Why is a Two-Handed Work Style Right for Your 3D Design Sessions?

    Posted by John Moseley on Jul 3, 2013 10:37:00 AM

    3dx rendering CAD monitorarrows rgb resized 600Some wrongly assume that a 3Dconnexion 3D mouse replaces your standard mouse. In reality, a 3D mouse and your standard mouse were meant to be together:

    A 3D mouse works in conjunction with your standard mouse, allowing you to pan, zoom and rotate 3D content (with the 3D mouse), while your standard mouse points, drags and clicks.

    This two-handed, cooperative work style quickly feels natural, faster and more comfortable than pressing keys on your keyboard while repetitively clicking and dragging your standard mouse.

    Think of it like peeling an apple: The 3D mouse (in your weaker hand) positions the apple, while the standard mouse (in your stronger hand) does the peeling. Each hand performs a task—and your weaker hand is better than you think at positioning things.

    Now, try peeling an apple with one hand. Actually, scratch that, it's unlikely to turn out well!

    It Allows Your Standard Mouse to Do What It Does Best

    Fundamentally, the standard computer mouse hasn't evolved much since its invention more than 40 years ago. Its primary function remains the same: moving a cursor along the x and y axes, while allowing users to select and click. Scroll wheels were then introduced to move up and down documents—and were then adapted to zoom 3D content and even cycle through inventory items in games.

    All of the above works pretty well, until you really need to manipulate 3D content. At this point, it quickly turns into an exercise of click, drag and repeat.

    Cue the 3D mouse, and its unique controller cap that moves on 6 different axes, allowing you to smoothly pan, zoom, tilt and rotate along the x, y and z axes simultaneously—leaving the standard mouse to do what it does best: moving the cursor to select and click menu items or parts of your 3D content.

    By playing to a standard mouse's strengths—and compensating for its weaknesses—a 3D mouse improves 3D navigation in a way no other device can, making it the perfect (and necessary) complement to a standard mouse.

    It's a Faster and More Rewarding Way to Work

    Not only does a 3D mouse allow you to navigate 3D content more fluidly, but it can also revolutionize your creativity and productivity.

    When you use a 3D mouse, it feels like holding the 3D content in your hand. It's so easy to inspect the model or position the camera that you quickly develop a deeper understanding and are better able to communicate design intent.

    This intuitive work style also enhances productivity because the 3D mouse takes care of positioning your 3D content, while the standard mouse is able to select, create and edit. In fact, CAD users saw average productivity gains of 21% when using a 3D mouse, according to a Technology Assessment Group study.

    A 3D mouse is a great step towards improving your productivity. Reading our CAD productivity ebook is another smart move. Click here to access 30-plus pages of productivity tools, tips and expert advice for CAD professionals.

    It's More Comfortable

    Forcing 3D navigation and cursor control through the standard mouse only means a lot of repetitive clicking and unnecessary muscle movements.

    A nuisance at first, this muscle strain can soon lead to repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) like carpal tunnel syndrome. Using a 3D mouse is proven to significantly reduce the risk of RSIs by:

    • Reducing standard mouse clicks and hand motions. As the 3Dconnexion 3D mouse takes care of positioning the 3D content, it's no longer necessary to click/drag or pan/rotate or use the scroll wheel to zoom. In fact, 61% of users reported reduced pain within a month of using a 3D mouse, and 77% after six months, according to a study by VSI Risk Management and Ergonomics.
    • Customizable buttons. 3D mice like the SpaceMouse Pro and SpacePilot Pro have conveniently positioned Keyboard Modifiers (Control, Shift, Alt and Escape) and easily customizable function keys. These keys reduce the need to access/click on menu items with the standard mouse movement or move your hand to the keyboard when you want to multi-select.
    • Ergonomic design. The 3Dconnexion SpaceMouse Pro and SpacePilot Pro also provide ergonomic wrist and hand support—a must for those working in 3D for hours at a time.
    A standard mouse alone just isn't designed to cope with today's sophisticated 3D applications. But with a solid partner like a 3D mouse, your work becomes more comfortable (and more enjoyable!) in no time.

    Adopting a Two-Handed Work Style Means Adopting Efficiency

    It's pretty clear that your standard mouse alone is working at 200% capacity. Why not lighten the load?

    A 3D mouse and a two-handed workflow increase productivity, reduce the risk or symptoms of RSI and improve design accuracy. 

    The best part? Adopting a two-handed work style isn't hard at all. See our post on the subject for tips on how to quickly and easily incorporate a 3D mouse into your work.

    Are you currently using a two-handed work style? Are you considering making the switch? Let us know in the comments!

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    Tags: 3D Mice, Productivity, Comfort & Ergonomics