Best accessory for digital painters? yep!

Discussion in 'Artists' started by azelll, Apr 19, 2013.

  1. azelll

    azelll Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Hello everyone!
    I recently snag on Ebay a cheap ShuttleXpress, and I want to share my experience.
    I was curios to see if would work with my tablets as an extra help to make the experience more "Cintiq" like, and it turn out to be the perfect companion for digital painting!
    Is already coming with Photoshop macros, and is easy to set-up with every software.
    You can zoom, scroll down pages, change size of brushes and whatever you need, cause the buttons are all programmable, is comfortable and very easy to use, and I saw many selling out for cheap... probably cause is an old niche accessory.
    here's the official website

    Contour Design | ShuttleXpress | retail.contourdesign.com

    but be aware that once you try one you can't live without!
    Man! they should pay me for all this advertising :)
    they also have a lot of other interesting devices on their website,
    have fun
     
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  2. stoneseeker

    stoneseeker Animator and Art Director Senior Member

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    that thing looks really nice! The web page says nothing about whether it is wireless or usb powered. What kind of connection is it?

    I've tried the motion PS3 "nav" controller which works nice, but the button mapping and getting windows to recognize it is a nightmare!
     
  3. Shizaru

    Shizaru Scribbler - Standard Member

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    It's usb according to the last line on this page Compatibility.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2015
  4. stoneseeker

    stoneseeker Animator and Art Director Senior Member

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    hm, that was well hidden. USB is probably best for response anyway. I find most wireless peripherals so dodgy to use with windows.
    wow. a handful for $30 on ebay... i'm tempted.
    thanks for the tip Azell!
     
  5. Steve B

    Steve B Moderator Moderator

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    Stoneseeker,
    I was actually just thinking the other day that I wanted to finally try out the PS3 controller. This one, right? Before I go through the hassle though, I was interested to hear about your experience in a bit more detail. I was assuming you were going to use that free program (can't remember the name right now... perhaps Joy2...something or another?) to program the buttons? What difficulties did you run into? Was it worth the hassle? I remember there was a thread here a year or so ago about using this exact device. The response seemed positive at the time, but I've not used it, or heard back from anyone else who had.

    Would be great to know. For about 20$, bluetooth, and a free program to alter the key input, it seems like a good mobile solution....???
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2015
  6. stoneseeker

    stoneseeker Animator and Art Director Senior Member

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    Hey steve,

    if you have patience and some know-how with windows it's worth it.

    I use it occasionally, but unless you have a bluetooth dongle, it's gonna be plugged into a usb port. The program Joy2key is a real frustrating experience. There are some really good articles and youtube videos showing you how to get older versions that don't require internet connections. YOu have to use it though, or windwos doesn't recognize the device properly. There are a few little quirks that you'll encounter trying to map the buttons, and sometimes the profile seems to disappear. By the end of it, with having done a lot of research in the comments, and reading articles, I got it working reliably. I can't remember specifically what the tricks were now, but its completely do-able, just a bit of a learning curve.

    My only complaint with the device itself was using the joystick. It was waaaay too sensitive to map buttons to the right, left, up down and click in the middle. Apparently this can be handled with the mapping program which can also tweak sensitivity of the joystick, but I never got it tweaked right. Meaning I would accidentally hit undo while trying to resize my brush, etc.

    The other buttons work flawlessly, including the d-pad. Pretty cool and ergonomic, but still felt so half baked for all the extra crap I had to have on my computer, and the research and frustration kind of ruined the experience for me and I went back to my mini key board or photoshop toolbar when I am on my lap.
    If you wanna save yourself the hassle, go with something built for it like above. Only thing I see about the above thing is it needs a surface to rest on. The ps3 nav controller was cheap, software free, and you could hold it easily in one hand without a surface.

    It was fun as hell when you got past the frustration of setting it up properly.
     
  7. azelll

    azelll Pen Pal - Newbie

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    is USB, and is super-easy to set-up!
    I was thinking to use a joy-pad too, but since I got the shuttlexpress for 20$ in a sealed box I didn't have to think twice :)
    The software runs automatically, and I work flawlessly, now I kinda wish I had got the Pro model, that have more buttons, but is really an amazing accessory
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2013
  8. azelll

    azelll Pen Pal - Newbie

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    oh I forgot to mention that you can set up the speed of each button, and the control wheel as well!
    With a slight movement of the wheel I can scroll down the canvas very slow, and with a strongest pressure it scrolls faster... again, I am not related to the company, but if you paint on a tablet you have to have this!
    :)
     
  9. cleft

    cleft Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Steve B, I on the other hand have a totally positive experiences with the ps3 nav but with different set-up.

    1. I pair the controller directly with the built-in bluetooth in my x201t. Yes I know this overrides bluetooth functionality and can only be used exclusively to pair the controller, but I honestly cannot think of any other situations in where I need bluetooth. I used it for files transfer before but it was way back to the 2010 and it was not even that often.

    2. I use Xpadder for mapping keys. It's NOT free (£6 as I remember) but worth the extra bucks!! I don’t know what is the deal with Joy2key but I certainly do not have any issue with Xpadder. As long as a profile is created and the controller is connected, the application works out-of-the-box. It does not require any kind of internet connection.

    3. I attach the controller to the tablet with velcro so that they can be together most of the time. I had a photo attached. Totally optional but quite useful since I don't always have an external keyboard with me. This way I'm assured to have decent input device all the time.

    There is a minor issue though. MotioninJoy's driver recognise the controller totally fine but I need to go through couple of clicks to enable its joystick each time it is connected after boot. I hope the latest driver (v0.7.1001) fixes the issue but somehow my ps3 nav was no longer seen under the driver so I have to keep using v0.6.0005.

    Of course it takes time to create an optimal profile that fit your needs. It takes trial-and-error but it pays off well in the long run. As for my configuration:

    uploadfromtaptalk1366667200887.jpg uploadfromtaptalk1366667136435.jpg

    Here is a bit of explanations:
    - doubling number of the keys by holding the trigger to access the second set.
    - most used tools/commands are at the joystick (where I feel the most comfortable), relevant ones are grouped in each column
    - the most frequently used are on the main directions, the lesser frequent are placed at the corners which the least frequent are at the bottom-left and -right since I have more trouble with the 2 directions. Also as it's not irregular to mis-hit the top corners, I assign the adjacent buttons to ones that do little to no effect to those being accidentally hit.

    *edit: wow I'd take my wish for the shuttlexpress back, did not expect it to be that big.
     

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    Last edited: Apr 22, 2013
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  10. azelll

    azelll Pen Pal - Newbie

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    P4224825.jpg P4224825.jpg

    Oh, I could put a couple of pictures too!
    the only "defect" it might have is that you need a surface to use it, but I never paint on a tablet outdoor, even with a "viewanywhere" I can't really see anything :)
    I prefer the paper e pencil for that :p
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2013
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