New version control system for Photoshop

The folks at PixelNovel (whom I’ve mentioned previously for their FlickrShop & ComparePSD tools) have created Timeline–what appears to be a very cool Subversion-based version control system for Photoshop. As they describe it:

Timeline works as a Photoshop plug-in and features a unique user interface that allows you to always see the file’s history and save and get file versions without switching from the main Photoshop window. The plug-in is free of charge.

Together with the Photoshop plug-in the users get their own online space on the PixelNovel server.

One of the key features of the Timeline version control system is the web interface to your account. You (or your clients) can view all versions of your files online on any computer with Internet access, the comments for the versions, and also download individual versions in the PSD format.

This means that you can access your projects from anywhere in the world – either using Adobe Photoshop or any web browser.

As noted, the plug-in is free, and you pay for the service based on usage. I haven’t gotten to try it myself, but I like the idea, and the development team is eager to recruit beta testers. Check out their site for more info. [Via Anatoly Paraev]

11 thoughts on “New version control system for Photoshop

  1. Very interesting (as usual, John!). The pricing – hmmm – $4-/GB at the pro rates compared to hard drives (sure, there’s more to storage than a drive) at around $0.10/GB and a maximum of 25GB – it wouldn’t take very long to blow those limits with a few versions of a few files.
    Be interesting to see how it plays out. I’d be happy to pay for something like this that made local saves of versions. I did put in a feature request for more creative application of histories (being able to save them into actions, for example), so perhaps there’s something for Adobe to develop in this regard?

  2. This is nice, but I really wish Adobe would do a ton more user research on actual use case implementations of Version Cue. Our company tried on two separate occassions, both resulting in crawling machines and lost/corrupted files. It just feels like only so much attention can be paid to upkeep and polishing of VC. So far, it’s full of bugs and not intuitive at all.
    I know a lot of folks at Adobe were laid off, so maybe funding an personnel were cut on the VC team? Either way, designers and developers alike would love to see VC be really, REALLY solid and easy to use. Right now the best option is TortoiseSVN. It’s free and super stable, but lacking a server instance for and a more graphical interface. What do you think John?

  3. Yeah idea behind is great but only if i could do this on my local harddrive.
    backing up my work is my homework to do.
    i’d run out of money very quick so i rather save it for Grid Iron “Flow”.
    Anyway, i love this blog 😉

  4. I agree with KS. I’d love to see Adobe enhance Version Cue. It looks like VC has a lot of potential.. I don’t like using non-Adobe products. Honestly applications such as Flow, Timeline, or Photomatix just make me sad, because you can’t do the same thing directly inside the Adobe Creative Suite..

  5. Indeed, there are some things about Timeline that are intriguing; the notion of versions in a cloud is unique, but as Thomas alludes, the true needs of versioning don’t seem to be all that esoteric. If you flatten or merge layers in a PSD file, change the file size, or do anything else outside of a smart object, save, and close, the data is gone. What you want is what John alludes to in another post – an “airbag”. GridIron FLOW does that invisibly and automatically and does so for applications outside of Adobe’s suite (i.e. Corel, Apple, Autodesk, etc.)
    I, for one, rely on Time Machine as a “whole drive” backup, and Flow for “local” versioning.

  6. Indeed, there are some things about Timeline that are intriguing; the notion of versions in a cloud is unique, but as Thomas alludes, the true needs of versioning don’t seem to be all that esoteric. If you flatten or merge layers in a PSD file, change the file size, or do anything else outside of a smart object, save, and close, the data is gone. What you want is what John alludes to in another post – an “airbag”. GridIron FLOW does that invisibly and automatically and does so for applications outside of Adobe’s suite (i.e. Corel, Apple, Autodesk, etc.)
    I, for one, rely on Time Machine as a “whole drive” backup, and Flow for “local” versioning.

  7. What I’d really like to see is a Lightroom integration with various source control mechanisms (SCMs). My personal preference is Perforce because I like how it manages changelists and in how the central repository controls all metadata on an easily accessible database server rather than littering your workspace with version control support files.
    Tool aside, Lightroom would be especially suited for any kind of tighter SCM integration because the changes are stored outside of the image. This means your actual database would be *very* small and loading different views over time and/or projects would be really quick.
    Think of this: you’re working on a file for several different clients. The photo is something you use as a template for lots of different customers. Now you decide that there are features of work you did for one customer that you want to integrate in a current project (for another customer) and keep the work for each customer completely parallel.
    This is what source control can get you, and since you’re not storing multiple versions of the binaries your disk usage stays in control.

  8. What is the status of Version Cue? I migrated my production staff’s files from CS3 to CS4, and I fear that one day our 5 years worth of data will spontaneously combust. I hope Adobe amps up a next release with modern day stability, more robust backup schemes and file management.
    -Any timelines or words of wisdom?
    -Can VC run on an Mac OS X Server v10.6?
    -Are there alternative production file management tools out there?
    -Can I manage my Canon RAW images with their sidecars in VC yet, without first converting them to DNG?

    1. Hi John, I’ve yet to dive into CS5 nor Lightroom to resolve the aforementioned challenges and wanted to tap your wisdom.
      – Is Version Cue dead?
      – Can Lightroom be used to manage a production group’s Photoshop work if installed and accessed on a Mac Snow Leopard Server?
      – We’re going to try Final Cut Server for all other files, but Bridge’s metadata sidecars and metadata in general don’t play nice with it.
      – Can Lightroom import Bridge sidecars and maintain association?
      Thanks for your feedback.
      Cheers,
      Evan

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