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I have a large and growing collection of photos. I would like to use version control software to give me "rewind" functionality - typically so I can go back and see the original of an edited image. I currently use subversion for other projects, and am aware of the DVCS-wars, but am unclear on which would be a good choice for this style of repository: very large (100GB+) with large binary files. Any tips?

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Certainly no "classic" VCS will do; they're all intended for text files. I'd look for one that specifically handles the file formats you use. –  Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Nov 5 '10 at 12:26
    
Why have I never considered doing this? Good idea! –  invert Nov 5 '10 at 12:45
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Related: Version Control for Binary Files –  Sathya Nov 5 '10 at 12:45
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@Leif: Just because you can manage binary files in it does not mean that it is the best solution for binary files. –  Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Nov 6 '10 at 20:21
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@Ignacio: True, but it works really well, at least in my experience. We've even got it integrated as a "virtual drive" for the artists, and our in-house database. Perforce also has plug-ins that seamlessly integrates it with applications like Adobe Photoshop and 3D Studio Max. –  Leif Nov 6 '10 at 21:06

5 Answers 5

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Personally, I use Perforce for this! It's free (2 users and 5 workspaces), and it works great! You can use it for any type of files. It might be a bit tricky to set it up though, if you're not used to setting up things like this. You can then use their cross-platform application, P4V, to manage your files.

Another very simple and efficient way of doing this is by using Dropbox. Dropbox automatically versions anything you edit which is located inside your Dropbox folder. This might not suite your needs though, as their maximum plan is for 100 GB (at $199 per year).

An added benefit of using Dropbox is that you also get "free" Online back-up of all your files, and your files can be automatically synced to any number of devices. You might be able to work out a special deal by contacting customer support.

AlienBrain is another "artist friendly" asset management solution, but we ended up replacing this with Perforce, after a lot of back and forth. Mainly due to the fact that Perforce made it easy to efficiently synchronize a large amount of graphics assets (millions of files) across multiple offices on different continents. Also, we wanted to use the same solution for everying (code and graphics).

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Adobe Creative Suite up to CS4 came with Adobe Version Cue.

Gridiron Flow and Alienbrain are alternatives.

More information here on this blogpage, with how to use classic VCSs like Subversion, Git and Mercurial.

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I have used a combination of the Tortoise SVN client http://tortoisesvn.net/ and the Visual SVN server http://www.visualsvn.com/server/. This worked well in a small studio having half a dozen people working on tens of thousands of images. It worked well and was free.

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TortoiseSVN includes the Tortoise Image Diff tool TortoiseIDiff which is specifically meant for “diffing” images.

It integrates with TortoiseSVN so that you can manage versioning of images just like text files, but it also lets you do visual differencing in several ways including with side-by-side (figure 1), blending (figure 2), and even see the actual differences (figure 3).


Figure 1: TortoiseIDiff side-by-side mode

Screenshot of TortoiseIDiff in side-by-side mode

Figure 2: TortoiseIDiff blend mode

Screenshot of TortoiseIDiff in blend mode

Figure 3: TortoiseIDiff diff mode

Screenshot of TortoiseIDiff in diff mode

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I use Mercurial, but I'm sure any popular SCM would work just as well. Perhaps the BigFilesExtension will suit your situation.

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