Left-Handed, Tablet and 3D

Well, being left-handed I always had a hard time with a tablet and 3D packages due to the lack of practicality to reach for the keyboard shortcuts. Having 3D as a hobby, I had plenty of time to fiddle around the main applications and see how would they would fit with this particularity of mine (that a lot of people share).

I first got myself a Bamboo, which has no buttons, so I still needed to use the keyboard, at least if I still wanted to be reasonably quick doing stuff. At the time the package of my choice was 3ds Max. Quite frankly, it was a terrible experience. The 3ds Max navigation system is just not made for a tablet, is made for a mouse. That said, even though I could keep working with a mouse, as pressure sensitivity doesn’t really matter in 3ds Max, it was always a pain for me having to constantly use the scroll middle mouse button. After some time, I could barely handle an hour pressing the scroll, my finger started to hurt. So I decided to look at Maya.

I immediately found myself in love with Maya, despite the steep learning curve. Mouse or tablet, everything is within the reach of the mouse and a couple of keys combination. Using the tablet was a breeze, as the navigational system works perfectly with a tablet. But I still had a tough run trying to be efficient, as I was still in the same position regarding the keyboard shortcuts.

That’s when I got myself an Wacom Intuos. I figured out that the 6 buttons could be very handy. And they are. I barely touch the keyboards anymore – in fact, I just use it if I need to snap to something. You see, in Maya, the right button plus the use of ctrl, alt, shift and combination among them, gives you access to most of its modelling features. I mapped those keys on my Intuos and boom, I had it all. For an added bonus, I mapped also the space key, so I have all Maya’s menus when I hold the button that is mapped to the space key (plus maximizing the viewport by just pressing it without holding). So basically, here’s what I have configured for Maya in my Wacom Intuos:

1st Top Button – Undo (Ctrl + Z)
2nd Top Button – Viewport Maximizing / Full Menus (Space)
3rd Top Button – Shift

1st Bottom Button – Alt
2nd Bottom Button – Ctrl
3rd Bottom Button – Radial Menu

The touch ring is pretty useless, honestly. But the buttons are essential if you are left-handed.

The Radial Menu, I configured it to have quick access to the Select, Move, Rotate and Scale gizmos. I also configured one the options to Play/Pause media button. So when I have a tutorial being played on VLC (I have 2 monitors), I can quickly pause it without taking my hands off it. And there’s more. Below you can see a screenshot of the radial menu.

Radial Menu

The buttons are very handy in ZBrush as well. I have it pretty much mapped the same for ZBrush, with the exception that instead of having a Right Click mapped button, I instead opted for having a Brush Picker button (b).

If anyone wants my configuration file, feel free to ask.

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The best free and paid 3dsMax plugins

Free

Outliner

Outliner 2.0
Outliner in Hierarchy mode

The ‘Select by Name’ tool sucks and completely non-intuitive. Whoever have used Maya knows the beauty of its Outliner, you can’t even compare. This script is always the first thing that you should install on your 3dsMax. Outliner is a powerful scene manager tool. In the Hierarchy mode, it selects, hides, freezes, links and groups objects. In the Layer mode, you organize your layers simply dragging your objects from one layer to another. Minimalist, I always dock him to the left side of my screen.

Loop Regularizer

Loop Regularizer

This tool reorganizes the loops of a given n-gon. It works with edge loops in planar surfaces and curves and accepts multiple loops per operation.

Multi Texture Map

Multi Texture Map em uso

This is a plugin to 3ds Max that loads multiple textures and assigns them in a random fashion to a set of objects or materials IDs. With settings to control automatic variation of color, saturation and gamma. Compatible with Vray, FinalRender and Brazil.

Floor Generator

Floor Generator Plugin

This is a script that generates floor made of individual planks that can be easily textured using the script MultiTexture mentioned above. Great for those who works with architectural visualization and need floors that cannot be pixelated in a render where the camera is close to the ground.

Unique Material ID

UniqueMaterialID it’s a little tool that allows that each element inside a object has a unique material ID. This way, you can use MultiTextureMap mentioned above to randomize material assignment.

BookScatter

Book Scatter

Script to place and spread books in a efficient and flexible manner. Great for archviz too.

Advanced Painter

Similar to MultiScatter, though less powerful, this script allows you to paint objects in some surface. You can use it to spread grass, hair, stones, etc. 7 different types of brushes.

TexTools

TexTools 4.10

TexTools it’s a collection of tools for texturization and UV. Some say that they can’t live without it.

Stone Placement

This script creates stone walls, with variations on the pattern. Very useful in some cases.

Project Manager

Project Managar is a tool that helps you to catalog and use images, models, shaders, IES and HDRIs in your projects.

Cobweb

Cobweb in action.

Literally, a script to create spider webs.

Deformed Edges

This tools deforms the selected edges of an object. Ideal to give a more natural appearance to your objects, making them lose a bit of that 3D perfect quality.

Paid

Forest Pack Pro

Fantastic plugin that creates vast and living vegetation. Dozens of awesome features, like proxy and animation. Libraries with hundreds of plant types. Try Forest Pack Lite (free) for small projects.

Rayfire

Destroy. Shatter. Break it, explode. Be the chaos, wreak havoc.

Sigershader V-Ray Materials Preset Pro

SigerShader V-Ray Materials Preset Pro

For those who don’t like or don’t want to waste their time creating their shades, V-Ray Materials Presets Pro has the salvation. 1409 shaders, among them metal, glass, leather, liquids, ceramics, etc.

MultiScatter

MultiScatter em ação

MultiScatter it’s a plugin for 3ds Max that allows you to spread objects on a surface using a brush. It makes use of proxy, so it doesn’t create additional geometry on the scene, decreasing the scene size and its weight on your machine. A scene created on 3ds Max 2008 contaning 500.000 identical objects occupies 1.4 GB in  your HD. If MultiScatter is to be used, the same scene with the same objects occupies only 250Kb! Wow!

Mighty Tiles

Copyright: BBB3Viz

MightTyiles offers you a solution to create surfaces like bricks, stones, mosaic, tiles and whatever you can think about it. Very useful for archviz.

Krakatoa

Probably the most powerful particle simulator  available to 3ds Max. It’s capable of generating dust, sand, smoke, paint, plasma and solid objects. Largely used in production-level stuff.

Unwrella

.

No more distortion on your UVs. Map your models with just one click.

Quad Chamfer Modifier

This paid modifier is awesome! It makes chamfers with triangles or n-gons, getting rid of undesired artifacts. A bit on the expensive side (€40), but very efficient.

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 If you believe seriously that this list is incomplete and that I have serious problem by having forgotten this or that plugin, leave your suggestion in the comments!

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