How would you organize a library of EPS and AI files?
April 7, 2016 8:02 PM   Subscribe

I have a huge bank of vector images that I share with my design team. We want to be able to tag them and search them and scroll through them quickly. We also need everybody to be able to see the tags and add to them. The easy tagging is especially important. I've tried out Bridge but I am a little disappointed. Any suggestions?

Like I said, I have tried Adobe Bridge but its support for EPS files is not the best. It often can't add any tags to the file and reprocessing hundreds of images so we could tag them would take up a lot of time. Also, adding tags is clunky and slow. Most of these images are sheets of icons and I would like to be able to quickly type in key words like "tree, camper, camp, fire, tent, summer, outdoors, hiker" etc. With bridge, you gotta "make a new tag" then check it's box and then you gotta scroll through this ever expanding list of all your damned tags to find one. By the time I am done with the project, I may have to do this over a 1,000 times. I really don't want to.

Is anybody using something that is just awesome at tagging and has a good search? Extra credit for a good display of finds.
posted by Foam Pants to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Good question. I work as a digital image technician and can't think of anything that handles vectors in this way. Bridge is the only thing I can think of too, but obviously Adobe built the functionality you really need into Lightroom instead, which doesn't do EPS.

It doesn't sound like dealing directly with the vector files is all that important for what your needs are (organizing/searching/displaying/metadata). One solution would be a "sidecar file" which is pretty common practice in high end photography (the raw images are often massively high res and in a proprietary format -so you don't deal with them directly, you make JPEGs for viewing or XMPs for metadata that any software can read - the modern equivalent of making prints from a negative). A lot of the photo organizing software is explicitly set up to deal with this situation and there's no reason you can't do it with an EPS.

For you, you would just need to batch export JPEGs, keep them alongside the EPS files in the same folder. Then you can use whatever software you want to organize and view - I would use Media Pro but Lightroom, Aperture, Capture One, etc. are all good options. You are just storing the metadata in the JPEG. If you need the EPS, right click in whatever software you're using and hit "Show in Finder" [or whatever PC equivalent] and there it is.

After you batch export your existing EPS files, all you would need to do to maintain this system is make a JPEG for any new file you add to your database. On a Mac this would be very easy to make into a drag-and-drop Applescript to do it for you, I'm sure there's a similar way to do it on PCs.
posted by bradbane at 10:36 PM on April 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

When I looked into alternative digital asset management for my huge library of images I strongly considered NeoFinder. There's a Mac and PC version, but they are maintained by different people and have different names. They're compatible with each other, though. It had native EPS support the last I checked. I originally rejected it because the keyword implementation bugged me, but they apparently added some more advanced keyword features in 2015 for the Mac version and 2016 for the Windows version. I didn't end up switching from Bridge, though, so I can't really offer any personal experiences with this software. Might be worth checking out.
posted by xyzzy at 11:43 PM on April 7, 2016

i don't know if this helps, but recent OS X have tagging directly in the file system. ref: 1, 2.
posted by andrewcooke at 2:00 AM on April 8, 2016

Daminion has great tagging including hierarchical keywords.
posted by Sophont at 3:04 AM on April 8, 2016

I second vote for Daminion, especially for their 4.5 pre-release version that can be downloaded on their forum (not available publicly now).

It displays quality thumbnails for all our InDesign layouts and vector images (mainly in EPS and AI formats). All your tags that you already entered into your AI/EPS files in Bridge and saved into XMP block of these files will be automatically picked up in Daminion when importing. It sometimes doesn't render all WMF files and displays default icon for them but they are not too important for me so I could leave without it.

I am voting for 4.5 version (not for 4.1) because in this version their did a huge job and doesn't rely on commercial third-party tools when rendering quality EPS/AI thumbnails. Plus they added a light web-client and watching folder monitor.

And of course the biggest advantage of Daminion over Bridge is their multi-user support. So several people in my room can access and work with the same image archive library that contains all our graphics simultaneously. Just my 10 cents ).

There are also some enterprise level systems but they usually a bit expensive for a team of 4 people like my small company.
posted by Maggi1980 at 10:57 AM on April 8, 2016

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