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Photoshop Peripherals

Every few weeks I get the itch to see if I can improve my photoshop workflow, either through external controllers, or something that will make it more suitable for a tablet experience… There are some solutions what seems like it will work for me, and others that don’t. Here’s what I am looking for…

  • Find solutions that supplement the keyboard, not really replace it. (no gaming keyboards or basic keyboard remappers)
  • Be a physical interface that does what a keyboard can’t – sliders and dials
  • Don’t be so customized and so specialized that I become dependent on this one piece of hardware

Palette Gearpalette_with_wacom
http://palettegear.com/how_it_works

This looks absolutely kick ass. the controller comes in the forms of buttons, dials, and sliders, you can program them differently for different applications, and toggle between modes so a single slider does more than one thing. Set up correctly, you can basically adjust stuff without pulling up menus and what not. Their demo is definitely worth checking out. Seems like it started out as a kick starter project, and is kind of pricey and bulky….

51+LKGzIAcL._SX466_Shuttle Contour

This, and it’s larger brother, the contour 2, seems to be pretty popular in the Photoshop world. you can set dedicated buttons for certain tasks, and there’s a 360 dial and a jog dial for doing ceratin tasks. I’ve set this up for a friend once, and it’s a solid investment for not too much money. The problem with this, like the problem with the express keys that come with your basic Wacom tablets, is that, there is an awful lot of things that your basic keyboard and default keyboard shortcuts takes care of… and I always want to think i can have this thing and NOT have a keyboard.. but that’s not likely to happen.


61KBs8AFNUL._SL1500_Griffin Multimedia controller

Someone was able to hack this and get it to work. There is left and right turn, push, and push while turning left and right. With some additional hacking like Auto Hotkeys, apparently it can be a great solution. The guy even hooked up 2 of them together to do different things.. but at that point, why not get a shuttle controller…


maxresdefaultDuet Display

This isn’t a piece of hardware, it’s really an app, meaning you’ll have to have an iPad to make this work. If you don’t already have an iPad, this will be a costly solution.. if you do.. it’s still kind of costly since the app costs $15. Unlike many of the other apps that turn your iPad into an extended display, this one works by physically plugging your iPad to your computer. The promise is a simpler, more seamless experience with more resolution and less lag. The first time I set up my iPad as a second display it was great. But if I was going to have my email on a second monitor, why not just launch Mail on my iPad without the extra app in between.

The one feature that drew me to this was the fact that Duet Display supports touch, which means, if you set this up, you can basically just drag your Photoshop panels over to your second monitor and the second monitor becomes a touch enabled controller of all of your Photoshop panels. Tap to select a color, tap to select a brush, drag to change brush size and opacity. I’m actually really happy with this solution, though I’m not usually a fan of having my panels on a second monitor. Oh, and there is a bit of a lag, despite what they claim.


working-togetherAstro Pad

Astro Pad is another app, but this one supposedly turns your iPad into a Cintiqe tablet. So you’ll still have to tether it to your real computer, but if you have an iPad and a Bluetooth pressure pen, go for it. This promises support for iPad Pro and Pencil too, so it should be a good long term investment… I haven’t tried this yet, but I am willing to give it a try

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