The last time we reviewed a Loupedeck on CGM, it was the Loupedeck Live. I’ve pitched it as a device with a ton of potential for content creators of all types, especially video and photography editors. With an update to their software, the device only got better. But Loupedeck Live is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what Loupedeck has to offer.
The Loupedeck CT (Creative Tool) is another step in the evolution of the company’s control equipment. The CT is essentially an extended version of Loupedeck Live. The upper half of the CT is a replica of the live, but the lower half adds a wheel with touchscreen in the middle and 12 additional buttons surrounding the wheel.
The unboxing experience was, once again, a beautiful thing. Their packaging is elegant and the presentation of the deck itself is beautiful. The box includes the Loupedeck CT and a braided USB-C to USB-A cable with one end having a 90 degree connection. There is no support like there was with Live, so it will stay flat unless you find your own solution.
“Their packaging is elegant and the presentation of the game itself is beautiful. “
The length of the game was a bit of a problem for me. It was about 3 feet tall and that limited my placement of the material on my desk. The fact that it’s a detachable cable means you can always get a different cable, but I would suggest that a slightly longer cable come in the box.
The setup was easy. Easier for me because I had already downloaded the software. It automatically recognized the new device and I was able to control it immediately. If you are not as spoiled as I am and this is your first Loupedeck, just go to their website, download the software and follow the instructions. It really is that simple.
When plugged in, all buttons (not just touch screens) are backlit. Normal buttons have RGB lighting where numbers / texts / symbols and different colors represent button function. Green is to select a new workspace (basically opening a new page with organized actions), purple is an action, and blue is the function keys.
Speaking of function keys, Loupedeck found a way to add even more buttons to the mix. Selecting the function key on each side of the CT will give you access to a second action on each of the buttons at the bottom. They can be programmed independently and do not necessarily have to be the actions that are on the button (although these are the default values).
“The updated software gives you an easier to navigate user interface …”
The software itself is exactly the same whether you use the Loupedeck Live or the CT. It gives you a view of your device in the center, where you can select any button or dial and give it the action you want. The updated software gives you an easier to navigate user interface, which was arguably the biggest issue I had when reviewing the Loupedeck Live. The update makes it a much better out-of-the-box experience for the user.
In addition to being able to program actions on each of the buttons, you can add actions to each dial where scrolling left or right will change the action. For example, I use it to zoom in / out or change the size of brushes / texts in Photoshop or to go forward and backward or skip to the next clip / marker in DaVinci Resolve.
As for the middle wheel, you get even more options. The middle screen can be assigned as a single display, like a clock, or it can be split into multiple buttons or actions. My favorite was the list feature, which lets you scroll through a list of actions you want, then use the jog wheel to control the action you choose.
You can now download even more profiles for your Loupedeck than ever before, with each profile assigning you actions based on the app. While it’s pre-made for you, you can still customize it if you don’t need some of the preloaded actions or just want to move them to a location of your choice on the device. Loupedeck’s native, no-download profiles are Streaming (which integrates OBS, Streamlabs OBS, and Twitch), Adobe Lightroom, Premiere Pro, Photoshop and After Effects, Final Cut Pro, Spotify, Ableton Live and more.
Downloadable profiles include apps like Affinity Photo and Designer (they added Photo because I complained it wasn’t there. It had nothing to do with me, but I take credit for it), Apple Logic Pro X, Audacity, Avid Pro Tools, DaVinci Resolve, Garageband, Microsoft Office, Nuke and more. You can also create a profile for each application on your computer. They will be selectable in the profile drop-down list under “Add more”.
In terms of productivity, Loupedeck CT is a game-changer. Yes, there are other macro devices or something like the Stream Deck that can help you control any program, but the integrations for something like the Stream Deck are more geared towards streaming, while the Loupedeck opens it up to all kinds of programs, which makes it a top choice for a Jack of All Trades.
“In terms of productivity, Loupedeck CT is a game-changer. “
So what an improvement is CT over live with all those extra buttons. In my opinion, not big enough in most cases. The layout of the device and the fact that it is designed to lie flat make it difficult to press certain actions without accidentally touching another button or action on the touchscreen, which is already a problem. for me with Live.
The buttons at the bottom also have the quirk of having letters / symbols pre-assigned, which is good if that’s what you’ve assigned to that button. Otherwise, you might be wrong. The touchscreens and scroll wheels at the top are all capable of displaying the assigned action. This is really how they should all be.
Plus, as cool as the shuttle wheel is, there are already eight dials on the device. The availability of it only makes me less likely to use the top ones as they are just less convenient to access. I may have reconfigured the bridge to include more buttons on the touchscreen and move the dials down by the shuttle wheel. It would amount to a few less buttons, but the layout would have been more user-friendly in my opinion.
So, is it worth spending more than double the price of the Loupedeck Live of $ 269 to get all those extra checks? To me? No. For the average user? No. For someone who is a professional photo editor? It probably is. I cannot, in good conscience, recommend it to a newbie or hobbyist of content creation, however. It is simply too high a price to ask someone who does not make money with their trade.