When the File Browser first appeared in Photoshop 7, I thought of it as a nice alternative to the File menu's Open command when dealing with a folder full of files, because it let me see thumbnails and previews of the images, letting me identify the ones I wanted quickly. In Photoshop CS, the File Browser became a mission-critical tool for anyone who shoots raw. In Photoshop CS2, the File Browser is replaced by a standalone application, Bridge, which incorporates all of File Browser's capabilities and adds new ones of its own.
You can make your initial selects from a shoot using Bridge as a digital light table. When you want to convert your images, you can host Camera Raw in Bridge, and have it convert images in the background. You can also use Bridge to add and edit metadataone of the first things I do to a new folder of raw images is to add my copyright notice to each image. And while I admit to being less assiduous than I really should be, I also use Bridge to add keywords to images so that I can find them easily several years hence. See the sidebar "All About Metadata," later in this chapter.
Although it's a version 1.0 application, Bridge is pretty deep. So in this chapter I'll introduce you to its various parts, explain what they do, and show you how to use them to handle your images efficiently. But bear in mind that Bridge serves the entire Adobe Creative Suite, not just Photoshop, so don't expect a comprehensive Bridge reference guide hereI'm only going to talk about the features that apply to a digital raw workflow!