The Lightroom controller inputs are mapped in switchable layers, so you can manipulate all develop parameters with the hardware controller. When switching layers, Lightroom automatically shows the corresponding panel. And also when you move a control, the changed parameter is shown in Lightroom.
LrControl now also supports manipulating the parameters of localized corrections.
On this page you can find a bit more information about using LrControl.
Note that all supported controllers are USB class compliant, that means no custom drivers required! It also means that you do not have to worry about OS support for the controller. As long as the device has not worn out and is functioning, you can keep using it with an up to date Mac OS X or Windows.
All you need to get started is install the LrControl plug-in and plug-in your controller. If you have more than one controller, you can use up to 6 compatible controllers with LrControl. These can be any combination of supported controllers and also multiple controllers of the same type.
Choosing a Controller
A number of people have asked me for a recommendation. Which controller is the best for you depends on a couple of factors. You have to consider the price and the size of the controller. And also how important it is for you to have motorised faders or LED collars around the encoders of the controller.
I recommend the BCF2000 if you can afford it and you have enough room for it, it's quite big. I also really like the Korg nanoKONTROL 2. It's slim, light and affordable.
Getting Started with LrControl
Once you have a compatible controller, you can start using LrControl. If you have not installed LrControl yet, start with that.
Get the installer for your platform from the downloads page. Before starting the installer, quit Lightroom if it was running. After the install is complete, plug in your controller, if you haven't already done so. Then start Lightroom. After Lightroom has started you should see that some buttons on you controller light up. That means LrControl is working.
LrControl Menu Items
You can find the menu items for LrControl in the Lightroom Help Menu, under the Plug-in Extras submenu.
- View or enter your licence code here.
- Controler Setup
- LrControl preferences, connected controllers and customization.
- View Controller Functions
- Generate reference pages with the controller functions.
If the Develop module is not active yet, activate it using the controller. You can find which button to press on the reference page for your controller. It's the "Toggle Develop" function. Keep a browser window open on the page for your controller as a reference, see the "View Controller Functions" function above.
Now you can start changing the parameters of the Basic panel in Lightroom. Notice that the first of the layer buttons on your device is lit. That means LrControl is now using the first layer, which controls the Basic panel in Lightroom.
More Lightroom Parameters
When you want to go to a different panel, select the appropriate layer. By selecting the next layer you go to the next panel in Lightroom. As some controllers have more controls than others this mapping of layers to panels is not exactly the same for every controller.
Using Knobs and Faders on the Controller
Knobs or Encoders
These are turned clockwise or counter-clockwise. There are different kinds. Some are like a volume knob or a dial, they can be turned a limited amount before they stop and you cannot turn them further. This is at the end of the range of the parameter you are changing.
Another kind is called an endless-encoder, these do not have a stop and they move in small steps. The great advantage of this is that you always start from the current value of a parameter. They are very good for making small adjustments.
Some knobs/encoders have LED lights showing the current value. LrControl sends the Lightroom values to the controller to update these LEDs.
Sliders or Faders
These move up and down and are great for quick and accurate adjustments large and small. They can be motorised. Motorised faders are great, they are automatically adjusted to match the corresponding Lightroom value.
Syncing the Controller
To take advantage of motorised faders and encoders with LED collars, the controller value must match the value in Lightroom. LrControl will automatically keep your controller synced. For example if you press a layer button, or change photo.
Touch Sensitive Faders
Some controllers have touch sensitive faders. For example the Plaform-M and X-Touch Compact. LrControl uses this to start/stop tracking in Lightroom, this means that all changes you make between fader touch and release are recorded as a single change in the Lightroom history.
This function for the touch sensitive faders cannot be changed.
Layers and Lightroom Panels
In Lightroom the develop parameters are divided into panels. The functions in the panels are also grouped together in LrControl. Each layer in LrControl, corresponds to a panel in Lightroom. Though sometimes there are extra functions from other panels. At startup LrControl is always in layer 1, which corresponds to the "Basic" panel in Lightroom. To use functions from a different panel, select the corresponding layer in LrControl by pressing one of the layer buttons.
Using LrControl in Tool Mode. When you activate one of the tools in Lightroom, Lightroom shows you extra controls for tool parameters. These can also be controlled using LrControl. Once Lightroom is in tool mode, you automatically get the functions as shown under the Tool Mode section of your controller page.
When you press one of the layer buttons, the Tool Mode is switched off.
There are a couple of optional features you can turn off/on from the Lightroom menu: Help->Plug-in Extras->(LrControl) Controller Setup
This is on by default. When it is on, Lightroom will reveal the appropriate panel when switching layers in LrControl. And also when you change a parameter through the hardware controller the corresponding software control will be shown in Lightroom. If you want to keep hidden panels hidden, you need to turn Reveal Controls off. For example if you are working on a laptop, you might want to hide all the develop panels so you have more room for your photo.
When you start using a different parameter or switch layers, a brief message is shown. If you don't want that, turn Feedback Message off. Note that Lightroom itself often shows such feedback messages. For example when changing the flags of a photo. These messages are not affected by this LrControl specific setting.
When this is enabled, LrControl will automatically assign tool-mode functions to the controls when a Lightroom tool is active. You can also toggle this preference with a button function, Toggle Tool-Mode.
This is a list of the currently detected and supported controllers, with a button to go directly to the online reference page. Also for some controllers there are controller specific functions that can be accessed here.
This opens a dialog where you can change the name of each layer and choose which Lightroom panel to reveal when the layer is selected.
Send Setup Data
The BCF2000 and BCR2000 controllers can receive a full set of setup data. LrControl can send such a setup to the device that works with LrControl. Usefull for when you have lost factory settings. And in case of the BCF2000, it fixes a small bug in the factory settings (encoder 4 & 5 send the same message when pressed).
Custom Control Functions
You can customize LrControl by changing what each knob, button or slider does. You customize by first choosing the control, so the knob, button or slider, then you pick a function for that control.
Almost every controller function can be changed. But be carefull when changing layer buttons, make sure you can still access the layers you need.
If you want to customize the function in tool-mode, check the box in de dialog above. This only works for faders, knobs and encoders. If you select a button, the tool-mode checkbox is ignored.
The import and export buttons can be used to backup and share your customizations. Only the changes you make are saved, so it is possible to import settings for a different controller without loosing your own changes. The export function is also great if you want to move your changes to another computer, like your laptop for example.
The import function will apply the changes in the file you load to your current configuration. Only the changes in the file are applied, so you will get merged result. If you want to replace your configuration, or go back to an earlier export, do a reset first.
The reset function restores the default control functions.
Pushable encoders: If you want to modify the function of pushing down an encoder, try to avoid rotating the knob while pushing down. Otherwise you will get a list of functions to assign to the turning action instead. If this happens, just cancel and try again.
iCON iControls Pro: This device has little buttons on top of the sliders. When you want to customize a slider, keep the button pressed while clicking OK to select the control.
Any problems that are found in LrControl are fixed quickly. So if you find something unexpected, please send an email.