Whether working on architectural visualisations or modelling props for TV, 3D artist Dave Davidson from Max3D.org depends on a 3Dconnexion SpaceExplorer 3D mouse to interact with designs more efficiently and maintain a productive workflow.
Max3D.org is a boutique 3D design studio set up by 3D artist Dave Davidson. The company offers a range of services including concept design, product and packaging design, 3D modelling, rendering and animation.
Dave has been working in 3D for over 16 years. “After studying for a BA Hons in product design I worked for a couple of product design studios before deciding to set up my own company. I prefer a bit of variety and offer a wide range of services. I might be working on an architectural visualisation project one day and modelling props for a TV commercial the next. It keeps it interesting.”
Throughout his career Dave has used a 3Dconnexion 3D mouse. “I first encountered 3Dconnexion 3D mice on Silicon Graphics machines at one of the first companies I worked for and I have used them ever since. That was very early on in my career so I feel that I’ve grown up using them. I used a 3D mouse with 3ds Max when it was in Dos version 3!
Dave recently upgraded to a SpaceExplorer 3D mouse. The SpaceExplorer offers up to 15 programmable function keys and automatically recognises which 3D application is running, ensuring relevant commands are at Dave’s fingertips. It’s a serious step up from his previous SpaceBall.
It didn’t take long for Dave to adjust. “I was up and running with the SpaceExplorer in a matter of hours,” he says. “In my experience people pick up using a 3D mouse really quickly and they soon become indispensible. It’s a much faster way to work, and workflow is key to staying competitive in the 3D industry.”
Dave has programmed his SpaceExplorer to support the work he does in Cinema 4D, 3ds Max and Photoshop. “The main button I’ve mapped is ‘undo’ of course! I’ve also mapped the spacebar and I’ve set up the Cinema 4D ‘knife’ tool because I use that a lot. I’ve mapped the points mode and I’ve set it up so I can switch between full screen and four viewports and move from left to right really quickly. With Photoshop I have it set up to support pan and zoom as well as brush sizes.”
In terms of workflow, Dave finds that using the 3D mouse means he’s constantly working on the model: “I can spin the model round as fast as I need to and effectively I’m designing in real time. The workflow is a lot better than with a keyboard set up, which I find slows the modelling process down because you have to stop what you’re doing to move your model around. With a 3D mouse you’re still modelling while you’re turning the object. The keyboard just isn’t right for 3D work. In fact I hardly touch the keyboard when I’m modelling.”
For Dave, using a 3D mouse is second nature: “I actually think the level of control and precision you get with a 3D mouse results in better designs and I wouldn’t work any other way. I automatically reach for the SpaceExplorer with my left hand and I would find it really strange trying to rotate a 3D object without it. I don’t think I could do it!”