3D Mouse Navigation: A Better Way to Design

    Posted by John Moseley on Mar 19, 2013 3:06:00 PM

    shipExplorers have used intelligent navigation throughout history to sail uncharted courses, discover unknown lands and open up entirely new worlds. The rewards were great; the dangers even greater.

    The world of 3D is little different. From mechanical engineering to 3D modeling to architectural visualization, there’s much to explore. But intrepid 3D explorers face serious risks like:

    • Falling prey to repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) from prolonged computer use.
    • Losing the wind in your sails from the excessive clicking that comes with a standard mouse and keyboard combination.
    • Cumbersome 3D navigation that results in errors and tedious corrective work.

    But don’t worry: with intuitive, comfortable navigation, you can explore new 3D horizons without these pitfalls. And, a 3D mouse provides just that. With a 3Dconnexion 3D mouse, users pan, zoom and navigate simultaneously—resulting in smoother navigation, decreased muscle movements and productivity gains.

    Don’t take our word for it. See what some 3Dconnexion users told us about navigating with their 3D mice—and why improved navigation is their favorite product feature. 

    Pan, Zoom and Rotate with Ease

    Paul McCrorey, founder of design firm McCrorey Digital, has seen a 3D mouse’s game-changing possibilities firsthand. (Read more about how Paul uses a 3D mouse to produce some stunning designs.)

    “The main issue with navigating without a [3D] mouse is you have to discretely separate the pan, zoom and rotate features, which is not natural,” he says. “The 3D mouse gives you the ultimate 3D experience because it is like holding the part in your hand.”

    I can quickly rotate an assembly, so I can constrain its position,” 3Dconnexion fan Chris Bovia reports. “This requires several drag and click steps with a [standard] mouse, taking extra time.”

    And 3Dconnexion user Jian-Wei Cheng highlights how he can “smoothly and easily navigate a model, so I can focus on finishing this bag of flaming hot Cheetos with my right hand.”

    Mmm, 3D navigation is certainly a treat.

    Improve Navigation in a Variety of Applications

    User Jayson Kramer works in computer-aided manufacturing, where 3D navigation produces big returns. “As I backplot the tool motion, I can move smoothly to see how the tool makes contact with the part,” he says.

    On the design side, 3D mice help Andre Leal do more work in less time. “I can quickly pan and zoom the canvas in Photoshop. It also lets me work much faster and pleasantly in SolidWorks, Mudbox and Maya.”

    My [3Dconnexion] SpaceNavigator makes using SketchUp so much faster and easier,” says Eric Schimelpfenig. “I find that I can model much quicker, and I can get into views that would take me so many clicks to do without the device.”

    Christopher Fugitt uses a 3D mouse’s superior navigation to be more productive in engineering applications.

    “I like my 3D mouse to navigate through Navisworks models,” he says. “It makes it simple to move around and find where I might have modeled something wrong in Civil 3D.”

    So What’s It Like When You Don’t Use a 3D Mouse?

    We meet some pretty passionate 3D mouse users. Sometimes, they’re even more passionate about what it’s like working without one

    “It's like driving a stick-shift transmission for the first time,” says Jonathan Landeros. “I have to remember which keys are used for navigation, and I have to make sure to move my hand to that icon or hotkey. Without my 3D mouse, navigation isn't quite as clean and smooth.”

    3Dconnexion user Kevin Cox succinctly summarizes what it’s like to work without a 3D mouse:

    “Click, drag, and repeat.”

    Connect with Us

    If you want more tips on navigating your 3D world, we share them with designers, architects and all kinds of 3D users on Facebook and Twitter. Come join the conversation!

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    Image courtesy of IssacMao via Flickr.


    Tags: 3D Mice, Productivity, Comfort & Ergonomics