Adobe Experience Manager Assets is a digital asset management (DAM) solution that can integrate with Adobe Creative Cloud to help DAM users work together with creative teams, streamlining collaboration in the content creation process.
Adobe Creative Cloud provides creative teams with an ecosystem of solutions and services to help them to create digital assets. It includes desktop and mobile applications, cloud services like storage with desktop sync or web experience, as well as marketplaces like Adobe Stock.
Read on to know what integrations to pick between desktop and the enterprise-grade DAM based on your use case and what are the associated best practices for the connecting workflows.
|Requirements||Use case||Involved surfaces|
|Simplify experience for creatives on desktop||Streamline access to asset from a DAM (AEM Assets) for creative professionals, or more broadly, users on desktop working in native asset creation applications. They need an easy and straightforward way to discover, use (open), edit and save changes to AEM, as well as upload new files.||Win or Mac desktop; Creative Cloud apps|
|Provide high-quality, ready-to-use assets from Adobe Stock||Marketers help accelerate the content creation process by assisting with asset sourcing and discovery. Creative professionals use the approved assets right from within their creative tools.||AEM Assets; Adobe Stock marketplace; metadata fields|
|Distribute and share assets by organizations||Internal departments/local branches and external partners, distributors, and agencies use the approved assets shared by the parent organization. The organization wants to securely and seamlessly share the created assets for wider reuse.||Brand Portal, Asset Share Commons|
|Value proposition for the involved personas||Adobe offering||Involved surfaces|
|Creative users discover assets from AEM, open and use them, edit and upload changes to AEM, as well as upload new files into AEM, without leaving Creative Cloud apps.||Adobe Asset Link||Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign|
|Business users simplify opening and using assets, editing and uploading changes to AEM, and uploading new files into AEM from the desktop environment. They use a generic integration to open any asset type in the native desktop application, including non-Adobe ones.||AEM desktop app||AEM desktop app on Win and Mac desktop|
|Marketers and business users discover, preview, license and save, and manage the Adobe Stock assets from within AEM. Licensed and saved assets provide select Adobe Stock metadata for better governance.||Experience Manager and Adobe Stock integration||AEM web interface|
This article focuses primarily on the first two aspects of the collaboration needs. Distribution and sourcing of assets at scale is briefly mentioned as a use case. For such needs solutions, consider Adobe Brand Portal or Asset Share Commons. Alternate solutions such as Brand Portal, solutions that can be built based on Asset Share Commons components, Link Share, using Experience Manager Assets should be reviewed based on specific requirement.
|Use case||AEM desktop app||Folder sharing||Other solutions|
|Share smaller number (1) of DAM assets with Creative user||✔✔||✔|
|Share larger number (2) of DAM assets with Creative user||✔✔||✘||Brand Portal
|Share DAM assets with users who have access to DAM||✔✔||✔||Link Share|
|Share DAM assets with users who don’t have access to DAM||✘||✔✔||Brand Portal
|Save smaller number/volume of assets to DAM||✔✔||✔||Web UI Upload|
|Save larger number of assets to DAM (3)||✔✔||✘||Web UI Upload
Custom script / tool
|Migrate huge number of assets to DAM||✘||✘||Migration Guide|
|Quickly open an asset on desktop||✔✔||✘|
|Quickly open and change asset on desktop||✔✔||✘|
The legend for the symbols:
To support asset distribution use cases, other solutions should be considered:
This is a brief summary of best practices for Experience Manager and Creative Cloud integration. Read the rest of this document to get the detailed understanding of these.
AEM and Adobe Stock integration provides AEM users with the ability to search, preview, license and save, assets from Adobe Stock into AEM. Licensed and saved Adobe Stock assets have selected Stock metadata, which can be used to search for them with extra filters.
A few important points about this integration:
Working with assets saved from Adobe Stock into AEM in Creative Cloud. This integration is independent of Adobe Asset Link, but Adobe Asset Link recognizes these assets saved from Stock that way, and displays additional metadata and Stock icon on these assets in Adobe Asset Link extension UI in Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign. The files are available for browsing, opening, and so on - because they are regular AEM assets when saved to AEM.
Creative users working in Creative Cloud apps with Adobe Asset Link extension present, in addition to having access to already-licensed assets from Adobe Stock into AEM, can also use Creative Cloud Libraries panel to search, preview, and license Adobe Stock assets.
Assets from Adobe Stock licensed and saved into AEM become available to the broader teams accessing AEM Assets deployment, whereas creatives licensing assets from Adobe Stock via Creative Cloud Libraries panel make them available to themselves only by default in their Creative Cloud account.
To design an efficient workflow between creative and marketing/line-of-business (LOB) teams and choose the best support capabilities, it is important to understand when and why assets are stored in DAM.
Storing assets in DAM makes them easily accessible and findable. It ensures that the assets can be leveraged by numerous users across the organization or ecosystem, which includes partners, customers, and so on.
Most organizations choose to only store assets that are relevant to the downstream marketing/LOB processes (publishing to channels like web channel via AEM Sites or other channels served by Adobe Experience Cloud, Advertizing Cloud, and measured by Analytics Cloud, providing to users/partners, and so on). In addition, organizations store assets that may be subjected to a review/approval process in DAM. This way, DAM stores mostly assets that have high chances of being leveraged, and avoids storing idle assets.
Storing assets is also subject to technical and resource utilization considerations. DAM provides additional services around stored assets, including extracting metadata, versioning, generating previews/transcoding, managing references, and adding access control information. These services consume additional time and infrastructure resources.
Often, storing all of the assets and updates is not desirable. For example, if updates to specific assets are of poor quality and consume excessive resources, the assets may not be stored in DAM.
Creative teams (and organizations) are usually not interested in storing assets at each stage of the asset lifecycle. For example, they avoid storing assets in the following cases:
Usually, the following classes assets are stored in DAM:
As a rule, only updates to assets that are relevant to the broader set of DAM users should be stored in DAM. It ensures that users (marketing and similar functions) only see relevant versions in the DAM asset timeline.
Typically changes related to major milestones in the asset lifecycle. For example, the initial creative-ready asset or an official update based on request/review provided by the creative team should be stored and versioned in DAM.
The creative team’s update for review by the marketing team after a request for a change in the existing asset in DAM is an example of a relevant update. It should be stored and versioned in DAM for further reference or for reverting to the previous version.
The following are examples of updates that are typically not relevant:
AEM Assets supports two types of users based on their access to the AEM Assets deployment. Typically, users inside the enterprise network (firewall) have a direct access to DAM. Other users outside the enterprise network would not have a direct access. The user type determines which integrations can be used from the technical standpoint.
Typically, in-house creative teams or agencies/creative professionals onboarded to the internal network have access to the DAM instance, including AEM login.
In such cases, AEM desktop app helps provide easy access to final/approved assets and lets you save creative-ready assets to DAM.
External agencies and freelancers without direct access to the DAM instance may require access to approved assets or want to add their new designs to the DAM.
In such cases, you can leverage the AEM/Creative Cloud integration to improve the workflow. The prerequisite is for the creative users to have an Adobe ID and have a Creative Cloud account with storage service.
Use the following strategies to provide access to final/approved assets:
To provide access to a few assets: AEM folder sharing with Adobe Creative Cloud can be used in addition to AEM Assets Brand Portal or Asset Share. Please note there are certain limitations related to this integration, covered in more detail in this article.
The following use cases describe various types of workflows between DAM and designer’s desktop.
The following diagram illustrates the digital asset lifecycle. It depicts how creative users and DAM users (marketers, LOB users) leverage existing assets and use them to create more assets, and send them for approval.
The asset lifecycle includes the following stages:
Here are a few general recommendations on how to manage assets through this process:
In some cases, assets in DAM might require changes. Examples include:
In such cases, AEM desktop app provides the easiest way of performing these operations.
Here is the flow of events depicted in the diagram:
1: Share the asset from DAM to desktop, or open it directly on desktop in the application of choice (for example, Adobe Photoshop, and so on). Check out is recommended to lock the file.
2: Minor update: Edit the file and save the changes.
Alternative flow to Step 2
3: Asset updates are reflected in DAM. Check in the asset to unlock it.
4: Asset is put to production.
Here are a few general recommendations on how to manage assets throughout this process:
You may have a requirement to simultaneously upload a larger number of files into DAM in some scenarios, for example:
Note that this description refers to uploading files operationally (e.g., every week, or with every photoshoot , etc), as a normal part of desktop user’s workflow. Large asset migrations are not covered here.
You can leverage the following capabilities if you want to upload assets in bulk:
Depending upon your business requirements, you can also use custom uploader.
If you use Network File Shares to manage digital assets, just using the network share mapped by AEM desktop app could be seen as a convenient substitute. When transitioning from network file shares, please remember that AEM Web UI provides a rich set of Digital Asset Management capabilities that go well beyond what is possible on a network share (search, collections, metadata, collaboration, previews, etc), and AEM desktop app provides a handy link to connect the server-side DAM repository with the work on desktop.
Avoid using AEM desktop app to manage assets directly in the network share of AEM Assets. For example, avoid using AEM desktop app to move/copy multiple files. Instead, use the AEM Assets web UI to drag folders from Finder/Explorer to the network share or use the AEM Assets Folder Upload feature.
To plan and execute asset migrations from existing system to a new system or migration of large volume of assets stored on servers, see the Migration Guide. AEM desktop app and AEM to Creative Cloud integrations do not support such migrations. Due to the large volumes of assets to be ingested, and additional requirements around metadata mapping, transformation, and ingestion, migrations should be handled using different tools and approaches.