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 lot of others under the bonnet. 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 other new features will play an important role in the image making process, it is in 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, labeling and ranking large numbers of images.
The digital light box concept first seen in File Browser has been enhanced by the inclusion of 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 it’s own window.
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. (see Bruce Fraser’s article on The Power of the Curve)
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 memorize 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 usually 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.
As I found myself using these shortcuts on a more regular basis, I realised that the wider Photoshop community might find them as beneficial as I did and so I began the task of documenting all of the Bridge & Camera Raw shortcuts that I could find. Hopefully the two Adobe Acrobat PDF files that I’ve included here will help you get the best from Bridge and Camera Raw when you get your hands on Photoshop CS2.
About Ian Lyons
As a keen and active Northern Ireland based “amateur” photographer, Ian Lyons’ interests include both conventional Photography and Digital Imaging. The images he shoots vary widely in subject matter and technique.
For Ian, the use of computers in the preparation of an image simply offers an attractive alternative to techniques that he had successfully practiced over many years in the conventional darkroom. Ian firmly believes that digital imaging is of benefit to the world of photography.
His web site, Computer-Darkroom offers a wide array of useful tutorials, reviews and articles. Also included are galleries of his photographic work.
As a beta tester of Photoshop CS2 he was deemed the official chief Photoshop Engineer Antagonist and earned the nickname the “Leprish Iricon”. Ian finagled his own shortcut from the Bridge engineers: Cmd+Shift+Option+O returns/opens Photoshop without opening any images whilst also closing the Bridge window. For Windows, Control+Shift+Alt+O.
Ian has been developing new tutorials for Photoshop CS2 that will be posted on his web site with an occasional article here on PhotoshopNews. Ian also volunteers as one of the Adobe User to User Forum moderators for the Photoshop, Camera Raw and DNG forums.