Friday, February 23, 2007

Six Degrees of Freedom!

Yesterday I emailed my manager to see if I could purchase the 3DConnexion SpaceNavigator, a six degrees of freedom (6DOF) controller for 3D applications. I've used 6DOF controllers for a long time, and I love them. Also, at $59, the SpaceNavigator is A SCREAMING DEAL!

An hour or so later my manager stops by my desk and hands me a box - a SpaceExplorer! Very nice!

Uh oh - I'm running Vista. Will it work? I notice that there are Vista drivers on the website. After a quick download and installation it works like a champ in SketchUp. I also was able to load SolidWorks on my system yesterday, so I'll give that a shot.

$59 is truly a bargain for a great piece of hardware. Definitely recommended if you use CAD or DCC applications, Google Earth...even a Mac!


David said...

I *love* the 3Dconnexion hardware. I bought a Spaceball 5000 as a toy, and now I'm hooked. If I can't get ILM to buy me one for work, I'm going to buy my own.

I'm not sold on the buttons, though. Maybe if I used it everyday I'd start to learn shortcuts via the buttons...but for how I currently use it, the buttons could be removed and I wouldn't notice...which means I'd probably be just as happy with the cheapest version (SpaceNavigator).

It also works well with 2D imaging apps like PhotoShop...use the mouse to manipulate pixels and the Space* to zoom or pan your image...a big time saver! No need to constantly switch the mouse from tool->zoom->pan->tool->zoom->pan. Instead, just leave the mouse in the tool mode and do the zoom/pan with the Space*.

Trey said...

I haven't tried it with PhotoShop yet.

So far the only button I use often is the "Fit" button, which centers the model within the window.

I remember being blown away at an early (in our careers) SIGGRAPH where Logitech was demo'ing a prototype of that 6DOF puck...I can't remember what it is called though. Magellan? It was the precursor to all this 3DConnexion stuff.

But I totally agree - after working with the 6DOF hardware it is very hard to go back to not using it.

David said...

Yep...Magellan sounds right.