Midi Controller for Darktable


(0liyan) #1

Is it possible to adjust the Darktable sliders (in Darkroom module) with a Midi Controller? I know it is possible to do so in Lightroom with the help of any midi controller and a FOSS plugin called MIDI2LR

In short, MIDI2LR let the users to map any midi controller against the various developing options (particularly the sliders in develop module). For e.g., I can set the MIDI slider to alter the exposure slider in Lightroom so that I don’t need to grab the virtual slider every time with my mouse pointer (which saves huge time for serious commercial photographers like me).

The question is.
Is there any MIDI controller plugin available for Darktable yet?
If not, do you know any ongoing project to make it happen?
All else, do you know any insights on creating such plugin for Darktable? I am willing to help… :slight_smile: I can contribute the code (Though I haven’t had any previous experience in creating Darktable plugins, I am just eager and curious to make this plugin :slight_smile: )

Analog controller plugin for RawTherapee
Giving Thanks

That’s not possible with darktable, and a plugin wouldn’t be enough to do that either. It would need to be added to dt’s core. Currently we are in feature freeze for the upcoming 2.2.0 release, but once that is done we can discuss adding something like that.
Since I don’t own any MIDI input devices I would need some software tool that can generate such MIDI events – do you know of any?

(John Small) #3

Not sure if this hardware for Lightroom is MIDI-based but http://palettegear.com/ looks very interesting!


It says that it works with MIDI software and that it can also simulate keyboard shortcuts. The latter might be enough to already support it. If anyone wants to buy a set for me so I can try I won’t say no. :wink:

(0liyan) #5

@houz You mean a MIDI emulator? Haven’t thought about that… Interesting… Let me see if anything is available like that…

When you say that the version 2.2.0 is already in feature freeze, and this particular feature had to interact with the core process; Can you think of any possibility to include this feature in the next release???


We will see. Maybe we can come up with a small tool that turns MIDI events into keystrokes and then use keyboard shortcuts in dt.

(Mica) #7

At first I thought “sure I’ll buy you one!” but then I saw the price.

The korg nano series is really affirdable.


Yep, the price is a bit silly.

The korg doesn’t look bad either, just not as big and more suited for fine motor skills.


@paperdigits, I would happily join an effort to bring some MIDI hardware to the dt devs. Of course, it only works if this is a thankful gift without some outcome bound to it – if it happens, fine, if it does not, fine as well (but I doubt these toys are not going to be played with :smile:). Could we use @patdavid’s LGM donation account to organize such an effort? I don’t remember which service it was, but paypal donation worked very simple IIRC.

Does the Korg stuff work on linux out of the box? One of the answers here suggest a nanoKontrol will work: http://sound.stackexchange.com/questions/26428/usb-midi-controller-on-ubuntu-linux. Maybe this holds for nanoKontrol2 as well.


A quick search found this which might help to get things started.


Virtual MIDI Piano Keyboard is a MIDI events generator and receiver. It doesn’t produce any sound by itself, but can be used to drive a MIDI synthesizer (either hardware or software, internal or external). You can use the computer’s keyboard to play MIDI notes, and also the mouse. You can use the Virtual MIDI Piano Keyboard to display the played MIDI notes from another instrument or MIDI file player. To do so, connect the other MIDI port to the input port of VMPK.

(Mica) #11

@chris I’m totally down for that idea. The nice thing about midi, is that if there were a generic midi2keyboard shortcut application or generic midi handling in DT, then the type of midi controller doesn’t matter so much.

I am completely in for getting something as a gift… Perhaps we could have them for the community instead of just for @houz :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: then we could share the hardware around to different developers… I don’t know just spitballing. I thought the same thing about color calibration targets; I don’t really need to own a color target, I just want access to one.

(0liyan) #12

We will see. Maybe we can come up with a small tool that turns MIDI
events into keystrokes and then use keyboard shortcuts in dt.

@houz I already tried something like that. I have connected my XBOX 360 gamepad and mapped the keyboard keys with a program called AntiMicro. It does an awesome job of assigning complex sets when we combine the trigger and button actions together in the gamepad. This has made my lighttable work easy.

Now I can easily browse through 1000s of images from a wedding shoot, assign tags to important photos, provide label to the photo that needs to be retouched in GIMP, assign star rating from 1 to 5, and reject the unwanted ones (like out of focus shots, etc) without using my keyboard and mouse. It’s like virtually playing with the photos that I took using a gamepad. :smile:

But I wanted to simplify the work in Darkroom module as well. But unfortunately there are no keyboard shortcuts for the actual developing modules. I’m talking about increasing and decreasing the slider values. Yes, there are no shortcuts for that which basically is the reason for creating this post.

And yes, first we could try creating something like mapping the keyboard+mouse keys against MIDI controller and then we can think about integrating to DT. As far as I know, AntiMicro doesn’t support MIDI controller.


Using a gamepad might be nice, but harnessing the power of MIDI is a whole other level. About keyboard shortcuts for darkroom modules, for me it works.

(Flössie) #14

Yeah, like using (pitch) bending for (color) banding. :grin:

(0liyan) #15


…About keyboard shortcuts for darkroom modules, for me it works.

Awesome! How did I not see this??? I think this should help my fast paced processing environment. I think I could map the analog sticks vs the basic color correction modules. Thank you for this… :slight_smile:

…but harnessing the power of MIDI is a whole other level

Yes, If rightly done, It sure will take the mass post production to the next level.

(Food for thought - I do have an old Thrustmaster TMX Force Racing wheel. I think I can map the accelerator to the denoiser module and the brake to the Temperature module so that I can use both my forelimbs and hind limbs for photo processing ! :smile: )

(Pat David) #16

btw, in general I am always interested in ways to help move things along for the community in general. So if we decide it would be fun to buy a controller for the devs, then count me in (both management, setup, and monetary). As @paperdigits mentioned, color targets was one idea as well. I thought about buying a few and having them as rotating loaners in the community. Is that something folks might be interested in?

Heck, if everyone active here on discuss pitched in like $1 USD, we could buy that fancy palettegear pretty easy I’d think. But @houz would have to take a photo modeling it for us… (darnit! I was just totally going to post a funny photo of houz from the LGM photowalk in London, and now I see I didn’t get any!).


Funny pictures? Of me?

Well, ok. Here we go. Not the photo walk, but still LGM. Now you tell me who’s the model here …

(Pat David) #18

:smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :astonished:

Touché you magnificent man! Now I’m gonna have to dig quickly for my riposte!


Well, my more serious answer would be, should someone try to collect money for such hardware I would suggest going for a regular MIDI device that is already supported by Linux. Adding support to darktable would be enough work already, reverse engineering USB protocols and writing a kernel driver would be too much work.

Fundraising and Donations and Financing. Oh My!

Do you have some recommendations? Would one of these KORG nano* be fine? I guess if every dt user [TM] would give $3, we could slightly pass the $50 and afford one of these ;-). Wait, I’ll do the math, it would be exactly $51 :smile: