14 Replies Latest reply on Jun 9, 2016 5:46 AM by Diko.bg

    Photoshop and midi controller

    MadTownPhoto Level 1

         I work for a company and do image processing all most on a production level.  We are looking in new ways to streamline our process.  One feature we are looking at is using midi controllers, setting a row of buttons that take you thru the process.  Just wondering if any one else uses such a device like this or any device that is not a keyboard. Looking to see what other professionals use


      Thank you, Andrew

        • 1. Re: Photoshop and midi controller
          Don Quinn Level 1

          In the realm of graphics, I have seen MIDI used for live performance capture of animated characters/puppets. But I cannot imagine how this would be useful to an image editing program. If there is a pre-defined "process", then there may not be a need for the live improvisation of an artist using MIDI controls. There is already an ability to run actions based on hotkeys assigned to your keyboard.


          Can you give a very basic example of how you would see this working?

          • 2. Re: Photoshop and midi controller
            Trevor.Dennis Adobe Community Professional

            Devices like the ShuttlePro V2 work with a range of applications including Photoshop, but while they are definitely useful with a NLE like Premiere Pro, they don't make a lot of sense with Photoshop because they simply parallel some of the keyboard shortcuts.  Mine sits out of the way at the back of my desk when not using Premiere Pro.



            • 3. Re: Photoshop and midi controller
              Level 7

              Graphics tablets (like wacom) use a number of buttons and keys, and people use them all the time with Photoshop.

              But mostly they are emulating the keyboard.

              • 4. Re: Photoshop and midi controller
                smurphy2342 Level 1

                The idea to use the MIDI controller is meant to take away some of the thinking required for the keyboard shortcuts.  Set a row of buttons for each step of the process and then just run down the row of buttons to complete the function.  In the current process there are many different multi-key shortcuts pressed.  The hopes with the MIDI being that you no longer need to think of which keyboard shortcut to use for the next step or have to press several keyboard buttons to perform a function.  A process like: 1. Save As..., 2. paste in a name, 3. add "_pv" to the end of the name, 3. hit return, and then 4. Close" can all be programmed into one MIDI controller button.  Some of the more advanced programming is where we're having issues (ike programming a turn dial to control brush opacity or size).

                • 5. Re: Photoshop and midi controller
                  Noel Carboni Level 8

                  I suspect not everyone has a step by step start-to-finish process they need to follow, so your scenario is kind of specific to your uses.


                  I don't use a tablet, but I do a lot of Photoshop work, and I find the keyboard has become very natural for me to use.  I don't think about the shortcuts I use; after a while they just become direct "muscle memory".  Pretty much the same as a musical instrument, I'd say - after gaining good familiarity with the instrument, the musician starts to just think about the music.


                  And of course there are the F keys at the top of the keyboard, which can be assigned to things.



                  On another front, it seems to me there's some kind of UI integration with Apple portable electronic devices that hasn't been mentioned here yet...  Introduced in Photoshop CS5.5, you rest a hand on the iPad or iPhone and do gestures.  I've not tried it, personally.  Did you investigate that?



                  • 6. Re: Photoshop and midi controller
                    smurphy2342 Level 1

                    Yes, the scenario is specific to our users...or to a mass production house.  We are a production house for a retail website and each retoucher has to do similar steps to to about 150 images each day.  We use Wacom tablets (which we couldn't live without), have many specific hot keys and have scripted as much as we can but in our world of very quick turnaround all the time we can save the more we can retouch the sooner items are on the website.  That is where this MIDI exploration comes in.  It's not that the keyboard is a hinderance but there are more variables to deal with and more limitations that cost us precious seconds.  Pretty crazy how seconds count.  If our ten retouchers can save five seconds per image that extrapolates to some 500 hours of saved time per year.  In retail, that is HUGE!

                    • 7. Re: Photoshop and midi controller
                      LuxMaji Level 1

                      That would be cool. TouchOSC might be an option but the applications has to be able to recieve midi cc in order for that to work. Me thinks Photoshop will not be able to do that.  You would have to asign keyboard shortcuts to something designed only to send and receive midi cc data. That will be difficult.


                      This shoudl do the trick: http://xkeys.com/xkeys/xkpro.php



                      • 8. Re: Photoshop and midi controller
                        smurphy2342 Level 1

                        Thanks LuxMaji!  That might be exactly what we're looking for.  We've been exploring midi cc using OSCulator and have gotten some things to work but not everything.

                        • 9. Re: Photoshop and midi controller
                          Cody Ranaldo Level 1

                          I personally have thought about this for quite a while, especially since witnessing the color-correcting power of a 4 wheel color corrector in use with Kodak DP2 software--  Basically with that system the operator has 4 wheels, one each for RGB and one for Luminance.  I think it would be amazing to be able to control photoshop in this way, especially with something more akin to 9 knobs for use with the color balance tool-- this way one could be tweaking the shadows, mids, and highlights at the same time, all while not taking one's eyes off the image.  As someone who does a TON of color correction of scans as well as digital files, this would be completely indispensible--

                          • 10. Re: Photoshop and midi controller
                            smurphy2342 Level 1

                            For anyone interested, this is THE answer!!!:  http://controllermate.com/  It allows you to fully change the buttons of any connector controller, including the internal keyboard.  It has been AMAZING for combining several steps into a single key press!  Check it out if you're interested.  Then you can explore external controllers to command.  These X-keys look pretty good and come in various sizes:  http://www.piengineering.com/xkeys.php 

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                            • 11. Re: Photoshop and midi controller
                              Cody Ranaldo Level 1

                              I also thought about controllermate-- but (at least as far as what i'm looking for) afaik theres no way to point say, one knob to affect the red/cyan highlight correction in the color balance tool--

                              • 12. Re: Photoshop and midi controller
                                angel77777 Level 1

                                I think MIDI would be usefull if you consider to;


                                -control wheels and sliders (if you send hotkeys with you wacom wheel you can experience that there is a lag sending hotkeys)

                                -have a visual feedback on your midi controller (ex: the use pressure state is ON? OFF? con you send back this state to my midi controller?)


                                If there is some Adobe coder reading that post please write to me at:


                                • 13. Re: Photoshop and midi controller
                                  denverm66005117 Level 1

                                  This is great! Thank you for looking into this! I'm been searching for the same tools!

                                  • 14. Re: Photoshop and midi controller
                                    Diko.bg Level 1

                                    Currently the only available solution AFAIK is THIS. :-( Looking forward for adobe to finally allow some easy to implement SDK feature for sliders available like in LR witht their LUA for easier implementation like in MIDI2LR.


                                    This kind of low cost investments for external controllers save time tremendously once you get used to your own setups (in a matter of hours).

                                    1 person found this helpful