3 Sep 2014

The Photog Gamer

Philip Avellana, iori, adventscape, peripherals, tools, logitech, workflow, mouse, G700,
Logitech G700 Mouse

I play games.  I have several games I play whenever I get bored with Photography.  I love Role Playing Games (RPG) and First Person Shooting (FPS).  I have the following in my closet:
  • Diablo 2 / 3
  • Battlefield 2 / 3
  • Medal of Honour
  • Dragon Age 1 / 2
Some of these games are old, but I just love playing them.  I buy whenever a sequel goes out of the market.  Since they are established games, they must be good.  It's the same reason why I buy a powerful PC.  It should handle my photo library (Lightroom), post processing (Photoshop) and games smoothly.  I bought 2 items to enhance my gaming:
  • Keyboard (Logitech G19)
  • Mouse (Logitech G700)
These peripherals are very good at keeping all the needed buttons together.  They are also very good at adding a bunch of buttons together for easy access and use (rather than hovering your hand from one end of the keyboard to another).


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Logitech Gaming Software - Button Configuration


The Culling

After a shoot, I cull my photos in Lightroom.  This way I can identify the keepers from the rejects.  This is a quick and simple culling process.  I wanted to start culling immediately to keep the process moving.  I'm using these buttons and/or commands as I'm inside Lightroom:
  • Letter 'P' - pick
  • Letter 'X' - reject
  • Letter 'N' - enter survey mode
  • Letter 'G' - enter grid mode
  • 'Left' key - previous photo
  • 'Right' key - next photo
  • 'Left' double click (Loope & Grid View)
Looking at the keyboard, these keys are all over the place.  My left hand covers so much space while my right hand is sitting conveniently in one spot.  Then I got an idea!  Since I'm using gaming keyboards and mouse with extra programmable buttons, why not make a configuration to bunch up my needed keys and work efficiently.



The Culling with Logitech G700

I configured my G700 mouse to help me cull more quickly.  Below is my configuration: 


Philip Avellana, iori, adventscape, Logitech, Gaming Software, button configuration, G700, mouse
Lightroom Button Configuration (Logitech G700)


Philip Avellana, iori, adventscape, peripherals, tools, logitech, workflow, mouse, G700
Logitech G700 Top View with 8 buttons

Philip Avellana, iori, adventscape, peripherals, tools, logitech, workflow, mouse, G700
Logitech G700 Side view with 4 Additional Buttons

The following are photos that I can immediately reject:
  • Black hole (shutterspeed too fast, flash did not fire)
  • Very blurry photos
  • Very crocked photos
  • Wrong framing
  • Wrong focus (back / front focus, wrong focus point used)
For a quick culling process, I can just use my right hand to finish off the culling process.  All needed button configuration is already at my Logitech G700.

In instances wherein I took a burst shot or a successive shot so that I can *hopefully* grab the moment, I used the survey mode to select the proper photo.  This is very useful during group shots wherein people tend to look the other way or just accidentally have their eyes closed.  This is very useful when the bride kisses the groom as well to grab that perfect kiss!  I mark all rejected photos (black flag with 'x' mark) and leave the rest alone.



Editing in Lightroom


I don't edit my photos in Lightroom.  I just made all the basic adjustments and have Photoshop do all the heavy lifting edits.  Thus I didn't have any 'photo editing' configuration at my fingertips.  I know some photographers who do their edits in Lightroom and achieve pretty good results, but I'd rather go to Photoshop and have it deal with the photo at the pixel level.




Editing with Photoshop



I was really happy.  This greatly helped me go faster in my workflow with Lightroom.  When I was about to edit my best photos, I got the idea again:  configure the programmable keys to suit the Photoshop environment.  I decided which commands to put in my configurable buttons.

I often use brush commands so I gather these in one area in my keyboard.  The following commands are now bunched closely to each other:

  • Increase brush size '['
  • Decrease brush size ']'
  • Default brush 'D'
  • Switch swatch 'X'
So when I'm brushing and masking, it's easy to tap one button to the next.  Look closely where these buttons are located in your keyboard.  There are some other brush commands that can be added to this configuration, but I just prefer the 4 commands I stated above.

I then chose Navigation next.  The following buttons are my configuration:
  • Zoom in
  • Zoom out
  • Zoom 100%
  • Zoom to fit
These are not bad buttons.  They are quite close to each other (except for the 'ctrl' button).  But I still chose to configure them.  I can remove these navigation buttons and change to something else but I can't think of any other commands to use it.

With the final four (4) buttons, I decided to program the commands below:
  • All in One Layer
  • Duplicate Top Layer
Again, the 4 configurations mentioned above are not that hard to press (I'm used to pressing those 4 buttons simultaneously) but I put them there as I don't have anything to put there and I want to maximise the programmable buttons.  Below is my button setup:


Philip Avellana, iori, adventscape, Logitech, Gaming Software, button configuration, G19, keyboard
Photoshop Button Configuration (Logitech G19)

Philip Avellana, iori, adventscape, peripherals, tools, logitech, workflow, keyboard, G19
Logitech G19 Programmable Buttons
Philip Avellana, iori, adventscape, peripherals, tools, logitech, workflow, G19, keyboard
Closer look at the programmable Buttons

Depending on how you edit, you can configure more relevant commands in the buttons.  It's just fun and worthwhile that you don't need to jump from this side of the keyboard to the other side and back.  

Now, all of my fingers stay at those G-buttons while my thumb stays at the spacebar (pan).  My hand does not hover across the area of the keyboard any more.  My fingers just press a button.



Windows Environment
You can save several sets of configurations.  The ones I just did above is just for Lightroom and Photoshop.  You can configure some heavily used desktop functions.  I have the following commands configured when I'm in Windows Environment:



Philip Avellana, iori, adventscape, Logitech, Gaming Software, button configuration, desktop
Desktop Button Configuration
  • My Computer
  • Next Tab in Chrome
  • Previous Tab in Chrome
  • New Folder
Both my mouse (G700) and keyboard (G19) can jump between button configurations depending on my work environment.  My configuration in Lightroom is not the same as my configuration at Photoshop and in Windows Environment.  


Philip Avellana, iori, adventscape, peripherals, tools, logitech, workflow, multimedia, G19, keyboard
Logitech G19 Multimedia Buttons 




Programming Overkill

Not because you can, doesn't mean you should.  

If you feel that buying these programmable mouse and keyboard is overkill, then maybe it is overkill for you.  If you don't have these peripherals in the first place, then don't buy it.  You may probably already have a simple mouse and keyboard that works for you so buying won't do you any good.  Most of the population still use their native mouse & keyboard anyway.

If you have the peripherals, don't program all buttons in all types of scenarios in all types of programs.  It will become very confusing in the end.  This is the same reason why I don't configure my buttons for every game I buy.  Well, it's up to you anyway.  


Philip Avellana, iori, adventscape, peripherals, tools, logitech, workflow, keyboard, G19
Logitech G19 LCD Screen 
Philip Avellana, iori, adventscape, peripherals, tools, logitech, workflow, keyboard, G19
Buttons to control Logitech's G19 LCD Screen



Final Thoughts


By no means that these are the best settings.  These are my configurations that made me work efficiently at the photographic process that I do.  Your mileage may vary.  These configurations can be saved (export) and can be recalled again (import) after doing a fresh format of my system.  Don't forget to install the software.

You don't need to buy advance peripherals to have your own configuration.  A simple and basic mouse and keyboard can do everything.  But if you're a gamer who bought special keyboard and mouse, I think it's better you set these buttons for photography to work effectively.  

Configure and pull in important keys so your fingers, arms and wrist will relax more.  

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