Palette Uses Tactile Buttons, knobs, and Sliders for Photo Editing

A clever, modular system takes the keyboard out of editing photos

Palette tactile photo editing system

The keystrokes and mouse clicks involved with my normal photo editing routine are hard wired into my brain now, having been used thousands and thousands of times over the course of my photographic career. It's probably the same for many of you. Palette, however, wants to switch up that process by making photo editing a more tactile experience using analog-style knobs, sliders, and buttons.

The system is totally modular and is based around a single “core” module that lets you get up and running. Past that, you can add other individual modules, each with a specific operation. For instance, if you want to have a physical slider that represents your shadow adjustments in Lightroom, you can have just that. If you want to use a knob to turn exposure up and down, you can do that, too.

Because of the way the system is designed, you can actually move the individual pieces around so that your workspace is customized to your typical flow.

It works with a wide variety of programs, including much of the Adobe Creative Suite, but the focus really does seem to be on photography. It’s tightly integrated with Lightroom and Photoshop, so it should be fairly reliable.

The product is currently available for pre-order and starts for $199, which comes with two buttons, a knob, a slider, and the control unit. For $299, you get an extra slider and knob. For $499, you get the brain, four buttons, six dials, and four sliders, which is a lot of extra pieces. And if you’re willing to shell out $900, you can get the biggest kit in a wood finish instead of aluminum.

If you want to add on individual pieces, you can buy buttons for $29, while sliders and knobs cost $50 each.

The demo actually looks extremely promising. Ted Belton uses it in conjunction with a Wacom tablet and the workflow actually looks really smooth.

I’m very curious to try it myself and see how it measures up to those key and mouse movements my hands are so used to already.

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