CS5 Users: Download Bridge CS5 Update 4.0.1! Here's How to Use the Export Panel
It's a full moon as I write this. And the moon's phattest phase brings glad tidings: Adobe has finally shipped a fully functioning version of Bridge CS5. So when the Adobe Application Manager prompts you to download the latest updates to Dreamweaver, Premiere Pro, and the Bridge, skip the first two for all I care and then drop whatever you're doing and download the last.
Previous to today, one of the Bridge's best new features, the Export panel, has been non-functional. Not somewhat impaired or slightly rough-around-the-edges, but just sitting there like an irritating lump, entirely inoperable. If you tried hard enough, you could make the Export panel display the "Select Modules to enable" message (see below), only to claw your eyes in disbelief as you stared at the blank space where some downloadable modules ought to be. But, ha! It was all a fun joke meant to test your loyalty. Now the Export panel actually works, and I'm actually here to tell you how to actually use it.
See, the spanking-new Export panel lets you batch-export images to Facebook, Flickr, and Photoshop.com. Which is swell and everything. But my favorite feature is called Save to Hard Drive. Despite its dopey name---presumably your images are already on a hard drive---it serves a much-needed purpose: Save to Hard Drive batch-converts your raw images to JPEGs so you can make them available to clients, friends, and other mere mortals.
I originally documented this feature in Chapter 3, "Open and Organize," of my insanely comprehensive video series Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals for lynda.com. The movie was called "Batch-exporting JPEG files" but we had to pull it because it misled people into thinking the Export panel served a purpose. Don't worry, we'll have it back up soon. In the meantime, here's what the movie says about the now-functioning panel:
- Download the new Bridge update. Install it. And when that's done, launch the Bridge.
- Create a metadata template. Optional, but a good idea: Bring up the Metadata panel and choose Create Metadata Template from the flyout menu.
- Enter your info. Fill out the Creator (you), Author (you again), and Copyright Notice (again, you) fields in the IPTC Core area. And set the Copyright Status to Copyrighted. Then scroll up to the IPTC (IIM, legacy) item, twirl it open, and set the Copyright Info URL to your Web site address (or mine if you want to pimp me, which is entirely acceptable).
- Name and save the template. At the top of the dialog box, give the template a name like "My Generic Metadata" and click the Save button.
- Navigate to a folder full of raw images. These should be files that you've already processed. I recommend the DNG format for this purpose, but CR2s, NEFs, ORFs, and others will work as well.
- Select the thumbnails you want to convert. If you want to convert everything, press Ctrl+A (PC) or Cmd-A (Mac).
- Bring up the Export panel. By default, it lives in the bottom-left corner of the screen with Filter and Collections. If you can't find it, choose Window > Export Panel.
- Drag and drop your thumbnails. Drag a selected thumbnail and drop it and the rest of its selected friends onto the Save for Hard Drive icon. The process doesn't begin automatically; you just identified the files to convert. You have many more steps to follow.
- Click that arrowhead that points up and to the right. It appears next to the X to the right of the Save to Hard Drive icon. Up comes the Export dialog box. (As if that makes sense. Who designed this feature?)
- Switch to Image Options. The panel you see first is the one you should see second. (Hang tight. You have to perform most of these steps just once.) So switch to the panel you should see first by clicking on the Image Options tab. The panel doesn't offer any hint that you'll be saving JPEG images, but that's what you'll be doing.
- Set the Image Size and Quality. Assuming you want to save off full-sized images, select Don't Resize from the first pop-up menu. (Or enter resizing options if you prefer.) And then set the Image Quality value to its maximum, 12. That's still a lot of compression, and life is too short for shitty JPEGs.
- Append the metadata template. Leave Include Original Metadata turned on and the pop-up after it set to All. That way you preserve all star ratings, labels, and keywords. Then turn on the Apply Metadata Template check box, set Name to your template (mine appears a Generic Deke below), and Method to Append Metadata.
- Click the Destination tab. Now you're ready for the first panel of options. Click Destination at the top of the dialog box. I recommend you select Publish to a Specific Folder and then make a new folder using the Browse button.
- Name and save your preset. At the bottom of the dialog box, enter a name for a preset that you can use well into the future without going through this headache all over again. "My JPEG Settings" or something like that. And click on the Save button. Your preset immediately appears in the Export panel in the background.
- Click the Export button. Miraculously, the Bridge finally gets down to the task of converting your raw images to JPEG files, without opening an image or ever once invoking Photoshop, the way it used to work with the Image Processor script.
That's it. Then you just sit there and goof off while the Bridge does its thing. In the future, you can drag and drop your raw images onto that My JPEG Settings icon you created in Step 14. Which will still require you to click on that up-and-to-the-right arrow icon from Step 9, but at least you can skip the quality and metadata steps.
Seriously, I'm so glad this feature is finally available. I don't know about you, but it makes me smile when I see a piece of shipping software come out with a new feature that actually does something---really, anything---that it's supposed to do.