Input Devices for a 3D World

Blender Compatibility

From Spacemice


Blender is the free open source 3D content creation suite, available for all major operating systems under the GNU General Public License.

Information presented here was last verified with Blender 2.78

As of Blender 2.59...
As of Blender 2.64a...
  • Rotation and translation axis can be inverted separately.
  • The zoom function can be placed on the Y or Z axis.
  • Rotational and translational sensitivity settings are now separated.
  • Translational movement **NO LONGER** requires holding down the shift key.

As of Blender 2.66...
  • Default settings have returned to using SHIFT modifier for translational movement.
  • Added option in User Preference -->Interface for 'rotate/zoom around selection'.
  • This feature will override translational spacemouse movement.
  • Free-Flying ability can be restored, but at the expense of this new feature
  • See bottom of page for how to regain the 2.64 FREE FLYING MODE as default

ATTENTION USERS
Any settings made in 3DConnexion's control panel will be ignored by Blender.

Blender does not use the 3dConnexion driver, but instead reads the raw input from the device.

All settings involving the sensitivity, axis/motion reversal, or the key-mapping of the buttons on your spacemice must be done from within Blender's preferences.

Once you have made these changes, DO NOT FORGET to save them!
Select the operating system below to see which models of spacemice work with it...
Windows
USB Devices
No drivers are required.
Blender will recognize USB spacemice using the generic HID drivers which are packaged with Windows.
  • LCD support for SpacePilot and SpacePilot Pro requires 3dconnexion drivers.
  • Wireless devices likely need 3dconnexion drivers to be recognized in windows.

Confirmed
Working
Confirmed Working
Limited Functionality
Unconfirmed
Should Work
Unconfirmed
Likely NOT Working
Confirmed
NOT Working
Special
See additional info.
SpaceController and Blender

This thread on the BlenderArtists forum describes what is currently known about making this possible. Further updates will be made as information is acquired.
Macintosh (PPC)

Last official PPC build of Blender for MacOSX 10.5 is 2.63a

USB Models compatible with MacOSX 10.4.6+ (PPC)
Using the official 3DxWare v1.6.3 driver from 3DConnextion.
  • To get the older v1.6.3, you must select "Mac OS X" and check the "Show Archived Software" checkbox.
  • Limited button support on SpaceExplorer, and SpacePilot Pro
  • No LCD display on SpacePilot Pro
  • Spacemouse Pro and wireless devices are NOT supported for PPC.

Confirmed
Working
Confirmed Working
Limited Functionality
Unconfirmed
Should Work
Unconfirmed
Likely NOT Working
Confirmed
NOT Working
Macintosh (OSX)
USB Models compatible with MacOSX 10.7 Lion / 10.8 Mtn.Lion /10.9 Mavericks
Using the 3DxWare v10.1.2 Driver from 3DConnextion.
  • Buttons on wireless devices are not working, but should be fixed in 2.73

Confirmed
Working
Confirmed Working
Limited Functionality
Unconfirmed
Should Work
Unconfirmed
Likely NOT Working
Confirmed
NOT Working
Linux
Serial Devices
Using the spacenav-plus open-source driver.
The current version of spacenavd does not support serial-magellan devices.
  • The Spaceball Controller, Avenger, and SpaceOrb 360 use an entirely different protocol and are not supported
  • The buttons on the SpaceExplorer are not yet supported. This issue is being worked.

Confirmed
Working
Confirmed Working
Limited Functionality
Unconfirmed
Should Work
Unconfirmed
Likely NOT Working
Confirmed
NOT Working
These are the models which we were able to verify ourselves. Several are marked as 'Should Work'.
If you can confirm that these models work with Blender, please contact us.
How to make 'FREE FLY MODE' the default behavior...

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4 Step 5
  • Step 0: Open User Preferences...
  • Step 1: Make sure 'Rotate Around Selection' under the 'Interface' tab is disabled.
  • Step 2: Under the 'Input' tab, expand '3D View' and then '3d View (Global)'
  • Step 3: Scroll down to the NDOF settings
  • Step 4: Expand 'NDOF Orbital View with Zoom' and 'NDOF Move View' and swap the modifier key .
  • Step 5: Dont forget to **Save User Settings** or you will get to do this all again when you restart Blender.
How to access the '3DMouse Setting Menu' with your spacemouse...

By default, the 3D Mouse Settings Menu in Blender is called by pressing the 'Menu' key found on the latest spacemice. (Explorer, Pilot, PilotPro, MousePro). However, the Space Navigator and most older spacemice do not have a specific Menu button. Here is where to find the option to change the keypress which calls up the settings menu in Blender...

  • Step 1: Open User Preferences
  • Step 2: Under the 'Input' tab, expand 'Window' then scroll down to 'Call Menu' [NDOF]
  • Step 3: Change the keypress to one of the buttons on your spacemouse.
  • Step 4: Save User Settings


History of Blender Support (a users POV)

Spacemouse support was brought to Blender in version 2.46, when 3DConnexion released a plugin, which would allow the use of their devices with Blender. This plugin worked until the end of the 2.4x series when Blender developers decided to do a ground up rebuild of the entire project.

With the old plugin no longer working with new builds of Blender, users did what they do best... they complained. At the time, Blender developers were, understandably, more concerned with core stability of the new API, rather than on niche features lost from the previous version. It is a testament to Blender's redesign team, that users were willing to use the NEW incomplete alpha/beta versions, even without spacemouse support.

Requests for a new plugin, to work with the new Blender API, also appeared on 3DConnexion's forums. 3DConnexion appeared disinterested in any form of direct support (ie: a plugin), though in retrospect, Blender's API was going through so many changes during the 2.5x series, it would have been a major headache to maintain compatibility. In the mean time, 3DConnexion released a new beta version of their own drivers which helped a little. The new driver allowed their spacemice to emulate any keyboard/mouse combination, thus allowing rotations and movement in Blender based on already existing keyboard/mouse commands. It worked, but was nowhere near as smooth and fluid as the original plugin had been.

During Google's Summer of Code 2010, Mike Erwin decided to tackle implementation of 3D Mouse support in Blender. His code was incorporated into Blender's source code for the 2.59 release and has been in a state of refinement ever since.


Legacy Device Support

The spacenav project is working to bring an open-source solution, for the support of 6DOF devices on Linux and Windows, focusing primarily on the older devices which 3DConnexion no longer supports in their own drivers.
Recently the project received a major overhaul, and currently does not support Magellan type devices.

spacenav-plus is a fork of the previous spacenav project which still contains Magellan support.