Inspiration is all around us. With today’s devices, it is easier than ever to record creative stimulation, whether it is a photo, motivational text, artwork or otherwise. However, organising your inspirational clippings coming from multiple sources has become a tedious task. I thought I would take this opportunity to explain my current workflow I've refined over time.
I’ve tried various services over the years in order to maintain and manage this constant flow of inspiration. I’ve talked previously about a Tumblr blog I kept. Pinterest came along. There are now so many services available the danger is you sign up to everything and it becomes imposible to collate.
The difficulty for me has been streamlining files from my iPhone or iPad with my Mac. Up until recently I managed an ‘Inspiration’ iPhoto library in conjunction with Photo Stream. This worked well for a while, but took a lot of management to avoid my inspiration clippings ending up in my main iPhoto library and vice versa. Managing one iPhoto library is bad enough but multiple libraries is just cray my friend.
I recently discovered a new scrapbooking app going by the name of Ember, (the successor to screenshot-grabbing tool Littlesnapper) available on both Mac and iOS. What Apple's iPhoto software does for digital photos, Ember does for all the other digital imagery you want to keep. The free iOS app for iPhone and iPad syncs the contents of its library using iCloud making it a worthwhile investment for anyone who wants to organize and do more with digital images from disparate sources. Ember lets you assemble images into "Collections," apply tags to them and build "Smart Collections" based on metadata. Ember also helps you keep track of web sites through subscriptions, incorporates a "Smart Drawing" tool, and has extensions for Chrome and Safari. Once you have put a collection together for your latest project, you can share your images with others by e-mail, AirDrop, Messages and all the usual social suspects. The developers are constantly improving these apps and last week introduced in-app purchases, allowing Ember to automatically save screen captures into your library. Neat!
For the first time in a LONG time my inspiration collections are collated into one library I have access to via my iPhone wherever I go. The $50 price tag of the desktop app is a bit steep, but it has been worth every cent for the time saving it has benefited me with. Highly recommend this for anyone frustrated with their current 'Inspiration' workflow.