Can't figure out how to organize your digital assets? L.A. James shares her number one resource, which helps her stay organized while she creates her digital works.

Digital Organization Part 1

Organizing assets is critical when working in the digital realm. I’m usually pretty organized by nature, but I find I am becoming extremely fickle about my digital organization as time passes. I’ve realized things fall by the wayside without some form of organization, and I lose my assets in the abyss of my “J” drive. It’s irritating to spend time trying to find something but not know where it was placed. Time is valueable right now in my life, and I don’t have extra to spend looking for misplaced items.

The biggest key for organization of assets is using Adobe Bridge. It is my understanding anyone can use Adobe Bridge, and it is a free download from Adobe. You will have to check into this if you don’t subscribe to the Creative Suite. If you already use the Creative Suite, then you will love what Bridge can do for you.

Bridge is a toned-down version of Photoshop, and it is a powerful file management program. I can’t teach you everything about Bridge within this post, but you can find in-depth classes, which are over five hours long on Lynda.com.

Bridge can make “Collections” (see picture with red box drawn around it). You can name a collection, and you will see that some of mine showing are



“Pictures – My pictures – Birds.”



Whenever I take pictures, I spend a few minutes quickly classifying those pictures within Bridge by dragging any images I have taken into these “Collections.”

For instance, I take a picture today, and I upload it into my picture folder. I name that folder October 24, 2020.



I open Bridge, and I look at the pictures within the October 24, 2020 folder.



I find any bird pictures, I highlight those pictures, and I drag them into



“Pictures – My Pictures – Birds” collection folder.

Bridge doesn’t move my pictures from the October 24, 2020 folder. It just makes a mental note that I have bird pictures there, and it will put a thumbnail of that picture within “Pictures – My Pictures – Birds” folder.

This means when I want to find a picture of a bird, I just click on my collection, and Bridge pulls all my bird pictures from all the folders on my computer that I showed had a bird picture. Bridge can generate a preview extremely fast!

It is easy to scroll through all my pictures within a “Collection” to find just the one I need. If I want a bigger picture and don’t like the little icons, I tap my spacebar and see it on a large screen. You can also manually set your preview size with the slider on the bottom of the screen.

You can go deeper with your organization. Bridge allows you to color-code your pictures, and you can rate your photos. If you have 10,000 images of birds and only want to see your five-star pictures, you click a button in Bridge and tell it to display only your five-star photos.

The button beside your “New Collection” button is the “New Smart Collection” button. This button can read the metadata of images. So, if you love textures, you can click a “New Smart Collection” name it textures, and let Bridge find all your textures on your computer.

When I started many years ago, I was keywording all my pictures, so I could use the metadata, but it was too much work. I’ve since moved into just having “Collections” and using those like big manila envelopes.



Because I now have many bird pictures, I’m starting to break my Collections down into smaller chunks and organize by color or type. The hierarchy looks like this.

Pictures – My Pictures – Birds

Pictures – My Pictures – Birds -Red

Pictures – My Pictures – Birds – Blue

ETC.

The key is to keep it the same with just a hyphen between the differentiating part so you can have alphabetical order help along.

I keep the main bird folder and have subsets for a couple of reasons. First, it is insignificant for me to have Bridge remember it twice. Second, if I know I specifically want a red bird, I don’t have to scroll through a bunch. If I am unsure of what I want, I can go to the main Pictures – My Pictures – Birds folder and scroll away.

If you start using Bridge, I recommend taking a class to help you maximize this underrated program. I was surprised by the amount of features Bridge offers, and I’m sure you will be too!

8 Responses

  1. Roseann

    Hi Lisa,

    I’ve been using bridge, but not to this extent. Is there a class you can recommend?

    • L.A. James

      Hi Roseann,

      I watched classes on Lynda.com to learn Bridge. They are probably old now; however, Bridge hasn’t changed much in the last few years, so you could probably still learn things from those classes if they don’t have any new ones.

      I actually watched a couple of different classes. What is kind of frustrating, when you are trying to learn, is it seems no class gives you all you need, so if you have time, try to go through a couple of classes. I can’t recall who taught the big class I took on Lynda.com. I just remember he was a guy 🙂 I know that’s not overly helpful. However, I can say that all the ones I took on Lynda.com had pieces I was able to plug in to get the full capabilities of Bridge.

      I can’t think of anyone else, or any place else, that actually teaches you how to use Bridge to its fullest extent. Kind of odd, now that I think about it. Bridge is a dynamite powerhouse. It can do a lot of basic things that Photoshop can do, and in essence, you could even do a lot of color correction/cloning more easily in Bridge than Painter. That gives some pause for thought.

      Lynda.com is free to use through many public libraries, so check your local library to see if you have access to it.

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