Modlock, and how it changed my digital art life

Discussion in 'Artists' started by Steve B, Aug 5, 2011.

  1. Steve B

    Steve B Moderator Moderator

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    Why this program isn't known by every tablet pc user is beyond me. I just downloaded this thing, and holy cr*p, it's AWESOME! After some initial hiccups getting the "Options" window to pop up (where all the settings are), where I had to run it as an admin so I could make the settings just how I wanted (also, you can check the most recent comments down at the bottom of the download page), I got this thing running, and ......wow. Just wow. So awesomely useful.

    Here's the link-
    ModLock

    You can set up modifier buttons to be automatically released after a set amount of time, you can right click them to make them stay "on" instead of having a timed release, and you can set up up to 3 or 4 extra buttons, which can also be special key combinations. You can increase the size of the buttons, their opacity, as well as where you want it to float, and you can make them vertical or horizontal as well. Plus, many buttons function differently if you're touching the screen while it's pressed, versus right-clicking while floating. For example,

    in Artrage--
    Alt = eyedropper tool
    Alt + floating right click= rotate canvas
    Ctrl= a straight line in any direction or angle
    Shift= change tool size
    Shift + floating right click= change canvas magnification

    I've already got an onscreen button programmed as Ctrl + Z. Not much else I could want.

    Same thing goes for Painter, where, for example, I set up a "Tab" button. Now, I can have all my menus and palettes up onscreen, hit the "Tab" button, paint full screen, use the Modlock modifiers for things like Magnification and Panning, tool resizing, etc., then click tab again, and voila-- I have all my palettes and menus up.... alter adjustments, hit tab and ... boom, I'm drawing again.

    I found Painter almost unusable on a tablet pc before, but with Modlock, well, it's atleast worth exploring for my workflow.

    To me, this is sort of a revolutionary little program. I feel like people are asking for something like this all the time-- a simple, lightweight program that can put modifier keys up on the screen-- and (once I got past setting it up right) this thing does it very smoothly. Can't recommend it enough.
     
  2. Agent 9

    Agent 9 Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    I think a lot of people know about modlock but don't quite like it because it makes you break away from what you are doing on screen -which is why I have used both a usb keypad (just a external number pad, reprogrammed with a key remapping program. not my preferred choice) and a usb gamepad (This with the software 'xpadder' to remap the keys to anything -and it even has fancy options like it having multiple buttons and combos assigned to one button, and all sorts of cool things. this is by far the best thing I've used thus far for external shortcuts without a keyboard)
     
  3. Steve B

    Steve B Moderator Moderator

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    Hmmmm, fair enough I suppose. To each their own?

    For me, the great joy of a tablet pc is not needing any additional setup or equipment. No keyboard. No usb this or that. Just a totally mobile screen, and go. Modlock allows me to essentially have a very small specialized onscreen keyboard that is superimposed above my art program. For my uses, with a tablet pc, that seems about perfect. But you're right, there must be other people who are happy to have a keyboard or gamepad attached to their laptop. To me, that sort of undid the whole point of a truly portable laptop, but I suppose that varies by gradation-- a laptop with a gamepad is still 10x more mobile than an desktop. Although a laptop WITHOUT a usb keyboard is even more portable!! :D

    My understanding is also that Modlock can set up a single button that does multiple modifier strokes at once, as you were doing with the gamepad. Not as many, I'm sure, only 4 or so I think, but enough for my uses. It's under the "Options" part.

    As for having to move your pen away from your art to touch the onscreen buttons... well, most art programs already require you to do that pretty often, IMO. Adding a layer, reducing transparency, going into a menu, panning, setting up a mask, etc etc. Pressing an onscreen button that I set up to the right, so I barely move my hand to do so seemed.... well, easier. Though I suppose if you've memorized all your key-combos and can do it one handed without looking and are working at a table or desk... perhaps the keyboard is better for those people.

    Either way, just thought I'd share. People seem to be asking for a program exactly like this regularly. Those who want onscreen buttons and whatnot. Particularly the Asus ep121 forum. It's so small, easy to use, and relatively easy to modify that it just seemed very useful.
     
  4. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    Shepy, the author of Modlock, is also a really decent guy. --I offered to send him a donation for his efforts back when I first discovered Modlock, and he steadfastly refused, saying, "I did it to help people, not make money."
     
  5. Steve B

    Steve B Moderator Moderator

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    Btw, have either of you tried out Stroke It yet? It would seem like a really great way to activate some basic modifier stuff with a simple gestural stroke. I've sometimes wondered if this was worth giving up a pen button for though.... which is what I think you basically have to do to get it to activate, right? Still, with a two button pen it seems like it might be a worthwhile option.
     
  6. Agent 9

    Agent 9 Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    I tried it a long time back, I think its time to try it again and see what its all about (may as well give mod-lock another go around as well at the same time).. I will report back later tomorrow or Monday after trying them out a good deal
     
  7. Steve B

    Steve B Moderator Moderator

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    ::chuckle:: No pressure my man. :) Everyone has their own workflow.

    I've only ever done digital art with a tablet pc, so I've never used a keyboard for all the shortcuts. I know others do, and so, for them, it's probably faster. As I said in my email, for me, ultra portability sans keyboard is the experience I aim for. One of the things that's enticing about Modlock or Stroke It! is the idea that I might be able to basically paint "Full Screen" 80-90% of the time, and use all the juicy real estate for the image, without any menus up-- just like you do with the keyboard, I'm sure, just without the keyboard.

    Also, re: Stroke It-- I wondered if it might be best used in conjunction with Modlock. For example, some simple stuff like hitting Tab in Painter to remove your palettes could be nice for a simple right-click gesture. Where as some other stuff, like enlarging your brush, or drawing a straight line (that requires a key to remain pressed while drawing it) might be nice for a pre-programmed button on modlock. That sort of stuff.

    Anyways, I find you've often got a thoughtful opinion, so I'd be interested to see what you've got to say, and how you might use it (or why you wouldn't for that matter). I'm always interested in workflows, and ways I can adopt smooth processes. Thanks!
     
  8. hasso

    hasso Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Just looking for Modlock download - The link above is dead...
     
  9. lblb

    lblb Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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  10. hunter99

    hunter99 To Old Now

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    Hi hasso;
    If you are running win8, you may get a message saying mscomctl.ocx not loaded or registered incorrectly.

    You must find a copy of mscomctl.ocx. Try the system32 or syswow64 folder on an other computer or on the net.
    1. Copy mscomctl.ocx to the c:\windows\syswow64 folder.
    2. Bring up the search box and type command. A app will come up on the right,
    labeled command prompt.
    3. Hold pen on it to bring up options at the bottom of screen, pick run as administrator.
    4. DOS box will appear and you should see this in it.---> C:\windows\system32>
    4a. Add a space then type or paste in this: regsvr32 c:\windows\syswow64\mscomctl.ocx
    5.If box looks like this "C:\windows\system32> c:\windows\syswow64\mscomctl.ocx"
    (with no quotes) hit enter.
    6. Should get success message. If so, you are good to go.

    A win8 problem is the exit key will not kill the process, but as it uses next to nothing is no big deal. In my win7 machine I have it in the startup folder, so its always running there also.

    Modlock is a much used asset, well worth the effort to get it working. Once you have the info its a piece of cake.
     

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