As a graphic designer’s collection of stock photos, PDFs, artwork and other images grows, it is helpful to use software to browse files. Rather than sift through folders, various software packages offer efficient ways to find what you are looking for.
Adobe Bridge comes packaged with the Adobe Creative Suite. Bridge was specifically developed to browse all file types created with Adobe products, such as Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign files. It is also useful for searching through photos and other image types. The newest version offers a handy filter that allows the user to limit the files viewed by document type, date modified, dimensions and other variables. Because Bridge is integrated with the Adobe Suite, it is easy to find, preview and open a file in the right software.
iView Media Pro, which was recently acquired by Microsoft and transformed into Expression Media, is a powerful tool for digital asset management. Quick keyword tools and advanced searches help locate files fast. If you have too many files to store, Expression Media will keep a catalog, with visuals, to find files and then access them from another location. The addition of version control now allows the user to track changes to edited images.
Portfolio by Extensis is built to handle all types of assets, and manage them whether they are online (on the computer) or offline (backed up elsewhere). Files are automatically cataloged and can be dragged and dropped directly into the necessary software for editing. New features include the “presets palette” for applying a selection of metadata to a number of files and the ability to view multi-page PDFs directly in the software. A large collection of features rounds out this software, such as built-in image conversion and the ability to print contact sheets.
Photo Mechanic, by Camera Bits, is an extremely fast application for browsing images. The software is focused on photo management, with tools for editing, adding metadata, organizing, and then sharing with options such as web galleries and contact sheets. If your goal is fast photo management, as opposed to handling any and all file types, Photo Mechanic is an excellent option.
Apple’s iPhoto is a simple yet effective way to view and manage photos, though it is not ideal for cataloging other media types. If you are a Mac user with a focus on organizing your stock photo collection, iPhoto provides easy keywording and extremely fast browsing of images at any thumbnail size. Albums and folders keep similar files together.