Version Cue 2
(VC2) is both a version control application and project collaboration tool enabling
you to have multiple people work on the same files at the same time. The primary
users would be offices that have different departments working on different aspects
of a project, such as an Art department for illustrator files, a photo department
for photoshop files, a layout department for InDesign files, etc. All of these different
files can find themselves neatly placed into a VC2 folder for review and updates.
Some people may see this as merely a version control tool, similar in some ways to
Visual Source safe with an implemented front end, integrated within the CS2 suite,
but it's power and useability come from the collaborative review processes.
Installation and Operations
The installation of VC2 is accomplished as part of the standard installation of the
Creative Suite 2. I tested it using a 17" iMac (800MHz G4). Once the software
is installed, you need to setup the software by using both the preference panel and
a web based interface for management. Additionally, a Menubar is added to your Mac
to help you quickly turn on or off the VC2 services as required.
You should know, VC2 is not your standard Mac Application. This particular program
operates in the background more as a "Service" rather than a traditional
application. So when you need it, it's there.
VC2 organizes related files into "projects". A project is nothing more
that a folder within Version Cue that contains files on a server. The server can
be on your local network, or can be any arbitrary IP address. There are two
different ways to set up a project. You can either use the Adobe Bridge, and
easily create one there, or if you have Version Cue administrative privileges,
you can create a project from within your web browser.
Bridge to create a Version Cue project
Adobe Bridge is file browser application that provides the glue integrating the CS2
suite together. Adobe Bridge provides an easy interface to access and create Version
Cue 2 projects that can be reviewed and worked on by individuals throughout the network.
Additionally Bridge has other capabilities, such as enhanced batch processing of
photoshop/image files, thumbnail and filmstrip reviews, search, use advanced scripting,
and access Adobe Stock photos. Adobe bridge specifically provides a direct link to
the Version Cue 2 workspace for ease of maintenance and access.
Version Cue, however, misses out on a great Mac-specific opportunity. Many Mac Users
have .Mac accounts. This uses a different interface than a local server. It would
be great to see some work done to help smaller users leverage their .Mac accounts
with this collaborative content management tool.
Collaborative Working Concepts
If you have had the pleasure of working in a collaborative work environment, then
you understand workflows and file servers, etc. However, in many collaborative processes,
you download files to your system to work on them, then upload them back to the server.
Version Cue 2 takes a smarter approach by having the users work on the files right
on the server. This means that you don't have 4 other copies sitting around your
desktop, and then have to guess which document you meant to put up on the server.
While you can work on the file locally on your desktop and save it locally; whenever
you Save A Version, that version is saved on the server.
A VC2 project does not merely have pointer files; these are the real files used to
create your project. In many cases there could be 5 or 6 versions of the same file
stored at this location. The big concept to grasp with Version Control 2 is that
all documents stored within a VC2 project area are versioned, not merely CS2 documents.
Once the document is "tagged" to also use VC2 then you can save that document
without the use of Adobe Bridge.
When you save a file, you are presented with the ability to provide comments on your
As stated before, you do not need Bridge to open project files, it just makes it
easier to do so. If you open a file using any of the CS2 products, then use the Adobe
Dialog (There is a button to choose it), you will see a link to access the Version
Cue workspace. From there you can find items that you can work on.
Working with versions
Another aspect of VC2 is that you can have people take projects in different directions
and maximize their creative talents by working on the same files without causing
a problem with the original source file. This is called using "Alternates."
Very helpful when you ask a few people to provide inputs on the same file.
Reviewing your documents
Throughout the CS2 suite there is integration for Adobe Acrobat, and this is one
of the places where you can utilize the PDF review feature reasonably. You can send
your project out for review as long as you have a PDF file in the project. At this
point Acrobat can collate and manage the review comments, then send them back to
the VC2 service for inclusion in the final PDF document.
So how do you give a person access to the project? Projects and the VC2 areas are
configured via a password-protected web-based interface.
Once you log in, you have many different options. Edit Users (or add them), Create
a project, or more advanced options. Maneuvering through this web-based interface
is easy and straightforward. If you have an idea on what do do, you can quickly get
there. through the administrative panel.
Some of the important aspects of version control and collaborative work is that you
can go back and see the project from beginning to end. Version cue allows you look
at older versions. See who is working on the files and when, and more.
If you are not
alone in your creative pursuits, then Adobe Version Cue 2 will help even two co-workers
bring together their project with fantastic results. No more emailing of large files,
or wondering if you have the right version, Version Cue 2 sorts out the latest versions
and quickly provides them to your desktop. It's a snap to administer and you can
be up and running in less than 30 minutes. You can navigate to find your projects
and files using Adobe Bridge or whatever CS2 program that you are using. Version
Cue doesn't leverage .Mac, or integrate version control on software other than CS2
projects. For users of any CS2 applications, such as Photoshop or InDesign, Version
Cue is a powerful collaboration tool that small offices will use to ensure that their
customers are provided accurate information and final products.
- Easy to set up
- Strong Version Control
- No need to email
- No .Mac support
- Awkward support of
3rd party files for version control
3 1/2 out of 5 Mice