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casterle

Working together: X-Touch Mini and Affinity Photo - Resources Attached

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A few days ago I bought an X-Touch Mini to use with Affinity Photo. Here it is next to my Deco 03:

image.png.ba7e890ae09c6fc7c1afec3e1be13333.png

It took many hours to get everything talking, including configuring the X-Touch Mini and the MIDI translation software to convert the MIDI messages to keystrokes.

Most of the work applies to both Windows and Mac systems, but the free version of the MIDI translator I use is only available for Windows. Mac users will have to buy the Pro version or find another translator. 

The attached file contains a PDF with instructions, as well as pre-built configuration files for both layers on the X-Touch Mini, the configuration files for the MIDI translator and a couple of .svg templates for the overlay.

Enjoy!

Configuring X-Touch Mini for AP on Windows.zip

BTW, the 'knob' on the Deco's wheel is a soft, stick-on door stop - makes the wheel much easier to adjust (https://amazon.com/gp/product/B01J23R2X8/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1). 

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Hello casterle,

great work! Exactly what I was looking for....

Can you give some more insights on the functionality?

From your templates I got the impression, that it is possible to adjust Exposure, Contrast, Clarity etc. in the Development Persona only. Or is it a function which is available also in the photo persona? So could it work like Loupedeck with Photoshop / Lightroom?

Thanks for some more explanations on that...

 

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6 hours ago, mh107 said:

Can you give some more insights on the functionality?

From your templates I got the impression, that it is possible to adjust Exposure, Contrast, Clarity etc. in the Development Persona only. Or is it a function which is available also in the photo persona?

It's possible to use the encoder knobs to adjust anything that has a keyboard shortcut. For example, I've got an encoder knob I use to zoom - turning the knob clockwise sends a Ctrl-Equals (same as Ctrl-Plus) for each knob detent, zooming in. Turning it counter-clockwise sends Ctrl-Minus, zooming out. This is configured using Midi Translator Classic - you never have to modify the X-Touch's configuration. Let me know if you need me to step you through this.

The limitation in AP is that few shortcuts are available. For example, you can adjust brush size via the '[' and ']' keys, so you can use an encoder knob for that purpose (I was already using my tablet's wheel for this). But that's the only shortcut for brushes. You can't adjust hardness or opacity because there are no shortcuts for those brush properties. Those of use who are interested in using control surfaces need to keep reminding Affinity that this is an issue that needs addressing.

But even as things stand, the X-Touch Mini is beyond useful. The button on my zoom encoder is configured to send 'Ctrl-1' for 'Zoom to 100%'. My tablet has a wheel I use for brush size so I'm only using one encoder knob for AP at the moment. I'm watching a large number of tutorial videos, so I configured one of the encoder knobs to send skip-back and skip-forward commands to Chrome; its button acts as a pause button. This is quite useful when I'm trying to follow along with the video and need to rewind. Getting this working requires a bit more work

I have buttons configured for:

  1. View Tool
  2. Move Tool
  3. Paint Brush
  4. Erase Brush
  5. Pen Tool
  6. Node Tool
  7. Flood Fill
  8. Gradient Tool
  9. Clone Brush
  10. Blemish Removal Tool
  11. Healing Brush
  12. Patch Tool
  13. Flood Select Tool
  14. Selection Brush
  15. Freehand Selection
  16. Elliptical Selection

As you can see in the photo above, my X-Touch is located immediately above my tablet. In  fact, it's duct taped in place. That way all the buttons/knobs are in the same position relative to the tablet and I can (eventually) find the right control via muscle memory.

6 hours ago, mh107 said:

So could it work like Loupedeck with Photoshop / Lightroom?

With Lightroom you can do so much more. Adobe apparently exposes a real API for LR, and someone has written a free app to take advantage of this. It's called, as I recall, MIDI2LR and I believe it's available for both Windows and Mac. YouTube has videos that made me drool! But I don't use (and have no need for, and wouldn't rent if I did) LR so I have not had a chance to play with this app and have no idea how it's configured.

I'm puzzled that more people aren't (apparently) interested in using surface controllers with Affinity products. They're amazing time-savers.

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Thanks for the explanation. Unfotunately it doesn´t seem to be possible what I´m looking for....

 

 

Actually I´m using the Contour ShuttleXpress:

image.png.e6b0f25c2f3772b007cb7818a82affdc.png

 

This has two Wheels, which I use for zooming and shifting, and 5 programmable knobs. As you explained, this also works via keyboard short-cuts which can be programmed to the knobs and wheels. I find it very helpful an use it also with other programs, but I would like to have more wheels to adjust Exposure, Contrast, Clarity etc. therefor the X-Touch mini is a great idea.

So Affinity needs to make an API or at least more short-cuts available....I hope that is on their to-do list...

 

Best Regards

 

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8 hours ago, mh107 said:

So Affinity needs to make an API or at least more short-cuts available....I hope that is on their to-do list...

Me too. I think I'll post a link to this thread in the suggestions forum.

An API would be wonderful, but requires substantial work to design and implement properly. I hope this is coming; as I understand it, MIDI2LR provides 2-way communication between LR and the controller. In the case of the X-Touch Mini, that allows the light rings around each of the encoders to provide visual feedback regarding each knob's settings. So if you adjust a value via the mouse or keyboard, the light rings update to reflect the change. This cannot be done without 2-way communications between LR and the controller which requires an API.

I imagine Affinity has more pressing priorities than an API. But all they really need to do to get things working is expand the existing shortcut system. Allowing us to assign shortcut combinations (including the Windows key!) to any property (etc.) is a solution that covers nearly all the bases with (presumably) much less work.

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