With its Creative Suite 3 upgrade, Adobe has increased the amount of control you have over both the appearance of Bridge as well as customization of its information display. Part of Bridge CS3's performance gains come from Adobe's progressive rendering options for thumbnails.
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Not only is Bridge more attractive to look at, but it's far more informative and powerful than before. It has inherited Lightroom's quick filtering capabilities (1), as well as a generally friendlier and familiar appearance (2). If you've edited raw files, it applies the adjustments from the XMP file and informs you what those adjustments were (3). Bridge also supports custom work spaces, with three quick-access presets (4).
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Through Bridge, the updated Adobe Camera Raw module is available to all the applications in the suite. The tools are now similar to Lightroom's, although they're arranged and appear a bit different.
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A new Loupe tool lets you see a 1:1 magnification within the preview window. Unlike Lightroom, where the the Loupe disappears when you move the cursor, in Bridge the Loupe remains sticky and moveable until you click on it again.
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Adobe's Device Central targets content developers for mobile platforms. It simulates the characteristics of specific devices as well as environmental factors, such as ambient illumination. In its current state, Device Central's coverage feels a bit thin, unless you're authoring to Adobe's Flash Lite platform. No big surprise.
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Integration among the CS3 applications is a key selling point. For example, importing a Photoshop file into Flash, Fireworks, or Dreamweaver is a snap. Here you can set preferences per layer.
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Now Flash and Fireworks walk you through importing Illustrator files with layers intact.
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The video import wizard steps you through integrating a movie into a Flash project, and you can add cue points during the process.
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The improved Pen tool in Flash is more like that in Adobe Illustrator.
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However, there are limitations to the extent of integration within CS3. For instance, many commands are located in different places within each individual application's interface. You'll find the Free Transform tool within the Modify pull-down menu of Flash.
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But in Photoshop, the Free Transform command is located underneath the Edit menu.
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You might have the impulse to run many CS3 programs open at once to take advantage of their integration. However, sometimes we did so much multitasking that simple tasks failed. Here, we tried, yet failed, to save a selected region of an image within Fireworks CS3. At minimum, you should have a computer with 1GB of RAM and 5GB of hard drive space on either Windows XP SP2 or Vista, or an Intel-based Mac.
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