Earlier this week I posted an article about how I’ve been using some of the features of a Kensington trackball to make color correcting a bit easier in Final Cut Pro. One mention in the post was using the trackball with Magic Bullet Colorista. As the link was being passed around Twitter I got into a conversation with Colorista creator Stu Maschwitz. He pointed out a trackball feature in Magic Bullet Looks that is worth noting as well. If you aren’t familiar with the product, Magic Bullet Looks is a color grading product available as a plug-in to a host of applications. It’s a very unique interface with its own unique tools and a very nice application indeed. Stu asked via Twitter if I had tried “trackball mode:” I had not. Looking at the Magic Bullet website it mentions a feature called “Hands-on Mode: Use either a trackball or trackpad for instant manipulation of a tool’s controls.” I looked around the documentation and didn’t see any mention of how to use the Hands-on mode. I quizzed Stu further and got the answer: “Hit the tilde key in Looks to enter a mode where your trackball controls tools directly. Navigate among controls with cursor keys. Works great with multi-touch trackpads as well (with 2-finger scrolling).” This is a nice find as this feature is very handy when working with Looks. It’s just as Stu said, hit the tilde key (~) while in Looks and your mouse pointer will disappear. You get a yellow bounding box that then outlines the different parameters depending on what control you are working on: You then use the arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate from parameter to parameter. The scroll ring works as well. In fact it works just like I wish Colorista would; in the lift/gamma/gain effect the trackball controls the color wheels and the scroll ring operates the level sliders for each of the 3 parameters. When you enter Hands-on Mode the mouse pointer disappears. I found this feature behaves best if you place the mouse pointer right over the controls before hitting the tilde key, as opposed to having the pointer over a different window entirely. So grab Looks or the entire Magic Bullet Suite as well as a Kensington Expert Mouse trackball and get to work! This type of feature goes to show how interface design can benefit from having real editors and artists involved when creating software. Little things like this Hands-on Mode in Looks goes a long way toward making the application more artist friendly. Now if we could just see more than the single frame while within the Looks interface …..