Undoubtedly, Lightroom's power as a data base has made it GO TO software. This being said, many photographers still find Bridge and Adobe Camera RAW work well for their purposes. Bridge is still a great organizer and the engine that drives ACR is identical to the Develop module in LR. Just the exterior differs. For those who still swear by Bridge and ACR, I have five Quick Tips that will endear it more deeply!
QUICK TIP #1: Maximize SEARCH capability in BRIDGE
While Bridge can't compete with LR as a search engine, if you use parent and subfolders, it can filter through hundreds or thousands of images. You can filter using labels, keywords, star ratings or any other criteria that lives in the Filter panel. This provides a very powerful search feature. While it will be slower in comparison to LR, it provides powerful capability.
Open Bridge and navigate to a Parent Folder.
Go to the VIEW panel in the options bar at the top of the workspace.
Enable "Show Items From Subfolders." Every photo that lives in the subfolders will now be displayed in the Content area of Bridge.
Search using labels, keywords, star ratings or other criteria in the Filter panel.
To have your photos revert to individual folders, simply go back to VIEW and uncheck "Show Items From Subfolders."
QUICK TIP #2: Quickly Apply Develop Settings To Similar Images While in Bridge
It's easy to "Batch Develop" an entire series of photos that need the same settings without having to open ACR. COPY the settings from an already tweaked file and apply them to surrounding images that would benefit from the same optimization.
Navigate to the CONTENT Panel.
Choose a file where ACR settings have already been applied.
Click on that file that's already been tweaked.
Hold down the Control key and re-click on the image to reveal a fly out menu with the settings in the illustration below - navigate to "Copy Settings"
Now that the settings are stored in the computer's memory, highlight ALL the images that would benefit from the Copied settings. If they appear in a series, SHIFT CLICK to get them all. Hold down the Control key and re-click on the images to reveal a fly out menu with the settings in the illustration below - navigate to "Paste Settings." Almost instantly, all the settings will take on the optimization of the copied image.
QUICK TIP #3: See a Before/After of The Applied Settings of each Individual Slider in ACR
To reset sliders in ACR to their default is a simple matter of double clicking the small triangle. Many people already know this - if not, you get 2 quick tips!
To see a Before / After of EACH slider's effect, follow these steps:
Move the slider to the position you feel best optimizes the photo.
Double click the triangle to see the BEFORE view but DON'T MOVE THE MOUSE.
Now single click the mouse so the slider immediately returns to the optimized AFTER position.
Double click again to return to the BEFORE default.
During this BEFORE/AFTER process, make adjustments to fine tune each slider.
QUICK TIP #4: REOPEN an Optimized File in ACR to Fine Tune Any Settings Found in ACR.
All to often I've worked on a photo in ACR, brought it into Photoshop, and then wished I would have done just a bit more tweaking using the sliders in ACR to get the image the way I desired. The latest versions of Photoshop provide this capability:
With the image opened in PS, go to Filter>Camera Raw Filter and further modify the picture using the sliders in ACR.
For the image of the baboon, I wanted to tone down just the blue light reflected off the monkey's nose and also the stump. I reopened the photo in ACR and went to the HSL tab. I moved the blue Luminance slider to the left to darken just the blues. The BEFORE image appears on the left. The AFTER image is shown in the HSL tab of ACR:
QUICK TIP #5: MAXIMIZE the Window Size of the ACR workspace.
When you click the DONE button in ACR, whatever the size of the ACR window was, that's the size it will be when you open ACR again. If the window was small because you needed to hover it in a corner but you now want it big, simply tap the "F" key to have the window fill the screen. Rather than drag/move and drag/move the corners, you can now easily fill the screen with one keystroke. It works as a toggle to go back and forth from FULL screen to small and back again.
(This trick works with many window spaces in Photoshop in addition to other pieces of software. If you use Nik, it can be utilized with most of their programs.)
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