The view from the Bridge

Adobe’s new Bridge—a stand-alone application aptly named for its integrative and management functions—has replaced Photoshop CS’s dedicated File Browser and now provides file-management and automation features for the entire Creative Suite 2.

Like the old File Browser, Bridge’s interface provides separate, resizable panes that display metadata, previews, and your Mac’s directory structure. You can use Bridge to preview just about any type of raster or vector file format, including many that don’t normally provide previews, and you can easily edit file names and metadata. InDesign users will appreciate Bridge’s ability to display an InDesign document’s font and color information without having to open the file.

The interface has been improved with a Filmstrip pane that shows both a strip of thumbnails and a full-size image. There is also a built-in slide-show feature that allows you to rate and label images as you view them.

Workflow improvements include better automation, improved searching, and batch processing that now span the entire suite. Bridge also eases color management by automatically synchronizing color settings throughout all the CS apps (this feature is not available if you purchase the apps individually).

In addition to opening documents, Bridge lets you place files into Illustrator, Photoshop, or InDesign documents, making it a very effective command center.

Bridge—through its handy Bridge Center interface—provides a portal to Adobe’s new stock photo service, which sells images from PhotoDisk, ComStock, DigitalVision, and others. Though the feature doesn’t provide access to anything you can’t get from a Web site, it gives you one interface that lets you search multiple stock libraries with one command.

The Bridge Center also gives you instant access to your most recent files and folders, an RSS reader, the Help and color-management menus, and more.

Bridge is not a replacement for an image-cataloging program like iView Multimedia’s iView MediaPro (   ; March 2004 ), because it can’t save catalogs of offline images. But for finding, organizing, and placing images in your current projects, Bridge is a great addition to the Adobe suite.

How CS2 Apps Use Bridge

Photoshop
As a direct descendant of Photoshop’s File Browser, Bridge is a key companion to Photoshop CS2. It’s a virtual light table, a slide projector, and an automation assistant. I could see using some of the other Creative Suite 2 applications without also using Bridge, but I can’t imagine using Photoshop CS2 without it.— Jim Heid

InDesign
Bridge is an application InDesign users can easily ignore, except for setting suitewide color preferences (if you own the suite). Most designers will likely use InDesign as the primary interface to the layout’s constituent files, unless they’re doing a lot of the Photoshop and Illustrator work. But Bridge is there—and quite usable—if it’s needed.— Galen Gruman

Illustrator
Bridge is great for quickly finding the Illustrator document you’re looking for, thanks to its thumbnail display. Complex Illustrator documents often include many linked image files, and Bridge makes short work of finding, tracking, and placing them.— Ben Long

GoLive
Adobe GoLive CS2 contains embedded versions of the two most useful Bridge tools for examining versions and alternates, so there’s little reason for GoLive users to engage Bridge except to look at project files that aren’t part of a GoLive site.— Glenn Fleishman

The Bridge Center interface shows everything from links, to recently opened documents, to the latest RSS feeds from Adobe.

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