Author Topic: Stream Deck or Xkeys? / Curved monitor or not?  (Read 1534 times)

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Offline mattjgerard

Stream Deck or Xkeys? / Curved monitor or not?
« on: February 01, 2022, 08:14:37 am »
I'm a sucker for keyboard shortcuts, and I pretty much customize all of them to the extent that I can. It gets to the point where I struggle using other computers without my presets. Not a huge deal, as I don't do that very often at all. It was actually a nice thing for my last job where my boss had the habit of going and jumping on anyones computer to do stuff, but he would leave mine alone because nearly nothing was default.

That being said, I am looking for something to expand beyond the regular Function keys that I can program Photoshop, Illustrator, AE and of course Keyshot. I've seen Xkeys around for years, and seems pretty solid, but the programming is pretty funky from what I hear, and can be kludgy to set up, and update.

Then I found out about streamdeck units, with the little LCD panel buttons, and that seems like the perfect thing! I can get caught up int he gimmiky stuff though, so I'm asking has anyone else used one of these things? I bought a 3d Connexion 3d spacemouse when I started working in Cinema 4D, but I ended up hating it. It wasn't any better than the regular mouse and keyboard controls, so it literally sits on my desk as a reminder of products that don't really solve any problems.

I really like the idea that the panel of the Stream Deck will change depending on what app im in, the icons are customizable, and now that I'm not on a MAC anymore for work, all the macro and key customization apps out there will work for me.

Thoughts? I'm also looking to switch from dual mismatched 24 and 27" monitors to a single larger one, probably a 32" 4k monitor, and I'm seeing differing opinions regarding curved or not. Anything that stream lines workflows is of interest to me, such as the 3d model library in KS has been the filler app function of the past year, its has enhanced my workflow 2-3x.

Offline Eric Summers

Re: Stream Deck or Xkeys? / Curved monitor or not?
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2022, 08:56:34 am »
I can relate to customizing everything, I sometimes struggle to work on other machines that don't have my custom setups.

That's interesting, I love my SpaceMouse Pro (& CAD mouse). I have it set up for every program I use and even have a few buttons set with custom macros. I would be lost without mine and would work so much slower. But, of course we all find different things useful.

When I was looking at a new monitor I was also thinking about a curved monitor, but decided against it. I read that the curve distorts things enough that it would be detrimental for working in CAD. It may be nice for gaming and movies but it seems like it isn't the best fit for precision/dimensionally accurate work. I wish I still had the article I read that in, it did a much better job of explaining it than I did. :D
I have used a 32" TV as a monitor before and honestly, it's a little too big for me (sitting roughly 2' away). I find myself moving my head small amounts rather than moving my eyes because the screen is so big. But again, that's just what works for me. I have two 27" monitors, one as a primary and the other angled and off to the side to use as needed.

Hope there was at least one little piece of useful info in all this! :)

Offline Trixtr

Re: Stream Deck or Xkeys? / Curved monitor or not?
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2022, 01:38:15 am »
I quite enjoy the curved monitor. I (we) have 34" Dell wide curved monitors at work for all the CAD engineers. No complaints after 2-3 years. We also moved from two monitors, often missmatched. So I for one can recommend curved screens for CAD.

Offline mattjgerard

Re: Stream Deck or Xkeys? / Curved monitor or not?
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2022, 06:55:56 am »
Hope there was at least one little piece of useful info in all this! :)

Hey Eric, don't you work remotely as well, using RDP to remote into your workstation? I thought I remember you doing that a while back. My company has set up citrix and remote desktop for me with a cheap laptop so I can work from home when needed, and wondering what your experience has been? I can't seem to get 2 monitors to work properly over RDP, so that's a big pain.

Offline Eric Summers

Re: Stream Deck or Xkeys? / Curved monitor or not?
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2022, 08:34:03 am »
Hope there was at least one little piece of useful info in all this! :)

Hey Eric, don't you work remotely as well, using RDP to remote into your workstation? I thought I remember you doing that a while back. My company has set up citrix and remote desktop for me with a cheap laptop so I can work from home when needed, and wondering what your experience has been? I can't seem to get 2 monitors to work properly over RDP, so that's a big pain.

I connect to our rendering machine using Remote Desktop. It has been a while, but I do seem to remember having issues with a dual monitor setup. I think it may have been that the windows on the second monitor never stayed docked, so every time I started KS I had to reposition things (when I could grab the windows...). When I used both monitors I ran Remote Desktop in full screen and had the use all monitors option checked, which seemed to work alright.

I ran into an issue once where a render queue failed and the error led me to believe it was an OpenGL issue. A little bit of digging (or perhaps a support forum ticket) and I discovered that Remote Desktop apparently doesn't support the OpenGL version that KS needs (1.3 maybe?) and that something like TeamViewer would. I haven't seen that error since, but perhaps it could be part of your troubles.

Offline mattjgerard

Re: Stream Deck or Xkeys? / Curved monitor or not?
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2022, 07:41:10 am »
i think I'm going to invest in a beefy 29-32 in screen for home to try. I've always been a dual 27" monitor man myself, but lately I've been getting tired of the ultra wide aspect. I feel like hiding all my non-work apps (email, web, etc) behind the app i need to focus on will help my workflow and ability to stay focused on the task at hand as well. I'll give it a try at least :) that should take care of the monitor issues with RDP. Sounds like I'm having the same issues as you.

FWIW, I did buy a streamdeck XL on craigslist for a good deal, so that will be fun to play with. If not, I'll be able to sell for what i paid easily, so nothing lost.

Offline theAVator

Re: Stream Deck or Xkeys? / Curved monitor or not?
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2022, 11:28:20 am »
I connect to our rendering machine using Remote Desktop. It has been a while, but I do seem to remember having issues with a dual monitor setup. I think it may have been that the windows on the second monitor never stayed docked, so every time I started KS I had to reposition things (when I could grab the windows...). When I used both monitors I ran Remote Desktop in full screen and had the use all monitors option checked, which seemed to work alright.

I do the same thing when working remote: VPN into the network and then RDP to my desktop and so far using all montors has worked. My only issue that sometimes when working in Keyshot the RDP connection freezes the display (stuff is still clicking around in the background but not updating the picture). It tends to only be when Keyshot is running and from what I have researched it's more an issue with RDP via a VPN for whatever reason. Early on in the pandemic I used our Citrix gateway, but it always seemed slower and harder to log in to. So I've just been using the other way whenever I work remote and it's been mostly fine. I run a 3 monitor setup on the desktop and it's fine with running 2 when I'm remote.

Offline Jokke

Re: Stream Deck or Xkeys? / Curved monitor or not?
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2022, 07:58:11 am »
I've had 32-key Stream Deck for couple of years now. It is very easy to program. I've put in all major shortcuts from applications I use, like KeyShot, Fusion 360, 3D Coat, Autodesk Sketchbook, Affinity Products, Apple Pages, Keynote, Numbers, Calculator etc.

Now looking into Blender, and the first attachment (if they came trough) is a screendump of Blender shortcuts. The 2nd attachment is Mac's Calculator. Mac OS does not allow open several calculators on the desktop without opening a terminal app. So I programmed those commands with a numpad into Stream Deck.

These two are very simple examples, what Stream Deck can do. It is possible to make several pages of commands and also sub folders.


Offline mattjgerard

Re: Stream Deck or Xkeys? / Curved monitor or not?
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2022, 07:19:16 am »
Jokke- I ended up scoring a great deal on teh 32 Key Streamdeck and i LOVE it. it is totally allowing me to scratch that customizing itch endlessly. I've bought the Photoshop kit from SideShowFX and its awesome. I'm building my own deck for Keyshot, Teams, even the Finder. I use Directory Opus and I've got buttons for that too. Now I need to figure out how to save all that to my OneDrive so I can have them all available when I'm working rom different computers. I only have 2, laptop and workstation, but if I updated or change something it would be nice for it to flow from one to the other.

Offline Jokke

Re: Stream Deck or Xkeys? / Curved monitor or not?
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2022, 02:11:04 am »
mattjgerard
Nice to hear that you found Stream Deck XL handy. It has helped me a lot with shortcuts. Thanks for the SideShow FX hint. That was a good find, and I have check them out. Specially for the Blender shortcuts. Blender is a true headache to learn after KeyShot. Hopefully the SideShow FX shortcuts help there at least a bit.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2022, 02:47:26 am by Jokke »

Offline RRIS

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Re: Stream Deck or Xkeys? / Curved monitor or not?
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2022, 03:17:26 am »
Jokke- I ended up scoring a great deal on teh 32 Key Streamdeck and i LOVE it. it is totally allowing me to scratch that customizing itch endlessly. I've bought the Photoshop kit from SideShowFX and its awesome. I'm building my own deck for Keyshot, Teams, even the Finder. I use Directory Opus and I've got buttons for that too. Now I need to figure out how to save all that to my OneDrive so I can have them all available when I'm working rom different computers. I only have 2, laptop and workstation, but if I updated or change something it would be nice for it to flow from one to the other.

Matt, this all sounds really interesting. Can you switch preset pages with the Streamdeck? So for example, switching to different presets when you do modeling, sculpting, or whatever? And if so, does it switch automatically? Or are you bound by a single page of presets?

Offline mattjgerard

Re: Stream Deck or Xkeys? / Curved monitor or not?
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2022, 07:38:42 am »
 
Quote
Matt, this all sounds really interesting. Can you switch preset pages with the Streamdeck? So for example, switching to different presets when you do modeling, sculpting, or whatever? And if so, does it switch automatically? Or are you bound by a single page of presets?
Yes. And even more. its pretty insane so-
1) You create "profiles" for each set of shortcuts you want
2) You can make it so the thing will switch profiles depending on what app is in the forefront. It will switch when you alt-Tab to another app.
3) You can create buttons that link to other profiles, so you can have a Default Profile (the oine I use when in the File Explorer (Directory Opus for me) and that default profile can have keys for duping folders, changing display stuff (i have a button that changes from dual column display for copying/moving files) full screen, hide, anything you want) and then you can create buttons to flip to other profiles.
4) the StreamDeck XL can display 32 shortcuts at a time, but one of those shortcuts can be a folder that houses MORE SHORTCUT PAGES!!!!! so you can drill down and embed more shortcut pages. the Phtooshop set that I bought has this, you can drill down into pretty much any tool, any setting and you can customize those pages, and lift out the ones that you want to and place them on the topmost page of shortcuts.
5) You can design your own graphics for the buttons with thier online button builder tool.
6) you can create macros with pauses and stack shortcuts in one button pres
7) you can use a single button as a "toggle" to go back and forth between 2 shortcuts
8) there's a bunch of prebuilt stuff for free or paid and honestly the one I like the best is the spotify controller plugin

So yeah., I like it. It lets me quickly itch that urge to customize the snot out of everything.

Offline Jokke

Re: Stream Deck or Xkeys? / Curved monitor or not?
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2022, 07:52:03 am »
You are not bound to single page of presets. As I mentioned earlier, you can create sub pages and -folders. But, if there is 68 pages of shorcuts, as in SideShowFX's Blender offering, I do not know if that is making the workflow any faster or easier, if you have to remember, on which page your needed shortcut is. 621 pre-programmed shortcut keys is kind of a lot.

Following is for Mac users. Some Mac Apps have their ui icons hidden inside the app in Apps folder. Instead of using Photoshop, I use Affinity Photo. Affinity Photo icons can be found behind the following path, if you want to try making of your own shortcuts

Macintosh HD>Apps>Affinity Photo.app>Contents>Resources>AffinityPhoto.help>Contents>Resources>shared>ui

You have to make a right click on top of Affinity Photo.app and "show content". Also on top of AffinityPhoto.help and "show content".
Here is an example of my Affinity Photo Onepager layout. It is quite easy to add extra pages, if needed.


Offline theAVator

Re: Stream Deck or Xkeys? / Curved monitor or not?
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2022, 09:28:25 am »
Do you guys have some examples of what you're actually programming into the Streamdeck for shortcuts or hotkeys? like in Photoshop I could see adding buttons for the items in your Actions panel, or maybe brush settings, export settings, etc. And it def. makes things super easy for like game streamers and whatnot where they can't afford to focus away from their game to do something in the background or on a different screen in a different program, but what specifically would be the application you use it for within Keyshot?