It is a rare day when a truly inventive input device hits the creative pro market. Mice and trackballs come and go like a parade, but not since the graphics tablet have we seen anything really unique. That is, not until Logitech released the NuLooq Professional Series: a hardware-software design controller combo that’s so different it completely changes the way you work in Adobe CS2 applications—and potentially other programs, as well.
One part software, one part hardware
The NuLooq Professional Series includes the navigator control device and the tooldial software. Though tooldial software is available independently, both work together to give serious creative pros complete control over Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign CS2.
If your system meets the stiff requirements and you’re willing to invest a fair amount of configuration time, not to mention some cash, you can reap some serious, time-saving rewards.
The tooldial is a fully customizable, circular launch pad capable of holding up to 72 of your favorite things. In Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign CS2, you use each pie-shaped slice to store frequently used tools, menu items, or palettes. Beyond that, you can create tooldials to store frequently used folders, documents, or even other applications.
Create as many tooldials as you wish and share them with others. Use the Tooldial preferences pane to import and export custom tooldials—very useful for group environments. Get the most from this unique software by visiting Logitech’s tooldial sets Web page, where you can download sets created by other pros.
Roughly the size of Griffin’s PowerMate, this three-layer, round device features the tooltuner dial: a touch-sensitive scroll wheel with static and programmable triggerpoints (buttons); the navring, a rubberized middle for scrolling (push forward/backward, left/right by one millimeter) and zooming (twist left/right by one millimeter); and a surprisingly heavy, weighted metal base with a non-slip surface. Designed for use in conjunction with a mouse, trackball, or tablet, the navigator fits comfortably in your free hand. It attaches to your Mac via USB cable.
The navigator offers a unique level of control. The tooltuner dial’s Static and Dynamic triggerpoints (three programmable buttons) let you adjust tool values while you work, and both are context-sensitive: your options vary depending upon which application and tool you’re using. For example, when using various brush tools in Photoshop you can adjust diameter, hardness, spacing, and opacity with the Static Value triggerpoint, and pressure or tilt with the Dynamic Value triggerpoint—all without touching the keyboard.
However, to use the navigator you’ll need a touch of ambidexterity, OS X 10.4.4, at least 1GB of RAM, and a PowerMac G4 (though Logitech recommends a G5).
Both the tooldial and navigator have their own preferences panes where you can configure every aspect of each to suit your specific needs. I found programming the Navigator’s Triggerpoint I button to summon the tooldial software and Triggerpoint II button to work as my Option key to be extremely helpful.
The tooldial and navigator can also be configured for use outside the Adobe CS2 realm. Right out of the box, I used the navigator to scroll and zoom in Safari, and version 1.1 of the tooldial software includes tooldials for launching a variety of applications, including the iLife Suite.
Macworld’s buying advice
If you spend serious time in Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign CS2; require precise tool control; and make repetitive trips to the toolbox, menus, or options bar, the customizable and highly configurable NuLooq navigator & tooldial is definitely for you. With it, Logitech has created a must-have tool combination for the serious creative pro and anyone else who needs precise navigational control over their large monitor and work space.
EDITOR’S NOTE: As of Aug. 9, 2006, Logitech dropped the price of the NuLooq navigator to $80.Top: Store your favorite Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign CS2 tools and menu items in a tooldial. Middle: This tooldial, downloaded from Logitech’s Web site, maximizes screen real estate by allowing access to Photoshop’s palettes while you’re working in Full Screen mode. Bottom: The default global tooldial. Easily share tooldial sets from the tooldial preferences pane. Top: When using Photoshop CS2’s Lasso tool, press the static value control button (square-shaped) and gently rotate the tooltuner (just as you would an iPod scrollwheel) to adjust feather amount. Bottom: Press the same button while using a Brush tool, such as Color Replacement, to adjust brush size. Logitech NuLooq navigator & tooldial