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What’s New in Image Management?

Let’s take a look at what this latest version of Bridge brings to the table. Figure 1 shows the default view for Bridge when you first launch the program, either directly or by clicking the button in one of the CS3 applications.

On the right side of the window, a greatly enhanced Metadata panel shows graphic information on the shooting parameters: metering style, ISO, aperture, shutter speed, and white balance. (I wish it were this clear on the camera!) All the metadata sections are collapsible as needed, and two new sections have been added – Audio and Video. As before, image information, such as IPTC tags, can be edited directly by selecting an image and clicking on the field you want to edit (see Figure 2). Multiple images can be edited in the same fashion

Keywording hasn’t changed much since the first release of Bridge, although the Keywords panel is now much easier to work with. Keywords are now indented from the keyword set name, making it easier to tell at a glance which set a keyword belongs to and easier to apply an entire set to an image or group of images. You now have the option of entering new keywords directly in the IPTC metadata panel—a welcome improvement over the previous version, in which you had to create a keyword before it could be applied. Any keywords entered into the metadata panel are automatically added to your keyword list.

Bridge has also added an import function, the Adobe Photo Downloader, making it a better option for ingesting your files. When set up in Preferences (Bridge CS3 > Preferences), the Photo Downloader launches every time a media card is connected to your Mac or PC (see Figure 3).

The new Downloader enables you to select the images you want to copy and where you want to copy them to. Even more useful are the renaming features and the ability to automatically append metadata, such as copyright information, to the images as they are imported.

If you’re a DNG fan, you can convert to DNG on import and save a copy for backup to a new location. Even if you decide not to use Bridge in your normal workflow, the Adobe Photo Downloader is a very good tool for getting your images from memory card to computer.

You can now group images together in Stacks—seen before in Apple Aperture and a great addition to the program. Figure 4 shows a collapsed stack. To create this, I simply selected all similar images (see the next section, "Using Filters," to find out how much easier this has become) and chose Stacks > Group as Stack.

The stack shows the number of images it holds, and clicking on the number expands the stack to work with individual images (see Figure 5).

One very cool Stacks feature doesn’t require you to expand the stack to view images. Just hover your mouse over the image stack and you’ll see a Play button and a slider (shown in Figure 6). Click Play and you’ll automatically see all the images in a mini-slideshow. Or use the slider to move to the image you want. When you expand the stack, that image is selected in the Content panel.

If you don’t see the new controls when you hover over the stack, you have to enlarge the thumbnails a bit using the size slider below the Content Frame.

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