What’s all the fuss about 3D mice? We decided to ask real engineers, designers and 3D professionals how and why they use 3D mice in their design work.
Cameron Harris currently attends the Academy of Art University where he studies Fine Arts, Multimedia Communications. He is the co-founder of the Harwood Podcast Network, a website aimed to educate and inspire the world through creative endeavors.
Harris uses his 3Dconnexion 3D mice to bring the highest quality to his video podcast subscribers and to model with unrivaled precision and speed.
How did you first hear about 3Dconnexion 3D mice?
I heard about 3Dconnexion from a SketchUp forum when I was first learning basic modeling techniques. Several people in the thread were talking about how a 3D mouse was one of the best investments you could make if you did a lot of modeling. I made a mental note and not long after, I bought my first SpaceNavigator.
What was the adoption processes like?
It took me just a few hours to get used to the SpaceNavigator. It was remarkably easy, mostly because of the way the motion of your hand translates to the motion of the model—it matched with my mind perfectly. After about a week of using a 3D mouse, I knew I would never go back to using keyboard shortcuts to navigate my models.
What kind of 3Dconnexion 3D mouse do you use?
My workhorse was once the SpaceNavigator, but now it’s the SpaceMouse Wireless. It’s small enough that I can take it with me when I travel, but it still has enough heft to feel solid in my hand.
What software do you use with your 3D mouse?
I’ve been using SketchUp for all of my modeling for years. Besides a really old, clunky piece of 3D software I used more than a decade ago, it’s the only modeling software I’ve ever used.
What does a 3D mouse enable you to do better in your software that you couldn’t do as well with a standard mouse?
Navigating in general is a lot faster, smoother and easier. When I need to get into small corners of a model, or navigate into tight spaces and work on tiny details, that’s when the benefits really shine through. With a 3D mouse I can move from one end of a house to another in a matter of seconds, or I can move a millimeter at a time.
How has using a 3D mouse affected your professional life?
There have been countless improvements to my professional life, all brought on by a 3D mouse. The most noticeable one is speed. I can model so much faster with a 3D mouse—sometimes I need to produce several models a week for a video series, so every little bit of speed counts.
Are there any projects you’ve done that couldn’t happen without a 3D mouse?
The video tutorial series that I produce, SketchUp: a 3D Toolbox, has benefited enormously from my use of a 3D mouse. Honestly, I don’t know that the series would be where it is today had I not started using one. The smoothness of my camera movement inside of SketchUp makes the episodes so much more enjoyable to watch. I still get comments to this day on the movement style.
What would you say to someone who has heard of 3D mice, but isn’t sure about purchasing one?
The 3D mouse is one of those tools that is very specific in what it does, but it does that thing incredibly well. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to imagine all of the benefits using a 3D mouse will provide you until you actually start using one. But believe me, once you do start modeling with one, everything becomes so much easier, simpler, faster. And you wonder how you ever did your work without it.
What else would you like to know from these 3D pros? Ask your questions below, and we may ask the next batch of CAD professionals!
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