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Computer Darkroom

This article was first published on PhotoshopNews.com  in April 2005. However, I've used this version to include some additional material along with some new shortcuts and related Tips.


So, Photoshop CS2 has been announced and with it we get a host of new features such as: Vanishing Point, Smart Object, Smart Sharpen, Image Warping, 32-bit support Merge to HDR, Lens Correction, Noise Reduction plus a host of others. Along with these new features we also find a significantly enhanced version of Camera Raw and a completely new companion application called Adobe Bridge.

From the very first day I began beta testing Photoshop CS2 it was Bridge along with Camera Raw 3 that became my favourites. Why Bridge and Camera Raw? Well I'm primarily a photographer and whilst the new features will play an important roll in the image making process it is the initial phase of this process where photographers will benefit the most. As a photographer I can easily find myself processing many hundreds of images after a day's shooting, so anything that makes that task easier and more efficient is to be welcomed. Since Bridge is a standalone application it is far more flexible and less of a resource hog than File Browser ever was. In fact during beta some testers referred to Bridge as being like "the File Browser on steroids".

The default view of Bridge will be familiar to those already using File Browser but the range of tools and commands make it much easier to carry out tasks such as sorting, labelling and ranking large numbers of images.


Adobe Bridge – Thumbnails View

The digital light box concept first seen in File Browser has been enhanced by the inclusion workspace layout presets that include the very useful Filmstrip view and another called Versions and Alternates. For me the Slideshow feature is also a real winner in that a show can be viewed full-screen or in its own window.


Adobe Bridge – Filmstrip View

The improvements to workflow made possible by enabling Camera Raw to function outside of Photoshop will make life a lot easier for photographers. Likewise incorporating features such as Auto Adjustments, Crop, Straighten, and of course the very welcome Curves tool.


Camera Raw 3 – Filmstrip Mode

Obviously, being standalone, Bridge has it's own menu options and keyboard shortcuts, many of which have been borrowed from its predecessor. This brings me to the one area of Photoshop that I’ve always been hopeless at… keyboard shortcuts and modifiers.

I'm not a keyboard junkie and my ability to memorise shortcuts isn't as good as it should be, so if I can use the mouse or a menu option to access a feature or tool I will. However, as the beta programme progressed it became clear that many of the workflow enhancements built into Bridge and Camera Raw 3 could best be exploited via the keyboard. Unfortunately, a lot of these shortcuts were not documented, that is until Thomas Knoll posted the list for Camera Raw. A list of Bridge and Camera Raw shortcuts for Windows and Mac can be downloaded here.

– July 2005

In late July 2005 Adobe released the Adobe Bridge 1.02 update. Whilst this update was primarily a "bug fix" it includes some additional keyboard shortcuts and modified the functionality of others, so I've updated the PDF's listed above to reflect these changes. So as to wet your appetite I've included the following screenshot, which shows the new shortcut to Show/Hide the Bridge side panels thus maximising the area available for viewing thumbnail. The shortcut is: Ctl+Alt+T (Windows) or Cmd+Option+T (Mac).

Tip: remember that you can assign your own keyboard shortcut for up to 7 custom workspaces (i.e. Ctrl/Cmd+F6 through F12)


Show/Hide the Bridge Side Panels

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