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Questions and answers about the SpaceNavigator 3D Mouse on Mac OS X

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ettore
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Got problems with Blender? Read here.

Post by ettore » Sat Sep 22, 2007 12:59 am

As you may know, 3Dconnexion and the Blender Foundation have worked together to start supporting our device with Blender. As of today (Sept. 20 2007) support is still at an experimental phase (read "pre-alpha") on Mac OS X, Linux and Windows. The current solution admittedly did not receive an intensive amount of testing, at least not the one you are used with other 3Dconnexion supported apps neither the thorough Blender QA process. We made this solution available because it was useful to many, but it *may* require some fiddling with the configuration. So:

1. To have Blender work with our devices, you need a special "NDOF" version of Blender 2.44 available at graphicall.org or blenderbuilds.com:

http://www.graphicall.org/

The graphicall downloads already have the plugin included in the right place, so if you download from there, you're done. Skip steps 2 and 3.

If you download from blenderbuilds.com, go here:

http://www.blenderbuilds.com/2007/08/05 ... h-a-prize/

2. [ONLY if you download from blenderbuilds.com]: Do NOT download the ones labelled "3Dconnexion" as they miss a couple of components.

3. [ONLY if you download from blenderbuilds.com]: The Windows download have the plugins included in the ZIP. Other platforms need to download and install the plugin from:
http://www.3dconnexion.com/solutions/blender.php

4. Be sure to read the following discussion threads:

All platforms:
viewtopic.php?t=1338

For Linux, also read:
viewtopic.php?t=1396
Last edited by ettore on Thu Mar 20, 2008 11:42 am, edited 2 times in total.
ettore pasquini
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Captain Buff
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Can't get SpaceNavigator to work in Blender with OS X Tiger

Post by Captain Buff » Tue Jan 22, 2008 12:20 am

Greetings Ettore,

My System:
iBook G4, PPC
OS X 10.4.11
Python 2.5.2
Blender Norm. Py.2.5

I recently purchased a SpaceNavigator (SN) to use specifically with Blender. I was running Blender 2.42a with no problems but when I installed the SN, with the appropriate plugin in the appropriate folder, the SN did not function. This began my long quest through a variety of web sites searching for a possible solution. I upgraded my system to the Blender (build?) version Norm. Py. 2.5 as well as to Python 2.5.1. However, after several hours of trial and error without any success I find myself writing to you.

To the best of my knowledge I have followed the instructions in order to get my SN working. The device works rather well in Google Earth, so I know the device is active and works. I've read all the posts and links associated with your post (the vast majority of them are Windows based and not Mac related) and found little help other than to be reminded that this is a project still very much in progress. In the end I suspect I might be doing something wrong.

When I downloaded the most recent drivers for the SN I did not just dump the entire expanded download into my Applications folder. Instead I read the applicable documents, and then copied the appropriate PPC plugin and pasted it into my Blender.app Plugins Folder. I also copied and pasted the 3Dcnxplug-mac.c document into the Plugins folder since I didn't know where else it might go. It seems to be a Library of some sort and I'm not sure where it goes or how to install it. Here's what my folder tree looks like:

Applications (folder)
----Blender Norm. Py. 2.5 (folder)
--------Blender.app
--------Blender.html
--------Blenderplayer.app
--------BlenderQuickStart.pdf
--------copyright.txt
--------GPL-license.txt
--------Plugins (folder)
------------3Dcnxplug-mac.c
------------3DxNdofBlender.plug
------------bmake
------------Makefile
------------sequence (folder)
------------texture (folder)
--------Python-license.txt
--------ReadMe.build
--------release_244.txt
--------verse

I then restarted my system, launched Blender and attempted to use the SN, but nothing happened. Perhaps there is some switch within Blender I'm supposed to turn on or change? Or maybe I'm not in the correct "view" mode (3D View)?

I noticed that some of the posts regarding Blender and 3DConnexion devices asked for Console information. Here's what my console says when I launch Blender:

ndof manager
Compiled with Python version 2.5.1.
Checking for installed Python... got it!
Missed - Class: 'appl', Kind: 111
Missed - Class: 'appl', Kind: 1
Missed - Class: 'appl', Kind: 103
Missed - Class: 'appl', Kind: 2
Missed - Class: 'appl', Kind: 111

Perhaps this information will be helpful. Not being a programmer I'm sort of clueless as to what this may or may not signify. Somehow that "Missed - Class" stuff doesn't seem normal, ... but for all I know it may be.

I have found little information regarding the interaction between Blender, 3DConnexion, and Mac OS X on the web. It definitely is a Windows world out there it seems. Any assistance and/or solutions you can provide will be most appreciated. I'd hate to think I purchased my 3DConnexion SN for nothing.

Respectfully,

Cpt. Buff

P.S. I've posted a similar request for assistance on the BlenderNewbies forum and am awaiting responses from there as well.

P.P.S. Being somewhat new to this realm of applications and devices I am somewhat ignorant of some of the lingo that is often used. Previously I heard and understood that Blender came in several sequential "versions" but now I see the word "build" being used. What is the difference between a "version" and a "build"? Also, I've seen the term(?) "Ndof" or "NDOF" used quite frequently but don't know what it means. Is this an abbreviation for something? Again, thanks for your assistance.

ettore
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Post by ettore » Tue Jan 22, 2008 2:16 pm

Hi Captain,
let me first clarify the terminology:
- Ndof/NDOF means "N Degrees of Freedom", which explains what our device can do. In the current state of things, we control 5 degrees of freedom in Blender with the SN (move L/R, F/B, U/D, spin and tilt (no roll)). The SN is able to control 6 DOF.
- A "Build" is basically an executable. Blender is written in the C language, developers compile ("build") the C sources and produce a "build". When a build is tested and deemed stable, it can be labeled with a official version number and released. In our case, Blender-NDOF didn't receive sufficient testing so far, so it doesn't have a version number yet.

Now, your folder structure seems ok. I just re-tried the whole process and it worked for me. Bear with me in this step-by-step explanation:

1. My PPC machine (dual G5 10.4.11) has python 2.3 so I downloaded this build:
http://mirror.blenderbuilds.com/macosx/ ... 3_NDOF.dmg
You have python 2.5, so you should download this one instead:
http://mirror.blenderbuilds.com/macosx/ ... 2_NDOF.dmg

2. create folder "Blender-NDOF" anywhere you want, e.g. on your desktop

3. open the dmg, copy content into the Blender-NDOF folder

4. I downloaded the plugin:
http://mirror.blenderbuilds.com/plugins ... MacOSX.zip

5. unzip, and navigate to the ppc folder. Find the file "3DxNdofBlender.plug" and copy it into "Blender-NDOF/plugins".

6. plug in the device.

7. launch blender.app - you should see a splash screen flashing on your screen soon after you double-click. The console should display something like:

ndof manager
Compiled with Python version 2.3.5.
Checking for installed Python... got it!
8199 client

8. the device should work right away with the default cube/default view you see at startup.

The only thing I don't see is the "xxxx client" line in your console output.

I am not sure if this will help you but it's a first step. Sorry about the lack of Mac documentation... I know we should fix this situation at some point. Let me know how it goes.
ettore pasquini
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Captain Buff
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Not a Bad First Step!

Post by Captain Buff » Tue Jan 22, 2008 3:39 pm

Greetings Ettore,

Thank you for your thorough response. Firstly, thank you for clarifying the terms "NDOF" and "build" for me, (and perhaps for others). In the realm of technology it is easy to get lost in all the techspeek. Language and the words we use oft times define us, ... and in our modern world oft times separates us as well. Thanks for letting me in on the lingo.

Secondly, I followed your instructions precisely and voilà, my SN works! I presume that I had the incorrect build, or the build which you linked me to was compatible with my system. Either way one slices it, my SN no works in Blender.

I took the liberty of having a little test "flight" to ensure that things were working correctly, and I believe I will need a little bit of practice. I all but flew off the screen and lost sight of my object. I relaunched Blender and tried again and had a bit more control but when I got too far out, it seemed that the zoom in and out function ceased to work. But this just may be due to my inexperience with the SN. I'll be doing some practice and will keep you posted as to how things go. Presently I am optomistic.

Thank you again for your time and effort in this matter. I will pass on the good news to those who are following this situation on the BlenderNewbies forum. I am sure others will be eager for this solution.

Gratefully,

Captain Buff

P.S. On a personal note, there was a time when I worked for a smallish company called Gateway 2000. We were a hard working lot and before long we began to grow and grow and grow. It was due to hard work, a solid and affordable product, good advertisement (typically word of mouth, but the "cow" adds didn't hurt), and good customer support. That was the recipe for success, and success we did have. Quite often more than we could handle at the time. As I have read through many of the forum threads regarding 3DConnexion and its products, I recognize what I sensed in those heady days at Gatway 2000, (now just "Gateway"). There were times that it seemed the company was like a fast moving train speeding down a mountain with dangerous curves to navigate every day. It took all of us working together to just keep the company on track. It wasn't easy most of the time. Success can be like that. Most often is. May 3DConnexion prove to be this successful, and more so, and may you and your fellow workers safely navigate the many twists and turns ahead. Don't pay too much attention to the naysayers. I for one believe you are off to a splendid start, keep up the good work and success is inevitable.

ettore
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Post by ettore » Tue Jan 22, 2008 3:51 pm

thanks for the nice words, Captain Buff. We do try our best to bring the Mac support up to speed.

About "losing sight of your object": it's probably because your speed settings are too high. Your SN is fully configurable at a per-app level using our pref pane
(System Preferences -> 3Dconnexion). Select "Add Application..." from the main "Configure:" menu and select the Blender-NDOF/blender.app build you're using. Then you want to probably bring down the overall speed in the "Device" tab, and then adjust each individual degree of freedom as you prefer in the "Advanced" tab. This way Blender will have its own settings, different from (e.g.) Google Earth settings and so on. Really handy.

Note that the "Add Application..." command will only work with apps that have built-in support for the SN. So for instance if you add Safari, it won't do anything.
ettore pasquini
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ettore
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Post by ettore » Thu Mar 20, 2008 11:42 am

Just wanted to mention that Blender NDOF downloads WITH the plugin included are now also available at

http://www.graphicall.org

Just unzip and it should be ready to go.
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copetea
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i have problems with mac OS and spasenavigator

Post by copetea » Sat Mar 29, 2008 7:27 pm

I installed the NDOF Version of blender (2.45) and the plugin but it does not work.
I also installed Phyton 2.5.2 on my imac but i couldn't get any chance.

I am not sure if i should use
ppc_py23_20070803_NDOF.dmg or
ppc_py23_20070802_NDOF.dmg

and the intel or ppc plugin that is on the 3DxBlender-MacOSX file


please help me

thanks for your time

mooncaine
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed May 07, 2008 10:48 am

Intel MacBook Pro, blender, and Space Navigator: supported?

Post by mooncaine » Sat May 17, 2008 2:33 pm

I was under the impression that blender is supported, but that seems not to be the case, at least, not "out of the box." I tried the latest version of blender, 2.45, first. Nope. Next, I searched the web and eventually, I found this forum thread.

I see you've gotten it working on a PPC mac, but... what about the Intel Mac? The links at graphicall.org do not offer an Intel Mac version of blender for download. I tried putting the "Intel" version of the plugin in the 2.45's plugins folder, but nothing happens.

If you know of a link where I can download what I need [Intel Mac version of blender, I'm guessing, plus whatever plugins I must add], please let me know.

I'm also very interested in having the SN work with blender 2.45, since I'm using it for Second Life content creation, and ver. 2.45 offers plugin support that is vital to modeling objects for SL.

So, whether or not I get this working in earlier versions of blender, my goal is really to use it with 2.45.

Is that possible? If so, how?

Thank you.

ettore
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Post by ettore » Mon May 19, 2008 11:00 am

right now the *only* places where you can download a version of blender with SN / NDOF support are:

http://www.graphicall.org/builds/index.php

the following site is going to shut down, but it's still available:
http://www.blenderbuilds.com/2007/08/05 ... h-a-prize/

That said, Blender 2.46 is about to come out, hopefully this week. Keep checking http://blender.org for an announcement. Blender 2.46 is the first release that officially supports NDOF devices, including ours of course. You will still need a plugin that will continue to be available for download from our website.
ettore pasquini
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mooncaine
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Post by mooncaine » Mon May 19, 2008 11:24 am

Awesome news! blender 2.46 is out for Mac OSX!

I tried it, moments ago, with the 3D Connexions Space Navigator plugin placed in its "plugins" folder.

It works! Hurray! This is going to be awesome. I like the SN very much.

Later, I'll be looking for tips on how to adjust the SN's movements in blender... for now, I just want to say thanks a bunch, Ettore and 3D Connexions! :)

mooncaine
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Post by mooncaine » Mon May 19, 2008 11:30 am

Just a quick note: I see Ettore's tips, above in same thread, for adjusting the Space Navigator's motions and speeds in blender, and... they are helping a lot! Awesomely wonderful. Thanks again! :D

ettore
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Post by ettore » Mon May 19, 2008 12:20 pm

cool, thanks mooncaine.

BTW apparently Blender 2.46 was just released! Just download it from here:
http://www.blender.org/download/

and the plugin from here, and please note that our page is not yet updated, so download the plugins ONLY:
http://www.3dconnexion.com/solutions/blender.php
ettore pasquini
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jdw007
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Macro

Post by jdw007 » Mon May 26, 2008 6:38 am

There are no instructions for making a macro and the preference is not intuitive. I can't post in TEST or make a NEw Topic. So, this is the only place I may get an answer

Headroom
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Post by Headroom » Wed May 28, 2008 6:43 pm

I am running Blender 2.46 on a new iMac. I had to tweak the sensitivity (speed) setting to get it to feel roughly similar in response to the SpaceMouse settings I am using in SolidWorks. Still not quite the same. The rotational movements are less "sensitive" than the linear transformations.

Somehow the "spin" and "roll" movements of the space navigator seem to result in the same movements on the screen. That is the same for both zoom directions.

This all is in "turntable" mode.

I nelieve I actually could get used to these things but I believe they need to be ironed out.

I can not tell you what relieve it is to finally being able to work with a 3D Mouse in my 2 favorite 3D applications. T H A N K S.

For some time I was working on an industrial robot animation that required me to go back and forth between Blender and SolidWorks and it drove me crazy not being able to use the 3D mouse anymore.

Headroom
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5DOF in Blender - why ?

Post by Headroom » Fri May 30, 2008 7:41 am

Ahhh. I should have read all the posts more closely.

It seems in Blender there are ony 5DOF, not NDOF. However, also working in SolidWorks where all 6 DOF are supported, it totally escapes me why this is limited in Blender. For me this is very un-intuitive. For first time users this may not be an issue, but the differnt behaviour in 2 different applications is annoying.

This actually should be user settable preference on a per application basis.

So my 1st question would be who would I need to write to for this feature request.

My second question relates to the beta state of the driver/plugin for Blender. Is there a roadmap as to when a final version can be expected and what fixes/features will be included ?

Thanks.

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