From all of us here at Creative Force to all of you talented people out there, we wish you a happy new year.
It's easy to forget where we were 12 months ago-a lot has happened. I can't think of a more joyful way to spend my time than reading through our release notes for the year.
So here it is the top 10 feature releases of 2020!
10. Public API & Webhooks
Early in the year, we published our first API methods to allow our customers to integrate their upstream systems directly with Creative Force. It’s been a huge success—to such a degree that 64% of all production is ingested into our platform via the API. In 2021 we will add more and more methods as we onboard new customers with new needs.
9. Consistency Support (Reference Images in Kelvin, Hue, and Post-production QC)
Consistency is not naturally achieved in a production system based on flow principles. When images are not produced in batches, you lose the opportunity to compare and streamline the expression of your work. To compensate for this, we launched reference image support that gives the photography team, internal retouchers, and quality controllers access to assets previously produced.
On top of that, we added an intelligent alert system informing users when to pay extra attention to consistency. A good example is when you are producing yet another color of your signature T-shirt. Your storefront looks much better if there’s no apparent jumping around among all the color variants.
8. Metadata Enrichment & Custom Namespace
If metadata is to be useful to your downstream systems, then you need it to be correctly and consistently applied 100% of the time. There is no room to be sloppy—not even to be human. 😊
This year we launched our metadata engine that enriches all assets automatically with ingested and captured data based on an extremely flexible rule setup.
Data is added throughout the process as it becomes available. This is useful if you have steps leveraging data in processes such as external post-production. Near the end, right before everything is sent to its delivery destination, we refresh the data to compensate for potential changes that have been added since the beginning of the production process.
So whether it’s an individual rule set for variants, custom XMP namespaces, or ANY schema ever introduced—no problem, we’ve got you covered! 💪
7. Custom Insights Reports
When I wrote the post summarizing the quite underrated year of 2019, I listed Insights at a respectable fourth place. This was well earned, as insights have become extremely valuable to our customers.
We’ve now added, in addition to standard reports, a bunch of custom reports for you in Looker.
You can even add these reports to the Insights area of Creative Force. User access is controlled via the role-based permission system, so you can granularly control who has access to what.
Big deal? Yes! We are lobbying to make 2021 the official year of the data-driven photo studio. We believe, and think you’ll agree, that Insights and reporting is a key component to truly unlocking the potential of any photo studio.
6. Data Sources: Synced Jobs
Integrating with Creative Force does not have to be hard! It can be as easy as making a data dump of your product data, keeping it updated on a regular (hourly, even) interval, and setting up sync jobs in Creative Force. The powerful rule engine controlling sync jobs will pull any products matching your exact requirement. Forget iPaas—this is what integration looks like in 2021!
5. Scan Flow Alerts
Things are going great. You are checking out samples from the studio to the rhythm of “WTF Do I Know” by Miley Cyrus. You don’t have to worry about anything like, Did we actually finish the work on this sample?
🎵 Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ⚠️DONG!
The always vigilant scanning alert logic jumps in (with audio) to inform you that your attention is needed. You still have unfinished production on this sample!
We implemented this small but gratifying feature to assist your sample management teams. The alerts can be triggered by duplicate samples, unfinished production, finished production, property data values, and more.
4. Kelvin Transfer Functionality
We launched a string of small features we’ve had on our wishlist for a long time. It became possible to undo a lot more actions in our capture application, Kelvin.
- Stop a transfer. 👍
- Delete a transfer. 💪
- Restart a transfer. 🙌
- Edit a selection for a stopped transfer. 😁
- Edit a selection when doing instructions. 🤪
- Reset a transfer even after it has finished. 😭
3. Production View
Production View lets you see each production track and its progression to a very detailed level. During development, we used the code name “Control Center” for the production view, and that is exactly what you get—control!
Another cool thing is that you can build a series of views with filters and hide/unhide columns as you like. These can be saved and easily accessed when needed.
Going mobile without losing track of things is important—especially in a year in which working closely in the studio wasn’t easy. We launched the first version of our mobile app with a heavy focus on sample handling and styling. It’s a great place to start, but we are not done at all! We will be expanding mobile capabilities to a lot more areas in 2021.
1. Vendor-Provided Images
We unveiled our Vendor Portal in which vendors and contractors can bulk-upload, map, and assign images in a way that seamlessly integrates them into the regular photo production studio workflow. This all happens without compromising on file control, metadata, post-production, delivery, and overall workflow.
We added this feature to assist our studio customers in an important area that typically adds a lot of complexity. We believe the Vendor Portal saves great amounts of time by reusing existing photography or outsourcing parts of photo production to contractors.
Some feature releases didn’t quite make the top 10 but still deserve mention here.
Selection Saving in Kelvin
It should be easy to get production support, even when shooting in multiple cycles. That’s the issue we addressed with a Kelvin update that lets you save your selection in its current state, whether or not it’s complete. Why is this useful? Think of when you’re using pinboards for styling and need to shoot the front and back of a product in two separate cycles.
During 2020 we implemented a list of security features: two-factor authentication, IP whitelist, password rules, and a ton of other stuff behind the scenes that secures Creative Force for you. We are striving to follow best-practice approaches on every front, which is why, in 2021, we’re getting certification in place.
Our product philosophy and approach to adding new features is simple. If there is a specific area related to the product content production process where we know we can build something better than what already exists in the market, then we want to make it. For anything else, we look to integrate with other services.
Our new connector capabilities lay the foundation for future integrations and already allow you to benefit from some powerful new functionalities.
There you have it — our top 10 product highlights from 2020.
Stay tuned for a lot of exciting new features we’re looking forward to sharing with you in the year ahead!