The following article will cover how to best manage assets from the External Post vendor’s perspective and some tips for troubleshooting common issues.
FTP Folder Definitions
On the FTP there will be a number of folders that are used to download and upload assets to and from Creative Force. The customer has the ability to set a custom name and folder structure for the Download and Upload folders.
Upload - This folder is where Creative Force will upload assets to be downloaded and worked on
Download - This folder is where the vendor will upload the completed assets to be transferred back to Creative Force
Rejection - If a Creative Force user rejections an asset back to the vendor for further retouching, the system will move assets and their folder structure to this folder on the FTP (we'll discuss rejection logic in detail later on)
CF_Archive - The clean-up folder. Once Creative Force has attempted to transfer assets back to Creative Force, the system will move the assets and the folder structure they were uploaded into the CF_Archive folder. *note this only applies if the customer has selected the Archive clean-up setting within Creative Force
Downloading and Uploading Assets
When Creative Force transfers a batch of assets for retouching they will land in the upload folder. As mentioned above the Upload folder structure can be customized and the assets will be delivered in the folder/sub-folder structure that has been set by the customer.
Along with the assets themselves, the following will be contained within the delivery folder:
Transfer logfile: Creative Force will add a Log-file for every upload once the transfer is completed.
The Log-file is named: ProductCode-ProductionType-transfer-completed.
The Log-file contains a list of all uploaded files including their directories on the FTP-Server. This file should not be returned when uploading completed files.
Instructions html file: Individual instructions can be added to an image via Creative Force by an art director or photographer during production. If instructions are added, Creative Force uploads an additional HTML file for every asset with instructions. The naming of the Instructions file is following the defined asset naming convention and adds -instructions.html to the end of the file name. This file should not be returned when uploading completed files.
Optional Color Reference: The customer has the option of sending along a color reference file. Important: The color reference can be deleted after finalizing the post-production and should not be delivered back to Creative Force.
Once retouching is complete, the finalized assets can be uploaded to the Download folder on the FTP, where Creative Force will regularly scan for new items, and automatically transfer them back to the system.
As a vendor, you will receive the assets correctly named according to the naming conventions set up in Style Guides / Photography. As a result, renaming of the main assets is not necessary. If working with multiple outputs of the same image (variants), the customer will be able to provide a guide on the proper naming conventions for those files.
If assets are named incorrectly, the system will not be able to properly map the images in Creative Force upon receipt. If a customer states that an image could not be mapped, this can be due to an incorrect filename.
To correct this, the customer will need to reset the product back to External Post, where you will be able to download new versions of the files and correct the naming. From there, simply reupload the fresh batch of assets to the Download folder and the production will move forward.
How to manage Rejections
Occasionally, a customer may receive an asset back that requires reworking. In this scenario, the customer will reject the image back to External Post. If the customer has chosen the Archive clean-up setting, Creative Force will pull all assets from the task out of the CF_Archive folder (including any subfolder/folder structure they were uploaded into the download folder initially) and move the assets to the Rejected folder. To know which assets require rework, Creative Force will upload an HTML file to the rejected folder for every rejected asset.
From here, the system only requires that you correct and upload the assets that have been marked for rejection. You do not need to upload and return the entire batch.
Physical File ID: What is it and Why it is important
Creative Force writes the Physical File ID into the metadata of every image when an image is sent to the External Post Vendor. The Physical File ID is what Creative Force uses to pull images back from the FTP once the completed images are uploaded to the correct folder. If the metadata of an image is not kept intact on export or the Physical File ID has been altered, Creative Force will not be able to recognize and pull the files back from the Vendor.
It is extremely important that the metadata of the images is kept intact and is not deleted or altered in any way. Every asset sent from Creative Force must be exported/saved from its original canvas in order to maintain the correct Physical File ID. If the Physical File ID of an asset is deleted or mixed up with that of another asset, this will cause errors when the system attempts to transfer the images back to Creative Force.
Note: If a customer needs to reset a product for any reason, the system will send a fresh batch of images with new metadata (including a new Physical File ID) to the Upload folder on the FTP. It is imperative that your team ensure they are downloading and working with the most recent version of the files that Creative Force has transferred.
Common Use-case Examples:
We’ll now cover a few common errors and offer some helpful tips for correcting them.
What do I do if I have uploaded all assets but the customer is stating they have not received them?
The first step to troubleshooting this issue is to check to ensure that all required images have been uploaded to the correct folder on the FTP. If you are able to confirm the assets have been uploaded, it would next be recommended that the Physical File ID is checked.
If it is confirmed that the asset does have a Physical File ID written to the Metadata, it would then be recommended that it be checked against the Physical File ID contained in the Metadata for the version of the image that Creative Force sent to ensure they are the same.
As an example, if Creative Force sends File_1 to the Upload folder, File_1 and its variants must be exported off of the canvas that Creative Force sent for that file to maintain the correct physical file ID.
If the Physical File ID is mismatched, we recommend the following steps:
Download the corresponding file from the Upload folder on the FTP (the version of the file sent by Creative Force)
Copy the retouched image and paste it onto the canvas that was sent for that asset by Creative Force
Export/Save and re-upload to the Download folder on the FTP
Customer Reset the Product
On occasion, a customer may need to reset a product back to a previous step in the workflow, including External Post. As mentioned above, in the case that a product is reset, Creative Force will always send a fresh batch of images to the Upload folder for that asset. If you have re-uploaded the images after the reset, but they are not received by the customer, we would recommend double-checking to ensure that the images uploaded the second time, are the most recent versions of the files sent by the system.