Photographers and videographers spend ample of time post processing their compositions. Initially, it used to be in the dark room but with advent of Digital Photography, the weapon of choice has changed to digital photo editing softwares. It is a fun process to extract details and bring the desired look to your image until you have to edit hundreds of images and meet client deadlines. Wouldn’t it be nice to have physical buttons, sliders and dials for the adjustments to speed up the edits at such times? Well, few options are already in the market and they also enhances the joy of Editing since the artist can focus on the image rather than on the adjustment sliders.
Loupedeck is a keyboard sized console designed specifically for lightroom workflow. Connect it via a USB, install the driver and the adjustments in lightroom come alive. The layout is well thought but can be overwhelming at first. Since it has so many keys and dials, the artist has to look towards the board and then pick the slider. The buttons provide the features listed below
- 8 color adjustment rollers connected to Hue/Saturation/Luminosity
- 8 custom preset buttons
- Image rating keys – 1 to 5 *
- full screen toggle
- 13 small dials including 1 custom dial
- Undo & Redo
- Crop/rotate dial
For somebody well accustomed with the adjustments, all the major adjustments are available on the console. Being the size of a standard keyboard it’s not exactly portable. Moreover, it is specially mapped to Adobe Lightroom. However, the fit and finish along with the well thought out layout will transform the photo editing experience. For $199 (INR 13,000+import duties), it is not exactly cheap but the investment can be justified if the volume of images is high and resulting time savings makes way for more business.
Pallet Gear is a scalable yet portable controller set for photo as well as video editing. Hardware is completely customisable and expandable to the artist’s liking and is compatible with different photo editing and video editing softwares. The heart of the hardware is the main command module which has a display to show the paired software and the adjustments being done. The additive hardware is available as modules of three types – slider, Multi-function dial and button. The slider and the dial can be mapped to vary parameters and the buttons to quickly apply or change the settings. Each dial can switch between two adjustments by pressing the dial. The layout is completely customisable and scalable. The modules simply stick to the command module or to the other models with the help of magnetic connectors on all four sides of the modules. If a module is moved to a different position, the driver adapts instantly without any hassles.
Due to large form factor per module, the layout as a whole can accommodate less adjustment dials but the same makes it easy to concentrate on the adjustments without having to find the dial or button. It also makes up in the department of portability and scalability since each module is independent. The starter kit (Core + 4 modules) retails at $199 while the professional kit (Core + 14 modules) retails at $ 499. With the growing love from the artist community, expect the team to come up with advanced modules to cater to the needs of the artists.
Quickboard 360 by Tuneshark
Tuneshark has come up with a very compact console that resembles a console found on sound engineer’s desk. It has 10 dials, 10 sliders and 18 buttons. Moreover, there can be 4 mapping banks which can facilitate 4 functions to each component making the 38 button console capable of 152 functions mapped to Lightroom. That sure can be overwhelming at first but if we consider the component mapping classification, it gets simplified. The sliders in the middle take care of simple sliders such as color parameters while the dials at top of complex sliders such as clarity, highlights and shadows, etc. The buttons at bottom are mapped to single click functions such as copy, paste, cropping, zoom, etc. The dedicated button can change the mapping of all the components between the 4 banks.
The fit and finish could have been better to ensure durability. The console is available at RM459.00 MYR (INR 7500). Considering the flexibility along with well defined layout, the Quickboard 360 is a powerful but cost effective and portable console for the lightroom users.
Make your own
The options are great for artists looking for instant hassle free solutions. But what if I tell you that you can make your own console at half the cost with same functionality? Surely tempting. Please refer to the next blog in the series to find out.