photoshop creative
Jul
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Review: Contour Design ShuttlePRO v2

Posted in:
Reviews, by Mark White
July 3, 2017

Save time and become more efficient in Photoshop, with this shortcut-filled accessory

Photoshop users love a shortcut. Whether it’s a quick command to use a tool, a keyboard shortcut to complete an edit or using actions to reduce your working process down to a single click, every little helps: using shortcuts to copy, paste or anything else ultimately will help you finish quicker.

The keyboard can only do so much when it comes to shaving time off your workflow, which is why the ShuttlePRO v2 from Contour Design is so intriguing. It’s a USB-enabled add-on for your computer to simply plug in and act as another keyboard: only this device has nothing but buttons for shortcuts all over it. It’s not just used by Photoshop users either, as it’s popular with musicians and video editors who may need more shortcuts at their fingertips while working.

The ShuttlePRO is easy to set up, as it simply plugs in and requires a driver download. From there it’s programmable with all your favourite commands, similar to how you can assign a keyboard shortcut for an action you’ve created. The ShuttlePRO also comes with shortcuts on sticks that you can place on its buttons, taking off the plastic covering and snapping it back on: once you’ve assigned a shortcut onto it, you won’t forget it thanks to this feature.

Starting to use the ShuttlePRO is really easy. It’s customisable and the buttons feel great; there’s a dial in the centre that can be turned 360 degrees, and surrounding it is a black rubber wheel that can be turned left or right. With nine potential shortcuts above the wheel and another six surrounding it, there are plenty of commands that you can assign to the device; when you compare this to the average graphics tablet – which might only have four hot keys – the ShuttlePRO really can transform the way you work.

A graphics tablet is a very good example to use as a parallel product. It takes time to get the hang of but it’s designed to make your life easier. Research has shown that specific keyboards with Photoshop commands printed onto them can shave off hours of time spent creating: imagine what a separate device with shortcuts you input yourself can do.

There’s very little that you could level at the ShuttlePRO in terms of criticism, other than the fact it may not come across as the most necessary accessory for working on your Photoshop projects. It’s portable, sure, but not really the kind of device that you could take with you while you commute with your laptop, and are a dozen or so extra commands really worth the money and sacrifice of one of your USB ports? Supposing that you take a chance on the ShuttlePRO though, the benefits become obvious: it’s the kind of product that you don’t notice changing your work pattern, but one that’s really obvious when you don’t have it anymore.

Ultimately, the ShuttlePRO is for anyone who wants to speed up the way they work, but in speeding up your workflow, you can improve as an artist or designer. The ShuttlePRO is something that you notice the benefits of in the long run as opposed to straight away; it’s possible for you to set commands depending on what kind of work you create, it feels comfortable to use, and it’s suitable for both left- and right-handed people. If you love a shortcut, this is a product that could change the way you use Photoshop.

The Verdict

8/10 – While not the most essential add-on, the ShuttlePRO is still a great product for any kind of Photoshop user looking for more shortcuts.