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My Little Friend

I bought a device the other week and it improved my comic drawing workflow by eleventy-thousand percent.

If any of that sentence interests you, read on.

Alright cool, let me first set the scene: To draw my comics I use Adobe Photoshop, and with it I use hotkeys. A lot of hotkeys. If I didn’t use hotkeys I would have been celebrating my 85th birthday last month not my 25th.

TIP: A hotkey is a key you press to get quick access to a function

I used my keyboard for pressing these hotkeys and life was dandy. I’d push B for Brush, and E for Erase, and Ctrl+Z for Undo.. and.. Alt+L+N+L for New Layer.. and so on. It wasn’t perfect, my hand went all over the place, but it did the job.

Fast-forward to a month ago I’m sitting next to Jordan and I’m watching him code my website like a goddamn pr0 hacker. I swooned over his skills of efficiency. I wanted to be like that! But.. in an artist way.

 

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Say hello to my little friend: the Logitech G13.

This “advanced gameboard” is marketed toward the enthusiastic gamer, but secretly it’s the perfect addition for digital artists. After assigning hotkeys and actions to each key, I admit it was a little rough at first. Trying to reprogram my brain into pushing a different key from the one I’ve been pushing for 11+ years was tricky and made me doubt I’d ever end up saving more time than I was spending looking at my awkwardly positioned hand.

… but after a while it just clicked, and now I’m faster than I ever fasted before.

I love it.

- Gregor

My current set up

Some Q&A:

Can you upload your hotkey file?

I showed an image of my set up to give you an idea of how I’m using the buttons and that lovely analog stick, but it’s tailored for me and my way of working. The whole point of this is to improve your workflow, and for that you need to set up your own hotkeys the way you want them.

Why not just reassign hotkeys on your regular keyboard?

I didn’t want to change the default Photoshop hotkeys because I still use Photoshop at work and I don’t want to completely unlearn the standard hotkey language. Also the Logitech G13 is much easier to carry around than a full keyboard if I need it on the go (I look forward to trying it out with my Surface Pro 2).