.  

The best way to achieve this is to speak to your core-users. Identify where the pain-points are when searching and which searches they feel they’re losing most time on. From here, build a list of key criteria for selection:

  • Is our image collection varied enough to put this tool to use?
  • What are the main searches being conducted?
  • Do we have different categories of images (people, places, buildings, objects)
  • What kind of searches would make people’s lives easier (location-based, sentiment)

When you have a clear picture of what you’re looking for, it’s time to evaluate the tools.

Speaking of which, check out Blog #2 to learn more about what they offer - and how they can enhance the usability of your DAM.

Updates to Improve Publishing Workflow

Content Station 10 (CS10) continues to meet publishers’ needs with new features that include opening articles in Adobe InCopy, adding notes to a dossier and an option to copy files.

Opening articles in InCopy

Increase productivity by configuring your CS10 to open articles in Adobe InCopy. Previously, articles would automatically open in the Print Editor of CS10, however it is now possible to add, into your workflow, the step of opening articles within InCopy and editing from there.

Dossier notes

A dossier is the main content storage tool in CS10 for editorial teams. Updates to the dossier feature allows users to add notes and messages via a chat box. Clearly indicate what the story is about, what the dossier should be used for or what content it should contain.


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Thumbnails now include text

When viewing files in thumbnail mode, a text snippet now shows the first 250 characters. Providing visible information for the user is just another way CS10 reduces production time for fast publication.


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Shortcut to Copy Files

Lastly, a simple but very useful update is the right-click shortcut for copying one or more files to another location.

Upcoming developments

This year CS10 users will receive access to the Content Station Digital Editor. Storytellers will be able to easily access consumers on multiple digital channels, and satisfy the demanding needs of today’s audience.

Content Station 10 (the most advanced version of Content Station yet) is built entirely in HTML and replaces the Adobe Flex based version. It has been optimized to provide an enhanced experience for content creators.

For more information regarding the development of the Content Station Digital Editor or article creation using Content Station Print Editor please get in touch.

Keeping up with user demands - the 2017 DAM Landscape

In the real world, we’re taught that you never get more for less. A product’s value is calculated as a simple equation of quality over cost. But the digital world is infinitely more complex.

Whether it’s because the internet was created as a free-exchange of information, or perhaps because digital products are seen to be so easily updated (after all, it’s just another line of code, right?), our demands are higher than ever.

Add to that, the ease and speed at which competitors are setting up shop and software vendors are constantly pushed to create more for less.

But I want to stress, this is not a complaint. This is one of the most exciting challenges software developers must acknowledge and use to strengthen their product offering.

Here’s a look at how these contrasting demands are shaping the DAM landscape in 2017.


Flexibility and freedom, with added security

The availability of cloud products in our everyday lives means we’re all getting used to having access to the things we need, whenever and wherever we are. This demand for on-the-go access is no different for DAM users.

But cloud convenience comes with a risky reputation. For the average person, the convenience of cloud services generally outweighs the security risks. But when it comes to businesses, leaving their assets vulnerable is simply out of the question.

It’s important to note, cloud solutions are backed by an enormous amount of data security. For example, Elvis Cloud - WoodWing’s standalone cloud product - relies on Amazon Web Service technology. This alone uses over 1,800 security measures.

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Private cloud solutions offer freedom and flexibility with added security.


But as business data policies get stricter, they demand specific, configurable security measures. This means businesses are demanding a greater say in the cloud service provider they use.   

This is why we’ve seen a rise of configured, hybrid solutions that we like to call Private Clouds. For our customers, that means taking and hosting the full Elvis environment with a chosen cloud provider, in the country of choice. 

This ensures flexibility and scalability of a cloud product with a provider that can be configured to specific business requirements.


Less labor, more metadata

The more care and attention you pay to the metadata of your assets, the easier it is for your users to find what they’re looking for. But as your collections grow from thousands and into millions of assets, simple searches deliver large volumes of results for users to filter through.  

To make life easier, users will search by specific, narrow keywords to reduce the results volume. But for your DAM to support these terms you need a lot of metadata to ensure they arrive in the results. This can be a long and very subjective task for DAM administrators or librarians.

There are a variety of ways to resolve this challenge. Taxonomies provide a structured way to add metadata to assets. But when it comes to tagging emotions or other highly relevant but subjective fields, it has typically required a manual approach and a lot of time.

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Is the girl anxious, or disappointed? Deciding how to tag this image would have a huge impact on whether it would be found and used in the future.

Many of the major search engines are using AI to automate categorization of images. There are a few key tools on the market that can analyze an image and identify a mountain from a desert, or a happy face from a sad one.

These tools signal a more efficient way for administrators to handle batch-tagging of assets with relevant metadata. For users it means finding exactly what they’re looking for, in less time.

But despite the industry hype, AI is far from a perfect solution at present - Google’s “gorilla” AI error is testament to that. It’s a useful addition to the DAM toolbox to enhance and speed-up manual metadata processes, but let’s not pretend we’ve lost the need for a human perspective just yet.  

We’ve been working on ways to enhance the current AI solutions, ensuring you gain accurate and useful metadata whilst minimizing time spent manually adding it. You’ll see some really cool stuff in the coming weeks, watch this space. 

Greater use, less visibility

Ever felt a bit overwhelmed by the sheer number of tabs, apps and programmes you are running? These tools can be incredibly helpful when it comes to achieving specific tasks. But managing so many processes at once can actually increase distractions, making us less productive and reducing our attention spans. 

Across a business, a DAM’s full functionality is typically used by just a few departments, such as Marketing. But its benefits are multiplied when every department uses the same central database of approved assets. In cases like this, the more you can reap your DAM rewards without pushing users out of other tools, the more efficient it can be.  

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Keeping people focused on one task or tool helps minimize distractions and boost productivity

Reducing time users spend jumping between tools helps them focus on their tasks and means they’re more likely to search for the latest assets, rather than relying on old ones they have to hand. This is integral to getting the most value out of your assets. 

WoodWing’s roadmap promises see huge leaps and innovation in supporting DAM functionality within other tools. Take for example our Salesforce integration - enabling teams to share assets with customers or internally without ever leaving the platform. 

In addition we’re planning a host of partner integrations that solve specific business challenges - like our webinar to speed up catalog production in partnership with 65Bit.

Better decision making, faster

Manual decision making can be quite a slow process, based on evaluation of different scenarios and outcomes. 

But in an era where we’re practically swimming in available data, we increasingly rely on numbers to help us speed up these decisions and work more quickly.

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Data overload does not make for effective decision-making 

When it comes to your assets, knowing how they’re being used and how effective they are helps you make smarter decisions. But as the number of tools we use grows, so too does the volume of available data. That’s why simple, visual analytics have become critical for effective decision making.

Take WoodWing Enterprise users that also use Elvis DAM for example. The analytics within the integration not only uses simple visuals to demonstrate how often an asset has been used; it details where, how it has been cropped and the publication title.

This is essential for knowing at a glance if an asset is available for reuse in other publications or markets, or whether an alternative would be better.


Final word

This exciting, evolving landscape underpins Elvis DAM’s roadmap of features and integrations for the coming year. Keep an eye out for developments that support these themes, we’re excited to share them with you as soon as possible.

Follow our product blog, or sign up to our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss a single one. 

Digital Editing with iPad

All new for Digital Editors using Inception, you can now add components and text to your articles directly from your iPad.

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In the past this was only available through Inception on your computer, however, it is now possible to add, edit and delete components while on your daily commute or away from your laptop. Features such as undo and redo have also been incorporated.

The (green) add component button is displayed on the left hand side of the Inception Digital Editor for ease of use and so not to interfere with writing the story.

Inception is the content creation tool that allows users to generate responsive articles and customize to their individual style or brand. Publish articles to your app, website and social media channels without having to manage separate online tools and apps.

To find out more or to start a free trial, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Texture brings the world’s greatest magazines to life

Engagement. It’s the name of the game for Keith Barraclough at Texture.

And how does he do it? By reaching users on a number of platforms, grabbing their attention and driving engagement to the Texture app.

Texture started in 2010, and has been described as the Netflix of the magazine world. Their app has over 200 of the top magazine titles in North America and allows readers unlimited access to the expansive catalog of magazines for one monthly price.

In short, they bring the world’s greatest magazines to life on the digital device of your choice. And in this role they have been highly successful.

They publish at various levels including article level, collection level and full issue level, engaging readers through customization and providing choice throughout the digital experience.

Using WoodWing Inception technology to ensure articles are responsive and available on all devices, Keith does not underestimate the value of automation and workflow technology.

“Majority of our publishing partners have some elements of the WoodWing ecosystem in their publishing”, he explains.

WoodWing Inception technology allows editors to efficiently reuse, republish and repurpose articles, as well as creating responsive content with a workflow system.

To find out more about how WoodWing software can assist digital and magazine publishers, please contact us today.

‘Undo’ now available in Inception

The most highly anticipated Inception update has now gone live.

The ability to undo a change is now possible with the simple click of the Command-Z keys (or Control-Z in Windows). And to redo your actions? Try the Command-Shift-Z (Control-Shift-Z for Windows).

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So what exactly can you ‘undo’ and ‘redo’ in the Inception Digital Editor?

  • Any actions performed (including changes to text, colors, fonts, and text alignment)
  • Removing and adding components (including Title, Text and Media components)
  • Moving components to another position
  • Placing an image within a component

At this point it is good to note that when leaving a current story, the clipboard will not remember your last action (similar to Google Docs).

These updates are just one example of how WoodWing continues to work alongside its customers to ensure the best possible experience for digital publishers.

Want to try it for yourself?

Start your 30 day free trial now

Dossier, Search and Layout updates for Content Station 10

From shortcuts when adding files to a dossier to visual improvements in the search, the Enterprise team continue to deliver updates to Content Station 10 (CS10).


Adding files to a dossier

As most know, the dossier in Content Station is used to collate files for an article.

Now available in CS10, creators can easily add a file (image, text, videos) that has been saved in Enterprise to any dossier with a simple right click. Search for a dossier or find one that you have been recently working on, and select to add your file. Additionally, you can remove files from a dossier with a quick right click.


Search results list

Improving usability, the list view in ‘Search Results’ now displays an object icon to quickly identify the file type, and a status name to identify the workflow status.

Also added was the zoom icon to adjust the row height to your liking. Zoom out to gain an overview of your team’s progress or zoom in for a minimalistic view.

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Add and remove components in the CS Print Editor

To keep layout options flexible, components (such as a byline, credit or subhead) can be added or removed, above or below, the current components. Ensuring consistency, components are managed by the Administrator and can only be removed if not already assigned to a layout.

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Upcoming developments

This year CS10 users will receive access to the Content Station Digital Editor. Storytellers will be able to easily access consumers on multiple digital channels, and satisfy the demanding needs of today’s audience.

Content Station 10 (the most advanced version of Content Station yet) is built entirely in HTML and replaces the Adobe Flex based version. It has been optimized to provide an enhanced experience for content creators.

For more information regarding the development of the Content Station Digital Editor or article creation using Content Station Print Editor please get in touch.

Highlights of 2016 from the WoodWing team

Week-by-week WoodWing staff have been working tirelessly to push our products further. Over the course of a year this adds up to a lot of features. To round off the year, we’ve asked WoodWingers around the world: what’s been your favourite or proudest feature of 2016?

 

Highlights of the year: Enterprise

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Tom Pijsel - Product Manager for Enterprise
I feel the development of Content Station 10 was our greatest achievement in 2016. With an attractive new look and improved usability, basing it on the latest HTML5 technology allows for access anywhere, anytime. This development has really secured Enterprise as a state of the art product.

 

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Rich Cassone - Presales Engineer, USA
The addition of automated print workflow is a huge benefit to publishers. Editors can now work directly within the layout, creating beautiful stories without having to involve a designer.

 

 

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Arjan Bonte - Channel Manager for Nordic Regions
An important feature update this year was the redesign of the inbox in Content Station 10. The overall usability has been greatly improved as users now have a visual preview, can immediately see latest comments from collaborators and easily access the actions they need to perform.

 

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John Cunningham - Country Manager, UK and Ireland
The sticky notes are a small feature with a big impact. Being able to leave short messages to other collaborators greatly improves the communication when working on a story. This is a really nice, visual feature.

 

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Koen Geisink - Software Engineer
The ability to copy an image from Elvis to Enterprise and automatically create a workable variant, is something I am happy to see. Keeping the original image unaffected and the automatic addition of the new variant to Elvis is a great time-saver for the user.

 

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Remco Koster - Managing Director, WoodWing Asia Pacific
I think the investments we have made in 2015 and especially 2016 have resulted in an important technology overhaul from Air technology to modern and slick HTML5 interfaces for Enterprise (Content Station 10) as well as Elvis. They now run beautifully on mobile devices, especially on tablets.

 

Highlights of the year: Elvis

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Jaap Van Blaaderen - Product Manager for Elvis
I love the work we’ve done to improve the brand portal on Elvis. It’s so easy to skin it with your own brand assets and the interface is really clean and intuitive. I know brands really appreciate it and it makes for a much simpler, more visual user experience.

 

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Jeroen Sonnemans - SVP Global Sales
Staying on top of the latest tech is critical to supporting our customers. As we shifted from flash, our fully functioning HTML5 pro client puts us in a great place to provide long-term solutions for our customers.

 

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Jeff Gapp - Channel Evangelist, USA
From speaking to customers I know that privacy is often one of the biggest concerns with assets - even within their own organizations. The fully customizable watermark feature has provided a lot of reassurance to content managers without resorting to hiding files.

 

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John Fong - MD, Digital Services, APAC
Integrations with other software makes Elvis all the more useful. We’ve done a huge amount of work across integrations with our own software and InDesign… but I’m really excited about the opportunities our SalesForce integration can provide.

 

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Nico Krijnen - Development Manager for Elvis
I think getting your files set up is often the biggest challenge with a DAM. Our latest bulk import feature helps speed up the process AND clean up your files as you go - it’s definitely one of my favourite features of the year.

 

Highlights of the year: Inception

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Maarten Fremouw - Product Manager for Inception
It has been an exciting year for Inception. The development of brand support was a much awaited addition to Inception from our customers. By selecting a particular brand, customers can now easily focus on particular stories and articles. It is a great feature that simplifies the whole digital creation process.

 

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Amelie Peters - Interaction Designer
A feature that took us some time to build, but is a nice addition to Inception, was the support for Apple News in Inception. Being able to publish on Apple News was a requirement communicated by customers, and we delivered this request in October.

 

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Rutger Stronks - Director Global Marketing
Anything that speeds up the process of content creation is essential, for example the addition of workflow. Specifically the ability to assign stories and receive notifications, is a significant step forward in the future of digital publishing.

 

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Ilse Hoekstra - Director of Global Sales Operations
To be able to view different versions of a story and compare changes to previous ones, was a favourite added feature of mine. Being able to restore to a previous version can be a huge time-saving advantage.

 

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Julio Lopez - Media Specialist for LATAM
To customise and reuse a style easily in Inception is a huge benefit to customers. It is very important for brands as they can easily reuse an already created look and feel. A great addition to the product.

 

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Scott Smith - SVP WoodWing North America
A great new feature that improved the efficiency for magazine publishers was the support for bulk publishing. By being able to prepare many stories and publish with one single button click, editorial teams can publish an entire issue all at once. This is a huge time saver for our customers.

 

Improvements in asset integration between Elvis and Enterprise

Integration between Elvis and Enterprise just keeps getting better.

Customers can now easily add an Elvis asset in Enterprise, which automatically creates a variant in Elvis.

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Why is this important?

Previously, when working on an image from Elvis in Enterprise it would change the original image. Not a problem for some, however, if you would like to preserve the original image there would be additional copying, pasting, duplicating and saving. Additionally, you could not directly use an image when it is stored in your read-only archive.

Now it is quick and easy.

Simply drag and drop the original image you would like to work on into Enterprise. A variant is automatically created in Elvis, which can then be edited from Enterprise. The original image is not affected, but preserved, and is available to be re-used again on another occasion.


View the demonstration to see how images can be reused from the archive.



There are many benefits to this new process including:

  • Future articles can either reuse the original or the variant, as they are independent from each another
  • Tracking how and where images are used is much easier because of the newly introduced “Used in Enterprise” panel in Elvis.
  • The ability to reuse an image from your archive is much quicker
  • Duplication of images is controlled because variants are automatically linked
  • Collaboration between production and design teams becomes much more efficient


The diagram shows how variants of the original image (A) are created and how they are displayed in Elvis:


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To find out more about using Enterprise and the Elvis DAM systems to streamline workflow, please contact the WoodWing software solutions team.