This might be the first time I’m writing a blog on Friday. I say this because I’m being prompted to catalogue some of my important folders. I do this instead of them being backed up proper, to the cloud, due to size limitations. I have 100GB of cloud storage to work with on Google Drive (via Google One subscription) and some with Adobe CC, and to make sure the most crucial stuff is backed up, I separated important core files as well as some amount of smaller ones related to projects, from a generalised library of resources and a “source pool” of the larger (lossless renders, larger reference material such as long or HQ videos) project-specific files.
When making the decision to make cloud backups of only small and crucial files, there’s part of you left wanting for some extra peace of mind in the files that aren’t backed up. Since my “source pool” folder (an entire separate, old, hard-drive) is largely comprised of content rendered out of backed-up smaller core files, that didn’t worry me too much. However a generalised library would be well serviced with a catalogue, so that in the event of loss of these files, they can be re-acquired. To reinforce this I make sure to store things by their source. There would be separate named folders for 3D models from Sketchfab and Turbosquid for instance (I don’t have a Turbosquid collection, but it’s a popular service very similar to Sketchfab). My “archive” folder is pure ragpicking, there’s reading material and website archives in there and a whole host of other stuff not necessarily worth backing up proper.
To perform this task I made a simple batch file, and added it to the Windows task schedule to be executed every Friday. The batch file itself makes use of “dir”, which will display a list of directory contents within the command line, and when appended as such will print these to lines within a text file that is named with the current date. The “/S” tells Windows to go through subdirectories.
dir /S …\Catalog\Library_ %date:~-10,2%%date:~-7,2%%date:~-4,4%.txt
This is interrupted with pauses, confirmations and directory changes. The description within task scheduler reads “Catalogues important folders as designated within the batch file, for pseudo-backup purposes.”, and that’s about all there is to it. My current catalogues clock in at a whopping 58mb, and while I’m jokingly trying to contrast that with giga/tera byte levels of real-backup… it is quite large for a few weeks worth of text files.
Quick note: I’m using OnPaste and the Windows clipping tool to quickly grab and put these screen-shots into image files, it feels like less clicks than using Paint but maybe I’m wrong. Maybe you don’t even have to use paint? It wasn’t long ago that I discovered the clipping tool existed and stopped using puush.
Existential Worry // Adobe Suite
A few months ago I got a nice e-mail from Adobe offering me a very good monthly rate for the full CC Suite, which I’ve been paying the past few months. It has me wondering if I am missing out on anything in this suite I’m paying for, given I routinely use only a few soft-wares from it? Is it worth paying for the full plethora of software and cloud functionality if I use only a few (admittedly large) elements of it, or am I imagining that there’s more than there really is?
I make much use of After Effects, Premiere/Media Encoder (recently switched from Sony(?) Vegas) and Photoshop. I really need to get into Illustrator more. I have a few of my projects and files backed up to the 100GB of cloud storage that comes with the subscription, I’ve used some of the complementary font library and I may at some point use Behance [example] (though you do not need a subscription to deck out a profile there). What else is there?
The first thing to notice is that they offer a slew of lightweight derivatives of tent-pole big timers, some smaller applications for narrower use-case and a few companion programs in the collection. In terms of derivatives there are mobile-centric versions of larger applications such as the Spark range for mobile, many mobile Photoshop apps (Capture, Sketch, Fix and more) and Illustrator Draw as well as some miscellaneous mobile stuff like Capture, Scan and Aero. There’s less mobile-centric lightweight apps such as Fresco (digital painting on apple devices), the mobile/web UI/UX design solution “xD”, Lightroom (for photo touch up) and Premiere Rush. Outside of these more clear mobile and derivative apps there are things that warrant a closer look.
Some of the extant tools and functionality that I am interested in include:
Fonts: offers a range of fonts to complement your own, to use in projects within Adobe applications. I’ve already used this a little.
Dimension: more on this below.
Portfolio: a website builder. “Free” with any CC plan, and works seamlessly with (seems to actually rely on) Behance. I’m more interested in building a site from the ground up, or at least away from adobe ecosystem, but it’s worth a try if I make a Behance any time soon.
Colour: Adobe Colour is a web app for browsing, creating and analysing colour palettes. There are many other sites and apps to perform these relatively simple tasks, but the Adobe offering looks quite nice.
Some that I find not so interesting:
InDesign + InCopy: this appears to be publishing software, a design/formatting app with a companion for use of copywriters and editors in tandem. Don’t care.
Animate: diverging from After Effects (which is fundamentally for compositing rather than 2D animation in a Walt Disney or Newgrounds sense) the Animate application seems to be a descendant of the now-dead Flash animation (and more) software. Seems to be for vector graphic animation without all of the other compositing tools that would make AE bloated for animators.
Audition: audio software. To me this looks like Audacity all dolled-up, but probably has some much more cutting edge features. Apparently not useful for music production but honestly intrigues me if only for sample manipulation potential and the like. I have to wonder if this existed or continues to exist solely out of not wanting to bloat Premiere with extra audio functionality or something.
Mixamo/Character Animator: I don’t really know what’s going on with this. Apparently this will rig models and help you to animate them easily. I’m reading that it can turn webcam recordings into detailed facial animations. Cool I guess. It seems to be part of an acquisition Adobe made of an organization that researched and developed 3D animation techniques.
More: that still fails to cover the entirety of Adobe offerings. Dreamweaver is still around, they have a stock photo library, Prelude offers extra management capability with transcodes and I didn’t really discuss the cloud storage the platform offers (and Bridge for that matter)… but my analyses are spread thin already.
Before I’m done with this overview, I just want to take a quick further look at Dimension. This is their offering on the 3D side of things. I’ve started downloading it, if only to have a look, but by all accounts the features of this pale in comparison to something like Blender, which I use a whole lot right now - it seems mostly targeted to fast realization, renderings and composition of prefabricated assets and creation of mock-ups, rather than fully fledged whole-hog model/scene/animation generation from within the software. A streamlined software to enhance and bring a new dimension to graphic design. I could have sworn Adobe had a deal with Maxon to provide C4D with AE for 3D functionality, but that doesn’t really overlap here.
My interest in Dimension was piqued when I discovered a link to “Substance Source” within the CC app, offering a plethora of materials for download and use under the Substance (Designer, Painter) banner. From there I quickly discovered that Substance are owned by Adobe. I’ve seen great and cool things on the net that utilized Substance, and I’m interested to know more about how Dimension works with this considered, but remain uninterested in using or learning about any Substance software which remains largely separate from the Adobe monolith at least superficially. Though come to think of it, I do like the focus on procedural their software seem to promote.
I suppose that covers it. The reality is I really am only interested mostly in the software I already use, or I’m just unaware of how some of the derivatives could enhance or expedite work and am unwilling to transfer my entire being into a seamless ecosystem to reap the neat benefits of autocracy. One tangent to this I’d like to explore is open source alternatives to Adobe stuff. I already use Blender more than almost anything else. Perhaps I should even explore alternatives to Ableton. I really don’t think you can beat Ableton in the DAW category, however.
I’ve been blogging for a few days straight now, and I do not know that that is necessary or conducive to great thoughts. Let me keep posts spaced out a bit more, and cultivate them over multiple days. The Adobe moratorium here could have been its own “longform” post. I didn’t even get around to the bookmark sorting process I touched on in my previous post, but I will get to that next, come rain or shine. Thanks.