One big area that Adobe updated in CS4 is how you go directly from Bridge to output, and by that I mean going straight from Bridge to either a printed contact sheet (or a regular print), to a full-blown online photo gallery for the Web. You do this in a much different way than in previous versions of Bridge, and now all your printed output is actually saved to a PDF, which to some will be a bonus, and to others...well...let’s just say it’s not a bonus. Here’s how to do both:
Adobe has changed this part of the Bridge process enough that it now has its own workspace. When you’re ready to make a print (straight from Bridge, without going through Photoshop—keeping in mind that you can use Bridge’s version of Camera Raw first, though), go ahead and switch to the Output workspace (click on Output at the right end of the Application Bar; click on the Output icon and choose Output to Web or PDF from the pop-up menu; go under the Window menu, under Workspace, and choose Output; or use the keyboard shortcut Command-F4 [PC: Ctrl-F4]). (Note: If you still want to create contact sheets and custom prints from Photoshop, see Chapter 14 for how to get these features [and others] back in CS4.)
When this Output workspace appears, the Output panel appears along the right side of the window, with your Content panel thumbnails as a filmstrip along the bottom in the middle. To start the process, you first choose whether you want a print (from a PDF) or an online Web gallery. We’ll start with the prints, so click on the PDF button at the top of the Output panel. Directly under that are the built-in templates you can use, but for our example, choose 4*5 Contact Sheet (as shown here), then down in the Content panel, select the photos you want to appear in your contact sheet.
Even though you can see your selected photos in the Preview panel, they don’t appear in the Output Preview panel until you click the Refresh Preview button (circled here in red). Before you click that button, you have a few choices to make first in the Document section of the Out-put panel, including your paper size, quality (choose High Quality for larger size images), your background color, and whether you want to password protect your PDF (so it can only be opened by someone you give the password to). Also, if you’re emailing this to a client for proofing, and you don’t want them to be able to print your contact sheet out, then turn on the Permission Password and the Disable Printing checkboxes (as shown here).
If you scroll down, you’ll see the Layout section, where you can choose how many rows and columns you’d like, and your page margins (here I changed it to 3 columns and 4 rows, which makes the images larger on the contact sheet, but to see that change I had to click the Refresh Preview button). There’s also an Overlays section with checkboxes for whether you want the filename to appear below each image, and whether it should show the filename extension. If you choose to print the filename, you get to choose the font, style, size, and color (I chose a medium gray). If you create a multi-page PDF and want it to appear as a slide show when opened, you can use the Playback section.
There’s one thing to point out in the Playback section, and that’s the Tran-sition pop-up menu. If you choose one (I always choose Dissolve, because I like that it’s subtle and doesn’t take away from the photos themselves), you’ll get either one or two more pop-up menus with options for your selected transition. The final section is the Water-mark section, which lets you put a visible watermark (usually a copyright notice or the name of your studio) right over each image. You get to choose the font, style, size, color, and opacity of this watermark. You also get to choose whether it appears over your images or behind them. Lastly, I recommend turning on the View PDF After Save check-box, so you can see your final contact sheet before you print it or email it. Now all you need to do is click the Save button, and then if you want to print it, you can print from Adobe Acrobat or Photoshop.
If you choose to create a Web photo gallery instead, you start at the top of the panel by clicking on the Web Gallery button, and when you do an entirely new set of options appears. You can choose a built-in Web gallery template from the Template pop-up menu. My favorites are under Lightroom Flash Gallery (chosen here), and when you choose this, you get to choose which Style you want. Now, sadly there is no preview, so what you have to do is choose a style and (you guessed it) click the Refresh Preview button each time you choose a new style, until you come up with a look you like (the one shown here is Night Life).
You customize the text that appears on your Web gallery in the Site Info section of the Output panel. You just click in the text fields and type in the info you’d like to appear on the page. As always, none of this updates live, so after you enter your text, the only way to actually see it on the page is to click that by now really annoying Refresh Preview button (can you tell this is starting to get to me?). Then it redraws the preview with your new text changes.
If you continue scrolling down the Out-put panel, you’ll find a Color Palette section, where you can choose custom colors for everything from your backgrounds, to your borders, to your text by clicking on the little color swatches. Sounds like fun, until you realize that none of these changes appear until (gotcha!) you click the Refresh Preview button again. (I know, I know. Hey, I didn’t design it—I just teach it.) A little farther down is an Appearance section, where you can choose things like which side your filmstrip will appear on, how large your thumbnails will appear, and how big the main preview will appear when you click on a thumbnail.
After you’ve tweaked your colors, positions, sizes, and basically whatever you felt like tweaking, before you go and save your Web gallery, I absolutely recommend heading back up to the top of the Ouput panel and clicking the Preview in Browser button. This renders a temporary version of the photo gallery— it launches your default Web browser, and opens the page so you can see what your client will see, and how it will really look when it’s up on the Web. I’ve caught little things a dozen or more times that I didn’t see (or just didn’t notice) until I saw the page previewed in a browser like this, so I definitely recommend giving it a look here before you save the final file.
When it’s time to save your Web photo gallery, scroll down to the very bottom of the Output panel to the Create Gallery section (I know, it should be named “Save Gallery”). Here’s where you give your gallery a name and choose whether you want to save it on your computer (for uploading to your Web hosting company) by clicking the Save to Disk radio button, or if you host and maintain your own server, then you can actually upload the files directly to your FTP server by clicking the Upload radio button (by the way, if you were reading that last part about the FTP thing and you thought to yourself, “What’s FTP?” then you’re a Save to Disk person, so ignore the FTP stuff, which will make sense to people who use FTP [freaks that they are]). For you FTP guys, you enter your server path, login stuff, and root folder (again, if that sounds foreign, you’ve read too far. Go back and choose Save to Disk).