Photoshop CS2 brought major improvements to both the resultant
image quality and the RAW workflow process over it's predecessor.
The introduction of "Bridge" which replaces the "File
Browser" is the most significant change. Bridge is now
a separate programme from Photoshop itself and enables you to
work on RAW images and
get them opening or batch-processed in the background while
working in Photoshop. The speed
at which the computer works while this is happening depends
on how powerful the processor
is in your computer. Bridge also enables you to design the work
area layout in many different ways to suit your taste. It also
introduces the ability to carry out cropping and curves adjustments
previously had to be done in Photoshop. It is now possible to
carry out all stages in the workflow in Bridge right up to conversion
and saving as a TIFF file.
I now find that I usually only need to open Photoshop to resize
and sharpen my images or use
the healing brush or clone tool to remove dust spots. For photographers,
Bridge is becoming the main part of Photoshop, and Photoshop
itself is behaving more like a plug-in !
In the following tutorial I will explain how to use Bridge
to view images on a simulated light box,
make selections of images and score them using the slideshow,
to carry out batch processes such as as renaming files, carrying
out batch RAW conversions, cropping and finally saving in the
new dng (digital negative group) format.
I have not described how to make image adjustments as these
are the same as I have already described in the CS tutorial
: Raw conversion in Photoshop CS
I have only included information on the areas where CS2 differs
Lets get going then....
1.0 Copy your images from the card reader into
a named folder on your computer. Open Bridge by clicking the
go to Bridge icon at the top of the screen. (A magnifying glass
beside a folder).
Browse for your new image folder using the Folders tab. It is
advisable to give the images time to fully load before starting
to covert them. However if you really can't wait to process
a single favorite image you can click on it and it will open
in the Raw processor.
The quickest way to create a new folder and then
copy files from a card reader into it is by using Windows Explorer.
If you want to do this and view thumbnails of the raw images
you will need to download the latest version of Microsoft's
raw image viewer.
In my example I have copied a series of images
into a sub folder called "Goldfinch raws" within a
folder called "Goldfinch"
I have selected View>As thumbnails from the
top toolbar. I have also dragged the frame to see a nice light
box of thumbnails. Finally, using the slider at the bottom of
the screen I have adjusted the thumbnails to be a reasonable
size for viewing.
2.0 Image evaluation slideshow
The next stage is to evaluate the images and assign
a rating score to each . Start by going to View>Slide show.
The first image will be displayed along with it's filename,
date and time.
Notice that you have a wonderful, big full-screen image in which
to evaluate your images which loads fast.
Press key "H" to close the slideshow
help/options dialogue box. To start an automatic slideshow you
press the spacebar, but don't do this as we want to move manually
through the images one by one to
evaluate them and rate them. By pressing the "D" key
you can change the display size on the screen - I use "Scale
to fit" . By pressing the "C" key you can change
the caption format. I find that "full" is most useful
as it displays the star ratings. Alternatively, if you choose
"caption off" you get a nice clean slideshow without
any words etc appearing over the image.
Using your right hand, use the left and right
keyboard keys to move through the images. Use your left hand
to press the comma (,) and full stop (.) keys. Each press of
the full stop advances the score (star rating) of your image
by one. Each press of the comma key reduces the score by one.
Alternatively, you can just enter a number between 1 and 5.
In the example below, I rated this image 3 stars.
Junk would get no stars, and other images would be rated accordingly.
3.0 Dealing with rated and unrated images
When you have been through all your images, the
slideshow will cease and you will be returned to Bridge. (If
not, press escape to end).
The next step is to select the small down arrow
beside the "unfiltered" box at the top right of your
I now select "show unrated items". Only images without
a rating should appear. Select them all by clicking Edit>Select
Unlabelled. Then hit delete to remove them. (If you make a mistake,
you can retrieve them from the recycle bin).
Next, you can go back to the "unfiltered" box and
select "Show 1 or more stars". All the remaining images
will appear. You can either run another slide show and modify
the ratings and delete more unwanted images, or you can delete
low ranking images or keep everything if you prefer.
4.0 Batch commands
4.1 Batch rename. (Optional step)
The next step is to use the power of the batch commands to rename
all the retained images if you wish. You can either do this
now, or later when you save the images. The filenames coming
out of the camera are a meaningless string of letters and numbers
- how much nicer to call them something that means something
Select the images you wish to rename (Edit >
Select all or click on an individual thumbnail , or click on
a series of images whilst holding down the Ctrl key.)
Go to Tools > Batch Rename and a new dialogue
box will open. In my example, I selected text and called the
images goldfinch plus the date. Click "Rename" and
the computer will assign the new filename to every image selected
and add a suffix 1, 2 etc after the name. If you click the small
+ button a new window will appear which enables you to add a
variety of suffixes such as dates and sequence numbers etc -
whatever you prefer.
4.2 Batch descriptions, copyright, keywords etc. (Optional step)
The next step is aimed more at the professional
user as it enables you to add document titles, author, copyright
info, keywords etc and embed it electronically into the image.
You can check any image on the web at a later stage and check
the author and copyright by going into File > File Info.
Go to File> File Info and under Description
you can add as much data as you like. The down arrow beside
each box enables selections to be made from previous phrases
rather than having to retype them.
To get the copyright symbol © on a PC keyboard,
hold down the Alt key and type "0169" on the numeric
keypad (on the right of your keyboard - not the numbers above
the letters on the keyboard )
5.0 Raw Processing
Next we come to the RAW processing step. You can
either double-click on an individual in Bridge, or select a
number (or all) images for batch conversion. If your images
are all very different and have been taken in different lighting
situations, you may choose to process them individually. However,
if the images are pretty similar (as my goldfinches are) then
you can save an enormous amount of time by carrying out batch
conversions. I will cover a batch conversion here.
Select more than one image and then go to File
> Open in camera RAW. You will notice that the first image
has opened in the big preview window, but the other selected
images have also loaded as thumbnails down the left of the screen.
You can now work in one of two ways, you can either click "select
all" so that all the changes you make apply to all selected
images or, you can make changes to one image and then click
"synchronize all" to apply the changes to all selected
images. I prefer to use the second option as it gives the option
to apply some or all the changes made. If you decided to crop
the image, you might not want to apply this universally. Click
ok to synchronize all the chosen options.
In the example below, I have selected the first
image and chosen to crop it using the crop tool. Notice that
under crop size, the remaining number of megapixels selected
appears. It is also easy to straighten a sloping horizon using
the new straighten tool at this time.
Another new feature to CS2 is the Auto boxes for
Exposure, Shadows, Brightness, Contrast and Saturation. You
can override these if you don't like the auto selections offered,
but they are usually a good starting point to work from at least.
This speeds up conversions compared to CS.
I will not duplicate how to use all the sliders in Adjust/Detail/Lens/Calibrate
as these are covered in Raw conversion
in Photoshop CS. However, the Curves Tab is new to CS, so
lets take a look at this.
It is worth ticking the shadows and highlight warning boxes
as these indicate clipping at each end of the
tonal range. In the image of the goldfinches, you can see some
highlight clipping (red) and some shadow clipping (blue). This
is a high dynamic range image and the camera is not capable
of capturing the full range. The human eye is more efficient!
Another way of working is to deselect the shadows and highlights
boxes, and instead, hold down the "Alt" key while
adjusting the exposure and shadows sliders. Only the clipped
parts of the image will be displayed. You can then adjust the
sliders to just eliminate clipping or allow a little clipping
if it occurs in unimportant areas of the image (specular highlight
reflections on water for example).
6.0 Curves tab
The Curves tab offers a simple and advanced way
of tweaking the contrast in the shadows, mid-tones and highlights
in the image. By including this control, it negates the need
to post-process in levels or curves within photoshop itself.
By clicking the down arrow beside the Tone Curves
box, the options to select Linear, medium, strong and custom
contrasts appear. I usually find that one of the choices offered
does the trick in providing a bit of extra punch to the image.
If not, tweaking the graph by clicking on it and altering it's
shape gives infinite control.
7.0 Opening and saving processed RAWS
There are times when I just want to open the image
in Photoshop and take a look at it, play with it or whatever,
and the RAW converter gives the option to "Open x images"
Usually I will want to save my converted images,
so I will then click "save x images" . The following
dialogue box then appears.
You can "Select folder" to browse to
the folder in which you wish to save your images. Under "File
handling" you get another chance to save your images under
a different filename. You actually have more options here than
in the Batch rename option covered earlier.
Finally, you have the option of saving the file
as a .dng extension with the format of Digital Negative.
I always save in this way.
Manufacturers have different and incompatible raw files, e.g.
Nikon have nef and Canon has crw. Even within one manufacturer
there are different formats , Canon's earlier cameras use crw
and newer models use crw2 file formats. In order to standardize,
Adobe has come up with the Digital Negative Group (dng) format.
It makes sense to save your files now as a .dng for future proofing
Click Save, and you are done.
However, what you have done is apply (reversible
but stored ) corrections to the RAW image and saved it as a
.dng file. In order to create a TIFF file which can be used
for printing, resizing etc, you will still need to carry out
a RAW (To TIFF) conversion.
To do this, select all your images again in the
RAW converter and select Save again. This time select a file
extension of TIF and save in a different folder. In my case
, I chose to save my RAWS in the sub folder of "Goldfinch"
called "Goldfinch Raws" and my converted TIFF files
in the main "Goldfinch" folder. That way I have a
RAW file that I can go back to plus a converted file for general
As the old .crw RAW's are no longer required, I then delete
them to prevent unnecessary raw file duplication.