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Navigation Devices?

Wacom One, Cintiq and Cintiq Pro
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed 20. May 2020, 13:10

Navigation Devices?

Postby Coiler » Wed 20. May 2020, 13:22

So I'm still new to graphics/drawing tablets. But its hard for me to imagine becoming efficient at holding the pen buttons to rotate/pan/zoom the camera in between drawing or sculpting strokes. Especially with sculpting, where I like to rotate a lot, to see changes at different angles - probably rotation every 3-5 strokes).

So what I'm wondering is if anyone has looked into a secondary device that would be useful for camera navigation (plus all necessary hot-keys in apps like ZBrush)? I considered using a left hand gaming mouse on the left side of my gigantic tablet, but I honestly don't know if I have enough room. And I certainly don't want to scoot a mouse around on the tablet itself. But a mouse seems like a decent choice. At default, the "cursor" movement could be set to rotate the camera, which removes any buttons from the action. Then one or two buttons could be assigned to change that movement to pan and zoom. But such a mouse would need to have a lot of buttons to remove the need for a keyboard or the wacom remote.

Has anyone found anything that would work well with apps like ZBrush and Substance Painter? I've search on Google and Amazon, but I can't seem to get either to understand what I'm looking for. Just a lot of results of people trying to switch between mouse and tablet/pen.

Appreciate any advice!

Posts: 1334
Joined: Tue 8. Aug 2017, 14:35

Re: Navigation Devices?

Postby wacom5 » Fri 22. May 2020, 07:21

I think you already know this but if you consider the Pro line of Wacom products, you have the Pro Pen 3D which was made 3D designers in mind. https://estore.wacom.com/en-DE/wacom-pro-pen-3d.html
Other Pro line products like the Intuos Pro and the Cintiq Pro 24/32 also provide solutions with physical programmable shortkeys which help with this.
Need immediate help? Contact our Support: https://support.wacom.com

Posts: 2
Joined: Wed 20. May 2020, 13:10

Re: Navigation Devices?

Postby Coiler » Fri 22. May 2020, 12:32

I own the 3D Pen, but I have not noticed much improvement over the standard pen in its ability to navigate 3D cameras, except the 3rd button. Maybe I just haven't realized its full potential?

Part of my issue with this setup is needing to stop sculpting, look down at my pen to figure out what orientation the buttons are at, rotate the pen in my hand, push the correct button, wave it around to rotate/pan, then finally release and continue working. Its a lot of steps. I may be able to improve at keeping the buttons oriented correctly as I work so I don't need to look at it and rotate it, but I still feel like having a rotation device ready on my left hand would be more comfortable and efficient. My pen hand would only need to lift off of the surface and wait for the camera to reach its target, then go at it again. However, I have not tried it. I have several mice types (laser, tracking ball, etc), and I plan to test it out soon with what I have. But they are all right handed. So I was wondering if anyone has successfully set something like that up?

Or even better, if there is a sophisticated remote out there that has some type of joystick setup or any device that controls direction, that would probably rock. Or maybe even some type of analog gamepad. I need to look into that.

Posts: 28
Joined: Sun 19. Mar 2017, 02:03

Re: Navigation Devices?

Postby worldclock2017 » Mon 25. May 2020, 03:53

I have been on this exact same mission for many years now.

The idea is to never have to look away from the cursor while painting. Which creates a problem when using a keyboard for shortcuts, because usually you have to glance at the keyboard to find which key you want to press - it breaks your attention

I have used all sorts of input devices to hold in my left hand while painting with my right.

Solutions I have used in the past:

Razor Nostromo
-This is a smaller, left-handed keypad with plenty of buttons, including a direction pad and a mousewheel. The buttons and keys are all placed in different positions, making it very easy to feel your way through the pad with your left hand instead of having to look down at it. Lots of buttons (20 or more?) all placed in very intuitive positions, and the wheel works exactly like a mousewheel. The problem is, it isn't handheld (it's just a little too big, and its design is very wonky (in a good way) but unfortunately you can't just hold it in your hand - it has to be set down on your desk or tablet screen. It's also fully programmable so you can set all your keyboard shortcuts for whatever application you're using (Photoshop, Blender, etc)

Logitech G600
-A mouse with as many as 20 or more buttons, including a mousewheel. Again, the buttons on the top of the mouse are pretty standard but there's a few extra ones, giving you more options. There are also 12 buttons on the side, but these are pretty well impossible to reach without shifting the mouse in your hand and having to look at them - and they're a little small, so you're likely to press the wrong one as they are crammed in there beside eachother. I don't use these buttons on the side, but they are there as a bonus in case you can find a use for them - after all, that's 12 more programmable buttons there. But the amount of buttons on the face of the mouse (there's about 8 programmable ones) so for me it's enough - and this is the mouse I am currently using for all my Photoshop work and have been using for years now

Nintendo JoyCon
-This is a controller for the Nintendo Switch (I think it's the Switch) and is very small, wireless, and fits nicely in one hand. Also lots of buttons (at least 10) plus a direction pad. I'd say this is better than the Logitech G600 in terms of using it for photoshop or something because it's smaller and lighter and wireless, but for some reason I haven't adapted to it just yet - but I'm sure I will. Again, the buttons can be "felt" with your one hand, so you don't need to look down at it when pressing one of them - you can easily find it just by moving your thumb over them. They're all placed in various positions on the device so it's easy to distinguish which one you're pressing. The only problem with this one is that you need a third-party application to make your software (Photoshop, Blender etc) recognise the device in order for you to bind shortcuts to the buttons. AutoHotKey is one of these applications that does the trick flawlessly. Takes a bit to learn though.

Wacom Remote
-I have this, but to be honest I have nothing but problems with it. It doesn't act like normal hardware either, for example it doesn't understand when you are holding down a button as opposed to just pressing/release the button - which is a big problem. I don't know why it's designed this way, but it makes it unusable for me. Also, the buttons misfire a lot of the time, so I have this packed away on my shelf and will likely not use it ever again - I tried, though. I can't recommend this one, but maybe other users have had better success with it.

And last, again with AutoHotKey, you can use this application to create and design your own on-screen buttons and move them anywhere on the screen you like, and these buttons can be programmed to do anything - and I do mean *anything*! This can eliminate the need for a navigation device altogether, because now you program all your shortcuts into buttons on your screen which will always be floating ontop of the application you are using. Just click the button you want and make it do what you want - from tool shortcuts, to zoom in/zoom out, to rotate, to pan - there is absolutely no limit to what you can achieve with it.

Just google all this stuff or maybe check it out on youtube. You'll find that one or all of these will probably do the trick for you

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