File sharing with a team

Hi all,
I have worked at multiple creative firms (and in house departments) and at every one of them, we have used a local networked hard drive to store files so that they can 1) be backed up easily and 2) be accessed and worked on by multiple people if needed.

With Photoshop’s recent major release, we have had huge problems with saving files onto our networked drive. Adobe’s official position is that this should not be done. They used to just advise against it, but now they are forcing us not to do it. Seems utterly ridiculous to me, but here we are.

To make things worse in our agency, we are now having big permission issues with the Adobe apps. Basically, a file that 1 person creates cannot be opened by another person. I worked with Apple senior support on the issue for 2-3 months, running tests, etc to see what the issue was. The results of this was that we found it was only Adobe apps with this problem. So, I am now trying to work with Adobe support on this, and they have been less than helpful.

Anyway, I am wondering what everyone does to share files with a team? Is there a better solution than a local networked drive? Should we instead use a cloud service? Our Adobe account comes with storage, but it is not easy at all (as far as I can tell) to actually share many files. It’s cumbersome IMO.

What do you all of you use when working with a team of designers, developers, etc?

In house, we have seen that permissions issue with files coming from one computer. Never did figure out what caused it but (and you’ll hate this) a clean wipe install of the OS fixed it. Otherwise, we had to get that particular person to batch change all their file permissions on InD and Illy files before posting to the server. Somehow they were being set to Read Only for everyone else. Never cared to figure out why. I hate doing clean wipe installs…

Also no idea why you are having issues with saving files to a networked drive. Or where Adobe advised against doing so. It’s SOP. We used to have a RAID drive here which was awesome. Lickity Split fast, instant access and you could actively write to it.

Now we use cloud Dropbox Business.

  1. you have to have an internet connection.
  2. you have to select which files are active or you will totally crash your hard drive (unlike a RAID drive, the files you select on Dropbox are mirrored onto your computer, with subsequent filling of your hard drive. It’s a constant battle, especially when you deal with the file sizes I deal with in Large format.)
  3. waiting for an online file to synch…which can take several minutes if it is large. My internet surfing went way up when we went to this system. Beats twiddling thumbs waiting for it.
    But for normal size files it seems to work as a sharing resource for all our various departments and client/vendors.

I wish there was a better solution, but I should be careful what I wish for. That whole cloud-only thing is looming on the horizon where your desktop unit becomes a simple terminal to interact with the online software/storage. I hope I can retire before that happens.

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Thanks for your insight. At this point, a clean install might be welcome. I’m the Mac guy here and I’ve been trying to solve this for quite awhile. I’ll definitely look into Dropbox Business. I use Dropbox to share files with freelancers and sometimes clients, so I’m familiar with it.

I had a lively discussion on the Adobe forums about the issue with saving to a networked drive. They pointed me to an article with Adobe’s official stance.
(well… apparently I can’t post links yet. Oh well.)

From the article:

Recommended workflow

Technical Support strongly recommends working in Photoshop directly on the local hard disk. To prevent data loss, save files to your hard disk first. Then transfer them to the network or removable drive in the Finder or in Windows Explorer. To retrieve files, copy them in the Finder or in Windows Explorer from the network or removable drive to your hard disk. You can then open the files in Photoshop. This workflow avoids problems that occur when network system setups or removable media device drivers are incompatible with the operating system or Photoshop.

Yeah, I hear ya on the future… I also hope I am retired by then! Design will probably be automated by then… :smiley:

You might look into Box too (different from Dropbox). At the university where I worked a couple of years ago, the entire school used it for file sharing and storage. It worked quite well.

Yeah, I’ve used Box at home since it came out back in the day. I’ll look into both of them.

Personally, I love Mega. (mega dot nz) – they give you 50GB for free. That would probably work for us too.

I appreciate the suggestions!

We have a small team of 4, but we have no issue with saving or sharing using DropBox. But we also generally do not work with large (over a Gb) files. Our team has never had an issue.

Oddly enough, as @Just-B mentioned, our parent company uses Box and we share through there as well with no issues.

I wlll say using DropBox or Box also makes it quite easy to share files with vendors or teams/people outside of your company as well.

I have to convince my boss to switch to a cloud solution. I tried to several months ago, but she was concerned about backups, data integrity, security, etc etc.

I’m hoping this time I can convince her to make the switch.

We have an offsite RAID storage unit that backs up the dropbox data. We’ve learned not to trust the cloud.
Or any storage device, actually.

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The whole purpose of RAID is redundancy and, I supposed, speed and reliability. However, maybe five years ago, we lost about five years worth of old, archived video when a RAID failed. The failure started with one of the drives and cascaded through three or four of the others over the course of about 30 seconds.

The manufacturer was at a loss to explain what happened — multiple nearly simultaneous hardware failures that made the discs unrecoverable. We got a new RAID from the manufacturer, but the tens of thousands of dollars worth of video we lost wasn’t covered. When I left that job, our videographer was still using a RAID but routinely backing everything up to Google Drive.

I feel much more comfortable in terms of backups and data integrity using a big cloud-based system than a local storage solution. I’m quite sure that Dropbox, Box, or Google have put millions of dollars into safeguards, multiple backups at geographically separate locations, and redundancy that would not be practical with any smaller-business LAN solution.

Now that I’m working solo at home, I automatically back up everything on our Macs to a network drive and to Google Drive and, for some things, Dropbox. We have 2000 mbps Google Fiber to our house, so I don’t notice the difference between saving to the cloud or somewhere on the local network — even with large files. It works great.

The RAID was backed up off-site every night. Like I said, we learned a looooong time ago that everything fails eventually. It was just really convenient to have instant access without filling up hard drives with synched files. I just put one job to bed that was over 125gigs worth of files. And that was just one of about 23 open jobs I have going right now. At one point I had to juggle what was active in order to keep 150 gigs of disk space on my hard drive for scratch. Anything under that for scratch and my kind of work tends to bog down. Did’t have to worry about that, or wait for re-synchs with a Raid…

My company uses both local network hdd and Box. Box is better than Dropbox imo

This is the help article mentioned

Seems reasonable.

You could save to your computer and have a Time Machine or other backup system.

And there are ways to backup folders on the computer to the server automatically.

That completely misses the point of needing to share files with a team.

And I completely disagree with Adobe’s non-solution being reasonable. Many mistakes could happen when saving locally and then moving it to a server. Especially when multiple people are involved. And yes, a script could be written to automate some of that, but my skill in Automator/Applescript is not that great… plus, a script would not necessarily remove the possibility of files being overwritten when they should not be.

We will be moving to Dropbox probably.

I was only providing the full story to the Adobe response. And it’s perfectly reasonable. You may not agree with it, but what can I do about that?

I never mentioned scripts.

Anyway, there are plenty of options. But you do need to work from your local drive to get the best use of Photoshop.

That’s how it works.

“automatically” suggests scripting. Not sure how else you’d move files around without doing that. I guess there’s probably programs that do it.

I’ve used PS since version 3. I’ve been in the design industry for over 20 years. Everywhere I’ve worked, there has always been a local file server. This includes both small design shops and in-house teams at corporations. I have always worked off of local file servers in order to collaborate with coworkers. Claiming Adobe’s response is reasonable… well, I guess we can just disagree. There is a long thread on Adobe’s forums about this.

For my workflow and for what I use PS for, I don’t need to work locally. I normally don’t have huge files that I am manipulating. So, I would also disagree with your statement of “that’s how it works”.

I said they’re response was reasonable. because of all the variations in servers and configurations. They’ve clearly given they’re view on best practice.

It doesn’t work any other way.

I’ve worked the industry for 25 years. I’ve had 1gb images on servers that was so slow and worked perfectly on a local drive.

You can always voice your concerns on Photoshop user voice forums where Adobe officially respond and escalate issues.

Where I agree with you. I can only highlight the entire story and recommend the same workflow that Adobe offer.

Others recommend cloud based storage but this will still need to end up on the server for backups.

Cut out the clouds and integrate a system that backs up a work folder on your computer regularly.

Whether that’s time machine that can somehow connect to your server for a backup.

Or another 3rd party solution.

But you need to work locally and back up to your server.

Cloud solution might work for you. But that still involves working from your local drive.

I use dropbox for 3 years, but now a days i am using google drive for store and share documents with clients.

Google Drive is a royal PITA. It requires the client have a Google Account just to simply view and download. And Google Accounts do not have the privacy controls that I (and the company I work for) require. Sure, I have a business account so I can download client files for production. But I gotta tell you, that’s very rare. The corporate clients I do work for, they use far more secure file transfer methods. In fact, some of those are a royal PITA too cuz they require secure log-ins specific to me only.

First sentence: yes. Second sentence: not if it’s shared correctly.

At a previous job, the company contracted with Google for all sorts of things, so I got used to the awkwardness of Google’s products. My current ISP is Google Fiber, which comes with several terabytes of free space on Google Drive, so I’ve been using it for file transfers.

Anyone using a browser can download files from Google Drive without a Gmail account, provided the right boxes are checked after uploading the files. I think the problem is that people sharing files don’t do that or don’t want to check the box that says, “Anyone with the link…”

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