An over­view of Adobe Bridge

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When a per­son vis­its as many news­pa­pers as I do, he starts to no­tice sim­i­lar­i­ties. It used to be that most pa­pers wanted staff train­ing in Adobe In­De­sign (or QuarkXPress in years past) and Pho­to­shop. I usu­ally con­vince clients that they should get a lit­tle train­ing in Ac­ro­bat while I’m around, and prob­a­bly an hour’s ed­u­ca­tion in lay­out and de­sign. Af­ter all, I’m usu­ally on site for a full day or more.

Lately, I’ve no­ticed some in­ter­est­ing trends. With the in­cep­tion of Adobe Cre­ative Cloud, I be­gan notic­ing more pa­pers were in­ter­ested in learn­ing how to use the InCopy/In­De­sign work­flow. I even ded­i­cated a col­umn to one such pa­per back in Fe­bru­ary. InCopy’s not the only ap­pli­ca­tion get­ting re­newed in­ter­est these days.

Re­cently, I spent a day with a weekly news­pa­per in Eastern Ohio. I even took a pic of the big build­ing shaped like a bas­ket to prove it. Af­ter lunch, the pub­lisher asked some­thing I’ve heard quite of­ten in my vis­its with 100-plus news­pa­pers this year, “Could you take a lit­tle time to teach us some things about Bridge?”

Adobe Bridge isn’t ex­clu­sive to the latest ver­sion of Adobe prod­ucts. The Bridge and its pre­de­ces­sor, the Pho­to­shop Browser, have been around since Pho­to­shop 7.0. Ask your par­ents or grand­par­ents about it. They prob­a­bly re­mem­ber the Browser.

With the ad­vent of Cre­ative Suite in 2003, the Pho­to­shop Browser made way for Adobe Bridge, which worked in much the same way. The dif­fer­ence is that Bridge works with more than just Pho­to­shop, although it’s still most com­monly used in as­so­ci­a­tion with the photo ma­nip­u­la­tion ap­pli­ca­tion.

Why the sud­den resur­gence of in­ter­est in Bridge? My guess is that word has got­ten around that Bridge is one of the most use­ful tool in Adobe’s ar­se­nal, es­pe­cially when it comes to au­tomat­ing pro­cesses to save time. And while your news­pa­per may have all the time in the world, a lot of folks are look­ing for ways to save time, with­out cut­ting corners when it comes to qual­ity.

Let’s look at a few of my fa­vorite Bridge fea­tures:

• Batch Re­name: Upon open­ing Bridge and se­lect­ing a folder, the user sees thumb­nails of each of the items in that folder on the screen. When se­lect­ing a cam­era or card reader, the user will see thumb­nails of the pics on the cam­era card. When se­lect­ing all, or a se­lect group of files on a card, thumb­nails will ap­pear in Bridge. By right-click­ing on any of the im­ages, a list ap­pears which in­cludes the op­tion, “Batch Re­name.”

Batch Re­name makes it easy to quickly re­name all the im­ages at one time and save them to a place you des­ig­nate on the com­puter or server. For in­stance, let’s say you took 200 photos at a ball game. You might name them “tigers­foot­ball-001,” “tigers­foot­ball-002,” and so on. You could even in­clude the date in the file­name, us­ing some­thing like “150812-TigerFoot­ball-001.”

• Key­words: Jean Matua, Min­nesota, once asked me how she could easily cre­ate a photo archive of her pics, with­out pur­chas­ing ex­pen­sive soft­ware to do it. The an­swer was a no-brainer, “Use Adobe Bridge.”

Bridge al­lows the user to in­clude hid­den in­for­ma­tion in­side photos that can be used to sim­plify the search process days, months or even years from now. Let’s say you took the 200 football pics from the pre­vi­ous ex­am­ple and wanted to add key­words to them. One op­tion would be to add spe­cific words to ev­ery im­age. “Football” or “Tiger” would be ex­am­ples of key­words the user would want in­cluded in each pic. This could be done by two clicks of the mouse. through years of photos in sec­onds, us­ing just a few clicks on the key­board.

• Im­age Pro­ces­sor: The Im­age Pro­ces­sor tool in Bridge is ac­tu­ally based on a script in Pho­to­shop, not that you need to know that to use it. Bridge con­tains dozens of tools to speed up your work­flow. The Im­age Pro­ces­sor speeds things up by au­tomat­ing many tasks that could take hours man­u­ally.

For in­stance, let’s say I’ve just re­ceive 200 im­ages of houses for a real es­tate guide that’s due yesterday. I could open each pic in­di­vid­u­ally and re­size and save in Pho­to­shop. An op­tion might be to use im­age pro­ces­sor to open, re­size, con­vert each pic to CMYK (us­ing an Ac­tion, which is ac­ces­si­ble by Im­age Pro­ces­sor), then sav­ing the im­ages as TIFF files, with LZW com­pres­sion, in a des­ig­nated folder. In­stead of spend­ing three hours to pre­pare the photos, I’ve spent two min­utes.

That’s a very brief run­down of a few of the tools in Adobe Bridge. Kevin Slimp is an in­dus­try trainer, con­sul­tant and speaker. He can be reached at kevin@kevinslimp.com.

Kevin SLimp

Im­ages: Kevin Slimp

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