View Full Version : Spaceball supports Maya

12 December 2003, 07:29 PM
Sometime in November 3dconnexion started supporting Maya 4.5 and 5. Great news in my opinion. There's a mel script that needs to be installed in addition to regular drivers. Supposedly it even works on Linux and OS X - but you need to contact them for details. It also supports max 6 in the same awkward way it supported max before.

There's a "try before you buy" program for "qualified users in professional organizations".

12 December 2003, 12:01 AM
So is this an atmospheric plugin?

(Okay bad joke, what is Spaceball?)

12 December 2003, 12:44 AM
isn't it that spacemouse thing? pretty expensive input device.

12 December 2003, 03:23 AM
Spaceball and spacemouse are manufactured by the same company now and use the same drivers. They are expensive, although you can find older models on ebay for much cheaper. You can use them for viewport navigation, camera and object movements and so on. Highly recommended for those who think that hold-two-buttons-and-move-the-mouse to pan and then do the same to rotate and zoom is unhealthy and unnatural. With these controllers you just rotate and push or pull a rubber ball or a puck to adjust the view.

Plus, it would be a permanent solution for those who can't find a perfect mouse for Maya.

12 December 2003, 07:12 AM
to be honest, i don't see any advantage here compared to a standard mouse/keyboard setup. :shrug:

i imagine it's pretty tedious switching between spaceball, keyboard and mouse just to have an input device for translation-functions. i mean the problem of having to remember that overload of shortcuts won't vanish through this.

or did i miss something!?

what's next? light-scissors for splitting up meshes?!

12 December 2003, 10:42 AM
lowkey: with a spacemouse (and assuming that you don't need hundreds of hotkeys) you can switch to a spacemouse/mouse or tablet combo and almost forget about the keyboard. the spacemice that i have used, offer several programmable buttons for storing commonly used keys. very intuitive way of navigating, indeed.

i am not a big time maya user but i never imagined that maya wasn't among the supported apps. why did it take this long?

12 December 2003, 12:28 PM
I tried a few of these different spaceballs at 3december in london. And i wasnt impressed.

They maybe good for people that use cad or product design software. But they are really horrible to use.

Stick with a mouse and keyboard. Plus they cost between 200-300. Which is stupid money. I would rather spend it on a decent wacom tablet...

12 December 2003, 03:38 PM
Yeah, I'd run circles around spacemouse users with my mouse/keyboard combo.

Eat my dust, lint and dead dried skin!... umm.. YEAH! :buttrock:

12 December 2003, 04:22 PM
Those are some pretty silly comments. If you've never really used these things you can't understand how great they are.

In fact, I am willing to agree the spacemouse could be uncomfortable for some people, but the new keyboard with the built in spacemouse like controller from 3dconnexion is an awsome thing! You get all the benefits (and believe me, not having to move around the scene with the mouse is HUGE) without having to take your hands off the keyboard.

I got a demo from 3dconnexion, in which the analogy of drawing was used. Imagine drawing, where you made a line, then rotated the paper using the same hand, then made the next line, then rotated with that hand again. It's rediculous. Especially for a 3d modeller, these tools are invaluable in the intuitive workflow they provide!

12 December 2003, 06:06 PM
Within the automotive industry, I had them used a few times and had the pleasure of playing around with them myself. I just have to say that it 'feels right'.

I had almost forgotten about them, till two nights ago. Someone asked if there was something more intuitive than a mouse for 3D space, and immediately the Spaceball popped into my mind (luckily the name is kinda hard to forget).

Thanks for the FYI dvornik, I'll definately start savin up... wait... I'm broke.... nevermind.

- Jeremy

12 December 2003, 07:55 PM
I don't think it's indispensible or anything. But if you do 3d modelling or animation for a living and this tool works with your software you gotta try it. If it fits into your workflow it's a huge improvement.

I don't like how it works in 3ds max (it creates a temp camera and moves it around). But it seems to work better in Maya (I'm not a Maya user myself though).

I like the drawing analogy. When you want to look at an object from a different side you just grab it and turn it. Not pan-zoom-rotate. Never mind all the mouse click-and-holds it eliminates.

12 December 2003, 11:47 PM
its much more than that. Since it manuvers around the objects you're working on, your mouse stay on those objects, select vertices, rotate, zoom, to them and all this time you're still selected on them and your mouse curser is still fixed on the manipulator. You don't have to take breaks from your work to move your world around..... VERY intutitive.

12 December 2003, 02:02 AM
Doesn't seem to be the case in Maya - unless you just rotate. If you pan then you need to reposition the mouse. It stays selected but you need to grab the manipulator again.

Definitely not in Max - it's all screwed up over there because of how they wrote the plugin. In max it doesn't center on subobjects at all so it's kind of useless over there.

I wish it did work the way you describe. Hopefully Maya support shows their interest in content creation market (not just CAD) and maybe they will finally listen to user feedback.

12 December 2003, 02:56 AM
While we're on the subject there's a 3rd party Lightwave plugin for spaceball that only works in Layout and not in Modeller:

In case you think you can write better plugins for any of those apps here are the SDK links:

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