How many times have you found yourself performing the same keystroke functions in Photoshop or Lightroom over and over again? Keystrokes that slow down your editing process. And even if it’s just a few seconds, those seconds can add up over time. Perhaps you need a graphics editing controller like the TourBox.
You’ve probably heard somewhere along the line that the key to making more money without charging more money is to be more efficient and to work smarter, not harder.
Well, to that exact purpose, the TourBox was born. Its mission? To eliminate keystrokes and button clicks and streamline your editing experience.
The TourBox was launched through a Kickstarter campaign (which I backed) in late 2018 to create a unique controller specifically for photo and video editors.
TourBox is now available for only $150, much less than other similar (and larger) controllers. Already sold? Go get one on Amazon. If not, keep reading!
If you’ve spent any amount of time in Photoshop or Lightroom, you know that you’re usually spending a lot of time switching between various tools, changing the size of brushes, adjusting values on sliders, etc., etc. – basically, you spend a lot of time just adjusting the tools instead of doing your actual work.
This is made increasingly difficult because you have to either mouse over or use a keyboard shortcut to select your tools or adjust the slider. It’s another ‘move’ you have to make that takes you out of the editing flow.
In comes the TourBox to eliminate those keystrokes and mouse clicks and make your workflow much more seamless. Here’s a quick video to give you a sense of how it works.
Features + Design
The TourBox is a sturdily constructed palm-sized controller unit designed for use with your left hand in conjunction with a mouse or editing tablet in the right hand. There are right-handed models on the market but they sell out pretty quickly.
Features include a variety of customizable controls including a dial, a knob, a scroll wheel, a directional pad, AND five buttons. All of these controls can be customized to complete different functions. The device also comes pre-programmed for several editing programs, including Lightroom and Photoshop.
It’s important to note that while Lightroom and Photoshop will comprise the majority of users of a device like Tourbox, it is compatible with a number of other editing programs, including GIMP.
The TourBox is also compatible with both Mac and PC computers, though it does require that you have a 5-volt USB 3.0 port to supply enough power for all of the device’s functions.
The unit measures about 5″ x 5″ x 1″ and could easily fit into a messenger back, backpack, or camera bag. It’s made from the same material used for game controllers but it is important to note that it IS NOT compatible as a game controller. The TourBox is specifically designed as a tool for photo and video editing.
The control layout on the TourBox is well designed, and after a short period of time, I was able to quickly get the hang of all the tools.
As I stated earlier, the misson of the TourBox is to reduce the number of button and mouseclicks to improve the efficiency of your workflow. But there are so many different tools and options in a program like Photoshop, how can the TourBox give you access to everything you need with only a handful of buttons? Well, TourBox allows you to combine buttons with dials and knobs to create a wider variety of adjustments with less clicking!
For example, the center knob, in the default Photoshop settings, can be used to adjust hardness, flow, or opacity depending on what button you click on in conjunction with turning the knob. You can also use the device to zoom in, zoom out, drag, and resize with one hand. It can undo, redo, move forward and backward through functions as well as adjust the value of different sliders. Just set it to control the sliders you use the most!
Final Thoughts + Analysis
So, what do I think of the TourBox? Honestly, I think it is pretty amazing.
Sure, there are other controllers designed for similar functions, like Loupedeck and Palette Gear. The Loupedeck units that are similar in price (but still more expensive) to the TourBox are the size of keyboards. There’s also the Loupedeck “Creative” which offers a ton of buttons and dials that comes in at $550 (and honestly looks like it might have too much going on). Palette Gear allows you to customize buttons, dials, sliders, and knobs. It is also a modular system, making it much more expensive the more functions you want to add to it. It also means that it grows in size the more functions you add.
If you make a living editing photos or video in some manner, time is money! The TourBox packs a ton of functionality into a small package. Combine it with a graphics tablet or just use alongside your mouse and you will cut down your editing time significantly. Plus, it’s ergonomic! Save those wrists, people!
Want to get your own TourBox?
The TourBox retails for $149 on Amazon. Click here to get yours today! Come back and let me know what you think in the comments section.