Lightroom & MIDI (3/3) - My MIDI2LR Setup

In the final part of this series I am giving you my configuration for the Behringer X-Touch Mini that I've showed you in the previous part. Of course, everyone has different workflows and the biggest advantage of generic MIDI controllers is that you can personalize all functions. So have a look at my configuration, play around with it and then change it to your needs.

Behringer X-Touch Mini with the black overlay.

I believe that when creating a good configuration it is important to focus on your top most important functions. Those that you use most of the time. For everything else you still have a keyboard and a mouse.

But let's get started...

Installing MIDI2LR

Installing MIDI2LR is pretty simple. It is available for MacOS and Windows. Just download MIDI2LR from the list of latest releases. Do not select the debug installers (containing the word 'debug' in the file name). Run the installer and you're done. I am using Adobe Lightroom Classic CC and the latest version works great. For earlier versions like Lightroom 6 you might have to download an earlier version.

On the next start of Lightroom you will see the fresh MIDI2LR window with no mapped commands.

The MIDI2LR window on the first startup of Lightroom after its installation.

When you have connected your MIDI controller already, pressing a button, moving a fader or turning a knob will start listing the related MIDI command (cc for knobs and faders, note for a button as explained in the previous part) and you can start mapping this to a Lightroom function. But we will add my provided configuration now.

Configuration

  1. Download my configuration package for the Behringer X-Touch Mini for MIDI2LR.
  2. Extract the downloaded ZIP file behringer-midi2lr-config.zip to a location, where it can stay permanently.
  3. If not done yet start Lightroom. In the MIDI2LR main window click on Settings. There change the profile folder and select the subfolder midi2lr\profiles from the location to where you have extracted the ZIP file in the previous step.
MIDI2LR Settings dialog

Next we have to load additional MIDI2LR presets:

  1. From the Lightroom menu bar select File > Plug-in Extras > MIDI2LR > Load presets.
  2. From the location, where you have extracted the ZIP file, select the file midi2lr\presets.txt.

You're done. If everything has gone right, you should be able to

  1. press the first button of the second button row to open the library module.
  2. press the second button of the second button row to open the development module with the basic module settings.
  3. turn the first knob to adjust the exposure of the current picture.

Next I recommend to print out the overlay. You can cut out it already and put it on the controller or just print it out and place it next to the controller while getting used to all the functions. If you want to explore in detail what you can do right now, just skip the next chapter and scroll down to 'Function Mappings' below.

Overlay

In the overlay subfolder of the downloaded ZIP file you will find two overlay versions: Black and White

Black overlay
White overlay

Just use the one that you like more. Each overlay is available in 4 different formats:

  • AI: If you have Adobe Illustrator I recommend to use this file. The print output should already ensure that it is printed in the correct size.
  • PNG: If you do not have Adobe Illustrator I recommend to print the PNG file version. When printing make sure that the width of the output image is set to 25.3 centimeters. Then the overlay should fit perfectly on the Behringer X Touch Mini.
  • SVG: Alternatively you can also use the SVG file. The main reason why I have provided this is to enable you to edit the overlay if you want to customize some assignments and you do not have Adobe Illustrator. You can edit this with the free editor Inkscape for example. Similarly as for the PNG make sure that the print size is set to a width of 25.3 centimeters.
  • PDF: If all fails you can try to print it as PDF. When printing make sure to choose 'Actual Size' or a similar option in the print dialog if available.
Select 'Actual size' in the PDF print dialog (screenshot: Adobe Reader)

You can print this on a stronger paper. I printed it on standard paper and then I have used a laminating machine using 100 microns laminating pouches to cover it in plastic to protect the overlay and make it stronger.

The dials are also used a lot for color adjustments. I recommend to mark these with adhesive marker dots in the color of the adjustment that is controlled by that knob (got this idea from Dan Marker-Moore's video). For example I have bought these markers from Amazon with a diameter of 5mm. While you need just one marker for each knob and it seems to look like a lot of waste at the first glance, for me it turned out that these stickers are very handy for many other use cases as well (e.g. marking eneloop batteries that I have bought at the same point in time with the same color).

Printed and laminated overlay and adhesive marker dots

The most tedious task is to cut out the rectangular holes for the buttons. Have fun! ;-)

Apply stripes of double-sided adhesive tape between the buttons.

And finally attach the overlay to these adhesive tapes.

You're done!

Function Mappings

Finally here is an overview over all Lightroom function mappings that are applied with my configuration. The overlay should help you to memorize all these functions. However in some situations there are additional advanced functions that are not shown on the overlay.

Some basic principles that I've tried to apply wherever possible:

  • Functions are assigned in the similar order as they appear in the Lightroom UI.
  • Where applicable bank A adjust luminosity, bank B adjust colors and tones.

The six left buttons of the second row are common for all profiles. These allow you to switch between the basic profiles. First button switches to the library and the next 4 buttons activate different development profiles plus another one for activating the Tone Curves (everything written in UPPERCASE activates a profile).

In the pictures below you can see some filled out buttons. These are the buttons that you have to press in order to activate these functions or in more detail: load the respective MIDI2LR profile. In case there are multiple filled colors your need to press these in the order from bottom to top: first the common profile selection on the second row, then the sub-profile on the first row.

The fill color represents the text color on the overlay. For example all library functions are printed in red text.

Library Profile

The library profile offers typical functions for culling like assigning ratings or color labels by pressing the knobs with the respective color and assigning ratings.

Profile file Library.xml

Development Profiles

Most of the development profiles make use of the layers as you can see below. Function in black are common for both layers. Functions in green are active, when the layer A is selected. Functions in orange are active, when the layer B is active.

Profile file Basic.xml
Profile file Crop.xml
Profile file SpotRemoval.xml
Profile file Gradient.xml
Profile file Radial.xml
Profile file Brush.xml
Profile file Colors-Hue.xml
Profile file Colors-Saturation.xml
Profile file Colors-Luminance.xml
Profile file Colors-Gray.xml
Profile file Effects.xml
Profile file Detail.xml

I am pretty sure that at the beginning you will need some time to get accustomed to all the functions. In general I have tried to make the assignments as intuitive as possible by aligning the assignments with the order of the functions in Lightroom.

Again: in the end these assignments are optimized to my personal typical workflows. You might prefer other functions. Then just change the mappings to your liking. My configuration shall serve just as starting point. Always keep in mind that there is no need to squeeze all available Lightroom functions on a MIDI controller. After all the keyboard and the mouse are still there and allow you to use the lesser used functions or those like tone curves that are simply easier to use with your mouse.

USB Cable

One last thing. The USB cable that ships with X Touch-Mini has a straight connector. I recommend to replace this with a angled one. This will save a lot of space on your desktop.

More space on your desk with an angled USB connector

Troubleshooting

Shit happens...

If your X-Touch is behaving strangely it can help to use the X-Touch Editor app to reset all layers to its defaults.

  1. Download the X-Touch Editor and extract the ZIP file.
  2. Connect your X-Touch mini and run the X-TOUCH executable in this ZIP file.
  3. On the Global tab click on the Load button in the Presets on Computer section.
  4. From the extracted ZIP file and the subfolder default layer/mini select the file LayerA.bin.
  5. Click on Dump A in the To Hardware section.
  6. Repeat step 3-5 for layer B.
  7. Now make sure to exit the editor.

If MIDI2LR is not reacting to any button presses or knob turns, make sure that the X-Touch Editor app is not running. While the X-Touch Editor is running MIDI2LR does not receive any inputs. Close the X-Touch Editor application and restart Lightroom.

A few buttons are mapped to keyboard shortcuts (mapping: "Key #", where # stands for a number). In case these do not work as expected check the keyboard shortcuts: Open File > Plugin-Extras > MIDI2LR > Options. Go to the Other... tab and check the configured keyboard shortcuts there. It could be that - depending on the language and keyboard layout - you need to set different keyboard shortcuts here.

Final Words

All this wouldn't be possible without the hard work of the MIDI2LR developer. Once you get used to using a MIDI controller with Lightroom I am very confident that you will not want to miss it anymore. Please consider how much time and cost it saves you. And then consider to donate a share of the saved costs to the MIDI2LR developer through his website. The developer Rory Jaffe is doing a great job and is very responsive on the MIDI2LR forum whenever you experience a problem.

Of course in case you experience a problem with my configuration, please leave a comment and I will give my best to help you. Also I am eager to learn more about what you have changed from my layout and what works better for you.

All articles in this series:

  • Introduction (part 1/3): Why you should prefer physical controls and what are the alternatives.
  • MIDI Controllers (part 2/3): Criteria for choosing a suitable MIDI Controller and some example controllers.
  • My MIDI2LR Setup (part 3/3): This article: My configuration for the Behringer X Touch Mini including overlays.

Updates

June 19, 2019

  • B/W button set to SetTreatmentBW to fix changes. B/W mode is enabled again.
  • Opening Gray color adjustments sets B/W treatment.
  • Opening Hue, Saturation and Luminance adjustments sets color treatment.