ADOBE BRIDGE CS6

 Bridge is shipped with every version of Photoshop, but it has always been easy to forget about it, hidden away on your hard drive. However, since CS5 introduced Mini Bridge, a palette integrated directly into the Photoshop interface (it was also in InDesign), it has come more to the forefront.

In Photoshop CS6, Mini Bridge has taken another leap forward and now sits in a more prominent position at the bottom of your main editing window, making it easy to find and open assets as you need them. You also get to access some of the Adobe Bridge features, such as opening files quickly in Camera Raw. Bridge CS6 also benefits from 64-bit support, which helps you to work faster when searching and organising large volumes of files.

Workspaces in Bridge

When you open up Bridge for the first time, there are a lot of windows and palettes. There are also different preset workspaces, just as in Photoshop, which you can switch between using the tabs in the top-right of the interface: Essentials, Filmstrip, Metadata, Output, Keywords and Preview. Each of these can be selected with a shortcut, which is Cmd/Ctrl+F1-F6 (in the order listed here).

Essentials is the default and will be best for when you re first starting to use Bridge. It gives you access to all of the key features youneed for organising your photos.

Filmstrip gives you a bigger preview of your images as you select them and Metadata gives a long list of all the keywords and file information associated with each image. If you select the Keywords section in the Filter tab on the left of the screen, then you can filter the images by keywords to only see the ones that match your needs. Output gives quick access to the options for creating a PDF or Web Gallery (more on this later), Keywords is similar to Metadata, but only lists the keywords associated with files.

Preview is handy if you just want to see your images with no other information. Just as in Photoshop, all of the palettes are flexible in their location, so they can be moved around depending on where you would prefer them to be. You can then save these custom workspaces quickly and easily to get the most effective environment.

Organise your assets

One of the key uses of Bridge is to organise your assets. Bridge supports a huge range of file formats, so you can use it to store all your illustrations, photos, video clips and so on, making for a useful centralised database. When you select an image you can view the built-in metadata associated with an image, such as the type of file, size, associated program, dimensions, colour mode, shooting information for photos, GPS data where available and so on. Most of these fields are editable as well, so you can make changes.

If you want to get really organised, then tagging will make your life a lot easier. You can add images to keyword categories, such as peoplenames or project titles, and assign individual keywords. If you are diligent about doing this, you can find assets quickly and easily using the options in the Filter window. You can also rate images out of five stars and create Collections, where you can store multiple associated images.

Export and output

You can easily export your images from the Essentials workspace, which enables you to share an image quickly on Facebook, Flickr or Photoshop, com. You can also save a copy of the image out to your hard drive. If you go into the Output options, then you can create a variety of PDF contact sheets to a simple web-based gallery. The options are self-explanatory and there is a Preview option so you can see the changes you are making as you work just by hitting Refresh Preview. Web galleries are uploaded to an FTP server and PDFs are saved out to your computer.

Bridge is also handy for opening images in Photoshop or Camera Raw, with dedicated icons at the top of the screen that are active when a relevant image is selected. This is good if you want to use Camera Rawtools on a non-RAW image, which makes even photos take on a phone dynamic.

USE MINI BRIDGE IN PHOTOSHOP

YOU DON T HAVE TO BE IN THE FULL BRIDGE PROGRAM TO ACCESS SOME OF ITS KEY TOOLS

FIND YOUR FILES

If you open Photoshop you will see a little Launch Bridge button in Mini Bridge. Once Bridge is running you will be able to see all your files and folders in the right-hand window, where you can navigate to the folder that you need for a project. When you have selected the right folder you will see all of the assets stored inside in the Mini Bridge window. The icons above the folder enable you to filter the order in which they appear.

ACCESS filter information

You can filter the images that you see just as you would in full Bridge, though there are fewer options to filter through. Click the little icon next to the Search bar to see this context menu.

You can opt to see images of a certain star rating or only view images that have been labelled. For a more detailed filter, you can use the Search bar to enter keywords and view only images that match your search terms.

OPEN IN CAMERA RAW

Pick any image and Ctrl/right-click to bring up this context menu. Here you can change the name of an image or make it a Favorite. You can also view it in full Bridge if you need to make any detailed changes or run a Slideshow of the selected folderimages. The option that we find most helpful is the Open With>Camera Raw, as this lets you easily access the Camera Raw tools on any photo directly from within Photoshop s interface.

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