You're DEFINITELY going to want to check this one out. There's a new product on the horizon - one that has gotten much attention - and for good reason. Gridiron Flow is a product that you install on your computer, which then provides the kind of stuff you've always wanted from your computer. Its main feature is something called a Workflow Map, which visually shows you how all of your files are connected. It's quite incredible, considering that you don't have to actually DO anything.
Here are just a few of the things that Flow does:
- Select any asset on your system - for example, an InDesign file. It builds a visual map that identifies all of the files that are placed into that InDesign file (and likewise, all files that were created FROM that InDesign file, such as PDF documents, etc.).
- If you try to delete a file from your system, and that file is currently placed into another document, Flow will alert to that fact, so you don't accidentally delete files you need.
- If you need to identify all places where a certain asset is used, Flow can do that as well. For example, you have an Illustrator file and need to know every place that Illustrator file was used (in Photoshop files, InDesign, After Effects, etc.). With one click, Flow provides a list of documents.
- Flow also does real packaging (for ANY type of project or application), file versioning, visual searches, and one of my favorites: time tracking.
When Gridiron first went out to talk about Flow, they used the following short video to introduce their presentation, to set the tone for what they are trying to do.
That was a year ago. Now, Gridiron is on the verge of releasing their product as a free public beta. They've also created a newer version of the video.
As I mentioned earlier, what is truly revolutionary about Flow is that it requires NOTHING on your part to make it work. In my experience, I've tried many different asset management systems and workflow systems, that often cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. I've also worked with Adobe's Version Cue. But they all require a lot of setup, and they require you to work differently. They require manual steps, or force you to "check things in" of databases. Many also have their own obscure user interfaces that are often web-browser based, forcing designers to change their habits and behaviors. Flow just works. It's the first "plug and play" application I've ever seen.
Here's a video from Steve Forde, the creator of Flow, who discusses a few of the application's features:
I've had the opportunity to play with Flow, and it doesn't disappoint. And the user interface is stunning, it feels "iPhone-like" and is incredibly easy to use. If you are the kind of person that the videos above describe, you might want to check out the beta for yourself. You can sign up here.