Those of you familiar with midi controller surfaces will know that, by in large, the product design associated with them leaves much to be desired. They are usually garish, overstated affairs seemingly designed to catch the eye of 18 year old ravers passing through Guitar Center. So I was pretty surprised when I saw the new line of Cubase control surfaces from Steinberg. The CMC line of modular controllers allow you to build a control surface using only the modules you deem necessary to your workflow. They even offer a frame to hold up to four modules of your choosing.
Of course, upon seeing these I was immediately reminded of the question I have been asking myself for years: why don’t we as Photoshop users have a system like this? There is something that comes close; the Avid Artist Color, but it isn’t compatible with Photoshop. Can you imagine having a modular system like the CMC that you could customize to run actions, edit color on the fly, manipulate images? Perhaps I’m being a little presumptuous, but I would think a lot of Photoshop users (and creatives in general) could benefit from an open standard for controlling software like Photoshop, Lightroom, and After Effects. The funny thing is that the standard exists already in MIDI, Adobe just needs to implement it and allow us to map controls to functions within their software. I guess after working with music software for so long and having hardware control surfaces as a given, it’s hard to understand why they’ve never made the leap to the world of visual production.
Would you use a hardware controller to work with Photoshop?
Also, here’s a pretty annoying video detailing the CMC system: