Trackball mouse for type design?

I know there are similar threads about what kind of mouse or drawing setup people are using for type design, but specifically wondering about the use of a trackball mouse. I was given one that has the trackball in the thumb area.

It would be quite different from the standard mouse I'm using where I move it freely around the pad, but I'm thinking about testing it out for glyph drawing.

Curious others experience and successes or challenges with this kind? I imagine I'll have to give it a fair amount of time to see if it could potentially work better for me.

Comments

  • I use a Kensington Expert Mouse. It’s a trackball the size of a billiards ball. I love it because it’s not at all twitchy like a mouse which makes it great for just grabbing those little nodes.
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,281
    It is really a personal thing. I hate trackball but others love it.  I just use the standard Mac Mouse but am tempted to try a pen tablet.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,987
    I've used a Logitech M570 trackball mouse for about 14 years, and love it. It's the model in which the thumb controls the trackball and the fingers rest on the buttons.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,987
    It takes a bit of getting used to. My advice would be to use it exclusively for a week or two before deciding whether you like it. The first couple of day, your thumb may feel weird.
  • not at all twitchy like a mouse which makes it great for just grabbing those little nodes.
    I miss AmigaOS's option of using the arrow keys to move the mouse pointer one pixel at a time.
  • I've used a Logitech M570 trackball mouse for about 14 years, and love it. It's the model in which the thumb controls the trackball and the fingers rest on the buttons.
    That's actually the same model I was given. Good to hear a positive experience with it.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,987
    edited December 2020
    My only complaint about the Logitech M570 is that I seem to be able to kill the buttons on average every 14 months. That's an improvement in recent years: it used to be 9 months. Confession: I use it for gaming as well as font making, so the buttons sometimes get mashed.
  • Noted, thanks... not sure how old this model is, but good to be aware.
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,035
    edited December 2020
    I used a trackball for about 10 years and switched back to a mouse. Trackman Marble 810 (red ball in middle) and M??? (blue ball on the left). 

    I find the mouse to be less stressful on my hand and and there are times where a trackball can be limiting. For example, if I want to do a rough ampersand with the pencil tool, I can draw something reasonable with a mouse. With a trackball I get something that looks like a starter Pokémon.

    I used to kill the buttons on those trackballs so I'd open them up and solder in new ones.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,987
    Trackball is definitely not a good option for freehand drawing, but that’s what tablets and styli are for.

    I initially started using a trackball because of a rotator cuff injury. Being able to have my shoulder stable while manipulating a cursor on screen enabled me to keep working and for my shoulder to mend.
  • Being able to have my shoulder stable
    How large was your mousepad?
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,035
    Perhaps a factor the makes a mouse work better for me now is that a current mouse is probably more accurate than the ones I used in the 1990s. My current mouse is an Elecom EX-G. Without acceleration I can get all the way across the screen in 25 mm. My palm rests on the pad when I work and there's zero arm/shoulder strain.
  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 1,739
    edited December 2020
    Without acceleration I can get all the way across the screen in 25 mm.
    Mine is something much crappier, and I measured its corner-to-corner travel, for the first time: just under 3cm. But now I'm worried my shoulder is getting low self-esteem.
  • I use a tiny Microsoft mobile mouse. It fits in the palm of my hand and I can move it with two fingers, no hand movement needed. 
  • I use a tiny Microsoft mobile mouse. It fits in the palm of my hand and I can move it with two fingers, no hand movement needed. 
    I like the idea of being able to move it so easily.

    That makes me curious regarding what tracking speed others use?

    I find too high and it becomes hard to be accurate and control precisely. But the benefit is less movement on the pad. So I tend to run it at mid/high.

    It does get finicky though because my current Logitech mouse seems to be affected by adjusting both the speed in the Mac system preferences and the Logitech settings.
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,281
    To me, there is a difference between drawing and computer operating. Type designers must do both.  If I have to compromise, I will err on the side of drawing.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,987
    How large was your mousepad?
    That wasn't the issue. There is no way to make a lateral movement of your arm, however small, even pivoting at the elbow, that doesn't involve firing your rotator cuff muscles. If you have a rotator cuff injury, mouse use will not only make it difficult to heal but may gradually make it worse.

    I can use a mouse now, and have a tiny travel one like Georg describes that I take with my laptop, but at home I still prefer the trackball.
  • Shoulder

    I have some rotator cuff problems in my right arm from carrying a pinball machine about 8 years ago. It sucks. Mostly it has been OK, but the very end of my last project seems to have aggravated it.
  • I have some moderate problem with my right shoulder too (I think from reaching over to open a heavy window, of all things) although I've never gotten it checked. But thankfully my wrist is enough to move the mouse (which was actually what I was getting at). I have a feeling it's the same for Ray.
  • Georg, I think it's important to note you are pretty tall and have pretty big hands ;)
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