Apr 13, 2005

Introducing the new Adobe Bridge Slideshow

As many of you will be aware by now, the Photoshop File Browser has metamorphosed into a new standalone program called Bridge, which is supplied with all the programs in the Adobe CS2 Creative Suite. And in this new release, the Adobe engineers have been able to add a lot more new features, to make Bridge a powerful application with which to carry out all your picture selection editing. Bridge is primarily designed to enhance the workflow between all the programs in the Adobe CS2 Creative Suite. But one of the cool new features in Bridge is the Slideshow viewing mode.

There is always the concern that when you add more functionality to a software program, you add more complexity. ‘Less is more’, as they say, but when you start to work with Bridge you will soon discover that ‘more can give you less’. It is all very well having lots of controls to play with, but in reality, most of us would prefer to concentrate on looking at the pictures without being distracted by all the clutter of a computer interface. This is the ideal use for Slideshow.

Figure 1. In this Bridge window I made a selection of the 6 images I wanted to preview using the Slideshow viewing mode.

To use the Slideshow feature you first need to make a selection in the content area on the right of the images you are interested in previewing and then choose View > Slideshow from the Bridge menu, or simply use the Command/Control-L shortcut. This will open the images up in a full screen slideshow mode (shown below). The initial display contains a list of keyboard shortcuts. Some of these you might want to memorize straight away, the rest you can learn as you go along. The great thing about the slideshow is that it provides you with a nice simple interface, yet has all the controls you are likely to need when marking your picture edit selections.

Figure 2. The initial slideshow view lists the main keyboard shortcuts to use when working in the Slideshow view mode. You can press the ‘H’ key to toggle showing and hiding this menu display.

So, if you check out the initial menu display you will notice that you have various keyboard controls with which to navigate from one image to the next, controls to rate the images with, plus controls to set up an automatic slideshow presentation. And by pressing ‘W’, you can toggle the slideshow display to fill the whole screen or within a separate window (as shown in Figure 3).

Figure 3. You can set the Slideshow to display in a full screen mode, or as shown here, in a separate window.

Easy image marking
In Photoshop CS you could use the Flag command to mark the images that you liked either by clicking on the flag icon in the File Browser or by using the Command/Control-‘ shortcut. I quite liked the simplicity of this method for rating images. The problem was that if you applied a flag command to an image that had already been flagged, the command would toggle applying the flag. And so it was all too easy to inadvertently undo a flag on a favorite image!

I was therefore keen to see Bridge include a method of rating images in which you could use one keyboard shortcut to add a rating to an image and separate shortcut to subtract a rating. As you select file thumbnails in the main content area of the Bridge window, Command/Control-period will add a star rating to an image and a Command/Control-comma will subtract a star rating. If you are viewing the images in Slideshow view mode, you simply use the period key to add a rating and the comma key to subtract (no modifier key combo is required). You can apply ratings of up to five stars to images by simply repeatedly pressing the period and comma keys to mark the rating higher or lower. The beauty of this arrangement is that there is no need to take your concentration off of the pictures to check what the current image rating is. You can use the Slideshow viewing mode to make a first pass as you edit all the photos from a shoot, marking the images you like with a star, by pressing the period key. And you can move from one image to the next by using the left and right keyboard arrow keys. Once you have done that, return to the Bridge window view and select to view only the images that are marked with one star or higher (or use the Command/Control+Option/Alt-1 keyboard shortcut).

You can then return to the Slideshow view mode and continue marking the shots you like with another press of the period key, or maybe a double hit if you find a shot you really like. And if you change your mind and decide to mark an image down, you can hit the comma key instead. With this method of editing, one can quickly edit a collection of image captures and end up with the images marked with 0-5 stars according to your edit preference without having to concentrate on anything but the pictures.

Figure 4. In Bridge, you can use Command-period on a Mac (Control-period on a PC) to add a one star rating to an image and you can use Command-comma on a Mac (Control-comma on a PC) to remove a one star rating. In the Slideshow mode, you only need to use the period key to add a star rating, and the comma key to remove a star rating.

Easier for everyone
The big advantage of this system is that anyone can use it. When I am busy working in the studio, I am going to love using the Slideshow viewing mode, because it will make it easier for me to go through the picture selection process with a client. I may even be able to hand the computer over and let them work with the slideshow on their own. My assistants can definitely learn how to use it and even a non-computer literate person should not have much difficulty working this one out.


Martin Evening is a London based advertising photographer and noted expert in both photography and digital imaging. As a successful photographer, Martin is well known in London for his fashion and beauty work.

In his upcoming book Adobe Photoshop CS2 For Photographers from Focal Press, Martin extends his expertise to brilliant writing about difficult technical and artistic subjects.

His previous editions have already gained a COOL 2 Award from PEI magazine. The book has also been given an Editor’s Choice Award by The Designer’s Bookshelf.

In addition, Martin is sought after for speaking and lectures and is a regular at PDN’s Photo Plus Expo Conference. Martin is also active in the Digital Imaging Group, a UK based digital imaging association and is co-host of the popular “Prodig” Mailing list. If you would like to find out how to join this mailing list, please visit the web site .

Martin also works with the Adobe Photoshop engineering team consulting on new feature development and alpha and beta testing.

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