Logic Pro has a feature called Automation Quick Access that allows a single MIDI slider or knob to be mapped automatically to any automation parameter of a track. In the next video, I show you how to set up this feature with AudioSwift in Slider Mode, and have a handy virtual slider on the trackpad for any automation task in Logic Pro.
Learn how to use your trackpad as a photo editing tool on macOS with AudioSwift and MIDI2LR.
Imagine these two scenarios — you’re a photographer that travels a lot, working with a Macbook and edting photos in Adobe Lightroom. Or you’re in your desktop computer and need to retouch hundreds of pictures from your last session, because the client wants them today. Time is money and you want to manage it well.
What if you could speed up your workflow in Lightroom without constantly reaching out the mouse pointer to change settings like exposure or contrast? Why not start using the Macbook’s trackpad or a Magic Trackpad in a different and better way?
OK — I confess I’m not a photographer and before I thought about writing this article, all I knew about photography was the same as any other mortal: take a picture with a phone, go to Instagram, apply a filter, and imagine I’m an artist. However, I had a similar situation to the scenarios described above when working on music production. I needed a tool to create and improve my workflow on location and in my home studio, so I developed AudioSwift.
AudioSwift for macOS is an app that lets you use a trackpad as a MIDI controller. In music production, MIDI controllers are devices widely used to make music and change parameters on screen, by sending commands known as MIDI mesages. With AudioSwift, a trackpad can send these same commands by sliding the fingers over its surface, making it easier for a user to interact with the software’s graphic interface.
I was looking around to see if this concept could also work in different applications other than music creation, like photo editing for example. The challenge was to know if a photo editing app could read MIDI messages and work with AudioSwift properly. That’s when I found out about MIDI2LR.
Many photographers are using MIDI controllers to tweak their photos in Lightroom. It works by installing a free plugin called MIDI2LR, that translates MIDI messages into Lightroom commands. The user moves a knob or fader to control a Lightroom parameter without reaching out the mouse pointer, making it easier and faster to edit a bunch of photos.
So, why not use a trackpad instead of getting another physical device? A Macbook has one built in, and some photographers already work with Magic Trackpads in their desktop computers. I tried out MIDI2LR with AudioSwift and the results were fantastic — the trackpad can now tweak the same parameters in Lightroom like a MIDI controller does, without clicking and dragging each setting on screen.
How Does It Work?
You call AudioSwift by tapping the trackpad with a four or five fingers tap. This opens a console window, freezing the mouse pointer temporarily and taking control of the keyboard. AudioSwift devides the trackpad into 4 virtual sliders, and each one controls a Lightroom setting. The console window shows which Lightroom settings will be controlled. You start touching the trackpad’s surface up or down and the corresponding parameter will move instantly. Press the period or comma keys to jump to the next bank of 4 virtual sliders. After you finish changing the settings, press the escape key and AudioSwift will be turned off. The mouse pointer is then released.
I was able to control 36 different settings in the Lightroom Develop Module, using just a trackpad. At MIDI2LR you set up each virtual slider to a specific Lightroom command. There’s a lot of options to choose from. Once it’s configured properly, it’s very precise and intuitive.
Give It A Try!
I made a video tutorial showing step by step how to configure AudioSwift and MIDI2LR. It includes preset files so you can start working right away. I hope this information is useful to you and it really improves your workflow. If you have any question, you can contact me in the comment section below, via email, or by Twitter and Facebook.
MIDI2LR is free to download and the developer RSJaffe ask for donations. I’m not affiliated, but I strongly encourage you to donate, so the developer can continue supporting this great plugin in the future.
Designed for music producers and photographers, with AudioSwift you can control virtual instruments in your digital audio workstation or edit photos faster in Adobe Lightroom, all by just using simple touch gestures over the trackpad.
Here is how it works — call AudioSwift by using a four or five fingers tap. A console window appears on screen taking control of the mouse pointer and keyboard. Start touching the trackpad to control a parameter and when you finish, hit the escape key to turn AudioSwift off.
Five Controller Modes
AudioSwift comes in five controller modes depending on what you want to control:
Slider — divides the trackpad into 4 virtual sliders that send either CC or Pitch Bend MIDI messages.
XY — control many parameters at the same time using one, two or three fingers.
Mixer — designed to speed up your mixing workflow. Control two faders at the same time, panning, sends, use the trackpad as a jog wheel, and write automation.
Trigger — tap your fingers over the trackpad to make beats or launch audio clips.
Scale — play notes in a selected key.
Switch between controllers easily by just pressing keyboard shortcuts, or by using the Touch Bar in compatible Macbooks. Trackpads with Force Touch support can be used to send after touch MIDI messages, also known as channel pressure.
What’s new in Version 2?
AudioSwift in Adobe Lightroom
New Slider Mode with 12 configurable virtual sliders.
New XY Mode design with 5 views and 30 configurable controllers.