I’ve been beta testing PaletteGear hardware controls for Lightroom 6 / CC 2015 for the last four or five months. Over that time, I’ve gone from a blend of cautiously excited, to frustrated, to delighted, to surprised at how much I’ve come to depend on it. My present relationship with the hardware is something like, using it far more than I ever imagined, and simultaneously wanting it to do even more.
Before I get too deep, I should clarify that this is not to be taken as a review. The software is still in beta, so that’s one good reason to anticipate that lots more will be coming. In addition, the good folks at PaletteGear selected me because of my involvement with Adobe Lightroom beta. They needed someone who was running LR6/CC2015 well before public release so I could get involved early in the beta process. Beta testing of this nature is time consuming, especially when it comes to feature feedback and bug reports. Given the time investment, PaletteGear invited me to keep the hardware they sent. It’s a fair and respectful trade, but it also means I cannot be unbiased in a purely journalistic sense. Please keep that in mind as you read this. I will focus more on how I’ve come to use the controls with Lightroom, and avoid making any recommendations whether you should purchase it.
I am a Lightroom expert. I use keyboard shortcuts as my primary means of navigating the application, and I am fast and proficient at it. This is why I was initially cautious in my enthusiasm for PaletteGear. On one hand, given LR’s lack of native keyboard controls for Develop operations, it could be pretty cool. On the other hand, if it didn’t gracefully handle those operations, and just ended up being a replacement for keyboard shortcuts that already existed, then it would end up being an expensive gimmick.
The hardware really does snap together however you like. The clever use of magnets makes it simple. You can’t switch your brain off completely, because like legos, there’s an input side and an output side. Input can happen on three sides of a square module, and output happens only on one side. You’ll need to rotate the modules into the correct orientation so the signal flows through the system, but it’s simple enough to understand when you see it. You can pull it apart and snap it together on the fly, while it’s powered up, and the software responds admirably to changes in the configuration. If you pull a module off when it was assigned a function and a custom color, when you re-attach it in a different configuration it retains that function and custom color. Here’s a quick demo:
Continue reading PaletteGear Beta Testing with Adobe Lightroom