Custom coding in Xinet: projects vs. products

Posted by Rob Steinberg on Fri, Sep 24, 2010 @ 03:43 PM

Tags: Technology ROI, Xinet WebNative Portal, Xinet server DAM Systems, Buying DAM Technology, Xinet Plug-ins

Here at NAPC have a robust development group dedicated to making the Xinet toolset more accessible, client friendly, productive and profitable for our customers, and in turn, their clients. 

But we also have a strong bias; we’d much rather build a program that is widely applicable to an industry, with a robust admin GUI so that it’s easily adapted to make your client happy. Quickly and cheaply. We avoid one-off’s whenever possible. They’re a dangerous path.

This bias protects you. It’s not perfect. You forgo some neat, cool, trendy functions that have some real WOW.

You have to work within limits, and let go of some ideas. But you also don’t find yourself trapped in a universe of unique code that’s expensive and time consuming to rework as the underlying software evolves. You won’t find yourself in a cul de sac, with no easy exit. And you won’t end up with an unhappy client, who can’t or won’t wait for resources, or who objects to spending more money.

Our job is to both deliver technology, and to protect you from technology. NAPC’s Brand Control Suite is closely aligned with Xinet’s road map. It’s template based, like Apple’s iLife. Simple. Powerful. Adaptable.

Success means close cooperation between Xinet, NAPC, and you, our client.

That’s what we live for. 

Check the plug-ins at: http://napc.com/xinet-plugins.php

Is Xinet WebNative a money saver or money maker?

Posted by Kenny Kirsch on Mon, Mar 01, 2010 @ 09:26 PM

Tags: Xinet WebNative Portal, Xinet server DAM Systems, Xinet How To, Xinet Training, online DAM training

It's 2010, the worst is over (or so they say). So now it's time to get focused and see how to leverage what you have and maximize revenue. Make a list of your team's expertise and the technology you own and see what new services you can offer or what processes you can improve. Your clients are looking for what's next, so make your offering what's next! Too often companies get stuck in what they know and aren't willing to put in the extra efforts. 

If you're confused – NAPC offers refresher training, online video how-to's (flatheadu.com) and free 1 hour training webinars every other Friday. 

I have leveraged the Xinet WebNative Suite in a couple of large advertising agencies, saved thousands in freelance and created six figure new revenue streams.  Now it's your turn - we at NAPC want to hear about your success stories; not read about the client you lost.

Portal v3 - Markups and Annotations on your assets

Posted by Brian Dolan on Wed, Oct 07, 2009 @ 08:51 AM

Tags: Xinet, Xinet WebNative Portal, DAM Systems, New Release, Portal, webinar, Portal 3.0, Suite 16, Annotations, Markups

Now that version 3 of Portal is out, the markup and annotations feature is available to those that upgrade.  Now, that doesn't mean go out and install it immediately people!  Always make sure to contact NAPC first before any upgrades and ya know what, we're here to install it for you any way!  So, back to my point.

Portal 3, annotations & markups, yeah that's right!.  It's a very cool feature that deserves it's own min-blog.

Let's make this easy . . . the notes below come directly from Xinet's release notes of Portal v3:

"WebNative Portal 3.0, in conjunction with WebNative 16.0, allows on-line annotations of all images, documents, and videos. A palette allows users to add text, boxes, stamps, or sketches, and all of the annotations can be done in black or a range of colors. When adding annotations, the preview can be magnified for closer inspection. Individual annotations may be saved (with or without comments), deleted, or temporarily hidden from view. The annotations are stored in the Venture database, so any other WebNative user may access saved annotations via mview in Portal but the annotations are not saved to the file on the file system."

If you'd like to see a demo of this, please contact your Account Manager so we can arrange a quick demo.  Just another reason to get Portal or upgrade to the latest version!

New Video featues in Xinet v16

Posted by Brian Dolan on Fri, Jul 03, 2009 @ 08:29 AM

Tags: video, reel, Xinet, how to, Xinet WebNative Portal, DAM Systems, Portal, NAPC, NAPC blog

As the Holiday weekend starts up for us all, lets close the week out and chat a bit about all the cool things that are coming to the masses soon.  Xinet is going to be releasing version 16 of it’s suite of tools including a new, faster version of Portal, a unified web interface for all administration, easier tools and setup for PDF Image replacement, greatly enhanced video capabilities, basic web based markup and annotation tools and a whole bunch of other “under the hood” improvements.  Currently, NAPC is testing beta 2 of version 16 and we’re all pretty impressed with it so far.  One of the biggest features I’m excited about is the enhanced video features.  Let me esplain (as Ricky would say).


Xinet, in the new soon to be released version of video in Suite 16, has greatly enhanced how users in Portal interact with video assets.  In the current release of Video 2.0 in Xinet, it is possible to stream many video formats, create keyframes at a preset interval, and really, thats about it.  With the new version, you’ll be able to do much, much more.  First and foremost, the ability to create what I would call mini-reels, is now available as a basket plugin in Portal.  This is how it works:


1)    User logs in to a Portal site and identifies the files they want to work with.  Those files could be video files of various formats, InDesign files, static picture files, just about anything you can have in Xinet.
2)    The user would then add those files to a shopping basket.
3)    Once in the basket, the user would click the basket plugin named “Video Generation”
4)    This brings up a new Web 2.0 type of interface to arrange the assets into whatever order makes sense to the end user.  Asset arrangement is made simple by using drag and drop in a web browser-me likey!
5)    Once in the correct order, the user can set the ‘in and out’ times of the files based on keyframes generated by Xinet or by hours:minutes:seconds.
6)    The user can also set basic fade outs from clip to clip as well.  Gives it a nice touch!
7)    Once the files are arranged in the correct order and the in/out times are set, a new video file can be generated from those assets in either a Quicktime, Windows Media, or Flash format.
8)    The server then generates the appropriate file on the Xinet file system and once done, it gives the end user the ability to download the file to their desktop.

Here's a peek of what it'll look like:

 

This is huge everyone.  Think of it this way, if you have 30 second spots for a client for all of 2008, and they want to create a quick reel of all the ones that won awards (that you made of course!), they can quickly log in to Xinet via Portal, collect the assets, set the times and format and let Xinet make the file for them.  To be clear, this is not intended for broadcast but more for the web or computer screen aka small screen.  I think this is a huge leap forward for Xinet and since I used to work in the broadcast world, it’s pretty exciting for me as you might be able to tell!

On top of that, screen detection for keyframing is also part of the new release.  The current version can be set to sample a keyframe at a set interval say every 5 seconds or so regardless of scene change or not.  That can potentially add a bunch of useless keyframes into your database.  With the new scene detection functionality, you can set the admin preferences so it is “smart” and only creates keyframes when a scene actually changes with tolerance controls.  So, instead of keyframing a movie that is 1 minute long and getting 12 keyframes (when sampled every 5 seconds), you may only get 7 or 8 frames stored in the database. This can be very helpful!

Overall, we have a lot to look forward to with the upcoming release of version 16 of Xinet’s Suite of tools.

Enjoy the weekend all and as always, if you have any questions on any of this information, please give us a ring and we’ll be happy to help!  Want to see this new functionality for yourself???  Give your Account Manager a call and we’ll be happy to show you all the new stuff.

Happy 4th of July!

Brian Dolan

Find Similar

Posted by Grant Mongardi on Tue, May 12, 2009 @ 05:21 PM

Tags: Xinet, Xinet WebNative Portal, DAM Systems, NAPC blog, Searching with DAM

Presently, Xinet and many other DAM systems offer reasonably
elaborate ways of finding images based upon both user-supplied
metadata, as well as information provided by the applications
used to create the images. Much of this searching is reliant
upon some level of understanding and expertise by the end user.
This method of searching is generally only as good as the people
both adding the metadata, as well as the folks doing the search.
In other words, the search method itself is very dependent upon
people for it's accuracy.

That may change sometime in the future. Although I have no
expectations that searching user-applied metadata will ever go
away entirely, I do suspect that other options will be forth-
coming that will allow end-users to search based upon the
characteristics of an image. Most images have some sort of
general theme, be it either subject matter, layout, color or
texture. If you can determine these characteristics algorith-
mically, or some combinations of heuristic and algorithmic
techniques, then it would be possible to search initially on
metadata (or simple browse to a particular image to start with)
and then select a defined mechanism to find "similar images"
within some threshold to the reference image. Additionally,
there is also the capability that you can simply upload an
image from your desktop, either existing artwork, or just some
reasonable facsimile drawing that you produce, and let the
search engine find stuff that is similar!

There are already a few of these search engines out there. They
are in very early stages of development, so you can't really use
these as a definition of what's to come, but the results that
they produce are interesting to say the least. From the time
that I've spent looking at these, my suspicions are that most
are initially using a combination of information applied to the
images, either via information provided by the page that they
are placed within, or some sort of metadata/tags provided to
describe the images. From that point, the display of images
offers some mechanism to find images that have characteristics
similar to the reference image - some sort of "find similar"
link or button.

The benefit to this sort of search capability for the typical
DAM administrator is that although metadata searches with still
need to be available, designers will then be able to "find
similar" imagery based upon a texture, or color theme, or
content layout, or even some combination of those with perhaps
some specific metadata, such as "royalty-free". Given the fact
that most designers think and work visually, this will make
reuse of imagery much more productive, and will allow studios
to make the most of their asset library.

If you'd like to see some of these engines in action, or if you
are interested in learning more about the science behind them,
I've provided some links at the end of this article. However,
I wouldn't expect to see these anytime soon on your DAM server,
regardless of who makes it. The technology behind this sort of
searching is truly in it's infancy, and my expectation would be
that it will still need a lot of fine-tuning before we'll ever
see it in a commercial environment such as Xinet provides.
Although, one should note that the fact that Xinet's system
creates and stores previews of a large array of filetypes, this
then adds the capability for one to search across those preview
images rather than just the original image. That adds a layer
of capability that will allow the end-user to not just compare
actual original images, but to compare the previews of all of
the supported filetypes. That means you can find an InDesign,
Quark, or even Word document with similar characteristics to
what could be a reference PSD, or even Vector-based AI file.
Stay tuned, as the future of image similarity searching does
look bright!

Similarity search engines:
 http://www.airliners.net/search/
 http://similar-images.googlelabs.com/
 http://www.tiltomo.com/
 http://tineye.com/
 http://www.incogna.com/#random
 http://wang14.ist.psu.edu/cgi-bin/zwang/regionsearch_show.cgi

Academic Papers on Similarity Searching:
 http://infolab.stanford.edu/~wangz/project/imsearch/SIMPLIcity/TPAMI/
 http://www.cs.princeton.edu/cass/papers/LCL04.pdf