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January 8, 2013
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Hey guys, I just wanted to share something that has GREATLY improved my digital painting setup.

For several months now I have been using the Razer Nostromo, a keypad designed for games, specifically for digital painting. It lets me compact all my most-used hotkeys into an ergonomic gadget.



I would consider this a must-have tool for the serious digital painter. I can hardly work without it now.
It was about $50 on Amazon a while back.  Apparently there is also a new model out, but it is much more pricey. I would probably stick with this one.

Note: this may not work for you if you are left-handed :(
  • Reading: The Art Spirit by Robert Henri
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:icontanya56:
Tanya56 Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2014   Artist
Bought one of these a few months ago...it's really helped speed up my process. I am never going back!

Thanks for the tip! :)
Reply
:iconfotoclipping-design:
fotoclipping-Design Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2014  Professional Digital Artist

Nicely directed…I got to know now how to create this amazing abstract work… I will definitely try it now…




www.fotoclipping.com/services/…

Reply
:iconanbx:
anbx Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I've checked the newest keypad of Razer. The Orbweaver.
The amazing thing about is that it has an extra five buttons line.
BUT it lacks the scroll wheel. This killed any desire to acquire the Orbweaver
I will keep using the nostromo in the meantime. Hopefully Razer will release an Orbweaver with a scroll wheel 
Reply
:iconwildweasel339:
Wildweasel339 Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Huhh, that's really odd that they would remove the scroll wheel.  It's one of the best feature I think.  Hopefully our nostromos will last for a long while then.
Reply
:iconanbx:
anbx Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
For illustration, the scroll wheel is a must. But for gamers, since they use the mouse scroll wheel, it's an useless feature. 
Somehow i can understand Razers since they want to appeal the Gamer market, but I wish they could turn their eyes to the illustration markek too
Reply
:iconlactrox:
LactroX Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Best idea ever! Been trying to use the Logitech numpad for something similar. But never got it to feel right. Also some of the keys where difficult to remap for some strange reason.

Have to get me one of these! Thanks for the tips :D
Reply
:iconianllanas:
ianllanas Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I've been eyeing this up for awhile since hearing Daarken mentioning it in regards to ergonomic set ups. Decided to pick one up after hearing your glowing recommendation. Just arrived from amazon, now the big question is what to bind to what. I'll try out your setup, but I'm planning on brush size->scroll wheel.
Reply
:iconwildweasel339:
Wildweasel339 Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Awesome!

I referred to Daarken's post [link] when I bought mine. It took me a while to settle on the keys, and a few days to remember where I put everything.
Reply
:iconsickbrush:
Sickbrush Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
i'm a left-handed painter and i hate the world.
Reply
:iconkxzxw:
KXZXW Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013
wow that thing looks crazy
Reply
:icongreg-opalinski:
Greg-Opalinski Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013  Professional
This is awesome! You can bet I'm getting this is a gift from somebody :)
Reply
:iconali-c-05:
Ali-C-05 Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013  Student General Artist
wow! That looks awesome! :) So you use this with your left hand and your tablet with your right?
Reply
:iconazzacanth:
azzacanth Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Hobbyist
great idea, if I only did enough work to be worth the money, it would totally solve some awkward sitting issues I have ;)
Reply
:iconxxjillianrosexx:
xXJillianRoseXx Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
That's really sweet! I'm not enough into digital painting to consider getting one now, but someday I might ^_^ Though my hand might be a little small xD
Reply
:iconedarneor:
Edarneor Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Hey, now that's neat! :)
You see, I knew about this controller for years since I'm a bit of a gamer myself, but then i never got around bying it too, because I'm an oldschool one :D (and because i don't like buying a replacement for something that does its job anyway, e.g. keyboard)
and all this time it hadn't struck me that in Photoshop I use only the left quarter of the keyboard - much like in gaming... only space isn't jump and control isn't crouch, hehe ;)
So it's a clever trick, worth trying! yeah.. thumbs up for creativity! :)

But, sadly, I don't think it's gonna work for me personally, since i'm too used to my hotkeys now. I know this because recently i tried to force myself to use wacom exress keys instead, and i noticed my hand always going back to keyboard, and when i do use the tablet buttons it is so drawing away my attention from actual painting... i find myself completely distracted. well, you know - with keyboard (or anything you're used to) it's all down to reflexes, so you don't need to *think* what to press...
One could argue that nostromo is way more like a keyboard that the tablet buttons, but the keys on it are still not in place. (I always press Alt with my thumb for example, etc)

but anyway, thanks for a great tip!
Reply
:iconwildweasel339:
Wildweasel339 Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Yeah, it may not be a solution for everyone.

One of the major reasons it works for me, is that I no longer have to cross my arm over the tablet to reach the keyboard. The Nostromo sits comfortably to the left of the tablet, where there was not enough space for my keyboard.

cheers :)
Reply
:iconedarneor:
Edarneor Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
that's a good reason, indeed.
i have a bit of a strange layout, you see, there are computer desks that have this rolling shelf below the actual desk for keyboard. so my keyboard is actually below the tablet, that, in turn, is on the desktop. :) so i can reach the two pretty okay :)
this is, again, because it's how i started :) habits die hard... harder than Bruce Willis
Reply
:iconjecbrush:
JECBrush Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Very interesting! I'll have to consider getting one of those.
Reply
:iconwicked-fairytale:
wicked-fairytale Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I am intrigued. I will have to look into getting one of those.
Reply
:iconcrowbbit:
crowbbit Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013
that looks so messed 0.o
Reply
:iconmadoldhag:
MadOldHag Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I don't even own a tablet yet, but this looks handy. (Idea saved for possible later use ...)
Reply
:iconviridrain:
ViridRain Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013   Digital Artist
I use it and i approve this message 8)
Reply
:iconcharfade:
charfade Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013   Artist
I recently got a Nostromo to. I can say its helped alot! Its really interesting everyone's set up. You'res is very different from mine. [link]
then again I have some buttons programmed on my tablet.

Its definitly worth getting used to if your a digital painter. Speeds up production time and saves the hand!
Reply
:iconziikes:
Ziikes Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Is it possible to bind the scrollwheel to control Brush Size?
Reply
:iconviridrain:
ViridRain Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013   Digital Artist
Yep, i use the wheel for brush and pad for zoom in and out (up and down) + flip the canvas (right) + hide the selection (left). Pretty handy !
Reply
:iconziikes:
Ziikes Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Awesome, thanks! : D
Reply
:iconwildweasel339:
Wildweasel339 Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Yep, that should be possible.
Reply
:iconziikes:
Ziikes Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Okey, thanks! : )
Reply
:iconlong-pham:
Long-Pham Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Wanted one for quite some time now but I've never found one at such a low price... europe...
Reply
:iconviridrain:
ViridRain Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013   Digital Artist
Try on Le Bon Coin, i got mine there ;)
Reply
:iconlong-pham:
Long-Pham Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Oh my good idea, Thanks !
Reply
:icongabrielegabba:
gabrielegabba Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks for sharing! :)
Reply
:icontemorah:
Temorah Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I have mine set up to use all keys. But now I'm looking at your set up and getting some better ideas hahaha. Also I didn't know you could set brush size settings to the D-pad, must give that a go :)
Thanks for sharing!
Reply
:iconwildweasel339:
Wildweasel339 Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
It has 8 directions I believe. I bound all the upward directions to size up "]" and the others to size down "[".
Reply
:icongeezone:
geezone Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I already have all of those short cuts programmed to my Cintiq, so I kind of don't see it (the Razor's awesomeness). Having a save key set-up bothered me in the past, since I prefer the 'Save-as' option and there's really no way to optimise that process. You still have to go to the keyboard and type in a new name or an increment of your choice to save, so why was I bothering with it? And I'm left handed, so that meant I'd have to put the pen down to type in a new file name. Though I have to say this was recommended to me a while ago as well, but like I said, the Cintiq's for me. It's considerably more expensive than 30 quid, but it means less hardware on my desk and just my work.
Reply
:iconnovus-feldspar:
Novus-Feldspar Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
That does look really helpful, I might have to look into it. Thanks. :D

In the meantime, I've been trying to find a faster way to flip canvas... would you happen to know the keyboard command for it? ^^; I use Adobe Photoshop Elements on a Windows, if that matters.
Reply
:iconzilekondic:
zilekondic Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Professional General Artist
In CS5 and 6 I mostly use Alt+I-G-H(or V for vertical), that's a way to flip canvas via keyboard if you don't want to mess with shortcuts.
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:iconnovus-feldspar:
Novus-Feldspar Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I played around with it a little, and it's Alt+I-E-H for me. Thank you, this will be very helpful! :D
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:iconzilekondic:
zilekondic Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Professional General Artist
:D Whatever, right? :) I-G-H is a little easier to type because g and h are right beside each other, but nevermind. A lot of things from the main menu can be accessed this way. I also use Alt+S-T a lot, for transforming selection.
Reply
:iconnovus-feldspar:
Novus-Feldspar Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah. :D I'm going to have to learn some more of them.
And I use Alt for the eyedropper constantly when I'm using the brush, to blend colors. It's gotten to the point where I hardly use the color selection except for the initial blocking, sort of a bad habit, so I guess there is such a thing as making it a little too easy as well. X)
Reply
:iconwildweasel339:
Wildweasel339 Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
In Photoshop, I have it bound to Ctrl-F. I'm not sure if it's default, you may have to go into the preferences to set it yourself.
Reply
:iconnovus-feldspar:
Novus-Feldspar Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I was able to figure it out, for my program it's Alt+I-E-H. :) Thanks anyway! :aww:
Reply
:iconbanished-shadow:
Banished-shadow Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2013   Digital Artist
Id like one of these but damn that sucks it wouldnt for for lefts >__> no one ever thinks about us leftys
Reply
:iconkapsikom:
Kapsikom Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I know I'm late to the party but there are quite a few keypads for video editors and 3D artists out there. Here is one aimed at video editors that might help left handed artists as well, I hope it helps :)

[link]

I've had a nostromo for quite a few months now for painting because I was causing HUGE strains on my wrists. The only thing to keep in mind when using them is to really think of what shortcuts you use and then distribute them into different keymaps for different tasks. Otherwise you are going to keep referring back to your keyboard :( Now that I think about it, there might be a way to share exported nostromo profiles with other users....

I highly recommend getting one just for the health reasons, great post Wildweasel339!
Reply
:iconannaszy:
AnnaSzy Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
For those lefties who use mouse with right hand and tablet pen left-handed, similar functionality may have right handed Razer Naga mouse series. Didn't try it yet. Anyone knows if it's beneficial for work with Photoshop and tablet?
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:iconwildweasel339:
Wildweasel339 Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Yeah, but there may be other options out there.
Reply
:iconlaroku1:
laroku1 Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
yeah thats a good Idea Im Gonna get one
-my tablet (Genius I608X) has 29 shortcuts integrated, all them are cuztomizable :D
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:iconsuperhermit:
superhermit Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I want one now!
Reply
:iconvonstreff:
VonStreff Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Oh.. my.. gosh. You bloody genius! I think I'm gonna try this!
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