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MediaBeacon University

AdobeĀ® Connector

Integrate MediaBeacon into Adobe® products.

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The Adobe® Connector is an add-on product that enables MediaBeacon functionality within some Adobe® products. The Connector requires Creative Cloud 2018 or newer, and works with InDesign®, Photoshop®, and Illustrator®.

Main Capabilities

The Connector allows users to:

  • Search for assets stored in MediaBeacon.
  • Place images into layout documents directly from MediaBeacon without a separate download step.
  • Place FPO images (low-res temporary images), and all FPO links with the original images in one step.
  • Edit assets without a separate download step.
  • Automatically upload placed images when layout document is uploaded into MediaBeacon.
  • Upload new files or versions of changed files to MediaBeacon from within an Adobe® application.
  • Create and automatically upload PDF proofs to MediaBeacon.
  • Automatically replace a local file with a more-recently updated one, stored in MediaBeacon.

Limitations

  • Not all Adobe® applications will have the same feature set with the Connector.
  • Fonts are not managed by the Connector.
  • Placed .csv files (used for Data Merge in InDesign®) are not managed by the Connector. CSV files are also not shown in the Connector asset browser.
  • Folder structure of placed images is not preserved when uploaded to MediaBeacon, instead they are put in <cachefolder>/<aclfolder>/uploads/<user>/<datestamp>/links/

Terminology

For clarification, several terms used in this article will be defined here:

  • Assets: Files stored in MediaBeacon.
  • Layout document: A generic term for either an InDesign® or Illustrator® document, especially one that contains placed images.
  • Placed images: Often referred to as "links", these are files that are referenced or "placed" in a layout document. The full data of these images are not copied into the layout document, but are referenced when the layout document is printed or used to generate a PDF. Layout documents will include a low-resolution preview of the image used for on-screen placement, but this is typically not suitable for print-resolution output.
  • Local cache: This refers to a folder on an end user's computer that the Connector uses as a cache for files synced with MediaBeacon. This area contains layout documents, images, and other files uploaded or downloaded via the Connector.

Installing the Connector

The software is installed as a CEP extension for all compatible Adobe® products and does not require a separate plugin for each.

  1. Shut down all running Adobe® applications.
  2. Log into MediaBeacon.
  3. In the menubar, choose the Manage > External Plugins command.
    ac-extplug-menu.png
  4. The External Plugins dialog will be displayed. Click "Download".
    ac-extplug-dlg.png
  5. Depending upon operating system, follow the process under macOS or Windows.

macOS

  1. The file "MediaBeaconConnector.dmg" will be downloaded to the user's default download location.
  2. Open "MediaBeaconConnector.dmg", and the volume "MediaBeaconConnector" will be mounted.
    1. On this volume, there will be two icons, "Install.app" and "Uninstall.app"
      ac-mins-volume.png
  3. macOS Security & Privacy settings may prevent the "Install.app" from opening, presenting a ""Install.app" can't be opened because it is from an unidentified developer." dialog. To open an application in this situation:
    1. Right-click the icon.
    2. Hold down the "option" key, and at the same time, select "Open".
      ac-mins-open.png
    3. When the "unidentified developer" dialog is shown, an "Open" button is present.
      ac-mins-security.png
    4. Click the "Open" button.
  4. The installation will proceed, and when complete, the "Installer.app" icon will bounce in the Dock.
  5. Select "Install.app" and the "Successfully installed the MediaBeaconConnector" dialog will be displayed.
    ac-mins-finish-ins.png
  6. Click "OK".
  7. The "MediaBeaconConnector" volume may be unmounted / ejected.

Windows

  1. The file "MediaBeaconConnector.msi" will be downloaded to the user's default download location.
  2. Open the "MediaBeaconConnector.msi" file, click "Run".
    ac-wins-security.png
  3. The "Welcome to the MediaBeacon Connector Setup Wizard" screen will be shown, click "Next".
    ac-wins-welcome.png
  4. On the next screen, "Select Installation Folder", click "Next".
    ac-wins-select.png
  5. On the next screen, "Ready to Install", click "Install". The software will be installed.
    ac-wins-rti.png
  6. On the next screen, "Completing the MediaBeacon Connector Setup Wizard", click "Finish".
    ac-wins-finish.png

Uninstalling the Connector

macOS

  1. Shut down all running Adobe® applications.
  2. In the "MediaBeaconConnector" volume, run the "Uninstall.app". Note that the above procedure for Security & Privacy settings may need to be followed.
  3. The installation will proceed, and when complete, the "Uninstaller.app" icon will bounce in the Dock.
  4. Select "Uninstall.app" and the "Successfully uninstalled the MediaBeaconConnector" dialog will be displayed.
  5. Click "OK".
  6. The "MediaBeaconConnector" volume may be unmounted / ejected.

Windows

  1. Open the "MediaBeaconConnector.msi" file, click "Run".
    ac-wins-security.png
  2. The "Welcome to the MediaBeacon Connector Setup Wizard" screen will be shown, click "Next".
    ac-wins-welcome.png
  3. On the next screen, "Modify, Repair, or Remove Installation", click "Remove".
    ac-wins-mrr.png
  4. On the next screen, "Remove MediaBeacon Connector", click "Remove". The software will be removed.
    ac-wins-rmc.png
  5. On the next screen, "Completing the MediaBeacon Connector Setup Wizard", click "Finish".

Connector Basics

Managing the Connector Panel

The Connector acts as another panel in the Adobe® application interface. Once installed it may be added to the current workspace with the following steps:

  1. In an Adobe® application, from the menubar, choose Window > Extensions > MediaBeacon.
    1. On macOS, this can also be done by choosing "Help" and entering "MediaBeacon".
  2. The Connector window will display as a free-floating panel.
    ac-indd-floatpanel.png
  3. To "dock" the panel, drag the panel tab to the edge of a window docking area, such as the right hand toolbar. A blue edge will be highlighted, indicating it will be inserted horizontally adjacent to the current menubar.
    ac-dock-connector-animation.gif

Note: Because the Adobe® workspace UI is very flexible, the panel may be docked anywhere any other panel may be, see the "Manage windows and panels" section of the given Adobe® application's User Guide.

Logging into MediaBeacon via the Connector

  • The Connector allows the user to enter the URL for a MediaBeacon server when displaying the "MediaBeacon URL" screen.
    ac-indd-mburl.png
  • The URL entered must include http:// or https://
    • The easiest method is to copy the URL from a browser window while logged into MediaBeacon.
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  • The user will enter username and password, and when authenticated, the plugin panel will be displayed in "logged in" mode.
    ac-indd-loggedin.png

Logging out of MediaBeacon via the Connector

  1. Select "Logout" from the User Menu.
  2. The Connector's panel displays the "MediaBeacon URL" page.

Connector User Interface

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  1. Folder Browser Toggle: This button opens the folder browser, showing the folders available in the current MediaBeacon ACL.
    ac-indd-fbtoggle.png
    1. When the folder browser is used, search fields are hidden.
    2. When a folder is selected, the asset browser will be filtered to show contained assets.
      ac-indd-fbfilter.png
      ac-indd-fb.png
  2. ACL Menu: Allows the user to choose an ACL to which they have access in the MediaBeacon system. This allows the user to view and use assets accessible to that ACL.
    ac-indd-aclmenu.png
  3. Language Menu: Changes the language of the Connector interface.
    ac-indd-langmenu.png
  4. User Menu:
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    1. Logged in as: This row in the menu shows the current logged in user.
    2. Preferences: Low Resolution Mode: This function is explained in detail below.
    3. Logout: Disconnects the Connector from the logged-in user's MediaBeacon account.
  5. Search Field: A simplified QuickSearch field. Strings entered here search all metadata in the current ACL's assets.
    ac-indd-sffiltered.png
    1. Clear Search Button ("x" icon): This button clears the current search.
    2. Magnifying Glass Button: Clicking this button, or pressing the return key will execute the quick search.
  6. Advanced Search: When clicked, this shows a simplified advanced search row. This allows the user to specify a Field and a Value to search for within all ACL assets.
    ac-indd-advsearch.png
    1. Field: Allows the user to select a XMP field to search within. Entering text here will display a pulldown with XMP fields that match the entered string.
      ac-indd-fieldpulldown.png
    2. Value: Allows the user to enter a search value.
      1. Search Filter in Value Field: When a XMP field is chosen, clicking or placing the cursor in this field will show a pulldown menu with values existing in that field, as well as a count of assets containing that term.
        ac-indesign-advsearch-filter.png
      2. This function is similar to the search filter in the MediaBeacon Web UI, but is not as comprehensive. Each advanced search row's fields do not filter values shown in subsequently added rows.
    3. Clear Search Row Button ("x" icon): This button removes the adjacent search row.
      ac-indd-clearrow.png
    4. Add Search Row Button (+ icon): This button adds a search row.
      ac-indd-addrow.png
  7. Asset Browser: Similar to MediaBeacon's Infinite Scroll component, this area shows all assets that are the results of the search terms above. See the Connector Browser Functions section for more information.
  8. Buttons: These perform actions based on the state of the active document. See the Connector Button Functions section for more information.
  9. Loading Bar: This progress bar is shown when the Connector is uploading an asset to MediaBeacon.
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Connector Button Functions

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Upload

This button is displayed when the active document is saved locally, but is not present in MediaBeacon. Once the upload button has been pressed, the document is synced to the local cache and MediaBeacon through the following procedure:

  1. The active document is automatically saved and closed.
  2. The document is copied into the local cache.
  3. The document is uploaded to MediaBeacon.
  4. Finally, the local cache copy of the document is automatically opened. This is the new working copy of this document. The initially saved document may then be discarded.

This button is displayed if all of the following are true:

  • The active document is saved to user's local disk.
  • The active document isn't recognized as a MediaBeacon asset.

Upload New Version

This button is displayed when the current layout document is currently saved and is recognized as an asset currently residing in MediaBeacon.

When clicked:

  1. The New Version dialog is displayed, allowing the user to add a comment to the version.
    ac-indd-newvers-dlg.png
  2. Once the "OK" button is pressed, a new version of the asset is uploaded into MediaBeacon. See the Versions section of the MediaBeacon User Manual for more information.

Using this function keeps the local and MediaBeacon copies of documents in sync.

This button is displayed if all of the following are true:

  • The active document is saved to user's local disk.
  • The active document is recognized as a MediaBeacon asset.

Export PDF

This will automatically create and upload a PDF of the current layout document to MediaBeacon. This PDF is created using the "Press Quality" preset.

This button is displayed if all of the following are true:

  • The active document is saved to user's local disk.

Up-Res

This button is displayed when one or more placed images in the active document are in a "low-res" state. A numeral in the button name indicates the number of placed images in this state.

This state can occur for several reasons:

  • An asset has been placed in the active document, but the full resolution version has not been downloaded. See the Placing MediaBeacon Assets section for more information.
  • The FPO function was used while placing an image from MediaBeacon. See the FPO Function section for more information.

Clicking this button will begin the process of downloading the "full-res" (the original) version of the asset to the local cache.

This button is displayed if all of the following are true:

  • The active document contains placed images that end with the thumbnail marker.
    • <filename>.thumbnail.jpg

Update Links

This button is displayed when one or more placed images in the active document have been modified in MediaBeacon, or the placed image does not exist in the local cache. A count of placed images with broken links are displayed in the button text.

When the "Update Links" button is pressed, the Update Links dialog will be displayed. See the Update Links Dialog section for more information.

Several changes to a placed image can cause this button to be displayed:

  • The locally cached placed image has been deleted or moved to another directory on the end user's computer.
    • In this case, Update Links will re-download the asset to the local cache.
  • The placed image asset has been moved to another directory in MediaBeacon.
    • In this case, Update Links will re-download the asset into the folder structure of the local cache that reflects the asset's location in MediaBeacon.
  • A new Version of a placed image asset has been created in MediaBeacon.
    • In this case, Update Links will re-download the current version of an asset.
  • A placed image asset has been Replaced in MediaBeacon.
    • In this case, Update Links will re-download the asset.
  • A placed image asset has been Deleted in MediaBeacon, but is still present in the local cache.
    • The assets are removed from the local disk, but the placed image links are left intact to inform the user where the images used to be.

This button is displayed if all of the following are true:

  • The active document is saved to user's local disk.
  • The active document is recognized as a MediaBeacon asset.
  • There have been changes made to placed images (in the active document) in MediaBeacon:
    • Placed images have been deleted in MediaBeacon.
    • Placed images have been deleted (or moved from auto download locations in the Cache folder) on the user's local disk.
    • Placed images have been moved in MediaBeacon.

Update Document

This button is displayed when the Connector detects that the currently opened document is older than the copy stored in MediaBeacon. This occurs when another user uploaded a new version of the asset, or metadata has changed. The Update Document button will close the currently open document, and replace it with the version stored in MediaBeacon.

This function will permanently delete the local cache copy of a document.

The Update Active Document dialog is then displayed, informing the user that unsaved changes to the active document will not be saved.

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This button is displayed if all of the following are true:

  • The active document is saved to user's local disk.
  • The active document is recognized as a MediaBeacon asset.
  • There have been changes made to the active document (or placed assets used in the active document) in MediaBeacon.
    • Changes that trigger this state can be an update to metadata, or a new version has been uploaded.

This function may also be triggered by clicking the asset preview in the Connector asset browser that corresponds to the currently open document.

Update Links Dialog

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This dialog is displayed when the Update Links button is pressed, or a layout document (that has placed images which are not in the local cache) is downloaded.

  1. The user may choose individual images to download by selecting the checkbox next to each filename, or the "Select All" button to select all filenames.
  2. Once selections are made, the user clicks the "Update" button.
  3. The placed images are downloaded to the local cache, and the broken links in the Links Panel will be resolved.

Connector Browser Functions

Opening Assets

If an asset is a file type that can be edited by the current Adobe® application, single-clicking the asset will copy it to the user's local cache, and open it for editing.

Opening Layout Document Assets with Placed Images

When the active layout document has placed images that are not currently in the local cache, the user will be presented with a standard missing links dialog.
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Once the user clicks "OK", the Update dialog will be displayed. See the Update Links Dialog section for more information.

Contextual Filtering

The view of assets on the Connector's browser is filtered by file type, depending upon the application that is being used. The MediaBeacon Default "File Format" field data will be used. See the application sections below for more information.

Placing MediaBeacon Assets

Assets housed in MediaBeacon can be placed directly into a layout document.

Several actions occur in the background automatically:

  1. An Asset ID reference is placed. This only occurs in Illustrator. In this case, the Connector immediately swaps this out for and moves to step 2:
  2. A thumbnail image (AKA FPO image) is automatically placed.
  3. In the background, the original (aka full-res) version of the asset begins to download to the local cache.
  4. When fully downloaded, the FPO image is seamlessly replaced by the full res version in the local cache and in the layout document.

To place an asset, the asset may be drag-and-dropped or multiple assets may be clicked to "preload" them to InDesign's cursor.
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Drag-and-Drop:

  1. Left-click, hold and drag from the Connector's Asset Browser to a page region of an open layout document.
  2. Release the left mouse button.
  3. When the cursor changes to display an image thumbnail of the image, left-click to place the image at 100%, or left-click, hold and drag to define the size of the placed image, or drop into an image frame.
    ac-indd-dnd-place.gif

When using InDesign®, it is not necessary to hold the left mouse button down while dragging an image to the layout document page for placement. The action is just as easily accomplished with a "cursor loading" action. See below.

Cursor Loading: When a user has clicked multiple assets in the Connector asset browser, InDesign's cursor will indicate a "stack" of assets to place (when moved over the page area of a layout document).

The user may then left-click to consecutively place each image at 100%, or left-click and drag to define the size of the placed image, or drop into an image frame.
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Loading Bar: When clicked, a thumbnail asset will briefly show a loading bar underneath an image preview. This is indicating that an FPO (aka thumbnail) image (maximum size 512x512 px) is being downloaded to be used for initial placement. At the same time, the original asset will start downloading. This allows the image to be placed without waiting for full image download. Once the original image is downloaded, it automatically replaces the thumbnail on disk and in the Links panel.
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When very large assets are placed, or the file transfer is slow, the "Up-Res" button may be displayed while the full-size version of an asset is downloading. This allows the Connector to avoid interrupting the flow of design work.

Refresh Asset Browser

To refresh the list of assets:

  1. Click the Folder Browser Toggle button.
  2. Click the "Index" button.
  3. Click the Folder Browser Toggle button.

FPO / Low Resolution Mode

This option allows the Adobe® Connector to always place FPO images, and only download the originals manually. To use the function, choose the "Low Resolution Mode" in the User Menu.

In this state all downloaded images will initially be "thumbnail" images <filename>.thumbnail.jpg, and will be automatically replaced and relinked when the "Up-Res" button is pressed.
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The Low-Resolution function's will remain activated (or deactivated) for all supported applications on a given computer until toggled.

Using the Connector with InDesign®

The Connector's functions as described above are consistent when used with InDesign.

  • Asset Browser Filtering in InDesign: "File Format" Equals "Graphics" OR "File Format" Equals "InDesign" OR "File Format" Equals "PDF"

See also our article on How to Configure InDesign® Previewing in MediaBeacon.

Using Show Import Options

In order to use the "Show Import Options" InDesign® function with images in the Connector asset browser:

  1. File > Place.
  2. In the Place Dialog, enable the "Show Import Options" checkbox.
  3. Select a local image, and click "open".
  4. Place the image and then remove it.

In this state, any images placed will show import options.

Using the Connector with Illustrator®

  • Adding assets to a layout document must be done with a drag-and-drop, the cursor loading function is not present in Illustrator. When an asset is clicked, a reminder dialog box will be displayed.
    ac-ai-dragassets.png
  • EPS files cannot be uploaded.
  • Asset Browser Filtering in Illustrator: "File Format" Equals "Graphics".

Using the Connector with Photoshop®

  • For clarity, when using Photoshop®, the "Upload" button will upload the active document, as there is no concept of a "layout document" in Photoshop.
  • The Connector cannot be used to place images in Photoshop® documents.
  • Photoshop® links are not managed by the Adobe® Connector or MediaBeacon.
  • Asset Browser Filtering in Photoshop: "File Format" Equals "Graphics".

Appendix

  • The Adobe® Connector is not implemented as separate plugins for each application, it is a single CEP extension used by compatible Adobe® applications.
    • Connector:
      • macOS: ~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/CEP/extensions/MediaBeaconConnector/
      • Windows: C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\CEP\extensions\MediaBeaconConnector\
    • Cache
      • macOS: ~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/CEP/MediaBeaconCache/MediaBeaconAssets/
      • Windows: C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\CEP\extensions\MediaBeaconCache\MediaBeaconAssets\
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