How Are You Managing Your Assets?
I’ve come to believe that good asset management is one of the most important skills you can have when working on projects. Especially in Digital Media. Previously, I hadn’t thought about how asset management can make or even break a project. How well structured and organized your documentation is can greatly determine how well you and others can locate important information and assets for a project. Especially if that project took place several weeks, months, or even years back in time. When dealing with smaller projects asset management might not seem important or worth the time and effort to do. However, it’s important for every project big or small. After all, a project might start off small, but one should keep in mind that it could over time grow into a much larger project. Larger projects have an increasing number of assets to work with. The more assets you have to work with, the more important it is to have good asset management in order to accurately keep track and modify them. Having good asset management will help cut back on the amount of time and effort to locate specific assets needed at any point in time. It can also lower the risk of deleting or editing the wrong assets.
Asset management goes beyond making sure all project related resources are located in a single project folder. It’s about making sure assets are also broken down into logical folders within that main project folder. This will help to make assets more easy to locate. Of course, having assets broken down according to what they are into folders isn’t the only thing that’s important to consider. File naming and consistency can be just as important. You need to ask yourself questions such as “Is this folder/asset name meaningful? Is the name logical? Will this name cause any confusion later? Am I being consistent with my asset naming?”.
Practicing good asset management was more difficult than I imagined it would be. My first project to practice good management with was audio compression. I was working with fewer assets which meant organizing and locating these assets at a later time was not too difficult. My thought process was to create a main folder for the course itself. Within that folder I created a separate folder for the three main projects I knew I would be doing for the course (audio, video, and image compression). From there I decided to break down those folders even further, such as folders for different types of screen shots of my project process and folders for the different types of audio, image, and video samples created along the way.
I found this basic setup for my asset management to be beneficial as each project grew in size. I went from dealing with an easy 20–30 assets for audio to working with over 70 assets for the image compression project. Having broken down everything into clearly labeled folders helped to arrange assets based on the different types of assets they were (EX. originals, file extension types, process screen shots, etc). Also, file naming became even more important as the number of assets grew. Logical and meaningful file names made it easier to make sure assets were being correctly identified. This being because I was working with at least eight or more different resolution versions of the same image based on different ways to export and compress those images. Consistency was also helpful. In an effort to remain consistent in folder and asset naming it made it easier to divide resources out into folders and to find resources at a later date throughout the semester.
In conclusion, I have come to find asset management more important than I previously believed it to be. I fell I am more skilled in doing so too. I pay more attention to how I am setting up and naming any of my project folders and assets. My goal in mind is for those assets to be easily accessed and located by me, or others, at a later date. Your asset management shouldn’t just make sense to you in the present moment of making and using it. Anyone accessing it should be able to make sense of and use it at any point in time.
Maggie McCausland is a student in the Digital Media program at Utah Valley University, Orem Utah, studying Web & App Development. The following article relates to the DGM 2341 Course and representative of the skills learned.