Creative Workflow Specialist seeking data on, well, creative workflows!

I recently became a Creative Workflow Specialist here at Adobe. In this role, I spend a lot of time working with customers, helping them understand how Adobe’s diverse technologies knit together as an end-to-end content development to syndication to monetization to measurement platform. I also spend time learning about how customers have developed their own workflows using our tools, and that is the subject of this post.

In almost every meeting I attend, Bridge appears as a critical part of the workflow. This was the intent of Bridge when it was released back in the day, but it amazes me at how differently people use the same tool. Some use it simply as a file browser. Others use it for managing metadata on assets. Still more use it to interface with their Digital Asset Management (DAM) system. I have even encountered customers who built custom plugins for Bridge to allow users to interface directly with the company’s project management and product lifecycle management solutions. Wow!

I want to thank everyone who responded to the survey that I had posted here earlier in the year. We have completed our information gathering and have presented our findings in another blog post. To all of you who responded (and there were a LOT of you who responded), thanks for your insights, and keep on being creative!

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23 Responses to Creative Workflow Specialist seeking data on, well, creative workflows!

  1. Nini Tjäder says:

    Bridge is essential in my workflow to get photos from my cameras to the web. I donwload from camera or iPhone with Photodownloader to Bridge. In Bridge I use latest version of ACR to make the adjustments I want to do, like cropping, orientation, color, light etc. From ACR in Bridge I save out with dimensions and name of images and eventual other settings you can do there to a folder on my Mac. From that folder I pick the images to use in my 2 blogs. I usually make the adjustments in ACR in Bridge and just sometimes from within Photoshop. Depends on the image and what adjustments need to be done. Bridge is also the place I use for navigating through my images on my harddisks and moving them form one place to another.

  2. I used Bridge to show the Creative Directors which images I had selected to go into our magazines while working at a daily newspaper. They would have been too impatient with showing them the images one at a time. The ability to see the thumbnails from a shoot was awesome and helped us make our selection more easily than anything else the newspaper had to offer. I only wish we could have gotten larger thumbnails (I suppose that would have come if they had provided me a larger monitor). Many uses for Bridge!

  3. Jack Larson says:

    I use Bridge when I am having DAM with Lightroom. Also, any time that I feel that I need to use a browser.

    • James Lockman says:

      Jack, can you tell me a little more about DAM and how you use Lightroom with DAM?

  4. Evelyn Bunton says:

    I used to use Adobe Bridge to go back and forth between Adobe products. It was a big part of my workflow… That was until i got my new laptop… it’s a Dell with a high DPI screen and Bridge is no longer usable. And your alerts are not readable… What happened to your PC support????

  5. Gary Coyne says:

    If my computer is on, Bridge is on. I use it daily and despite its flaws and needs, it does just what I want. Wile I also use Lightroom, Bridge and LR are two different applications for two different purposes. LR means that you are committing to the images (and ONLY images) while Bridge lets you quickly sort and process the images (or whatever else). If I get a bunch of images from someone else to place into an ID or DW project, I do not want to be committed to those images, I need/want to look them over, process the ones I want and not have to deal with the rest of the images again. That’s where Bridge shines (amongst many other purposes).

  6. Chuck Uebele - ACP says:

    Both in my personal work and by day job, Bridge is critical. We mainly use Bridge for entering metadata into images, and then I have a script that processes the images and extracts some of the metadata to be placed into the border of images for distribution. Because we have a lot of different info for our images: requester name, employee number, part and serial numbers, location, etc, we have developed custom metadata fields for our images. One thing I would love to see it Bridge having the ability to enter data into custom metadata fields without any special manipulation of the program. Pretty much being able to see and edit whatever is in the RAW data.

    • James Lockman says:

      Chuck, can you tell me more about how you enter those metadata items? You have custom metadata fields, but did you use the Bridge SDK to build a plugin, or did you make a custom metadata panel using Flex?

      • Chuck Uebele says:

        I built a custom metadata panel using the generic method – I didn’t want to get into doing something too complicated with Flash. And now that Adobe has dropped flash, I needed to redo my panel. The person who originally created the custom fields used all sorts of different namespaces, so it was a challenge finding them all, and getting them to work. It gave the engineers at Adobe something to do, when they were creating the conversion tool for CC, as my panel had so many namespaces and was causing bugs to appear. You can access this panel in Bridge by right clicking on the thumbnail and selecting “file info”. What I’d like to see is those fields show up in the dropdown metadata panels in Bridge, as I use that method of entering metadata more than selecting file info.

  7. George Reis says:

    Only creative uses? I use Bridge daily in a forensics setting. I use it to navigate, sort, rank, and compare files, run various Photoshop functions (actions, image processor, load files into layers, etc.), create multi-page PDF documents (court displays), analyzing metadata, etc., etc. It’s an essential part of my workflow. Glad to see Adobe is interested in getting some feedback, and hopefully putting some engineering time into it. But, there are technical users who also find Bridge very valuable.

    • James Lockman says:

      George, I’m also interested in scientific, engineering and other uses, and it looks like you’re definitely in the “other” category! Thanks for sharing.

  8. Bridge is essential for my workflow but can be so frustrating at times. Slow to index files and build previews and can decide to do this on a folder that has been open recently. To be able to sort and keyword files, jump in and out of ACR for ediing and then output to PDF – a neat workflow and near impossible in any other way.
    Bridge needs a rapid way of navigating folder (i.e. tabs) and folders need to stay as last viewed, so a folder with thousands of images in it should stay in the same place, not force the user to scroll down again.
    Such an essential piece of software and one that is crying out for some resources to bring it up to date.

  9. In my business of creating custom automated workflows using adobe products, for a wide variety of clients. not just creatives. Bridge is absolutely essential. I recently created a scripted solution for a client that replaced a competition product called Photo Mechanic. They monitor traffic flows and would need to sort and manage the metadata on thousands hellicopter captured images every day. We created a solution via Bridge that blew Photo Mechanic out of the water! It was a ton faster, and had way more control. Without Bridge that solution would not have been possible.

  10. Bridge is THE one essential app, the one I couldn’t do without. Most of my art involves compositing. I pull imagery in from all over my drives. Without Stacks and Collections to control my view of my files, without metadata to help me locate them, without Bridge’s ability to preview all types of files that get used or referred to in the process of creating art or writing technical materials, I simply couldn’t function. No other app does what Bridge does. I’ve looked. I don’t really like being this dependent upon a single app. Even PS has substitutes—not great substitutes, but they exist. Because Bridge has been so neglected, allowed to lose any reputation it was gaining with poor speed, poor flexibility in its interface, bugs left unfixed, I’ve looked. I’ve wanted to wean myself from Bridge because it was left languishing, possibly about to be terminated, but it can’t be done. Not that I’ve found. Not so long as I use Adobe products and sift through thousands of files to find the right one for a composite image. I use it all day every day.

  11. As a photographer, author, and instructor, I work with both Lightroom and Bridge. Indeed it’s gotten difficult to talk about one without the other, given their proximity in the CC ecosystem. Bridge is open nearly always, when I’m working, and I use it as a project-centric portal to assets of various kinds, but mostly still images. OTOH I use Lightroom to download and edit photo shoots, and general RAW image prep before bringing individual images into Photoshop. Sure, Lightroom can be a browser too, however my primary deal breaker with Lightroom for general projects is the lack of file support. A lot of my images were shot professionally for print projects for clients, and a lot of my finished photography and photo-illustration is CMYK saved as an EPS (.eps) file. Lightroom won’t recognize these – not even display a preview in the Import dialog. That’s a problem. Bridge – no problem. I don’t want to miss -any- assets when I am browsing for files.

    When working on a project – currently an online course – I add folders to the Favorites panel, drag or copy (Opt/Alt+drag) files from all over to wherever I want them, rename, open in Photoshop to test out a technique, and then start creating sub-folders or Collections for project segments, adding keywords to keep some order to things, and so forth.

  12. Ken Storch says:

    I use, and teach the use of, Br every day.
    It is useful for incoming image sorting, Rating, Labeling, grouping images, checking for critical sharpness, checking metadata such as when comparing lenses + apertures, comparing expressions across numbers of portraits, Moving and Copying To, for launching Ps Image Processor, to apply CR edits to groups of images without having to process them, and on , and on.
    Thanks.

  13. charles molt says:

    i use bridge mainly as an image browser and/or to take a quick look at any raw files without going thru lr or ps

  14. Bridge is necessary for my work flow. As much as I love Lightroom it’s just not a user friendly photo cataloging program. I do use it for bulk editing which it is king but Bridge is still king in photo organizing and and general usage. The windows based file folder system is very easy to use and straight forward for those like me that think that way. Developing further into this program and still keeping it simple will only get better results in attracting more photographers to use it…Love it.

  15. Doris says:

    I used it as a browser, to import photos, to rate, label, compare. I have an extensive list of keywords and have tagged my assets. I filter. In addition to having a lot of photos, I have a lot of assets related to scrapbooking-pngs, jpgs, textures. I search. I use collections a lot. Have used Bridge since CS2 and could not live without it. It’s a great program, I hope it continues to be there for us.

  16. Patsy says:

    I use bridge everyday in creating my digital art. I use it to sort, store and view my digital scrapbooking products, images I scan, and my photos.

  17. Kat Gilbert says:

    I use Bridge daily also but with the silence from Adobe I am beginning to think I need to go to Br for there are the only upgrades- sadly- and hopefully not the end of this discussion. Downloaded the latest Lr from ACC and I am not impressed but see some of the aspects that I had hoped would happen within Br. Hopefully Adobe will see the demand and need and continue as an aspect that is necessary for Ps workflow.

  18. I use Bridge not Lightroom daily!
    Bridge is essential to the pure teaching of the Raw converter to my students without complications. I am a Bridge specialist as I believe that it brings the purest translation to my students on how to process their imagery!
    Call me.

  19. Larry Angier says:

    When it first came out, I wondered about its usage since it wasn’t quire ready. But things have changed and for the past few versions, it is a mature and useable product. It is a critical part of my workflow for print.

    My use is fairly simple. I use Bridge to organize my photos for proof sheets to print for my clients (it allows me to sequence and design gang sheets), to organize my photos for presentations where I print and then reorder the sequence of photos, and also to organize and print my working images and final edits both before and after crafting my master images.

    Bridge is simpler than Lightroom and doesn’t require me to deal with every image in my collection. Though Lightroom is great for the workflow of many, it is too much for me. Simple is good and Bridge is the tool for me!