Wednesday, December 27, 2006

HOWTO: Griffin Powermate in The GIMP

This Christmas, I was graciously given a slick Griffin Powermate from my brother.

It's a nifty little aluminum knob for your PC, with an extremely smooth touch and a blue LED that makes the bottom glow. There's support in the Linux kernel for the device, and it acts like a regular old input device. If you're crafty, you can edit your xorg.conf to make it control X, or you can use other software's built-in support for the device. Both the free DJ software Mixxx and The Gimp support the device. Mixxx's support needs a bit of work, but the device works great in The Gimp. However, there doesn't seem to be any documentation on how to actually set up the Powermate in The Gimp, so here we go:

1. Edit your ~/.gimp-2.2/controllerrc, and add the following to the end of the file:

(GimpControllerInfo "MIDI"
(enabled yes)
(debug-events yes)
(controller "ControllerLinuxInput"
(device "/dev/input/event2"))
(map "button-0" "select-all")
(map "dial-turn-left" "context-tool-select-previous")
(map "dial-turn-right" "context-tool-select-next")))

If you have more than just a keyboard and mouse hooked up to your PC, you might need to change the "/dev/input/event2" to a different device (/dev/input/event3 or something).

2. Set up the permissions
for the Griffin Powermate device (run this in a terminal):

sudo chmod a+r /dev/input/event2

Again, replacing the device with the proper one if your's is different. (Also, see the note at the end of the HOWTO about setting this at bootup.)

3. Fire up The Gimp
and change the mappings in the preferences as you see fit:

4. That's it, enjoy!

There's probably a good way of setting the proper permissions (like in step 2) by default at bootup, but I can't figure it out. If anyone does figure it out, drop me a comment. In the meantime, use your favourite hack to run the command in step 2 at bootup ("/etc/rc.local" is a good enough place). :)


Anonymous said...

If your system uses udev, just add the following line to /etc/udev/permissions.rules to change the group that is assigned to device files created for USB input devices when they are plugged in:

SUBSYSTEM=="input", DRIVERS=="usbhid" GROUP="plugdev"

Now all users in the plugdev group will be allowed to access the device.

sime said...

Nice. What else have you been able to use your Powermate for?

GameGod said...

I mostly use my Powermate as a jogwheel in Mixxx. ( )

The SVN version of Mixxx has really good Powermate support, including using the light as a VU meter. I use it to seek through tracks. (I'm saving up to buy another Powermate so I can have one Powermate dedicated to each channel.)

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