Introducing Helix DAM (Beta)
On behalf of the product and engineering teams at Perforce, I am pleased to announce the Beta release of Helix Digital Asset Management, or Helix DAM for short. Helix DAM is the newest addition to the Helix Core Versioning & Collaboration Suite, that is purpose-built to help teams capitalize on and secure their creative digital assets.
So, What Is It, Exactly?
Helix DAM is a new web-based UI layer built on top of Helix Core, our scalable versioning engine, that streamlines and secures the process of storing, finding, using, repurposing, reviewing, and sharing creative assets. Today Helix DAM Beta does this for 2D image files (such as textures and concept art), but we plan for future releases to support 3D models, animations, and even audio files.
I will give you a description of some of the key features of Helix DAM and how it works below, but first I would like to talk about why we built this tool and what problems we hope it will solve our users.
Why Did We Build It?
We built Helix DAM for a couple of key reasons.
Reason One: Art Runs the World Now
The first reason: more and more of what people use or buy is becoming digital. Not only is it becoming digital, but consumers are demanding a higher level of polish or realism in the items they interact with digitally. And because of the pandemic, companies are turning to digital means to position their goods in the best light.
In short, the world wants more & better digital experiences, so we have seen a boom in the number of artists and designers collaborating with technical teams.
Reason Two: To Unite Teams
Second, the convergence of these two types of teams has naturally created some conflict. Teams needed a way to accommodate each other’s workflows while keeping assets secure. We often heard from our users that the creative teams found version control intimidating and needed it to be more invisible or in the background of their workflow to help keep all their assets in one place.
We have designed Helix DAM to help ease the collaboration between these two teams.
The idea behind the product is simple. Help Helix Core users:
Maximize the use of their creative assets — stop recreating everything from scratch because it is too hard to locate.
Streamline the review process — stop the chaos of reviewing creative assets over email or Dropbox.
Save money — Reduce storage costs by having all assets in your single source of truth and saving your team time by easing collaboration.
Secure their creative intellectual property — keep assets in a secure location from creation to delivery.
How Does Helix DAM Work?
Helix DAM offers a visual, web-based UI that provides teams with access to any of the creative assets in their available projects.
Automated, AI (Artificial Intelligence) driven tagging and advanced searching makes it easy for team members to locate assets.
Asset reuse functionality makes it a breeze to use the same asset in a single project exactly as is, or in various forms, or to take that asset and reuse it in a completely different project. Helix DAM maximizes the use of the creative work your artists and designers have already produced, speeds up delivery time, and gives teams the opportunity to iterate on even more critical parts of the product.
In the beta version of Helix DAM, you will be able to make a copy of an asset, and it will have its own life within Helix Core — every version of that copy will be tracked separately. The use of the original file and the copied file will be totally separate.
In future releases, Helix DAM will include support for import+, which allows you to do reuse in a one-to-many fashion. The asset itself could be used across different levels or different games, but if someone makes a change to the original asset, the change will automatically propagate to all other uses of the asset.
Additionally, Helix DAM goes beyond storing assets; it provides a streamlined and secure way to review creative assets as well. In-Context feedback allows team members to comment on assets within the tool and quickly cycle through iterations to see how an asset got to its current state.
And a Kanban board helps the entire team understand where an asset is in the creation process. Quickly see if it is in review or ready for use.
How Does It Work with Helix Core?
As I mentioned earlier, Helix DAM is built on top of Helix Core. This means to use Helix DAM you must have a Helix Core server deployed that it can connect to. Helix DAM can connect to existing master or commit Helix Core servers you have running today by simply entering your Helix Core server IP or DNS name.
If you have been running Perforce Helix Core for a while, it is important to note the following:
We support Helix Core 21.2 and newer. Learn how to upgrade a Helix Core server here.
Existing assets stored in Helix Core can be accessed via Helix DAM. Our Helix Search component will enable you to index previously submitted changelists. This will be done automatically by Helix Search when you deploy it on an existing Core installation.
Helix DAM FAQ
As we have been developing this product, we have gathered input from some of our existing customers. Here are some of their most frequently asked questions + the answers:
Where are the assets added to Helix DAM stored?
All assets are safely stored in Helix Core Stream depots that can be accessed via Helix DAM or any existing Helix Core client interfaces.
Can we view the thumbnails in Helix DAM if we use other interfaces like Helix Core Visual Client (P4V)?
Yes, we made the thumbnails backward compatible.
Can tags be viewed or used outside Helix DAM?
Tags are stored as part of the file and version information inside Helix Core. This means you can view the data using normal P4 commands. Helix DAM offers a great visual experience around searching and using those tags in a creative environment. See the P4 example below (for the technical users) that shows the tags and auto tags data related to this file.
What about security and our existing protections?
Helix DAM respects your current file security and protection setup. When you create a new project, we simply add them for you. Rest assured that you do not need to recreate your security protections.
What about existing artists and designers who already use Helix Core?
If your existing users would like to use Helix DAM, you can easily purchase our Helix DAM add-on license to give those users access to the power of this tool.
Can we deploy this on-prem or even in the cloud?
Both deployment methods are fully supported, giving customers the flexibility to select the deployment that works best for them.
What Value Do Teams Get from Helix DAM?
Helix Core is a leading tool in game development, but on its own lacks features specifically for artists and designers. We designed and built Helix DAM from the ground up with one single vision: to simplify the way artists and designers interact with a version control system.
Helix DAM offers tremendous value to high-velocity creative teams in the following ways:
Searching and finding existing assets is a key feature that Helix DAM gives its users. You can search using many different criteria, including tags, filename, project, collections, and many more.
Having the ability to organize and arrange your assets by project and collections means that you create an easy-to-use, project-based structure, while enabling you to invite both internal and external users to contribute while you remain in full control of who can access what.
Give artists and designers an extremely straightforward way to upload and review assets they are working on with simple drag and drop upload or even using our Helix Sync app to scan local content and upload changes as needed. No more workspace creation needed as Helix Sync does it all for you automatically.
Make it easy to review and comment on assets, as you work with others to review your content directly on our web-based image annotate and comment functionality.
Everything is delivered via an easy-to-use web UI with no need to install complex desktop applications.
Your Next Steps
This is the beta release of Helix DAM. Below is a chart outlining what is available now, versus items we plan to make available in the future. For now, we are looking for your feedback. We want to hear what we can do to make this product even better.
With that, I highly recommend checking out the beta today. You can try it out in the sandbox we set up & connected to a Perforce-run Helix Core server.
We look forward to hearing your feedback on Helix DAM!
|Tag + Auto tag assets||X|
|Asset reuse (copy)||X|
|Helix Sync integration||X|
|Adobe CC integration||X|
|Custom Kanban flow||X|
|Asset reuse (import+)||X|
|3D file support||X|
|Video file support||X|
|Audio file support||X|
|Link multiple assets to single object||X|
Get Started with Helix DAM Beta
We can’t wait to hear what you think about Helix DAM Beta. Sign up for our sandbox today!