There are a few plugins for using MIDI controllers with LR, e.g. see: https://www.google.com/search?q=lightroom+midi+controller&oq=lightroom+midi+controller&aqs =chrome.0.0l6.6502j0j2&sourcei…. In the past, these tended to come and go, since LR didn't provide plugins with the full capabilities of controlling Develop sliders. LR CC / 6 added that capability (with some rough edges), so perhaps this latest crop of MIDI controllers will have a longer lifetime on the market. I don't know if any of them support gaming keyboards as well, and I don't have experience with any of them. There was an open source solution Paddy that apparently was never upgraded to CC / 6 (it relied on fragile reverse engineering of LR's implementation).
But perhaps someone more knowledgeable has better information.
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Thanks John, I've already been looking into MIDI controllers, MIDI2LR, Paddy and VSCO Keys. Paddy, as you say, isn't supported. The replacement, VSCO Keys, just gives error messages on Win10 + LR CC. At least in my, and many other's setups. MIDI2LR is a nice solution for MIDI Controllers, but I don't want a MIDI controller.
I've posted a question on the MIDI2LR forum if it's possible to use it in the manner I've described, with a gaming keyboard.
For me, the perfect work environment in Lightroom, means moving my eyes and hands as little as possible, while having access to all of my most used tools. For me, this equals to having my right hand on the mouse, and left hand on the keyboard.
I need my mouse or my (rarely used) Wacom tablet to crop and brush effectively, no way around that. Then I'm left with my left hand to use shortcuts and access tools effectively. It usually rests in the WASD area, where I can reach 1-5, R, W, D, E, G, H, Copy, Paste Previous, Undo and Redo easily, and J, K, I somewhat less easily.
I guess most, or all, of these shortcuts could be mapped to a MIDI controller, with encoders controlling the sliders, but why would I want that? More space between the buttons compared to a keyboard, means more moving my hands and eyes, and more time wasted. Unless I ditch the mouse and use both hands on the MIDI controller, but that's not an option. Each photo needs precise cropping and usually also brushing. Not to mention, I believe the ergonomics of a resting hand on a keyboard is much better compared to a hand hovering over a MIDI controller.
With a Corsair K95 or similar keyboard, combined with macro key support for highlighting a slider, and scroll wheel adustment on the mouse, would be the perfect solution. I'd buy it for $400 tomorrow if I could, as it easily saves me 30 hours or more a year, or eventually raises my production quality.