Ergonomic Key Pad for Digital Artists & Creators

March 18, 2017

4 Votes

Status: Acknowledged


I noticed that Dell is attempting to foray into the Digital Artist field; the stylus for the Dell Canvas sporting Wacom tech, says to me that they're serious. What these Interactive Pen Displays lack - particularly the larger ones that take up more space - is a comfortable, efficient means of accessing a vast array tools and functions within a program.

The Dell Canvas ships with the "totem" radial dial, but it doesn't strike me as ideal, and isn't viable on a vertically-mounted display. Even Wacom hasn't managed to release an outstanding solution; most professionals are partial to using keyboards, and neither the Wacom ExpressKey Remote, nor the buttons on the side of their Intuos & Cintiq tablets are effective at increasing workflow. I used a 27QHD cintiq for a year, with my keyboard awkwardly on my lap (lack of space), and used the ExpressKey Remote for the first two days before never touching it again.

What Digital Artists need is a specially-designed "Gaming Pad". I've been using a Logitech G13 for the past year, and it's such an amazing difference; I'm 85% confident that it would be a roaring success, and if I had the skills to design a prototype and the necessary drivers myself, then I'd be on Kickstarter right now. While I'm content to go on using the G13, with the knowledge that it could be so much better, I'd love to see the concept pushed to the next level.

If the G13 had two analog sticks (one customizable, and one that instantly snaps to the directional Hue), and a touch strip (similar to those on the Cintiq 24HD), it would be incredibly efficient, and drastically improve workflow. The overall position of the upper keys on the G13 is very comfortable, so I'd take that layout into consideration and adapt it to be more suitable.

Here's a quick example of what I meanUser-added image

And here's how I have mine configured: (I'm about 2 buttons short; 4 at the bottom right would've been perfect).

User-added image

It's targetted at gamers, but accidentally caters extremely well to professional creators. Someone definitely needs to capitalize on that.



tl;dr - build a custom Gaming Pad accessory, designed for professional artists. Set the drivers up to support changing of Hue & Brightness using an Analog Stick & Touch Strip. Give it 30+ customizable buttons and TWO analog sticks(or an up-left/down-right facing toggle fin - important to have something more than just 1 analog). Succeed at something that every other company has failed to address for over a decade.


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  • Mar 25, 2017

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    Hey Hyncharas, that'd be great!

    I've been pondering the design a little more, and I find the G1 and G7 buttons a bit too much of a stretch; they need to be brought inwards slightly, and then maybe an additional row of 5 buttons placed above those, to achieve a loose, tapering diamond shape, which makes a lot of sense from an ergonomic standpoint. The G20 & 22 are positioned very comfortably. The strong indents on G10, 11 & 12 helps to navigate back to default position amongst the other flat-surfaced keys.

    I'm wondering if it would be possible to increase the height of the touch strip and incorporate saturation as well as brightness; making it a square or triangle shape. I get the feeling that having two individual touch strips - one for value, and one for saturation - would turn out far less buggy, and be easier to create smooth drivers for; as it'd be mapping two things individually on a single line from 0-100%. A triangle or square would be 3 or 4 edges, and might require 3-4 sets of 0-100% depending on how that technology actually works... and then having to account for everything in between those edges, which might be a little too ambitious.

    However, I'm terrible at maths, and I don't do programming; so if I'm wrong, and a square or triangular touch pad can easily function using only two 0-100% values, then incorporating Saturation/Brightness in a single touch strip would be very comfortable, efficient and certainly wow a lot of people.