What's new in Bridge CS4?

In this cycle our goal was to unlock the power of Bridge.  Bridge was already a highly capable, feature-rich application, so instead of slathering it with new features, our first task was to get more people to discover and use what’s there.  That meant changing the bang for the buck: raising the discoverability & usability of existing features while lowering the barriers to use (speed, launch time, memory usage).  We also wanted to add some key features that would help photographers while broadening the appeal of Bridge for all creative professionals–things like Web gallery creation & upload, and PDF contact sheet creation.


Adobe evangelist Julieanne Kost hast posted a great 30-minute tour of the new version:


A higher-res version is available on the Adobe TV site, and Julieanne has posted an excellent 5-page PDF overview that covers the details.  If you’re looking for a quicker bulleted list, read on.


  • Faster performance, supporting thousands of images per view
  • Refined work environment: The Bridge interface sports numerous tweaks that make it easier to find and access functionality, from the customizable workspace switcher bar to the "trail of breadcrumbs" navigation bar.
  • One-click full-screen previews: Tap the spacebar and Bridge will fill your screen with the selected image.  Click anywhere on the image to zoom in to 100%.  Use arrow keys to navigate among images, or tap the spacebar again to leave the full-screen view mode.
  • Collections: In addition to Bridge’s existing ability to save a query as a collection, the app now support more free-form collections–virtual folders into which you can drag any combination of assets.  A file can live in multiple collections, and the contents of collections can span multiple folders.
  • Greater control over previews and caching:
    • Sometimes, when doing a first quick pass through photos, you don’t need or want to spend time rendering the raw data for display.  Instead, just looking at the JPEG embedded by your camera is enough to make a keep/reject decision.  Bridge now supports an option to display just embedded JPEG data when browsing images.
    • On the flipside, sometimes you’d rather spend a little extra time building full-size previews of your images, so that when browsing you can immediately check image details.  Bridge now supports options for building full-size (1:1) previews and for caching these on disk for reuse.
  • Spotlight/Windows Desktop Search integration: Bridge is, at heart, a file browser, meaning it has a very direct connection to your file system.  File systems, however, are becoming more database-like in their ability to search quickly across tens of thousands of files.  By tapping into the operating system search mechanisms, Bridge can provide a front end to a whole disk (or a number of volumes at once).
  • Review Mode for refining selections: This carousel-style view lets you step through a series of image, whittling down your selection by knocking out non-keepers by pressing the down arrow.
  • Built-in Web gallery creation and upload:  Back in the day, my Web design team would inevitably find itself racing to gather a bunch of assets (Illustrator files, PSDs, etc.), conver them to JPEG, knit together a series of HTML pages, upload them to a server, adn then call the client for review.  Now you can greatly simplify the process by selecting files in Bridge, tweaking and previewing settings, and uploading everything directly from Bridge.  Templates include Flash & HTML options.
  • Built-in PDF contact sheet creation: Similar to Web gallery creation, PDF creation is part of the Output workspace and offers a much more interactive creation environment than the earlier Photoshop Contact Sheet plug-in.
  • List view enables viewing and sorting by a variety of criteria (rating, file type, etc.), and it works especially well with the much faster Filter panel.
  • Thumbnail grid view, a.k.a. "Grid Lock," makes it possible to keep images from appearing halfway on/off the screen while scrolling.  This facilitates image review for those who like to use a grid of thumbnails.  (This one’s the Jeff Schewe Memorial Feature.)
  • 3D file format previews: Bridge now provides an animated preview of the 3D formats (3DS, OBJ, U3D, and Collada) supported by Photoshop Extended.
  • The option to auto-launch at login helps ensure that Bridge is already set to go when you need it.  Additionally, on Windows Bridge is able to return to a sort of "stealth mode" when quit, meaning that it eats a very small amount of memory but can relaunch extremely quickly.
  • Auto-collection of HDR and panorama images: This is probably my favorite little "mint-on-the-pillow" feature.  Bridge can look at a selection of images, analyze both their pixels & their EXIF metadata, and automatically stack together components of panoramas & HDR merges.  Once it has built these stacks, you can choose "Process Collections in Photoshop" to have PS batch-create panos & HDR files.  I’ve really been enjoying using this one after walking around on vacation.

0 thoughts on “What's new in Bridge CS4?

  1. John I’ve only used bridge very sparingly since adopting lightroom. Are there any resources out there that describe how bridge still has a place in an LR-PS workflow? To tell the truth, not that you can open smart objects from LR, I haven’t had much need for bridge, but would like to know what if anything I am missing.

  2. Thanks for the improvements. And thank g-d for the PDF version.
    However, please, please can’t AdobeTV use larger size portals for the movies be shown. All that wasted space surrounding the portal can be put to better use, can’t it?! Its very, very hard to see the movies for us who are visually impaired. Oh, you give option to enlarge but its poorly scaled too! Help empower us to learn not struggle, thanks. 🙂

  3. Does Bridge CS4 show the correct physical dimensions for PDFs under their thumbnails? Are there other choices than inches or centimetres?

  4. Is the Bridge updater going to start making sure that the hidden copy of Opera in Bridge is updated with regard to security in CS4, unlike CS3?
    Barring them doing the work, will they at least be testing new releases of Opera and vetting them for people so customers know if it’s safe to apply an update with security patches?
    [I’m not sure what’s planned, but I’ve asked for more info. I would be amazed to find a single customer using Opera within Bridge for general-purpose Web browsing & therefore running even a remote chance of encountering malicious content. –J.]

  5. “[I’m not sure what’s planned, but I’ve asked for more info. I would be amazed to find a single customer using Opera within Bridge for general-purpose Web browsing & therefore running even a remote chance of encountering malicious content. –J.]”
    That’s the same argument I got from the Acrobat team when I pointed out that Acrobat 7’s habit of creating a “Frameworks” directory inside of Safari and setting the permissions on it to 777 was a bad idea: “Well, who’s going to use that?”
    To explain this problem, we have to first kill a few bad ides.
    First, your point about “I highly doubt users will use it”. That’s not the larger problem. I agree that your average user will not crack open the Bridge bundle.
    However, that does not mean Opera is somehow magically only usable by Bridge. It is usable by any means that can use any executable on the system. The Opera.app bundle permissions are 775, so it’s world-executable.
    No ACLs are used, so the only restrictions on Opera are based on POSIX.
    So we establish that *any* process that’s not sandboxed on a Mac OS X 10.5 machine, and *any* process whatsoever on a Mac OS X 10.4 machine can run Opera as it ships with bridge.
    “But so what, they’d have to know your machine has CS3/4 to take advantage of this” is, I imagine, your next response.
    For one, a limited population is not proof against attack. For a great, albeit extreme example of this, read up on the Witty worm. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witty_(computer_worm) is a good place to start.
    Now, doing the kind of damage that Witty allowed is not going to happen with Opera, but, all someone has to do is create what I call a “SuperCaptainCoolGuy Plugin installer”. Make it some plugin that does…something, or even some application that vaguely works with Photoshop CS3/CS4, but is a trojan that attacks opera.
    how many users out there have Bridge CS3, eventually CS4? There’s your target.
    Opera has extensive remote configurability. It includes both mail and chat clients. It includes an IRC client.
    Does Bridge’s install by default disable or not include these? No. So you’re not just including a web browser, you’re also including an additional email client, and an IRC client. Surprise.
    Opera puts its preferences in a known place, and with just a little reading on Opera’s site, you can configure Opera with a lot of granularity.
    If you set the initial window to be far offscreen, (something that anyone dealing with applications who don’t grok multiple monitors well has seen), then even if you have to start opera, the user will most likely only see a momentary loss of focus.
    You *cannot* only think about this as “well, they won’t doubleclick it, so it’s safe”. You HAVE to think about “Well, how could someone really pervert this” and if there’s no one on your team who’s good with security attacks/defense, then get someone.
    WHY does Bridge need Opera’s email featureset? WHY does Bridge need IRC? Newer versions of Opera have a Bittorrent client. I forget offhand if 9.27 does, but if so, I bet that’s not disabled either.
    So we have an unknown email/IRC client on machines that we can assume are both high-powered and on fast connections. (reasonable for photoshop users)
    and yet, y’all are happy because the odds of someone *doubleclicking it* are low?
    You really, REALLY need to get someone who deals with security and attacks in there, and stop making assumptions based on intended use.
    I’m pretty sure that Microsoft never *intended* Outlook to be a spam engine, but until they grokked that it’s unintended use you have to care about, it was, and how.

  6. You have excelled yourselves with Bridge CS4!
    Totally superb!
    Huge congratulations to everyone who was involved in its creation.

  7. I hope to hell the reliability issues and usability have been addressed. I still have Illustrator and pdf files that will crash Bridge CS3 reliably – even after installing the supposed fix. The basic interface is poorly implemented, making it easy to inadvertently drag folders into others as you try to use the narrow scroll window control. A couple of times a week Bridge crashes for no apparent reason. File management isn’t fully Windows XP compatible – drag and drop doesn’t work with email attachments into Bridge while it works the other direction. I’m not alone in thinking Adobe abandoned Bridge CS3 after a couple of half-hearted patches and it’s the bugs and clunkiness of Bridge that locked up its power, not an unwillingness of users to discover it. If CS4 comes out half-baked and is as neglected after the release, Bridge will continue to be avoided by many CS users.

  8. Web Gallery Output yield ginormous websites!
    A folder with 28 images outputed to a Web Gallery/Standard Template from Bridge CS4 results in a 20 Megabyte microsite! This is with “Style:Medium Thumbnail” and “Medium” Preview & Thumbnail settings.
    The same folder automated in Photoshop CS3 (Horizontal Slideshow) results in a tidy 1.4 MB export.
    Is there any way to control the JPEG compression? Or will I be forced to start with compressed source files (which I won’t do, but will have to keep CS3 around _just_ for making galleries)?
    And how about a “Browse” button for the FTP upload? Must I really type in the complete path to my desired directory on the remote server, without any way to confirm that I’ve done it right? Really? (although I guess this won’t matter to me, as I’m unlikely to upload web galleries comprised of 400k images…)
    And I’d also like to know “what’s planned” in regard to the multiple copies of Opera bundled inside these CS 4 applications…

  9. Well, I’m a web designer new to bridge, just discovered and understood CS3 a few months ago. Loving CS4, it fixes almost everything. Except I still can’t tag my designs fast enough, I have to use the mouse to go to a untagged psd, use the mouse to go to the tagging pane, use the mouse to go back to the psd …. over and over ….
    [You can type into the metadata panel, or you can assign text strings to labels (via Preferences), then stamp those strings onto images by using the 6 through 9 keys. –J.]

  10. Still wondering about created thumbnails or whatever exported .jpg files renamed to start with the “creation date”

  11. I absolutely agree with David about the web gallery in cs4. Why software programmers would think someone would prefer a web gallery almost 20 times bigger than a simple html web gallery where you can control the size of thumbnails and large images just to have a fade function (requiring flash I assume) is beyond me. I am stuck though because I am shooting with a 5d M2 and can not use cs3. Frankly I am livid because the only workaround is creating jpegs of the files going into a web gallery so I can use cs3 to create a web gallery that is not going to take 15 minutes to upload. I did not like lightroom because if this same issue. Why could they have not included the option that cs3 had for simple web galleries.
    Does anyone know if there is a simple solution to this dilemma?

  12. CAn you please tell me why I can only include a maximum of ten images when outputing a pdf or web gallery from CS4 Bridge. No matter how many images I select only 10 will be processed.
    [Is this true only for the preview, or when you actually generate the final output? For performance reasons the preview is limited to 10, but there should be no limit when exporting the real thing. –J.]
    Thank you

  13. I am trying to Batch Rename several photographs (JPG) in CS4 Extended Bridge. I am getting the Error: The Operation could not be completed. Not enough storage is available to process this command. My computer is NEW has 8Gb RAM, 1 TB HDD, Core2 Quad AMD. Please help. Thanks.

  14. I agree with much of “John C. Welch’s” post from back in October.
    I knew there had been a copy of Opera in Bridge CS3. Then someone after him commented that there were multiple copies of Opera installed in Adobe’s Creative Suite Apps.
    I began looking thru some of the obvious ones like Media Player and Fireworks and Dreamweaver. Then went on to look thru the rest of Design Premium. The only other place I found it was in Device Central. There maybe more but they were not in similar locations as Bridge and Device Central.
    So Design Prem installs 2 copies of a Web Browser that the End User is unaware of. Unless there happens to be documentation hidden in the fine print of the EULA someplace.
    I won’t get into the techno-babble that “John C. Welch” did above – but my concern as a web developer is this.
    Opera is added and used inside of these Apps for a reason. Also for some reason the Full Blown Version is used. As far as web browsers go these days they are adding in mechanisms to block various forms of maliscious code from user stupidity.
    This still doesn’t account for practices such as Phishing or Javascript attacks. My compadre up there is correct that an attack on folks using CS3 or CS4 is a viable possibility.
    I’ve launched and looked thru both copies of Opera in CS4 and previously the copy that was included with Bridge CS3 – and found nothing that was limited or minimal. The entire App was a full install by all accounts.
    It wouldn’t be too far fetched for a malicious coder to Spoof an Adobe Page with code targeting Bridge or Device Central [or any other Adobe App using a copy of Opera] and force scripts or “plugins” or any number of other malware into the hidden browsers. Then upon launch or relaunch of the Adobe Apps containing the browser – either cause problems for the Apps themselves or have them dump malware to the system and cause problems for the end user.
    This then becomes an interesting liability for Adobe because of an undocumented 3rd Party App. Apparently one that has been going on for at least 2 or more versions of Creative Suite.
    So questions arise:
    Are there more than 2 copies [one in Bridge and one in Device Central] ?
    Can the end user update/ upgrade the copies inside the Adobe Apps without having something break in the Adobe Apps to ensure security among other things but still have the Adobe Apps function?
    *Seeing as how the 2 copies I found are dated 2007 [in Dev Cen] and 2008 [in Bridge].
    Does the Adobe Updater – update the copies of Opera when it goes about updating the Container Adobe Apps ?
    *I think the answer to this is NO!
    If I go into any copies of Opera within the Adobe Apps and change any of the default settings will something break the Container Adobe Apps?
    I can go on all night with this stuff. I can see a market popping up in response to word spreading about this more and more. The only thing keeping Adobe in the clear right now is the same clichĂ© arguement that Mac Supporters scream about Computer Viruses: The marketshare for the end user is so insignificant that there aren’t that many folks coding malicious software for this niche. Yeah it’s been going on for 2 or more versions and who knows if Adobe is planning to include Opera in CS5 or whatever the next Gen Suites are called.
    As a web developer I can see the negative side of this and I can see the ramifications of the that negative side. All for the simple business agreement between 2 companies to make a buck.
    I did find an announcement from “Opera Corp” dated 2005 sometime in regards to incorporation into CS2 [so it’s only 3 versions] which is every version of Bridge. But I pride myself for managing to keep up with most technology news across the spectrum and I admit I don’t hear about everything – but the Press Release from Opera on this in 2005 I never heard about for some reason. Probably because I didn’t keep up with Opera that much as it was a Browser for Purchase back then – so off my RADAR. On the other hand I definitely don’t recall Adobe making any announcements in this regard.
    But it’s funny how Adobe made a big deal about telling the world that Dreamweaver CS4 would be utilizing the WebKit Engine from Apple for LiveView.

  15. Thanks for the information about Bridge & Opera. I’d run into a problem that was related to Bridge CS4 & Opera, and Adobe’s help staff couldn’t/wouldn’t give me a straight answer about why Bridge was using Opera.
    Security aside, I found a serious incompatibility between Bridge CS4’s embedded Opera and the version of Opera I’d installed separately. The result is that Bridge went into a loop when I asked for an output preview.
    On MacOS 10.5.6, Opera 9.54 (and perhaps earlier versions) creates a file named
    ~/Library/Application Support/Opera/Widgets/widgets.dat
    If that file exists, when I’m in Bridge’s Output panel and click “Refresh Preview,” the version of Opera embedded in Bridge goes into a loop. Always.
    What was worse was the response from Adobe’s help staff. On their suggestion, I created a new account and tried Bridge from there. Bridge worked fine — because that account had never started Opera 9.54, of course. So Adobe’s staff told me to bugger off. Not in so many words, but the implication was clear. Specifically, they said it must be a “permissions problem,” and the only solution was to migrate my “essential data” to the new account, and delete the old one.
    That sounded like a crock, so I investigated and discovered the problem.
    FYI: The solution is to (a) upgrade to Opera 9.6, and (b) delete that widgets.dat file. Apparently Opera 9.6 doesn’t use that file (at least, it hasn’t re-created it yet!), but it doesn’t delete it.

  16. The scrollbars in Bridge are half the width of the scrollbars in my other apps (including Photoshop). Why are they so maddeningly skinny?? (And short — in a folder with over a thousand files, the scrollbar isn’t even a bar — it’s a microsopic nub.) My display resolution is 1920 x 1200. Tweaking scrollbar width in Vista affects all of my apps except Bridge. A major usability hassle.

  17. Anyone anywhere EVER going to answer Roberts question? I doubt it since he asked it WAY back on February 11, 2009 but it would be awesome if someone would because I am having the same issue, a TEN limit gallery?? Even when you go to preview in browser its still only 10 pictures no matter how many times I add more it still just shows TEN!
    I have looked at many tutorials but the people posting them never seem to use more then 10 images which is less than helpful so I googled some more and found poor Roberts post here and yet STILL no answers!
    [The 10-image “limit” was just for previewing inside the gallery. It has no impact on your actual output. In any event, it’s been bumped to 20 in CS5. –J.]

  18. Okay- Just so you know, I’ve tried to be a good student and read through all the info above to find my answer, however, I didn’t see what I was looking for.
    I’m in Output in Bridge and am simply trying to create a PDF and I get this error…”Bad Argument List”. Now I get this error all the time from my husband…But from Bridge too?…..Ugghhh! Please help.

  19. I was just wondering if Sanat Dave ever got his answer about the error msg about not having enough space to process the command in a batch rename. Although I’m using the regular version of Bridge 4, I too have a new computer with 1TB of ram and am experiencing the same error. Anyone have any idea how to go about this? Please help. Thanks! 🙂

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