What is the LoupeDeck +?
The LoupeDeck + is an image editing console. It’s about the same size and shape as a standard computer keyboard but instead of the usual QWERTY keys, it has an array of knobs and dials along with a few buttons. The original LoupeDeck was designed for use with Adobe Lightroom Classic CC, but the new version is also compatible with Skylum Aurora HDR and Adobe Premiere Pro CC. In addition, it’s in beta testing with Phase One Capture One.
Apparently, the manufacturer is also investigating extended the compatibility to Adobe Camera Raw, but a decision hasn’t been reached about that yet.
Before plugging the LoupeDeck + USB cable into your computer, you first need to download and install the software. Once that’s done, you may find you need to start and close down your chosen editing software a couple of times to get the console to register. At least that’s what I had to do. But once the console starts working, itss a plug-and-play device. You can just plug it into your computer everytime you want to use it. Then, when you’ve finished, unplug it again.
If you’ve used either Lightroom or Skylum Aurora HDR, you’ll immediately recognise what the knobs marked Contrast, Clarity, Shadows and Whites etc are for. It’s easy to translate using the software sliding controls into knob turning.
Along the top edge, there’s a row of 8 buttons marked P1-P8 with 8 dials below that are marked with the colour channels. And just to the left side of these are three buttons marked Hue, Sat and Lum. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that these buttons allow you to use the dials to adjust the Hue, Saturation or Luminance of each colour in Lightroom Classic CC.
In fact, it’s remarkable just how intuitive much of LoupeDeck +’s functionality is. However, you’re likely to need to check the instruction manual to work out how to do a few things. Pressing the Control Dial, for example, activates Crop mode. Rotating it then changes the angle of the image. However, by default the D1 crops the image, with P1-P8 buttons setting the aspect ratio and the arrow keys shifting the location of the crop. Once you know it’s easy.
It’s also worth mentioning at this point that the Custom Mode button changes the purpose of a button or dial. For example, if the Custom Mode button has been pressed (indicated by an LED next to it) the Exposure knob adjusts Detail Sharpening. Meanwhile, the Clarity control adjusts the Radius of the Sharpening.
Pressing the Custom Button a second time (and turning off its LED), reverts the controls to their defaults.
Once you’ve got to grips with the basics you can start customising some of the buttons. The P1-P8 buttons I mentioned earlier, for example, apply Lightroom Presets by default. You can change what’s applied with each button via the LoupeDeck software. In Lightroom, this is accessed via Help > Plug-in Extras > LoupeDeck Set-up. It’s very straightforward.
If you’ve created your own Lightroom Presets, you’ll be able to access them and assign them to a convenient button.
It’s very easy to customise the controls to optimise the LoupeDeck + for your editing.
I’ve yet to use the LoupeDeck + with Adobe Premiere, but it works extremely well with Lightroom Classic CC and Skylum Aurora HDR. It doesn’t take long to get up to speed with the basics and after a little experimentation, you’ll soon be using it for more advanced work.
It’s very easy to make adjustments and it’s just as easy to undo them. SImply pressing the dial or know returns the adjustment to the zero setting.
The only downside for me is that I prefer to work with Adobe Camera Raw. This uses the same engine as Lightroom, it’s just arranged in a different way. It also avoids the need to import images into Lightroom before you process them. I’m hoping that LoupeDeck rolls out Camera Raw compatibility in the near future.
However, if you use Lightroom Classic CC or Skylum Aurora HDR extensively, the LoupeDeck + will save you a lot of keyboard and mouse action. It should also speed your editing time.