• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint
Share this Page URL

Chapter 4. The File Browser > File Browser Menu Bar

File Browser Menu Bar

As befits a mini-application, the File Browser has its own menu bar. Rather than giving a blow-by-blow description of every single menu command, I'll give you an overview of the menus, along with details about the commands I find particularly useful and/or interesting.

The File menu

The File menu deals with the usual tasks of opening and closing files, but it also lets you work with the File Browser's cache for the current folder. The cache holds the thumbnails and previews, as well as any flagging or ranking information you apply to the images (see “Selecting and Sorting,” later in this chapter). When you burn a CD or copy the folder to removable media, you can export the cache using the Export Cache command, so that when Photoshop opens the folder on the CD, you don't have to wait for the cached information to get rebuilt. See Figure 4-3.

Figure 4-3. The File Browser File menu

In a dire emergency, you can use the Purge Cache command to free up hard disk space—depending on just what's in the cache, you may recover anything from about 2 to about 8 megabytes—but you'll lose all the cached information, so make sure that the emergency is indeed dire.

The File Info command offers a way to edit an image's IPTC metadata without first opening the image, which is handy when you just want to add copyright or captioning information to a huge file. It also allows you to save metadata templates for IPTC info, which you can use to apply metadata quickly to multiple files—see Figure 4-4.

Figure 4-4. Save Metadata Template

The Edit menu

The Edit menu generally offers somewhat slower ways to do things you can accomplish faster by other means, such as selecting, deleting, rotating, and flagging images, or applying metadata templates, but three commands are of particular interest.

Rank lets you apply a ranking to multiple images simultaneously by selecting them in the File Browser, choosing Rank from the Edit menu, and then entering a rank in the dialog box. Photoshop's online help shows ranks like “Good” and “Bad” but using a single number or, if you really need more than 10 ranks, a single letter, makes it much easier to sort images by rank (see “Selecting and Sorting,” later in this chapter).

Metadata Display Options lets you specify which metadata fields appear in the metadata palette and gives you the option to automatically hide fields that are empty for the current image. If you don't have a GPS-enabled camera, for example, you may as well hide all the GPS fields—see Figure 4-5.

Figure 4-5. Metadata Display Options

All About Metadata

Metadata (which literally means “data about datal”) isn't a new thing. Photoshop's File Info dialog box has allowed you to add metadata such as captions, copyright info, and routing or handling instructions, for years. But digital capture brings a much richer set of metadata to the table.

Most current cameras adhere to the EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format) standard, which supplies with each image a great deal of information on how it was captured, including the camera model, the specific camera body, shutter speed, aperture, focal length, flash setting, and of course the date and time.

IPTC (International Press Telecommunications Council) metadata has long been supported by Photoshop's File Info feature, allowing copyright notices and the like. Other types of metadata supported by Photoshop CS include GPS information from GPS-enabled cameras (it's immensely cool that my good friend Stephen Johnson's stunning landscape images include GPS metadata that will allow people to identify where they were shot 10 or 100 years from now, and note how the landscape has changed). You can apply Camera Raw settings as metadata to instruct Photoshop how you want the image to be processed, without actually doing the conversion. You can even record every Photoshop operation applied to the image as metadata using the History Log feature.

Adobe has been assiduous in promoting XMP (eXtensible Metadata Platform), an open, extensible, W3C-compliant standard for storing and exchanging metadata—all the Creative Suite applications use XMP, and because XMP is extensible, it's relatively easy to update existing metadata schemes to be XMP-compliant. However, it will probably take some time before all the other applications that use metadata, such as third-party digital raw converters, get updated to handle XMP. But let's be very clear: XMP is not some proprietary Adobe initiative. It's an open, XML-based standard. So if you find that another application is failing to read XMP metadata, contact the publisher and tell them you need them to get with the program!

Right now, unless you're a programmer or a very serious scripting wonk, there may not be a great deal you can do with much of the metadata, at least, not automatically; but it likely won't be too long before you start seeing things like camera-specific sharpening routines that vary their noise reduction with ISO value and exposure time, to give just one example. The more information you have about an image, the better your chances of being able to do useful things to it automatically; and the more things you can do automatically, the more time you can spend doing those things that only a human can do, like exercising creative judgment.

Preferences opens the File Browser Preferences (it's the same dialog box you get from Photoshop's Preferences>File Browser command—see Figure 4-6).

Figure 4-6. File Browser Preferences

  • If you're primarily concerned with processing raw digital captures, you can set the limit under Do Not Process Files Larger Than to a value a little bigger than your raw files so that the File Browser doesn't spend time churning away on those layered 16-bit monster images.

  • The Custom Thumbnail Size field lets you set a custom size for thumbnails, up to 1,024 pixels wide. I usually set the Custom Thumbnail Size to make the largest thumbnails that will let me see two thumbnails side by side on my display.

  • Allow Background Processing lets the File Browser keep working—generating thumbnails and previews, and reading metadata—while you do something else. If that something else is answering email or surfing the Web, by all means use this feature, but be warned that even if you have a really fast machine, allowing the File Browser to do background processing makes both it and Photoshop very unresponsive until the processing is finished. So I usually leave this option turned off.

  • High Quality Previews, on the other hand, is an option I always leave turned on—I find the ability to view large previews invaluable in making initial selects, and when it's turned off, large previews get very pixellated.

  • I always leave Keep Sidecar Files with Master Files checked. That way, whenever I move image files using the File Browser, the sidecar files containing the metadata always travel with them.

The Automate menu

The Automate menu offers many of the options found on Photoshop's File>Automate menu, with two important additions—Batch Rename and Apply Camera Raw Settings.

  • Batch Rename lets you replace the less-than-useful names digital cameras typically assign to images—CRW_0403.CRW, for example—with ones that are more meaningful to you (see Figure 4-7). I always archive my raw captures preserving the original file names and folder structure from the camera storage media; then I make duplicates and use Batch Rename to rename them, but I admit that there may be an element of superstition in doing so.

    Figure 4-7. Batch Rename


    Don't Forget the Extension. If your raw captures are accompanied by sidecar thumbnail and .xmp (metadata) files, you must include the extension in the new file names; otherwise the Batch Rename will fail.

  • Apply Camera Raw Settings is one of the most important commands in the File Browser's menus. It lets you quickly apply saved Camera Raw settings, or settings from the previous image, to multiple files selected in the File Browser, without opening them or going through the Camera Raw interface (see Figure 4-8).

    Figure 4-8. Apply Camera Raw Settings

    In Basic mode, Apply Camera Raw Settings lets upi ;pad amd ap[;u saved settomgs. In Advanced mode, you can apply subsets of settings or create new ones, which are then applied to the selected images.

    In its Advanced mode, Apply Camera Raw Settings offers a great deal of flexibility by letting you choose subsets of settings to apply, so you can, for example, keep each image's white balance unchanged and just adjust the exposure, or any other permutation you find useful.

The Sort menu

The Sort menu lets you control the order in which images are displayed. The Custom option appears when you reorder the images by dragging them, just as you would on a light table.

The View menu

The View menu lets you control whether or not the browser displays things other than image files, the size of the thumbnails (including the custom size you specify in the File Browser's Preferences), and whether to show Flagged, Unflagged, or Flagged and Unflagged images (see “Selecting and Sorting,” later in this chapter).

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint