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Adobe Bridge is a great tool—and not just for photographers and their files. In Bridge CS4: 10 Things Designers Need to Know, Adobe Certified Instructor Anne-Marie Concepción reveals how Bridge can be used for web and print designers, layout artists, and production managers. She shows how Bridge integrates with other CS4 programs, demonstrates how it can be used for locating files quickly based on colors and fonts, and teaches eight other valuable functions that help enhance creativity and streamline workflow. Exercise files accompany the course.
So much of the real power of Bridge has to do with metadata and keywords, and less to do with the actual file names and folder structure of where files are stored. What are metadata and keywords? Well, first of all metadata is information that's associated with the file that you don't actually see when you look at it as a preview or when you print it out. For example, if I open up one of these images in my Lynda.com pictures folder, you'll see that the metadata on the right already has some information.
So under File Properties, part of what this information contains is the date created, when it was modified, how large the file size is, if it's RGB, what kind of profile is associated with it as well. There are other metadata fields that are editable. They are the ones that have pencil on it, so I can actually click in here and type my name is the person who took the picture. So some metadata is automatically added to the file when you create it. Some metadata you can add later, either in the program that you use to work with the file, or here in Bridge.
Keywords are tags that you associate with the file, this has to be done manually. This isn't anything that automatically gets attached to it. So like if I wanted to say that this is part of the Lynda picture, then I could just type it right here, hit Enter and then it gets checked when I have that picture selected. So Lynda is one of the keywords associated with this image. So some metadata is automatically attached to a file, other metadata you can add. Keywords you always add yourself. Now that we know little bit about what metadata and Keywords are, let's take a look over here in the Filter panel.
A Filter panel is a way to automatically create a subset of what you are looking at in the Content panel based on metadata and Keywords. So instead of always having to do finds and searches, or create sub-folders you could just look at everything all at once, like for example, AMC files I am going to choose Show Items from Subfolders in the little chevron here so that we see every single file in AMC files. And then on the left, you can see for example, under File Type which is part of the metadata, we can see that we have one Flash Document, 145 JPEG files, 19 otf files; those are actually open type font files and so on. And just by selecting one of these or turning them on and off, I can see out of all those files, which ones match the attribute that I am selecting.
In addition to File Type, we also have Keywords. So I've already applied some keywords to some files in this whole group. For example, dogs, alright, there are all the pictures from that Halloween dog costume contest. Also I did some pictures in the front desk of Cubs Park in Chicago. So these are already attached Keywords to. But the thing is you can see that there are 338 files that have No Keywords attached to them at all. So I guess what I am saying is that this is a feature of Bridge is how it uses Keywords and Meta tags, but it does take a little bit of work from you the designer, and actually it's not that difficult. If you can get into the habit of adding just a few keywords or a few bits of Meta tags to your files, then Bridge becomes even more powerful and more useful to you.
So let's see how you would add that. I showed you already how to add a Keyword is by selecting any file here, and in the Keywords panel you can just click a Keyword that applies to it if you've already created it, if you haven't created it you can add a Keyword here and type- in chart or you could type-in the name of a client or something like that, and then you just click the check-box, or you can actually add one right here, you can search for. You can also import keywords and export them. The whole bit about Keyword is covered I am sure in much more depth in one of the Photoshop titles. But basically you just attach Keywords that way or in metadata you select the file that you want to apply the metadata to, and then you type-in what you want under Creator, or here you see chart is appearing under Keywords already. The Title is there, you can type-in Copyright Notice or Source, and you can do many at once, by the way. So I could select all these and this one, and that one, and then under Keywords I'll apply the same Keyword chart to all of them at once. So it doesn't have to be one-by- one. But even better than that though is applying them while you are creating them, or while you are working on them.
Alright, let's go back here to AMC files, Client Projects and look at Bliss Magazine, alright. So here is this InDesign file, it has no Keywords applied to it. Metadata, really there is nothing there except for the File Properties the fact that it's an InDesign document, and as I showed in a previous video, the fonts used and the swatches used. But what if I was working on this, in InDesign; I just double-clicked it, while I am in InDesign, I could as a matter of habit just go up to the File Menu, choose File Info and go ahead and add some keywords and metadata right in the program. This could be part of your standard operating procedure when you are creating files. Is that you'll always add the Document Title, or the Author like the artist here, so I'll say the author here is my name AM Concepcion.
I could add a Description, this is the Spring 2009 issue of Bliss magazine, I can add keywords like InDesign, magazine, Bliss; which I guess I've already done previously, okay fine, I'll put a capital B; be happy that way, and say that it's Copyright AM Concepcion with may be a URL if I wanted to. Now if I am going to doing this all the time for Bliss Magazine, if Bliss Magazine is one of my gigs that I create, then I might want to actually export this as a Metadata Template, alright, and I can just export it right here, and just leave it as that title under Metadata Templates, Save, and then the next time that I create a magazine for Bliss Magazine, this is the Magazine. I can go to File, File Info and choose Import and we want to just keep the original metadata but append matching properties. Find the metadata template that you want, there is the Bliss Magazine and load it and it gets added here, and I can just change this to Summer issue, right? So you can make it easy on yourself.
Now this File Information dialog box is available in all the Creator Suite program. So if I go to Adobe Illustrator for example, you can see File Info is also available here, and I could add keywords and Document titles and all sorts of information here as well. When I come back to Bridge, I can see that the file has been updated with my information -- wait it hasn't. So what could be the problem? Well, if I switch back to InDesign, and look at Bliss Magazine, I can see that I haven't saved my changes that I made to it, see the little asterisk (*) there. So I'll choose File, Save, and then switch back to Bridge.
And now you can see in the metadata that the Creator is there, there is the Description, Keywords, Copyright Notice. If I look in Keywords that they have been added right here, and what this means then is that when I am looking at Client Projects in a flattened view then I'll see keywords appearing. So every file that I have tagged with the Bliss keyword would appear here. Can you see how useful that would be? Instead of always having to maintain all these different folders with maybe shortcuts or aliases of files because you want to have all the files that you have done in 2009, and then all the files that you did for your client named Bliss, and then all the InDesign files that you created that you might want to add to your website for your portfolio, all these are in different folders, or duplicated. Instead just tag them with those keywords, and then use Bridge to quickly locate them and then use them to create a context sheet or a collection or something like that.
Metadata and keywords, get in the habit.
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