A Computer Darkroom Tutorial

Being a Host on the Adobe User to User  forums means that I see a lot of repetitive questions, so here are a few of the Tips and Tricks I've provided in response to these questions.


March 2006

Bridge Tip

A recent query on the Adobe Bridge User to User forum reminded me of a technique that I had developed some months back to locate images where I may have forgotten to insert data into the IPTC Description and/or Keyword fields. You would think that finding such images would be a fairly simple task, but it isn't. The reason it isn't so simple is that Bridge has no direct way of searching for empty IPTC metadata fields. Hmm, major oversight you think, well Yes and No! Yes it's an oversight and it's also a PITA, but it's not the show stopper it could have been.

Now, I make no claims to the use of perfect English or grammar for that matter, but I do know that there aren't too many words in day-to-day use that don't contain at least one vowel or the so-called semivowel "y". So, how do we get from vowels to a blank IPTC Description and/or Keyword field? Easy, if  we keep our keywords and descriptions legal <g> then a Find (Edit menu or Cmd/Ctrl+F) operation using the appropriate criteria will return only those images where the relevant IPTC field is empty. The following screenshot is an example to show how the Find dialog should be configured so that images that have no IPTC Description data are displayed.


Once it has been run you can save it as a Collection and reuse. Alternatively, you can download an already created Collections for finding images with empty IPTC Keyword or Description field from here. The installation instructions can be found below in the January tip.

Not long after posting this tip Adam Pratt of Adobe suggested the use of the use of a " " (i.e. a space as the search criteria). Whilst it's really only suitable for single word keyword or descriptions it's still a useful option.

January 2006

Bridge Tip

If there's one thing that lets Bridge down it's easy method of locating and displaying images that match very specific criteria. For example, say you wanted to display: only portrait format images, only landscape format images, only images with the sRGB ICC profile embedded, only JPEG images, and the list goes on. Well, there is a way but it involves using the Find feature, which is located within the Edit menu (I know, it's not very intuitive). Anyway, using Find we can easily save out Collections, which is really a fancy name for "saved searches". Now before you run away, I know Bridge users love to hate Collections, but they really are your friend.

The following screenshot shows how the Find dialog needs to be configured if you were wanting to show only JPEG images. Noticed that I've activated "Include All Subfolders" and " Show find results in a new browser window". Whilst these two options aren't essential they do make the resulting Collection a lot more useful when searching through large numbers of files and/or folders.


Find -  JPEG Images

This Collection is particularly useful to digital cameras users who capture both JPEG and RAW format files but later want to view only the JPEGs. I know lots of Bridge users find the whole topic Collections too complex, therefore I'm providing some of my own for your use. They can be downloaded (file is quite small) from here. To install them simply drag and drop them into the Bridge Collections folder, the following screenshot shows how this can be done.

Installing Bridge Collections

November 2005

Camera Raw Tip

So you're working in Camera Raw film-strip mode and find that after adjusting an image the keystrokes for Next (Down-arrow key) and Previous (Up-arrow key) image no longer function... frustrating isn't it? The normal solution is to use the mouse to click the little triangle buttons found at the bottom right corner (red rectangle in screenshot shown below) of the image preview window. However, there is a much faster method that doesn't involve the mouse, i.e. Next image ~ Cmd/Ctrl+Right-arrow key and Previous image ~ Cmd/Ctrl+Left-arrow key.


Also, I'm sure that you already know that double-clicking the Zoom tool will preview the image at 100% but do you know how to maximise cropped image view (i.e. Crop in View)? Crop the image as appropriate then double-click the Crop tool. To return to Fit in View (default) simply double-click the Hand tool.

September 2005

Camera Raw Tip

Are you one of the many Bridge and Camera Raw users who don't like or just find it difficult to use a mouse? If you are then you'll likely be tad cheesed (forgive the pun) that Camera Raw doesn't have any obvious shortcut for selecting adjustments such as Temperature, Tint, Exposure, but you shouldn't be because you only need ONE key i.e. the "Tab". How do I make it work?


  1. Open image into Camera Raw and hit Tab key TWICE to select Temperature (Mac only). If using Windows click the word Temperature with the mouse or pen otherwise you'll need to hit Tab key multiple times before Temperature is selected. The difference in behaviour is apparently due to different UI rules for Tab key behaviour in each of the operating systems.

  2. Use the Up/Down arrows to increase/decrease Temperature by 50 units or Shift+Up/Down arrow to increase/Decrease by 500K

  3. Hit Tab key to move to Tint: use the Up/Down arrows to increase/decrease Tint by 1 unit or Shift+Up/Down to increase/Decrease by 10 units

  4. Hit Tab key to move to Exposure: use the Up/Down arrows to increase/decrease Exposure by 1 unit or Shift+Up/Down to increase/Decrease by 10 units

  5. Hit Tab key to move to Shadow: use the Up/Down arrows to increase/decrease Shadow by 1 unit or Shift+Up/Down to increase/Decrease by 10 units

  6. Hit Tab key to move to Brightness: use the Up/Down arrows to increase/decrease Brightness by 1 unit or Shift+Up/Down to increase/Decrease by 10 units

  7. Hit Tab key to move to Contrast: use the Up/Down arrows to increase/decrease Contrast by 1 unit or Shift+Up/Down to increase/Decrease by 10 units

  8. Hit Tab key to move to Saturation: use the Up/Down arrows to increase/decrease Saturation by 1 unit or Shift+Up/Down to increase/Decrease by 10 units

You can use Shift+Tab to select the previous adjustment and Cmd/Ctrl+Option/Alt+2 through 5 to access the: Detail, Lens, Curves and Calibration tabs.

August 2005

Bridge Tip

You know those little icons or badges as Adobe like to call them, that appear on the bottom of your thumbnails. Well, here's a screenshot that shows what they mean.



Adobe Community Professional


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