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3D Mouse

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Zack Maxwell interpolator

This thing is beautiful. I finally got one because ZBrush supports 3D mice now.

I don’t see the purpose of the more expensive versions with extra keys, though.
In ZBrush I already have Ctrl/Alt/Shift bound to my stylus, and in Houdini or Blender I need full access to the keyboard anyway. Plus, it takes seconds to move my hand to the keyboard and back. Reaching for the puck isn't any harder than reaching for Alt on the keyboard.

It takes some getting used to, though. Like using a mouse for the first time. The biggest issue I have is that, for some reason, the default controls are reversed. So I have to go into the settings for every program that uses it and reverse all the controls.

I was surprised by just how well supported it seems to be in those programs, as well.
When I loaded them up, it just automatically worked without issue. Although Houdini is a little weird, because the camera moves more slowly the closer you get to the model. I honestly wasn’t expecting Blender to do a better job supporting it, but it does.

I can see this really speeding up my workflow once I’m accustomed to it.

Replies

  • poopipe
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    poopipe high dynamic range
    Mine has pretty much lived in a drawer for ten years - it occasionally comes out so I can see if there's an improvement to the godawful drivers and application support and and invariably ends up going back in after a day or three.

    Since you're finding some utility in it, maybe I should drag mine out again.
  • Zack Maxwell
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    Zack Maxwell interpolator
    What software were you using it with? I know earlier versions of Blender didn't even work with it at all,  but when I used it with the newest version it worked great. ZBrush support is also brand new, and the only thing I could possibly consider an issue I encountered is that you can't move the camera and draw at the same time. I expected that though.
    I bound the right button to the Spacebar menu, and the left button to Undo. The built in radial menus on the SpaceMouse do not play well with a stylus, so I didn't bother with them.
  • Neox
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    Neox quad damage
    is it still so... slow?
    i remeber that it was great as a presentation tool but damn navigating with it, looked nice and smooth but was uuuuultraaaaaa slow
  • SnowInChina
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    SnowInChina greentooth
    we use them at work, and i can see how non 3d people prefer them for navigation
    but i don't really like them, i am just faster and more precise with mouse and keyboard
    i even bought one for myself some years ago for navigating scenes.. but its just sitting somewhere collecting dust :s
  • poopipe
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    poopipe high dynamic range
    What software were you using it with? I know earlier versions of Blender didn't even work with it at all,  but when I used it with the newest version it worked great. ZBrush support is also brand new, and the only thing I could possibly consider an issue I encountered is that you can't move the camera and draw at the same time. I expected that though.
    I bound the right button to the Spacebar menu, and the left button to Undo. The built in radial menus on the SpaceMouse do not play well with a stylus, so I didn't bother with them.
    I've tried it pretty much everywhere  - ranging from prop modelling in max and maya to flying round huge factory/oil rig  / GIS visualisations. 
    As the others above have said, they just don't make much sense from a normal modelling perspective  - they're great for flying around huge scenes and presenting stuff to people though .

    I do see a lot of utility in apps where you primarily use a stylus for input - provided the software is up to scratch. it would add a lot of fluidity to the process.  sadly the software just wasn't there in the past when I actually worked for a living. 

    It's probably worth mentioning that the buttons on my 2007 (or whatever)  model are a bastard to click - you have to push annoyingly hard to get a response  - the new ones might well be a lot better in that respect


  • Zack Maxwell
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    Zack Maxwell interpolator
    @poopipe
    I can see how it might be more useful in ZBrush than most software, since you don't need the keyboard much and the normal navigation is a bit iffy. In Houdini it's extremely useful, because I can not only control the camera while inside the node network, but I also don't have to bother with the camera tool.
  • thomasp
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    thomasp quad damage
    I had several models in the distant past (worked for a company that doubled as a distributor of these so I got some for free/as loaners). Too slow for working in programs optimized for mouse/keyboard and the buttons on the larger models weren't in the right place. I had more success using a game controller instead (MS Sidewinder Strategic Commander) for an ambidextrous setup.

    I can imagine it working better for ZBrush especially when doing something fiddly like editing fibermesh but you will be very dependant on  drivers and application updates will break them. So unless the integration is done by Pixo themselves: do expect delays before you can use the device with a fresh release.

  • Firebert
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    Firebert polycounter lvl 12
    These bad boys are definitely a case by case basis.  If there is anyone out there with wrist strain, this could save you a lot of pain.  I developed a cyst on my wrist from years of navigating in 3D with a mouse and keyboard, and ever since I moved a lot of my pipeline into utilizing 3D mouse and tablet, it has been an almost complete reversal.  The enterprise version is also worth it once you spend the time to customize it per program.  They get a bad wrap from a lot of communities, and these mostly seem to stem from their software and other companies integration of it. 

    They do also take time to learn to work with them.  It is a very different feel than a traditional keyboard/mouse and having used it in Max, Maya, ZBrush, and UE4, they have some definite and noticeable bugs in each, but so do the 3D apps themselves.   The UE4 integration the community developed is boss.  Building AI paths and proxy setups were done in a blink with all buttons at the helm.  If you can save up for the enterprise and really invest it into your physical workflow, it does carry a lot benefits... and desk real estate (practically needs a postal code).     
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