Adobe Creative Suite 2 adds one brand new application to complete the mission of interoperability sought by Adobe in this latest round of updates to its suite of applications. Adobe Bridge acts as a portal to all the other applications in the suite, including an enhanced Version Cue asset management tool.

"Creative Suite is not a suite just because the applications ship in the same box, but because the applications interoperate together," Bob Schaffel, Adobe's Version Cue product manager, told Digit's sister publication MacCentral.

The popularity of Version Cue has grown since its release in the first Creative Suite, as companies and individuals become more comfortable with the concept of asset management, Adobe says. The initial approach of having to explain the ideas behind Version Cue have passed, leaving the company to focus on the product.

"When we first brought out Version Cue in Creative Suite, we took a very conservative approach because it was something new and individuals weren't used to dealing with asset management," Schaffel said. "But now we don't have to be conservative anymore -- the explanations on what Version Cue is all about is very minimal."

With Version Cue arguably one of the most underrated of the Creative Suite applications, Adobe expects its adoption to "increase many fold" as designers recognize its strengths and versatility.

"Version Cue is essentially digital asset management for designers," Schaffel said. "What we are doing is actually managing the design process itself."

Adobe Bridge, more than a file browser

While it replaces the popular File Browser, Adobe Bridge is much more than an application to locate images on your hard drive. Bridge is the application that allows designers to visually witness interoperability between the rest of the applications in the Creative Suite.

"Bridge connects all the places throughout the environment," said Gunar Penikis, Adobe Bridge product manager.

Bridge is a visual file browser that lets users browse, organize, and process design assets within the Creative Suite 2 components. With Bridge, you can preview multi-page PDF files, drag and drop from floating Compact Mode windows, process images with built-in Camera Raw 3.0, edit and search for Adobe XMP metadata, and track assets managed in Version Cue CS2.

"One of the things we wanted to make sure we did with Bridge is to communicate the information in a very visually rich manner," Penikis said. "We tried very hard to keep the same interaction to minimize the disruption. Overall the reaction has been very positive."

Bridge includes four file views -- Thumbnail, Filmstrip, Detailed, and Versions and Alternatives--as well as links to recently opened files and folders, tips and tricks, saved file groups, an RSS reader, and access to colour management settings. In addition, Bridge shows three panes on the left-hand for navigation, an image preview, and metadata.

"Productivity was definitely on our mind when we started creating Bridge. Bridge is in many ways the visualization of metadata," Penikis said.