Tourbox: A One-Handed Editing Console for Visual Creators
TourBox is a new device that has just arrived in the world of photography and promises to make the editing workflow more fluid. If you are currently working with Lightroom and Photoshop, this tool could be a game-changer for you.
Most of the time, working with editing programs is done through a back-and-forth process between the keyboard and the mouse or a graphics tablet. TourBox promises to minimize and simplify this workflow through its mini editing console.
So, What is Tourbox?
The idea is similar to other current solutions in the market such as Loupedeck and Palette Gear, with a single exception: TourBox can be controlled with a single hand, while the other remains on the mouse or a graphics tablet, performing different tasks. For instance, the device’s one-handed design means one hand can draw on a graphics tablet while the other uses the dials and buttons to control brush size, hardness, flow, and opacity.
Note: This product review includes the input from two pro-photographers that have been working with the TourBox system for a while and already integrated the console into their workflow.
For Whom Is This Device?
Photographer Gerard Santiago said:
“The specific demographic users of this device are focus on photographers, designers, and creatives who use Photoshop, Lightroom, and other software with complex adjustments and hotkeys. But actually, any user can use this device in any software that they frequently use.”
Barbara Gancarek-Śliwińska told us:
“I think it’s quite good solution for photographers. I think it’s too simple for professional graphic designer. But it makes workflow much easier.”
The console packs three different types of dials and several buttons onto a device with USB-C port and USB 3.0 pass-through. The TourBox can be custom configured to control different adjustments using special software. By simply matching the shortcut keys of the target software to TourBox, the user can operate the software more easily and edit more efficiently.
Whether it is a rotation or the press of a button, it can be set as a keyboard shortcut or built-in function of the TourBox console to meet the operating needs of various software in a more intuitive way.
Size and Weight
The TourBox is small and portable compared to its competition with 12cm wide and 386g of weight. This is a good solution to be placed over a desk or to be carried.
As a comparison, the popular Loupedeck is closer in size to a keyboard and not compatible with Photoshop, while the Palette Gear is a modular system with dials and sliders that can be purchased separately to expand the system.
The small TourBox is capable of setting 42 convenient operations as keyboard shortcuts or built-in functions.
The TourBox works on Windows or on Mac, is available for left-handed and right-handed users, and each of its buttons, knobs, and dials are fully customizable. In addition to reassigning functions, it is possible to fine-tune the speed, acceleration, and accuracy to suit a desired way of work.
TourBox’s software includes presets or shortcuts for diverse graphic design programs such as Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator and Capture One. Also, for drawing software like Clip Studio Paint, Comic Studio and SAI. Video and audio e software, such as Final Cut Pro, Premiere, After Effects, DaVinci, Audition, and C4D.
However, the user can modify or create its own presets. Despite most of the editing software is already contemplated, it will be great seeing including more options, such as the inclusion of Luminar 4.
TourBox has just released a new firmware update with a more consolidated focus on the full optimization for having a pleasant Lightroom experience. The firmware v2.0 includes optimizations such as:
- Control main functions in Lightroom’s Basic Panel with the prime four buttons on TourBox.
“First of all, I changed the primary buttons for my prioritized hotkeys. I know why the developers did this, but every user has their own preference. If it works, then it is a great adjustment. I love the added floating guide (DPAD HUB) by the way.” – Gerard Santiago
- Control other nine sliders in Lightroom Basic Panel with TourBox Dpad and its combinations.
“This is always helpful and easy-to-use. It is quite a list of combinations, but it is very effective.” – Gerard Santiago
- Smartly control Lightroom H/S/L with TourBox wheels, switch among H/S/L, or select color adjustment.
“I love that feature, but for me, I need to get used to it first.” – Gerard Santiago
- Adjust the sharpening amount and post-crop vignettes with buttons and wheels combinations.
“I rarely use vignettes and sharpening, I do it separately in Photoshop. I changed it to other adjustments.” – Gerard Santiago
As mentioned before, this device can be personalized according to individual’s needs or settings for specific software such as Lightroom, can be downloaded and explained here.
What we liked
“In terms of the hardware, I love the simplicity, ergonomic, and portability of TourBox. For the software side, it has a user-friendly interface, totally customizable, and covers major features that can hasten the productivity. Lastly, it more affordable than the other competitors (Palette Gear, Loupedeck, etc.)”
“That I can make my own shortcut sets for Photoshop.”
What could be better
“During the earlier phase of the development of TourBox’s software console, a lot of features were missing. But on every update, it becomes better and improved. As of now, I wish they can cover more creator software presets, like for InDesign, After Effect, Premier, and more.”
“I did have issues with proper working after some Photoshop update. Device was almost unusable for months. Finally, it was fixed with last update. But I would like not to have wait so long next time.”
The idea behind TourBox was enough to recently capture the attention of more than 1,400 backers on Kickstarter, bringing the campaign well beyond the original goal. As a new player in the market, it is expected that the device will keep improving with upgraded firmware, but so far, it has correctly proved its capabilities to facilitate the editing process.
“I frequently used TourBox when I am working on Photoshop, Lightroom, After Effects, and Premier. When I started using TourBox, my workflow and productivity drastically increase and become faster. I usually use it with my left hand, while using a mouse or an interactive pen on my right. Because the TourBox is customizable, I can easily assign any combination of hotkeys or adjustments that I frequently used in the software. Of course, it takes time and practice to familiarize all combinations but I love the visual interface of the TourBox console so I can easily adapt for visual learner/users.”
“Overall I´m quite happy. I did get used to it very fast. So, if I have to work on my photos and I left TourBox in studio I really miss it. Makes my work much faster. I like the weight of it, doesn’t move all around my desk. Having TourBox and my Wacom tablet connected makes great equipment for my workflow. Where I mostly work on newborns photos and there is a lot skin retouch to make.”
I would like to thank Gerard Santiago and Barbara Gancarek-Śliwińska for their insights and thoughts about Tourbox and for participating in this review of Tourbox. You can follow Gerard on Instagram or via his website, and you can find Barbara on Instagram or via her website.