Palitra

by Bitgamma OÜ

An affordable, configurable, open source retouching module for professional and hobbyist photographers

$2,200 raised

of $5,000 goal

44% Funded Time Expired

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$5

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As Featured In

Linux Magazine

"For even simpler keyboard shortcuts, the prospective Palitra allows you to create simple macros with a programmable USB device."

DIY Photography

"Palitra is a compact companion to your graphic tablet."

Linux Magazine

"[Palitra is] not only convenient, but may also reduce repetitive stress injuries by reducing mouse use."

Hackster.io

"Every photographer and hobbyist can tell you that retouching or editing images can be, and often is, a time-consuming process that turns mundane images into quality pictures."

An Essential Retouching Tool for Photographers

Palitra is a small, affordable, configurable controller for retouching or other shortcut-heavy activities like software development. It is ideal for amateur and professional photographers, as well as any creative person. You can zoom, change brush size, change tool or activate any other shortcut of your favourite image editing program without having to reach your keyboard. Its size allows it to fit nicely next to your graphic tablet, so you can keep your free hand on it, reducing arm travel and thus reducing strain on your shoulder and wasted time.

Palitra with wood and aluminum case

Fully Configurable

Palitra can be configured with 36 shortcuts at once, organized in four pages of nine shortcuts each. Each page is assigned an LED button at the top for easy switching. You can use pages to logically divide your tasks, like blemish removal on one page, dodge/burn on the other, etc. All shortcuts can be configured at any time. Profiles can be saved and restored to quickly switch between different applications. And once a configuration has been saved to a Palitra, you can plug Palitra into any other computer and your shortcuts will be the same, no further software required.

Fully Compatible, Plug-n-Play App

Palitra is recognized as a USB HID keyboard and requires no driver to work on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Its configuration app is cross-platform and the entire project is open source (including hardware design).

Palitra app

Save Time, Save Money

Many photographers, both professional and hobbyists, spend a lot of time image editing. With Palitra, you can save time and frustration while editing. Palitra is a small, simple device, but once photographers use it they realize how much faster and less tiring retouching can be. I am a hobby photographer (check @mikkoph on Instagram out!) and I developed Palitra because I realized that I spend a lot of time reaching for the keyboard and my arm constantly gets in the way of the pen. Some shortcuts are especially hard to reach and use with one hand. Palitra was designed specifically to make photo editing easier and more convenient, and save time in the process.

Of course image editing is not the only field where you can use Palitra. When doing software development I find it useful to build, launch, debug, and control the debugger.

Use Palitra for:

  • Photo retouching
  • Vector art creation
  • General image manipulation
  • Debugger control, as an addition to your IDE
  • Controlling your media player
  • Video editing
  • Music creation
  • Sound engineering
  • Any task that relies on multiple keyboard shortcuts

I am excited to see what creative and interesting ways our backers will use their Palitra.

Palitra PCB without enclosure

Features & Specifications

  • 36 configurable shortcuts, organized in four pages of nine shortcuts
  • A small 3 x 3 keypad that can be placed on the side of your graphic tablet
  • Four lit buttons allowing direct access to each page
  • Lefty-friendly
  • Fully programmable via a cross-platform desktop application (Win, Mac, Linux)
  • Requires no drivers to work, usable in any application
  • USB-powered
  • Fully open source
  • Small (9 cm x 7 cm x 1.6 cm)

Palitra with steampunk case

Case Options

Palitra is offered in three versions. All three have exactly the same hardware, but a different case.

  • No case: Just the assembled PCB and ABS keycaps for the main 9 keys. This is perfectly usable on its own, I have retouched many photosets using it. Do not use on conductive surfaces, though.
  • Steampunk: A 3D-printed and hand-painted case. Looks cool and is lightweight. This what I use myself. If you have a 3D-printer, you can download the STL files from the project’s GitHub repository.
  • Wood and Aluminum: A handmade case built from premium materials. Limited edition, each piece is numbered.

The no-case option will become a black, injection-molded ABS case if we reach the USD $50,000 stretch goal.

Comparisons

If you follow photography forums, you are probably aware of at least two other approaches to the problem Palitra solves.

  • Loupedeck has more buttons than Palitra and a few other kinds of controls, but it is the size of a full keyboard and costs 229 Euro.
  • Palette Gear is very flashy. Before starting Palitra I was considering one. Then I realized that with buttons of that size it would be even worse than using the keyboard. Also for $199 they’d only give me three buttons and a slider.

Palitra offers many advantages over other devices:

  • Palitra starts $25. Much cheaper than other options.
  • All functions are easily within reach of your fingers, no need to stress your shoulder. You put your hand on it and you have access to all of its functions at once.
  • Because it is small and lightweight, Palitra is easy to carry around,
  • Palitra gives you the shortcuts you need without anything in the way like sliders you won’t actually use.

Manufacturing Plan

I have fully working prototypes (the ones in the pictures) and a 3D model of the printed enclosure.

The PCB will be manufactured and assembled in China, most likely by PCBWay. The ABS case, if we reach the USD $50,000 stretch goal, will likewise be manufactured in China.

The Steampunk case will be manufactured at our offices.

The wood and aluminum case will most likely be manufactured in Italy.

Shipping & Fulfillment

Shipping will be from Portland, Oregon, USA and handled by the great guys at Crowd Supply. Check this useful page about ordering, paying, and shipping.

Risks & Challenges

The device has been fully tested and is used daily, so quality problems are unlikely. Further software updates are possible (both the firmware and desktop configuration app), so any compatibility issue can be solved quickly. Delays in the production lines or in the supply chain are always a possibility, but I don’t expect much of them.

The greatest challenge at this point is finding a good manufacturer for injection molds once the stretch goal is reached.

Regardless of the issues that come up, we’ll keep you in the loop with regular project updates.

Palitra PCB without enclosure

Support & Documentation

Palitra is completly open source, software and hardware. Check out the links below for full documentation:


Credits

Bitgamma OÜ

Bitgamma OÜ is a small, young team doing software and web development. Currently, our focus is embedded development and hardware design. We are very passionate about what we do and committed to our projects.


Michele Balistreri

Hardware and firmware developer

Ksenia Lebedeva

Desktop app developer

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