DAM News Round-Up – 21st September 2022
Below are some recently published DAM-related articles which have come to the attention of the editorial team here at DAM News.
Dutch developers of AI visual comparison and contextual analysis tools, EMRAYS have published an article on their blog about their duplicate finder tool. This uses their technology to help identify near duplicates, rather than the more conventional exact match techniques using MD5 hashes (and similar approaches).
“Technically there are two types of duplicates: identical assets and close matches. You get identical duplicates when DAM users upload the same file more than once and close matches when uploaded assets are slightly altered versions (mainly cropped or resized) of the assets already in the system. The majority of digital asset management platforms can spot identical assets once uploaded but fail short in relating close matches. EMRAYS AI Search can find not only close matches and measure similarities between them but also spot identical assets exactly at the right time – before uploading!” [Read More]
DAM vendor, Daminion, have released version 7.8 of their flagship product of the same name. A few highlights include: restricting access to tags for different user groups, hiding sensitive information in shared collections, assigning tag presets when importing files using their web client (Daminion is a desktop-based DAM application with a separate dedicated web client rather than running entirely in a browser). There are also performance improvements, enhancements to their connectivity with Adobe applications and a wider range of filtering options. In addition, Daminion have overhauled their REST API and re-written the documentation.
I often get asked about low cost DAMs and typically advise that people should check out Daminion as a possible option. It packs in a lot of functionality for a relatively low-cost. While it probably is unsuitable for enterprise scenarios with widely geographically distributed groups of users, it still gives some bigger ticket products a run for their money in terms of capabilities. For a small team (or potentially as a production precursor DAM to be used by heavier DAM users who require something more responsive and faster than a web-based DAM) it may be a superior option.
This article by Christine Deschaseaux of French Digital Watermarking and Image Recognition vendor, IMATAG, considers the tricky subject of how to retain visibility and control over digital assets once they have left the DAM. The article is written from the perspective of a digital asset manager and explains the risks as well as some options to mitigate them, including digital watermarking (as you might expect). There are some useful insights in this piece, especially the section on skills digital asset managers should acquire to differentiate themselves:
“While digital assets are safe and under your control in a DAM system, no one knows what happens to them once they are distributed. Therefore, finding a solution that works within your company and your workflow is essential. Digital asset managers also need to be aware of content leak risks in other departments. It is essential to support the communication, marketing, and sales teams since they deal with digital assets and sometimes share them with outside service providers.” [Read More]
This article by DAM and Project Management tool vendor, Lytho, considers where Digital Asset Management might be heading. The analysis is somewhat shallow and relies on generic technology trends like mobile and the (allegedly) high return on investment offered by DAM – which is generally asserted by vendors rather than proven. With that said, they have grasped the necessity for fully integrated Digital Asset Supply Chains (as hinted at by the title). This point stood out for me in particular:
“DAM connects with everything How so? Through advanced integrations of course. Let us say you have PowerPoint open, and you are working on a presentation. To make the presentation more engaging, you add pictures, illustrations, and gifs. Wouldn’t it be nicer if you could access all this content directly from the PowerPoint app? Well, you can now say goodbye to opening a folder or another app to search or scroll through your options.” [Read More]
If you are working on an internal business case to obtain funding for a new DAM, this may give you a few starting points and/or additional material to add some weight to what you have so far.
Writing in Kaptur Magazine, Paul Melcher, has written a analysis piece where he assesses the role of generative AI and the impacts it might have on both photography and traditional fine art. Paul makes some excellent points, for example:
“Throughout history, art has been defined as “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power”. Underlying this was the understanding and acceptance that it was an arduous, exceptionally difficult, almost exclusive and certainly elitist process, only available to a universally recognized few ( mostly white men) who had the scarce ‘ability” or “genius” to birth masterpieces. Like any of the previous computer-replicated human processes, generative AI is now shattering the long-established dogma. Like chess mastery, long believed to be the exclusive realm of super brilliant, almost alien-like human beings ( although they looked very much like only white men), visual art is now falling off its millennium-old pedestal.” [Read More]
Broadly, I agree with him and his thesis that generative AI is a positive development rather than the ‘deskilling’ of fine artists. This is an argument I have had in various forums, but to repeat the crux of it here: historically in the pre-photographic era, fine artists had a social function to record things like people or events. With the invention of the photographic camera, this role began to diminish and artists were freed to experiment with more non-representational works. It is possible to see this trend progressing in the paintings of 19th century artists like Turner (among others) which anticipate a line of progression from impressionism, cubism, fauvism, dadaism, surrealism and abstract expressionism through to pop-art (to name only a few of the more well-know categories).
Photography frees fine artists to compose work more focussed on ideas rather than being restricted to having to represent reality as closely as possible to meet the demands (and agendas) of their patrons. You might not like everything that results, but the fact fine art has become broader in scope and has a greater potential for self-expression since the invention of the camera is undeniable. When people express a distaste for ‘modern art’, it usually suggests (to me, at least) that they like art more as a craft rather than as a medium for expressing ideas. There isn’t anything wrong with that, but I would suggest that those people aren’t allowing themselves to see the bigger (and arguably more interesting) picture.
Paul makes the point that Generative AI liberates artists and photographers from the often immense production effort required simply to render work the artist has visualised in their mind’s eye. The bias towards those who originate from the conventional hierarchies of power in western civilisations is reduced or even removed entirely as a result.
The counter-argument to this is that a lot of very low quality and generic art may get produced. Some of that will be used (at least temporarily) to facilitate a form of commercial arbitrage which will devalue not only other richer forms of Generative AI (in terms of ideas) but also artists and photographers who continue to work using conventional mediums. I agree that this is a risk, but my expectation is that over time, there will probably be both a synthesis of the two forms and cross-fertilisation between them. They are not mutually exclusive, by any means.
If you are looking for some more in-depth analysis of Generative AI (or ‘Synthetic Content’) then Paul’s article deserves your very close attention.
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