The Cullinator- Sort Through Your Images Like A Boss

The Cullinator- Sort Through Your Images Like A Boss

If you're in any job long enough, you're bound to come across quirky industry developments that just might help your work flow. Photography is no different. What's this you might ask? At first glance it might seem like a video game controller with a cleverly placed sticker on it. At first glance, you're kind of right.

This little contraption comes from the new project seen over at The idea is to ease your work flow in Lightroom and Photomechanic. When it comes to weddings or portraits, photographers end up spending a ton of time sifting through their images and figuring out which to keep and which not to. Usually this involves sitting in front of your computer for several hours at a time, hands mashed on the directional keys and whatever keys you use to rate your pictures.

To save you from hours of poor uncomfortable posture and the mundane tapping of keys, the guys over at Cullinator customized some software that allow any USB connected video game controller to be your new culling tool. The idea is to put something in your hands that's a little more ergonomic and intuitive than a keyboard.

I received my Cullinator controller at WPPI directly from the Cullinator crew. The website sells controllers for $50 along with the cost of the program. I'm fairly familiar with most video games and have to say the controller doesn't seem to be particularly special at all. Although the one I received has a very cool yellow sticker that shows off the awesome program you're using, I'm fairly certain any USB Mac compatible controller could be used with the software.

When the system comes to being Mac compatible, that's currently one huge draw back for anyone who might be interested in changing up their workflow. As it stands, the software can only be used on mac systems versions OSX 10.7-10.8.2. If you have another version of OSX, sorry. PC users, you're out for now as well. We'll see if there are any changes in the future.

Downloading and using the program is extremely easy. Once you've downloaded it, there is a simple installation procedure to go through. After installation, a Cullinator icon appears which allows you to access the controller settings at any time. Before you are able to use the controller to edit any photos, you must manually input what keys you want to match with which buttons. This process is fairly intuitive. With the settings options open, all you need to do is hit a button on a controller and then hit the corresponding key on your keyboard. The action of the key is then synced to the button on the controller. Really, you can choose any button and key combination you would like to cull with. Obviously the arrow keys are your first to be set, but whether you want other buttons to assign colors, numbers or flags is completely up to you.

Using the controller does actually seem to make culling go faster and take some of the "work" out of your work. The controller is comfortable to hold. If you assign buttons where your fingers naturally hold the controller, it's easy to edit in any posture. That means if you want to lounge on your bed or do jumping jacks while you sort through images, you can. If you'd prefer to edit only using one hand, that's possible too. The quick access to any button allows you to flip through pictures and assign values at a pace equal to your keyboard if not quicker.

Unfortunately, this magical device is not the cure all for editing boredom. As of now, it's strictly limited to the library module and wont really help you out with any develop settings. The website does have rumors of an upgrade which will be released April 10th which will allow the controller to influence the develop module as well. Though the system does seem to take some stress out of the culling process, the additional access to the editing portion of Lightroom could make the Cullinator far more attractive.


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This really is not very specia orl is it? Only one OS is usable and you review it? I think as a product it is getting to much attention here. You can use just about any usb device to control Lightroom just aslong it has a key programmable driver. Why doesnt fstoppers write about that?
I recently hooked up my old belkin n52te to my win7 and programmed the keys to LR keys. Made some marcos for key combinations and linked that to a key on the belkin. The thing has three layout layers wich you can switch between so i have a Library, Develop and a whatever layout. All this at a skill level of zero.

The ShuttlePRO V2 is my weapon of choice.. Is sooo fast, it makes culling 2000 pictures in a couple of hours quite easy.. With a little pratice you can do it even faster.. And it can be used in aall other applications too, like Photoshop, Final Cut and so on.. Really the best of these divices I have ever tried!

I'm curious. I've been a PC gamer and see no reason why something like a normal USB game controller won't work with Lightroom. Take a loot at this one;

Based on the Cullinator website and WPPI appearance I seriously doubt they will exist next year or even tomorrow. I tried out the controller and it's 99 cent piece of junk with a sticker- they also very specifically/repeatedly said that other USB controllers WILL NOT WORK. I'm on a Mac and use Joystick Mapper and a wireless PS3 controller- more button/options and both companies aren't going anywhere should support be required.

Rob Hall's picture

Please stop giving this junk attention...Paddy Keys and a Logitech G13...or any gaming keyboard with programmable macros. This thing is really just silly.

Sorry, but this is a ripoff.

Every Logitech USB game controller comes with software that lets it do exactly the same thing - and those start at $20. There's also free software available, like JoyToKey that will let you do the same thing with any USB controller you happen to own or find - and those show up in thrift shops for a buck or two with some regularity.

Setting them up isn't exactly rocket science either. Took me maybe 10 minutes to program the buttons for the logitech... including the time spent figuring out which buttons I wanted to control given actions.