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I meet so many people who already own Photoshop and use it and have no idea that they also own another program called Adobe Bridge. Adobe Bridge is a very useful program for previewing your files and organizing your files before you bring them into Photoshop. Bridge 3.0 ships with Photoshop CS4 and with the Adobe Creative Suite, because Bridge is designed not only for use with Photoshop but for use with other programs in the Suite. The thing that most people use Bridge for most often is previewing and then opening their files directly into Photoshop.
In other words a visual way of choosing the files you want to work on, but there are other organizing functions in Bridge that I'd like to show you in this chapter. First, we're going to take a tour of the Bridge interface to get you familiar with the program. You can launch Bridge as you do any application from your Start menu on Windows or from the Finder or the dock on Mac. But if Photoshop is already open, the fastest way to launch Bridge is to go to the application bar at the top of the screen as I'm doing now and clicking this icon to launch Bridge.
This is how Bridge looks when it first opens. Basically, you have panels on the left, panels on the right, and a Content area in the middle where you can see the content of your hard drive. Right now we're looking at the various folders in my home folder on my machine. To navigate from there to see the Exercise Files that we're using for this course for example, I would move first to this panel on the left called Favorites and click on the Desktop there and then in the Content area I can see everything that's on my desktop.
I only have one folder there, the Exercise Files for this course. If I want to look inside that folder, I can just double-click it here in the Content area and shows me all of the subfolders inside the Exercise Files folder. If you're following along with me, double-click this second folder called chapter02 Bridge and finally we can see thumbnail images of all of the photographs that are inside that subfolder. If you'd like to see these thumbnails better to evaluate your photos, you can do that by changing their size down at the bottom of Bridge where you can move this slider over to the right to increase the size of thumbnails, or to the left to decrease, or click on the icons on either side of the slider bar to move from size to size, up and down.
You can sort your thumbnails to view them in many different ways. The Sort menu is located here at the top of the Bridge interface. If I click the arrow to the right of Sort By Filename, which is the default sort criteria, I will see all the other ways that I can sort. So I could sort by Type for example and that would show me files sorted by file format. So now I can see my JPGs first and if I use the scrollbar to scroll down in the Content panel, then I'll see some Photoshop document or .psd files altogether and finally some TIFF files altogether.
Or I can go back to the Sort menu and sort By Date Created. Date Modified. I can also sort By Size, which shows me the highest resolution files at the top. So let me scroll up there to see those. And I can change any of the sort orders by clicking this icon. So now I have the lowest resolution photos at the top. Now this particular arrangement of the Bridge interface isn't the only way to view the program. In Bridge 3.0 there are preset Bridge workspaces, set up here at the top of the screen.
Right now we're in the Essentials workspace, but we can change to the Filmstip workspace, which I really like better, because it gives me a larger area to preview my photos and then I can come to the bottom of the screen where the thumbnails are and click on them one by one to see the associated photographs. Then I can scroll over to find others that I want to see and click on those. These preset arrangements aren't set in stone. You can customize them. So let's say for example that I wanted to have my Filmstip not on the bottom of the screen, but rather over on the right.
I can do that by moving my mouse to the right and there is a border there and if I move my mouse over it, my cursor becomes a double-pointed arrow. I'll click-and-drag to the left to open up a space there and then I'm going to down to the area where my thumbnails live, which is called the Content panel and I'll drag that panel by its tab over into this blank area on the right and now I have a vertical Content bar of thumbnails with a much larger space for the preview in the middle. I can scroll down to see other thumbnails and click on them so that I can see them here in Bridge.
So as you can see Bridge does a really good job of letting you see your photos before you bother opening them to work on them in Photoshop. I can further customize this area by going to the left side and closing all of these panels by dragging that left boundary over all the way to the side of the screen and now when I look at the horizontal image, it takes up almost the whole screen and I really get a great big view. Once you've setup your particular workspace the way you want it in Bridge, you can save that workspace just like you can save a workspace in Photoshop.
So if I want to save this particular workspace, I'll go to the Output workspace at the top of the screen, click the arrow, and choose New Workspace and I'll call this Big Preview and I can choose whether to save the window locations as part of this workspace and the particular sort order that I'm currently using, which is By Size. So I'll click Save. Now my personalized workspace is listed here along with all the others and I can get back to it at any time. So if I were to go and look at my Essentials workspace for example and then I wanted to go back to Big Preview, I'll just click on Big Preview and I can see my images in the way that I prefer.
Now when you look at your images in Bridge, you're actually looking into the folders on your hard drive. You can get your images into your computer any way you want. Bridge does have a Photo Downloader feature that you can use, but you don't have to use that particular feature. Anyway, as you bring your photos in, Bridge will look into the photos on your drive and preview them for you. So the next time that you take a batch of great photos, use Bridge to preview them and decide which ones you're going to work on in Photoshop.
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