Using a 3D mouse with Illustrator and other things

So, I have a 3DConnexion "SpaceExplorer" 3D mouse, and it's one of the best purchases I've ever made. (That version is discontinued, but all of their products seem to be basically the same thing with varying numbers of extra function keys.) Without this thing, I either would never have built my 3D model of DNA Lounge, or my hands would be scarred, withered, immobile hooks by now.

(That is the 3D model used in the flyby animation I made to go along with our DNA Lounge Parklet Kickstarter to which you will be contributing, yes?)

Anyway, this thing has become so invisible to me and a part of my hand that now I find myself reaching for it any time I want to pan or zoom, even when I'm not in SketchUp.

It comes with settings for zooming and panning in Photoshop, but... the speed feels wrong. Do not like. I tried to build a config for Illustrator, but again, I couldn't get the timing right. It either goes way too far or not enough. Having it just type Alt-plus/minus and arrow-keys doesn't seem like the right solution.

Do any of you have Illustrator settings for it that you like?

Previously, previously.

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9 Responses:

  1. Tim says:

    Can it emit mouse-wheel events?
    Failing that you may have to write a plugin. It's not too bad. Give a shout if you want a pointer. (Having written similar things for proper multitouch support)

  2. I am not sure how the mouse works, but:

    In photoshop, command-space activates the zoom tool momentarily.You use mouse movements to zoom in and out. If scrubby zoom is enabled in preferences is a pretty fluid and precise way of getting about the image. I have pretty much stopped using the hand/move tool and just zoom way out, select my point, zoom back in.

    Would there be a way for you to map that behavior to the mouse?

    Illustrator zooming sucks and is out dated in it's behavior. There is no good way to precisely zoom unless you use the navigator palette. Which sucks.

    Adobe refuses to enforce UI decisions across their teams. So. Here we all are, dealing with crap that almost works the same across apps.

    • I think this was something you asked before, but to clarify photoshop zoom behaviors with the above.

      If resize window is checked in preferences, that is mapped to the command plus and minus keys, but can be unchecked on the zoom tool. Giving you both choices depending on the zoom behavior you want.

      Command 0, fit to screen, always resizes the window frame to fill the screen.

  3. nooj says:

    I love those things!

    I, too, get frustrated by the speed problem. My solution is to use settings that are a little too slow and if necessary just max out the spacemouse when I move its control stick. That way, frustration is auto-controlled into patience; too fast, and frustration causes the camera/object to fly into infinity or beyond. When trying to select multiple things close together, for instance, losing track of the object is lethal to the current operation.

    Also frustrating is the one where it slows down when the camera approaches the clipping plane or whatever. Why doesn't the plugin reset that stuff so I can always feel like I'm grabbing the object and moving it?

    I generally have found the options for connecting the spacemouse to the camera/view/whatever to be unsatisfying on mac versions. But then I use different programs than you do.

  4. Ian says:

    I had just heard of these, via comparison to the Leap Motion. Eeek, they're expensive, but why is the SpaceMouse so much more expensive than a SpaceExplorer? How much do those extra buttons on extra plastic cost?

    • James says:

      I suspect a patent is involved, and a sales department that has no idea how to optimize profit controlling volume by price.

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