TeensyLC-based midi controller for photo editing

Get in touch with photo editing and get some electronic beats in while you’re at it.

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Being a photography enthusiast i often find myself having to edit quite a few photos, a process that can be rather cumbersome and dull at times when you have to deal with a dozen batches of a few hundreds of photos. The idea of interacting in a tactile way with the editing software sparked my interest and in this context, I have developed a fully customizable midi controller stacked nicely inside a laser-cut birch wood enclosure, equipped with 10 arcade buttons and 6 rotary encoders topped with 3D printed knobs, with an intuitive layout designed to ease the process of photo editing

What is Adobe Lightroom 

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is my go to software for photo editing due to it’s amazing functionality and ease of use. In my usual photo editing workflow, i hover the cursor over the characteristic i want to be modified, e.g Exposure, Contrast and so on and using the arrow keys i can incrementally modify it. After choosing the right value, i hover my mouse over the next characteristic of the photography that i want modified and so on. The process can get quite cumbersome and inefficient time-wise.  Moreover, you can only modify one characteristic at a time using this method and this sometimes leads to a bad understanding of how modifying multiple characteristics at the same time affect the final look of a photography.

Why develop a custom hardware controller

Editing photos gets rather fun and noticeanly faster when you are able to control multiple characteristics of the photo at the same time, in a tactile manner, while being completely focused on the look of the photography.

Making a custom hardware controller allows you to be independent from market available solution, at a more affordable price, with the possibility of fully customizing it’s size, appearance and functionality to suit all your needs. Just sprinkle some more buttons, encoders, leds and Oled screens in and blast off with your new custom made midi controller.

This device aims to improve the experience of photo editing in the following ways:

  • Providing a control layout that matches that of the primary software it is used for ( in this case, Adobe Lightroom) so the user can focus on the look of the photography they are working on, instead of focusing on the control itself
  • Providing the user with a set of infinite rotary encoders for controlling each of Lightroom’s faders
  • Providing the user with a set of arcade buttons that improve the physical feedback and the overall experience of using the device.

How does this controller work

The "brain" of this contraption is a TeensyLC, a development board engineered to be able to send and recieve MIDI messages.  By using an application named Midi2LR that converts MIDI Control Change commands into Lightroom actions, the device allows the user to interact with Lightroom controls in a tactile way, completly changing the feel of editing photos.

ino - 2.10 kB - 09/09/2020 at 08:55


postscript - 1.56 MB - 09/09/2020 at 08:51


Standard Tesselated Geometry - 89.93 kB - 09/09/2020 at 08:45


Standard Tesselated Geometry - 80.55 kB - 09/09/2020 at 08:45


  • 6 × Rotary Encoder
  • 10 × Arcade buttons
  • 10 × Diodes
  • 1 × Laser-cut enclosure
  • 6 × Encoder Knobs

View all 6 components

  • 1

    Never-ever-ever skip this step. Gets you started, puts you in the right mindset and gives you a clearer idea of what you ar trying to build.  Play around with the layouts, get a feel of the dimensions and try to visualize a first iteration of what you're building( it rarely ends up looking like the final product)

  • 2
    Everybody do the CAD

    Design the enclosure and get it ready for laser cutting. Do some rendering so you get some feel regarding the size and feel of the device and maybe play a little bit with the colors.

  • 3
    Design the circuit

    The circuit was designed using Eagle.

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