Creative Reviews Don’t Have to be Torture

by Lorraine Sneed

November 22, 2010 in Business/Freelance design

If you’re a creative pro, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a photo, logo, layout, video, or an entire ecommerce site, someone’s got to review and approve your work. I’ve never met anyone who thought this process was fun, and it can be a huge hassle, especially if you have a big team of reviewers spread all over the globe.

If you want to stay in business, you must learn to streamline your review process and make the client happy with as few cycles and missed changes as possible. I’ve heard of people still using paper and faxes and all manner of markable materials to try to collect organized input. Then, of course you get the reviewers who disagree with each other, but don’t know it because they can’t see each other’s comments. There’s no getting around it — you can only try to maximize your time on creative and try to spend less in review.

Is this familiar? When you send out review, you:

  • Save your work as a separate, non-native file
  • Send the file to your list of reviewers
  • Go to the gym
  • Get coffee
  • Sleep on it
  • Awake to an inbox with as many replies as you have reviewers
  • Sort through the comments, crossing fingers there are no conflicts
  • Resolve conflicts
  • Get back to creating

Sucks, right? Picture this:

  • In your working file, choose Create New Review and give it a name
  • Invite all your reviewers to comment online
  • Skip the gym
  • Get coffee
  • Hop back into your artwork and find opinions already there
  • Respond immediately for all to see (avoid conflicts!)
  • Get back to creating

You’re in luck. Adobe CS Review is your escape from reviewing hell. CS Review is an online service that makes it easy to share, gather, and respond to feedback from peers and clients right in your project. CS Review is part of Adobe CS Live online services and is accessible from inside Adobe® Photoshop® CS5, Illustrator® CS5, InDesign® CS5, and Premiere Pro® CS5. All comments and replies are tracked and managed by CS Review, and are viewable in real-time back in your software. Now you can show your clients how quickly you can act on their feedback, all within the context of your project. Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Start a Review

Start a review directly from within your project, whether it’s a photo, vector design, page layout, or video sequence. You will give your review a name and set just the right upload parameters you want for the artwork. You can define page or frame range, quality, and intent so that your reviewers see exactly what you want them to see. When you upload your artwork to the review, your review will be saved on Acrobat.com which is where the online magic happens.

Create a review

To start a review from inside your Adobe software, open the CS Live menu and click CS Review.

Step 2: Share with Reviewers

Next, you hop into the review and invite clients and colleagues to comment on your project — no need for FTP servers, printouts, or email hassle. When reviewers get your invitation, they click the link to open a browser — no need to download software or open files. To access the review, reviewers simply enter their Adobe ID or sign up for a free account, on the spot. Each reviewer can see the presence of others.

Share a review

Sharing is easy with quick addition of reviewers from your contacts list and invitation via email.

Step 3: Watch all the Commenting

Your reviewers can add comments by clicking on the artwork and entering a message associated with that area. When you end up with a long string of comment boxes, you can simply mouse over them and see each corresponding area marquee highlight. If you give a reviewer permission to be a Co-Author, he or she can upload assets to your artwork (such as a replacement photo or color reference), can delete comments, and invite additional reviewers.

Comments in the review

In the CS Review review browser window, see comments along with indicators on the artwork.

Step 4: Respond to Comments

Back in your software, you will see all the comments in the CS Review panel, including your own responses. In fact, you can even add notes from inside the CS Review panel and your reviewers will see them — real time. When you’ve made changes and your project is ready for another review, quickly create a new one and invite your team for the next round.

Panel for review actions

Back inside your Adobe software, take action using the CS Review panel, right on your artwork.

That’s it! To sum up, it’s just way easier to manage a review all online, all from your Adobe Creative Suite 5 software. Adobe CS Review is a simple yet revolutionary tool that enables you to share your work with just about anyone, anywhere.

You can find out more about CS Review on the Adobe website. Get CS Review as part of your purchase of Adobe Creative Suite 5. It’s an online service available from within Adobe Photoshop CS5, Illustrator CS5, InDesign CS5, and Premiere Pro CS5. Adobe CS Review is also available as part of CS Live which is complementary for 12 months when you sign up online or register your Creative Suite 5 product before April 30, 2011.

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About Lorraine Sneed

  • Bernard

    Nov 22nd

    Awesome read! I just started design school and they are hammering on the fact that a review is very important for even better results!

    Thanks for the post!

  • skyje

    Nov 22nd

    Great easy to follow steps here!

  • jrieckmann

    Nov 22nd

    Nice post. easy explanation of the software. might have a further look at it although I’m still a fan of live reviews whenever possible. Anytime design is sent out to committee (undefended) we all know what happens…..

  • Josh

    Nov 22nd

    Spam.

  • Nicolo'

    Nov 22nd

    We are about to launch a web-app for designers to collaborate online with their clients and team.
    Get notified when we launch http://notes.creonomy.com/

    We’ll release very soon a video showing the app, so follow our blog @ creonomy.com

    Nik

  • Gary Callaghan

    Nov 23rd

    Great article, i should really start using this. It’s easier and quicker than saving and asking for reviews on deviantART.

  • Kitty

    Nov 26th

    This is one of the reasons I want to upgrade to CS5. I still have a pre-unibody MacBook Pro and for the looks of it, next year Apple has a major update for them. Still thinking about the upgrade since CS5 wouldn’t run that good in this mac… but I can’t wait!

  • Intelisystem

    Dec 3rd

    Hi,

    i found your blog through googlinn. your blog gives to us very good knowledge about web design and web development. This is very nice blog.

    Thank You,

  • MMurphy

    Dec 8th

    Nice Idea if you can get everyone to take two seconds to sign up for an Adobe I.D. and if they are all sitting at their desk waiting to review your project. My guess is I’d skip the gym and sit and stare at the interface for two hours… maybe get 1 out of 10 to respond. The fact is people need to respond in their own time instant review just doesn’t work.

  • AdobeAndrew

    Dec 15th

    @jrieckmann,

    I work with Adobe and if you are interested in the software it’s worth mentioning that if you register before April 30, 2011 then you can utilize CS Review complimentary for a year. This is a great way to test out the service and see how it can simplify the creative review process for you and your clients. Here’s a link with some more information if you’re interested: https://csreview.acrobat.com/csrlive_learnmore.html

  • Kaden Hamilton

    Feb 7th

    I found your blog and thought it gave very helpful knowledge about web design and web development. Great job! Can you refer me to any other of your blogs.

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