Canto Software has announced the availability of BrandAssistant, offering professional digital asset management right from within QuarkXPress 7. In addition to finding catalogued files and composition zones (and using drag and drop to place them in layouts), BrandAssistant enables layout artists to catalog new layouts, auto-catalog assets used in those layouts, and mark files ready for review, without leaving the QuarkXPress environment. The complete text used in layouts can be catalogued as searchable metadata, to find files based on their content. The asset-relations tracking technology first introduced with Cumulus 7 is included, designed to enable users to find assets based on their relationships with other assets: contains/is contained in, references/is referenced by, and more. PDF variants of layouts can be created automatically by BrandAssistant.
BrandAssistant is based upon a full version of Cumulus 7 Workgroup, offering complete, version-controlled digital asset management, for projects outside the QuarkXPress workflow. All file formats are supported, and Cumulus offers enhanced metadata support for file formats, including PDF, Microsoft Office, Photoshop, Illustrator, TIF, and more. From within QuarkXPress 7, users can access and place any file format supported by QuarkXPress, including text, images, and composition zones. Outside QuarkXPress 7, users can access asset libraries using the Cumulus Native Client included for Mac OS X and Windows. Using this Client, users can catalog assets, edit metadata, and take advantage of the permissions scheme native to Cumulus systems. Permissions settings can ensure that layout artists access approved assets only, and clients don't see each other's files. Full version control is available for all asset types and check out/in ensures asset updates aren't overwritten.
Clients can connect and access review files using the new "Web 2.0"-based Cumulus Web Client, which offers advanced capabilities and requires no plug-ins or special software. All browsers are compatible, including Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, and Safari. Once a project is complete, BrandAssistant can transfer all output files to the Print House via ftp, or the Print House can log into BrandAssistant to access the files remotely. BrandAssistant can be purchased from authorized Canto resellers at an introductory cost of $7,833 until 1/31/07, and afterwards at $8,876 for a 3-user license. (BrandAssistant's web access for clients ties up no user licenses.) Each system comes with a year's worth of Software Maintenance, offering free updates and expert technical support. Additional user licenses and option products are available. The BrandAssistant Server is available for Mac OS X (Universal Binary) or Windows (2000, 2003, XP). Cumulus Client software is available for Mac OS X, Windows, and the web. QuarkXPress is sold separately by authorized Quark resellers.