Annotating Files in Bulk

In Bridge you can annotate images by adding information such as a star rating, keywords, and other metadata so that retrieving those files in the future is easier and faster. Every bit of metadata you add to an image is information you don't have to remember, because the metadata travels with the image.

Using metadata also liberates images from inflexible folder structures. For example, if you have a photo of a bear in the woods in Washington state, do you store the photo in a folder named Bears, a Woods folder, or a Washington state folder? You can't store it in all three folders at once, and if you decided to make three copies of the image, you'd quickly tire of managing (and updating) duplicate files. Metadata solves this problem: If you annotate the image with the keywords bear, woods, and Washington state, it doesn't really matter where you store the imageif you use a program like Bridge that can search on keywords, you can store the image in any folder you like, perhaps in a folder for the shoot or the date of the shoot. You certainly aren't limited to using Bridge to search by metadata; digital asset managers such as iView Media Pro do so, too. If you aren't already annotating your files, you can see how doing so can greatly improve your efficiency.

Before you can annotate multiple files in Bridge, let's review where you can apply different types of annotations:

  • Rate files from one to five stars using commands on the Label menu or by clicking along the rating scale that appears under a selected image (Figure 6.11). The rating scale also appears in Adobe Camera Raw.

    Figure 6.11. Dragging in the star rating area to set a rating.

  • Enter IPTC-standard metadata (except keywords) in the Metadata tab, or in the File Info dialog box (File > File Info).

  • Enter keywords in the Keywords panel or in the File Info dialog box.

  • Label files using commands in the Label menu.

Now let's look at some ways you can annotate many files quickly.

With any annotating method, clearly you'll get more done faster if you perform multiple selections as often as possible. For example, if you have a folder full of landscape photos and you want to annotate all rock images with the keyword rock, select as many rock images as you can and then enable the rock keyword checkbox in the Keywords tab (Figure 6.12). If the keyword you want to apply doesn't exist, click the New Keyword button at the bottom of the Keyword tab (Figure 6.13), name the new keyword, and press Enter or Return.

Figure 6.12. Applying a keyword to multiple selected images.

Figure 6.13. Clicking the New Keyword button.

When a folder contains more images than you can see at once in a browser window, don't obsess about selecting every last image containing a rock before applying the keywordthere's more of a chance that you'll make a selection mistake that applies the wrong metadata to some images. Instead, you might want to select and tag images a screenful at a time.

If you need to apply the same group of keywords to many images throughout a shoot, create a keyword set. Click the New Keyword Set button at the bottom of the Keyword tab, name the new keyword set, and then with the set selected, choose New Keyword to add each keyword to the set. To apply all keywords in the set, enable the checkbox next to the name of the keyword set (Figure 6.14). There's no problem with having the same keyword in different keyword sets, and you can drag a keyword from one set to another. You can also use keyword sets to organize your keywords when the list gets long.

Figure 6.14. Enabling the checkbox next to a keyword set name to apply all keywords in the set.

Some types of metadata, such as a copyright notice, apply to every one of your images. In that case, you want to choose Edit > Select All and then apply the metadata so that it applies to all images in the folder. Whenever you apply metadata to a large number of images, it may take a while for Bridge to record the changes to them allyou can check progress in the status bar at the bottom-left corner of a browser window.

You may want to apply several metadata fields at once, such as the country and city where images were shot, to many or all images in a folder. That can go much faster if you use a metadata template. See the sidebar "Using Metadata Templates."

When rating images or applying labels, don't forget to take advantage of the rating and label keyboard shortcuts in the Label menu. If you want to be able to rate or label images by pressing just a number key, disable the Require the Command/Ctrl Key to Apple Labels and Ratings preference in the Labels panel of Bridge preferences.

If you're using Mac OS X 10.4 or later, you can use the Spotlight search feature to search for image metadata. For example, if your disk contains images you tagged with the keyword Boston, entering Boston into Spotlight retrieves those images.

The File Info dialog box (File > File Info) appears in both Bridge and Photoshop, so if you have an image open in Photoshop and you want to edit its metadata, you don't need to switch to Bridge to edit that image's metadata. However, you must use Bridge if you want to edit multiple files.

At times, Bridge may tell you that metadata can't be edited. Sometimes that's because of metadata standards that make some types of data read-only, such as the capture date from a digital camera. If you're using Bridge to edit metadata that you believe should be editable, but Bridge doesn't let you, see if the image is open in Photoshop or another program, because only one program is allowed to edit a file at a time. In Bridge, a small document icon appears below a thumbnail if that file is open.

Using Metadata Templates

There may be metadata groups that you want to apply to a large number of images. For example, you may want to enter the country, state, and city where images were shot, or your name, address, and other contact information. Instead of laboriously entering all of that data line by line, you can create a metadata template:


Select an image that you want to use as an example to create the template.


Choose File > File Info and, using the panes in the File Info dialog box, enter the metadata you want to include in the template. Any metadata that you don't want to include should be blank.


In the File Info dialog box, click the round menu button in the top right corner and choose Save Metadata Template. Name the template and click Save.

To apply the metadata template, select one or more files in a browser window, click the menu button in the Metadata tab, and choose your template from the Append Metadata or Replace Metadata submenu. Append Metadata inserts metadata from the template only where the same metadata is blank in the selected image, whereas Replace Metadata replaces any existing metadata whether or not the same metadata already exists in the file.

If you want to share metadata templates with colleagues, note that the menu button in the File Info dialog box contains the command Show Templates. Choosing that command opens the Adobe support files folder and selects the XMP folder within it. Inside the XMP folder is the Metadata Templates folder, which contains the metadata templates themselves.

Working Smart in Adobe Photoshop CS2
Working Smart in Adobe Photoshop CS2
ISBN: 0321335392
EAN: 2147483647
Year: N/A
Pages: 161
Authors: Conrad Chavez © 2008-2017.
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