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Adobe MAX

Adobe MAX: Can a Keyboard Make You More Creative?

At Adobe MAX, the annual Adobe Software conference held last month in Las Vegas, the most impressive piece of hardware I tried from the hundreds on display was the Logitech Craft Keyboard.

A keyboard may seem like a rather mundane part of a computer system, especially when using software with which you can make Hollywood feature films. This keyboard, however, does amazing things for your productivity with Adobe and Microsoft software and provides an entirely new keyboard component: The Crown.

The Crowning Achievement

What separates this keyboard from any other is a selection dial in the upper left: The Crown. With it, you access context-specific functions in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, and InDesign, and in Microsoft PowerPoint, Excel, and Word. You tap it to change functions, and turn the Crown to change the selected function’s value. It has both a fluid and a ratchet mode for point-by-point precision.

Why is this so helpful? In creative endeavors, flow is important. Whether you are writing a paragraph or painting a sunset, as you become immersed in the creative activity, the ideas and inspirations start to build upon one another and inspire new ideas and insights. You develop creative momentum.

Adobe MAX
The Crown, from Logitech, adds productivity to your keyboard

Every time you must take your hands off the tool you are using and focus on what menu to click into to find a particular function, the momentum – the flow – is interrupted. If, like me, your primary creative tool is the keyboard, keeping your hands there is the optimum environment. If you are an artist and your primary tool is a mouse or pen, keeping one hand on the pen and the other on The Crown can supercharge your productivity.

Getting Crafty

Earlier this year, I purchased an HP Z640 Workstation. This is a 18-wheeler of a computer and I have been an HP fan for 30 years. But the keyboard that came with the Z640 was unremarkable. It didn’t even have a light to let you know when CAPS LOCK is on. When I saw the Logitech Craft Keyboard on the floor of the Adobe MAX Community Pavilion, I was intrigued.

Adobe MAX
Some of the programs that can be automated with the Crown

Logitech let me try it out and I was impressed by the feel of the keyboard for typing. Logitech has been making keyboards for 20 years and has the basics down. When they demonstrated the Crown, I was hooked. It makes using the always challenging Adobe software much easier.

The Crown automatically recognizes the software you are using and enables the relevant tools.

Adobe MAX
The Crown on the Logitech Craft Keyboard in use

You are not limited, however, to the functions or programs with which the Logitech drivers comes pre-loaded. You can personalize both the function keys and the Crown to control media, navigate tabs, and other repetitive tasks.

Getting Technical

The functionality of the Craft Keyboard is enabled through its software drivers. These will work on Windows 7.0 and above and on MacOS 10.11 and above. Adobe CC 2017 software will work with the keyboard on both Windows and Mac. Microsoft Office 2010, 2013, and 2016 can take advantage of the Crown only on Windows.

The battery in the Craft Keyboard can last up to a week, depending on the amount of use and how much you use the ambient light-sensitive keyboard backlighting. It recharges through a USB type C connector.

A video of the keyboard, which sells for $199, in use with Adobe software is below.

 

About Leo Sopicki

Writer, photographer, graphic artist and technologist. I focus my creative efforts on celebrating the American virtues of self-reliance, individual initiative, volunteerism, tolerance and a healthy suspicion of power and authority.

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