The Logitech g13 gamepad, best. investment. ever.
To my left here stands quite possibly the best $75 I've spent in the past five years. What the heck is it? Why it's a gamepad, photo-editing-on-the-fly-pad, and omg-InDesign-is-now-slightly-workable-pad. To everybody else, it's Logitech's most unique keyboard to date, the G13.
So aside from looking like the Nintendo Power Glove's badass little cousin, what can this keypad offer us?
- 25 programmable, backlit keys, with standard joystick included
- each key can be assigned up to three single-stroke or macro functions, selectible on the top panel
- customizable lcd display, for ingame, general status, or rss feed info
- quick-macro key for assigning new keystrokes on the fly
- application recognition; when you change to a different program, the G13 follows
At first glance, its easy to shrug off these modest specs as something that could only fend off carpal tunnel for the serious gamers out there. That was my first impression too, that is, until I saw this little gem: RPG Keys.
"Wait! So they make a keyboard that's pre-programmed to make Photoshop and Lightroom even faster to use? Ok, so what's the catch?"
About $700 to be precise. Ouch. Like anybody else who owns any Adobe software, I don't want to shell out any more than I need to for faster functionality. That's where the beauty of the internet meets the genius of nerds with too much time on their hands. Meet Jonathon Ceci, this guy wasn't the first to figure it out, but he makes a pretty convincing argument to spend $75 for the keypad plus another $40 for his homebrewed scripts.
"But Mat," my loyal fans will say, "we don't even want to spend $40 that we don't have to!"
Well for all of you penny pinchers out there, thank Gordon's Tech & Hobby Blog for giving us a free plugin for a free app (Autohotkey) to DIY the hell outta the G13. About two hours of key-slaving later, you have yourself a workflow that laughs at stacks of wedding photos and doesn't even break a sweat at those thousands of unedited vacation pics.
What makes the workflow so much faster? Imagine: importing, exporting, spot healing, graduated filters, exposure, color, sharpening, and noise adjustments (to name a few), all without using a single slider.
"Well if I can make one Adobe program easier," I thought, "why not try a few more?"
As of this blogpost, I've tamed InDesign CS4, Photoshop, and Lightroom, with Premiere and Illustrator macros in the works. No more fumbling over Ctrl+Shift+Windows Key+Knick-knack-patty-whack bs with less than intuitive hotkeys.
For a final recap, who would like this awesome piece of ergonomic plastic? Any PC users who game more than they spend time with loved ones, PC cursed photo/video editors, and geeks with $75 burning a hole in their pocket. If you're still on the fence about the G13, buy one, check out the provided links for free apps and scripts to aid your macro'ing quest, and see what happens. Worst case scenario, you still have an awesome way to play virtually any FPS, RTS, or MMO with more ease than should be legal. Now get out there and get playing!
Other helpful links: