A friend of mine works a lot with CAD programs like AutoCAD or Autodesk Tools. To his birthday I thought it would be a good idea to present him with a graphic tablet for 3D applications. Unfortunately, I'm very unexperienced in this field :-) so my questions are 1) is it really a good idea and 2) what are important characteristics of such a tablet I have to consider when I select one. I could image resolution, and size?

  • 1
    I believe that (unlike Adobe design applications) 3D software is usually good at treating touch and pen input differently in sensible ways. So one feature to consider would be a tablet with both pen and touch input (and good touch rejection when the pen is near the surface). Other than that, I'm not aware of differences between tablets for 2D and 3D. More importantly: there's a lot of personal preference with tablets particularly with ideal size. I'd suggest talking to the guy first rather than getting it as a surprise. Oct 10, 2012 at 9:29
  • ...if the "talk to the guy first" comment sounds like no fun, don't forget that he's (hopefully) going to be using it for hours on end every working day :) Also to clarify when I said "not aware of differences between tablets for 2D and 3D", I should have said "no significant differences in how people use tablets are used for 2D and 3D" - they are the same tablets. Oct 10, 2012 at 19:58

1 Answer 1


I would recommend a 3D mouse instead of tablet. I have both and 3D mouse is better for 3D applications such as Autocad.

Check out some options: http://www.3dconnexion.com/

In this case (as a gift), consider their SpaceNavigator which is an affordable model.

  • 1
    3d mouse is what I had in my mind as well, though the price does get pretty high if you want one that has buttons. I mean ( For those who are not aware ) 3d mouses are meant for your left hand. So, some basic buttons to control your 3d program is a big plus so you don't have to juggle between the 3d mouse and keyboard necessarily (Not to diss the Spacenavigator. It is pretty damn great too). But yea (+1). I'm not big fan of using tablets for 3d programs actually ( except for zBrush ).
    – Joonas
    Oct 11, 2012 at 9:47
  • +1 Interesting, never seen these before. Do people ever use these alongside tablets? For example, if right handed, pen in the right hand for input, 3D mouse in the left for navigation? Oct 11, 2012 at 10:28
  • Yes, that's a functional setup. Personally I find the regular mouse to work better for me when it comes to 3D modelling and animation (using the 3D mouse on the left for navigation in the scene). Tablets are perfect for 2D ("Photoshop", video etc.). But of course, this boils down to personal preference.
    – user7179
    Oct 11, 2012 at 10:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.