Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Doing Digital Art When You Can't Use Your Hand?

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the down-all-the-days dept.

Graphics 131

Sludge writes "A good friend of mine who is a digital artist was recently involved in a house fire in which he suffered third degree burns to his 'art hand' which have made him unable to handle a mouse or a stylus for the coming months. If you or anyone near you has lost the ability to do something you love due to a physical injury, you know how painful and frustrating it can be. I need help discovering alternative software and input devices he can use while he recovers the ability to use his hand. The programs he uses most are 3dsmax, Z-Brush and Photoshop and he is used to working with a Wacom stylus. What expressive art tools are available that deemphasize precision work with your coordinated hand?"

cancel ×

131 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

What About the Other Hand? (5, Insightful)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130036)

Is his other hand functional? It would be cheaper to work on being ambidextrous, and that may pay off in the future sometime as well. But if he's not worried about price, then finding a techy solution is definitely the way to go.

Re:What About the Other Hand? (3, Insightful)

TamCaP (900777) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130066)

I agree with parent. If the other hand is fine, our brains are capable of adjustment. It might take a while (I assume he is an adult) but should not be that hard, just require lots of practice and patience.

Re:What About the Other Hand? (2, Informative)

harrkev (623093) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130136)

When my wrist starting giving me trouble after mousing at home and at work, I forced myself to mouse with my left hand (and then stuck with left at work, right at home). It took about a week or two to get comfortable, but now I can use either one just fine.

It is also nice when working on a computer that belongs to somebody else, to know that I can just use the mouse no matter which side it is on.

Re:What About the Other Hand? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34130928)

>> and then stuck with left at work, right at home

I woulda thunk the left would be more convenient at home if you know what I mean, nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

Re:What About the Other Hand? (0)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 3 years ago | (#34132426)

I like using the left hand to mouse, because it frees the right hand to use the keyboard, while I point and click. This makes it easier to fill in simple forms. Of course, you could do that vice versa, but at least you have options.

Re:What About the Other Hand? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130432)

I agree with parent. If the other hand is fine, our brains are capable of adjustment. It might take a while (I assume he is an adult) but should not be that hard, just require lots of practice and patience.

The "While" it will take is likely to be longer than the "while" it takes him to heal. This is not an easy transition, and it just adds to the frustration by almost, but not quite, being able to deliver up to one's own standard.

Perhaps a vacation would be a better choice than inducing a frustration built upon frustration.

Re:What About the Other Hand? (1, Interesting)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 3 years ago | (#34131108)

Perhaps a vacation would be a better choice than inducing a frustration built upon frustration.

For artists, taking a vacation can be more stressful than working.
The whole time I'm "relaxing", I'm stressing over all the ideas I'm having and are unable to accomplish

eg. The only time I am able to enjoy a concert is when the band has hired me to be their photographer, because then I am working on composing cool shots, and creating something. Otherwise, when I'm just at a concert for 'fun', I spend the whole time thinking, "damn, that would have made a great shot...I wish I had my [camera gear] with me"
(and it's not about the money, its about the hassle security gives people with SLRs (and standing front row/backstage))

working to use the non-dominant hand might not achieve anything artistically, but the feeling of working hard to achieve something might be good for boosting his morale and distracting him during the slow healing process. Probably better for his spirits than a vacation would be.

Re:What About the Other Hand? (4, Interesting)

pieceofstone (1579885) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130436)

I also agree with this. Frank Frazetta learned to paint with his left hand after a stroke impaired his right.

Re:What About the Other Hand? (2, Informative)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34132360)

Learning to paint is one thing. Once you lose the ability of your dominant hand (in my case of a severe shoulder separation, and thus my whole arm) doing something like art should be least of your concern.

Just wait until you have to take a poo. Writing and drawing can be done, though ugly. Wiping with your off-hand will just get shit all over the place. (pro tip: poop before you shower)

Re:What About the Other Hand? (2, Interesting)

durrr (1316311) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130620)

He's an artist. Drawing with his other hand is not what he's looking for.

What he should do is learn drawing with his foot: Seriously. People have learned to tie knots and play piano and whatnot else with their feet, they can be trained to very high dexterity and i promise you that if the guy can draw even a halfbaked piece of artwork with his foot while filming it for youtube his art based income will explode.

Re:What About the Other Hand? (1)

Gibbs-Duhem (1058152) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130718)

Also agree. I had a serious accident (no burns, luckily, but shattered everything) that resulted in me being unable to use my hand for about 6 months (and after that, with only extremely limited range of motion). By the end, I was able to type and generally do things with a single hand alone that previously took two hands (like typing). It will take some practice, but like any motor skill, practice will change the brain pathways to make it feel natural eventually.

With these sorts of things, my opinion is that attitude is everything. You *can* do the things you want to do (albeit not as quickly), and you *are* going to be able to master those new motor skills. It will be difficult, but you can do it.

Re:What About the Other Hand? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34130946)

You *can* do the things you want to do (albeit not as quickly), and you *are* going to be able to master those new motor skills. It will be difficult, but you can do it.

I agree; if Stephen Hawking can do all that he does with his extremely limited range of motion, Beethoven could compose some of the world's great music while deaf, and others succeed in maintaining their skills despite horrendous handicaps, we can indeed do what we put our minds to. Maybe this person needs to go back to an elementary program like Microsoft Paint to train his left hand, and then start working back to his previous programs.

Re:What About the Other Hand? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34130988)

When my right hand was injured in a traffic accident I started using a Logitech trackman marble with my left hand. When I regained use of my right hand (2 months) and ~75% of coordination (18 months of physiotherapy) I Kept the trackball on the left as it makes the desk more balanced with a standard keyboard with the numberpad on the right.

Re:What About the Other Hand? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34131092)

I don't mean to be a downer on this, but I broke my wrist in college and spent an entire semester doing *everything* with my wrong hand. Writing, mousing, typing, etc. I never did learn to write legibly and it wasn't for lack of practice. I was taking multi-variable calculus, and I'm sure it would be a riot to look over my old notes now and try to decipher them. It really did look like they were written by a first-grader.

On the plus side, I did learn how to use a mouse well enough that I now actually use my wrong hand for it on a regular basis. It's a shorter reach to the left side of the keyboard than the right (well, I just confessed to being part of the right-handed majority, but there'd be no reason to switch if I were a lefty).

I don't know how that translates into using a Wacom. What I can tell you is that my handwriting was *MUCH* better on a whiteboard than on paper. I think in part it's because there's less difference between the coefficients of static and sliding friction. You don't need as much fine control or feedback because the amount of force required to start a movement is nearly the same as the force required to continue it, so you don't end up with errant long strokes like you do on paper.

If the Wacom doesn't suit his wrong hand, try different tablets, variations in surface texture might make a huge difference.

*** Relevant stuff ends here ***

As an aside, I've driven stick all my life. For those of you who also drive stick, try using the brakes with your left foot some time (in an empty parking lot or something). Interesting isn't it? Both feet need to have fine control to drive smoothly, but they sure need to have *different* fine control.

Re:What About the Other Hand? (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#34131362)

Trying to learn to write with your non-dominant hand is going to be an exercise in frustration (especially if you're right handed, because it's a very left-brain activity). But there are other skills that are much easier to pick up. For a while I was in the habit of drawing (in pencil) with my right hand, and wielding my eraser (often semi-precision work itself) with the left. (That was before I switched to stylus and tablet, where using the eraser is just a matter of squeezing the stylus a little harder.)

Re:What About the Other Hand? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34131270)

Definitely. I went through a minor version of this a couple of years ago due to repetitive motion disorder (as a single male posting on /. you are allowed exactly one masturbation joke here), and I can tell you that no gizmo will ever give your friend a better control in his injured hand than what he can achieve by training his so-far uncoordinated hand. He'll start slow but if he practices he'll get good enough in no time.

Re:What About the Other Hand? (1)

bar-agent (698856) | more than 3 years ago | (#34131506)

Definitely. I went through a minor version of this a couple of years ago due to repetitive motion disorder ... He'll start slow but if he practices he'll get good enough in no time.

Yeah, he'll definitely get faster. Faster. Oh yeah, faster baby, faster! FASTER!! [sexylosers.com]

Achievement unlocked: Master baiter

What About the Other Foot? (1)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 3 years ago | (#34132098)

Or use another extremity. Handedness has a counterpart in the lower extremities, called footedness [wikipedia.org] . If he is dexterous enough with his feet (and they weren't damaged too), he might be able to do as well.

Re:What About the Other Hand? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34132220)

I'm right handed and taught myself to use the mouse left-handed to avoid RSI.
It was frustrating at first but now it's automatic although I'm still would not like to play a
real-time game left handed I can get by just fine.
 

Re:What About the Other Hand? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34132262)

Pfft! Fuck that noise! Just start slapping your dick against the keyboard, dude.

Re:What About the Other Hand? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#34132662)

Is his other hand functional?

Digital art is two-handed. Just orbiting the view in Maya, for example, requires holding down the alt key and left-click-dragging the mouse around.

Maybe not the solution you're looking for. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34130058)

I'm not trying to be insensitive, but isn't this the ideal condition to develop some ambidextrous skill?

Re:Maybe not the solution you're looking for. (5, Funny)

s4ltyd0g (452701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130454)

I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous.

Re:Maybe not the solution you're looking for. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34130716)

That can be arranged........

Re:Maybe not the solution you're looking for. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34130512)

He would lose his copyright as it would be like a drawing by a stranger.

My Left Foot (1)

peterofoz (1038508) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130068)

I don't think there are general tools since every injury is fairly unique. In the movie My Left Foot, the severely handicapped youth learned to paint with his left foot - the only part he could really control. For your friend, perhaps a standard graphic tablet and pen (suitably tailored/attached) using whatever appendage would work, or fancier there are some eye tracking devices in maker.com or gizmodo.

Re:My Left Foot (1)

ClickOnThis (137803) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130894)

In the movie My Left Foot, the severely handicapped youth learned to paint with his left foot - the only part he could really control.

Christy Brown [wikipedia.org] may have been a painter, but I think he was better known as an author and poet. The movie was based on his autobiography of the same name.

Re:My Left Foot (1)

peterofoz (1038508) | more than 3 years ago | (#34131116)

Yes, he wrote also. I guess the painting is what impressed me from the movie.

Here is another fellow born with no arms I think I saw featured on a TV special. http://quazen.com/arts/peter-longstaff-a-foot-painter/ [quazen.com]

Umm... (5, Informative)

painandgreed (692585) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130070)

What expressive art tools are available that deemphasize precision work with your coordinated hand?

His other hand?

Once he gets that trained and is used to using it, won't it probably be better than trying to use his normal hand with lack of precision? That's what I did anyway when I injured my right hand; I just switched to my left.

Re:Umm... (3, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#34131302)

While it wasn't as severe as this sounds, I injured my drawing hand back when I was in art school, which made holding a pencil (or pretty much any other tool) problematic for several weeks. While I was waiting for the right hand to recover, I gave the left a shot. It was difficult and frustrating, because I couldn't control it well enough for detailed work. But that doesn't have to be a liability. This might be a good opportunity to try setting aside the right-handed stylus death-grip (like I have), and try some more loose and expressive approaches to image making with the left hand, or holding the stylus another way and using the wrist instead of the fingers to control it. Maybe even mess around with traditional media like paint and brushes, or charcoal, which lend themselves to that kind of intentional sloppiness. It's a great excuse to try something different for a while.

Re:Umm... (3, Interesting)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#34131594)

Getting off topic now, but speaking of "intentional sloppiness", a friend of mine is a digital artist and was disappointed to discover that her meticulous, painstakingly detailed Photoshop pieces were not as popular as her sloppy, "thrown together" Corel Draw charcoal pieces. The Photoshop pieces took more skill and were infinitely more detailed (and she liked them a lot better), but people thought the stuff she did in a couple hours with Corel Draw looked cooler.

To give you an idea of how much detail her art contained, she once lost an image because it had gone over the 2gb file limit, and she hadn't saved it in the large file format. She was pretty devastated over that one.

Simpl (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34130074)

Let go of your diddle

Use feet, elbow... (4, Interesting)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130096)

Plug in two mice, castrate a ball mouse to use for clicking with one hand while moving the second mouse with whatever part of his "art arm" still works.

Expression is precision. (3, Insightful)

kurokame (1764228) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130110)

The problem here is that you can't replace precise, experienced control with anything except more of the same. You can do art pixel by pixel using the off-hand and get precision by throwing massive quantities of time at it - and you can do this using the exact same tool set as before. Experience will increase the off-hand precision.

It may be worth making now the time to experiment with new media - you'd be starting from more or less the same point regardless of the injury, so the awkwardness of off-hand manipulation will be less of a factor. It may also be less depressing than facing something you could previously do well, and finding that you no longer can.

Re:Expression is precision. (2, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130722)

What about doing abstract art in something like MetaPost? It's mostly geared towards generating figures, but there's no reason it couldn't be used for vector art. You only have to have enough muscle control to enter ASCII, let the computer do the drawing for you.

Re:Expression is precision. (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130766)

The fantasy painter Frank Frazetta suffered a series of strokes toward the end of his life which gradually destroyed his muscle precision in both hands. He really couldn't paint anymore for several years before his death. So he took up clay sculpture, and the results were pretty badass.

Re:Expression is precision. (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130822)

series of strokes

That's what this guy is afraid of if he uses his other hand.

What are you asking? (1)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130120)

What kind of answer are you looking for? Tape a stylus to the bandages. An injury is an injury. Take the time off. It's like asking "I recently broke my leg severely, but would like to continue my marathon running. What type of shoes would you recommend?.

Depending on the severity of the injury, your friend might be happier with a fleshlight.

I just use my (4, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130134)

penis. what? your's isn't prehensile?

Re:I just use my (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130808)

"penis. what? your's isn't prehensile?"

No, I just tape it to the monkey's tail.

Re:I just use my (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34131174)

as long as the monkey consents, that's cool.

OTOH,I don't want my junk around any monkey. That could put a wrench in your whole day.

Re:I just use my (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34131388)

penis. what? your's isn't prehensile?

No, I just tape it to the monkey's tail.

Yes, then proceed to spank the monkey.

Mice (3, Informative)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130138)

Ouch! I'm sorry about your friend's situation. I've often found that mice are pretty good for mitigating clumsy hands. For example, when I do really really detailed graphical work in GIMP, I often zoom down to really high levels and work on it a little bit at a time, which gives you a lot of leeway and control. Plus, a lot of programs have ways of mitigating shaky or clumsy hands - bezier tools, for instance, are a godsend to a guy like me whose hands shake constantly (probably due to the 3 Monster drinks I just had).

As far as 3D stuff goes, does your friend know about Sculptris? It's a simple 3D sculpting tool that is able to export to Zbrush (and in fact was just purchased by Zbrush's parent company, Pixologic). It has an option for smoothing out your mouse inputs so that it allows you to make smoother lines and objects in it.

Re:Mice (3, Funny)

aardwolf64 (160070) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130338)

For example, when I do really really detailed graphical work in GIMP

He can't use his hand, you insensitive clod!

Re:Mice (4, Funny)

LambdaWolf (1561517) | more than 3 years ago | (#34131564)

For example, when I do really really detailed graphical work in GIMP

He can't use his hand, you insensitive clod!

Man, I love F/OSS and I'm grateful for it, but I have to admit that the common opinion that it can't market itself properly really does ring true sometimes. The name "GIMP" is the epitome of this. Here's how I always imagined the meeting went:

Project Coder: Good news, we're ready to ship the new F/OSS replacement for Photoshop.
Project Leader: Great! Did you decide on a name?
Project Coder: We're calling it "CRIP", the Computing Resource for Images and Pictures.
Project Leader: Hmm... that's pretty good; I like how it's offensive to the disabled... but do you think you could add some overtones of gay S&M?

First impressions count, people.

Re:Mice (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34131214)

Ouch? what are you, his Corsican brother?

Re:Mice (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#34131632)

Obviously.

Seriously though, it's called empathy. An artist in particular could easily imagine what it would feel like to have something happen to their "art hand". Thus, the "ouch".

Re:Mice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34131566)

Also, LazyNezumi might help. It allows you to smoothen and lag mouse/tablet input for many apps that don't have native support for this (Photoshop, Gimp, etc..).
It's based on ZBrush's LazyMouse feature.
http://people.happycoders.org/kamih/wordpress/?page_id=46

a new skill (1)

Haven (34895) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130158)

ambidexterity?

SAID (1)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130168)

Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand. The body is a marvelous tool - it will adapt if you put new demands on it.

He can use his other hand; it will be frustrating but I bet in the long run it will make him a better artist.

Learn to use the other hand (5, Informative)

haemish (28576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130176)

I had a similar issue. I never thought I could switch hands, but I was desperate. It was awkward for a long time, but it worked. The bonus is that a couple of years later, when my "art hand" had fully recovered, I found that I had two art hands, which has been wonderful

No hands (1)

nizo (81281) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130182)

Having used a Wacom tablet quite a bit to draw with, perhaps there are some form of grip available that he could wear to hold the stylus? Or perhaps he could grip the stylus with his working hand, and guide it with his burned hand?

Kind of off topic, but I thought I would mention that after watching a guy in class with no arms work in Maya (a 3D application made by the same folks who make 3dsmax) I will never complain about any software package being hard to use ever again. As hard as it is to learn Maya, I just can't imagine working with it using only my feet.

Re:No hands (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130282)

...Maya (a 3D application made by the same folks who make 3dsmax)...

Well, technically Maya used to be owned and developed by Alias (previously known as Alias|Wavefront which used to be separate companies etc.), Alias was sold off by SGI to a couple of random companies and then sold on to Autodesk who already owned 3dsmax (previously known as 3D Studio MAX and just 3D Studio before that).

Also, for people outside of the video game biz I suspect that Maya is actually more well-known than 3dsmax when it comes to 3D. It's pretty much the "standard" 3D suite for movies (at least it was a couple of years ago, I haven't really kept up with the trends).

Re:No hands (5, Interesting)

kenrblan (1388237) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130346)

My art teacher in high school had only partially formed limbs, ie. nothing past the elbow or knees. He used prosthetic legs, but did a variety of things to produce art. When drawing or painting, he would slide the pencil or brush underneath his watch wristband. He also did ink drawings by dropping ink on a page with a straw and then blowing the ink around by forcing air through the straw. When painting things like clouds, he would dip the end of his arm into the paint and just put arm to paper. It was quite impressive to see firsthand.

Re:No hands (4, Informative)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#34132682)

I worked with a fairly well known illustrator (concept painter) on a movie a few years ago that had an 18" tablet. I didn't even know they went past 12! I asked him why he got one so large and explained to me that his friends injured their wrists by working on fine detail, so he got the extra large tablet so he could use his whole arm to draw. He said it took some getting used to but that his wrists have held up just fine.

iPad or other touch-based tablet? (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130190)

Perhaps not as precise as tablet/stylus/mouse work, but it might be a nice sketchbook that he could use with his non-dominant hand, or perhaps explore some other styles and modes of work.

Some of the art I've seen stories about people producing with an iPad and their fingers has been pretty impressive, I'm sure there's similar programs (or soon will be) for the Galaxy tab as well.

Re:iPad or other touch-based tablet? (1)

awilden (110846) | more than 3 years ago | (#34132432)

I agree. Chuck Close is an absolutely first rate artist who has had absolutely horrible luck with his health, including at one point being reduced to holding the brush in his mouth. He's had to reinvent himself multiple times, and each time he chose a brand new style instead of trying to do things the way he did before. Changing media or style I think is a far more likely route to success than trying to do the same thing.

off hand (1)

spooje (582773) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130232)

When I broke my hand I learned to use my off hand. Never worked as well but it got the job done until I got my cast off.

For modeling try Sculptris (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34130236)

It's a more organic solution than Zbrush and it's being added to Zbrush so the skills will translate to there eventually. You can easily use it without keyboard shortcuts so he won't need two hands. It may be a bit frustrating adapting to left handed work but it can be done. Frank Frazetta managed to teach himself to draw left handed after a stroke. Be patient it's mostly in the eye and not the hand. I used to sculpt with both hands at the same time and would work on both sides of a piece at once so it can be done.

http://www.sculptris.com/

LOGO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34130250)

Bring back the old days where to draw a dot or line you could type in a command. That with speech recognition...

Let's not mess around here (1)

genfail (777943) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130294)

Seriously now, Emotiv Epoc is a brain machine interface. It probably would be painfully slow (like learning to be ambdextrious) but it's what I would switch to for input should I ever lose the function of my hands. http://www.emotiv.com/ [emotiv.com]

Can he still use a tablet? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34130354)

Everything you've listed except 3dsmax can be easily used with a tablet. When I was struggling with pain in my wrist I wrote TabletMax so that I could model without having to use a mouse. Set the selection type to "lasso" and you'll discover that it's much easier than working with the a tethered brick.

http://3dfolio.com/tools-tabletmax.php

This program was written several years ago and was mainly used with max 7. I think it worked with max 9 last time I checked. It may need to be tweaked to work with newer versions. The source code is included.

Tools that deemphasize precision weaken Art (1)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130374)

I dabble in digital art and I have found the more people rely on certain tools that deemphasize precision the worse their artwork becomes (myself included).

A great example of this is available on television almost every day, you can see any number of cartoons created using basic shape templates and Bézier curves. They all look starkly similar, follow no rules of form or design and are generally awful.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's much more artistically valuable to see what your friend can do with, say, his feet than some algorithm can do with limited input.

Also, yes, I am aware of the irony that my hobby is artwork and I am legally blind...

Re:Tools that deemphasize precision weaken Art (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#34131288)

I disagree. Art is not about precision. And I'm speaking here as an anal-retentive pixel-by-pixel neat freak myself when it comes to art. But I know there's more to it than that. Sloppiness can lead to expressiveness, and that's an important element to art. Taken to its extreme you get Pollack or Kandinsky, but you also get Matisse and Monet and Schiele and Toulouse-Lautrec. None of them used tools that emphasized precision (I refer to the process of painting in oils as "drawing with a mop"), and each one was a strong artist.

best tip (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34130394)

instead of just another mice, use just another human.
There are many of them they're cheap, although they talk a lot

Insert foot (1)

pellik (193063) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130400)

A friend of my became quite adept training himself to control his mouse with his foot. Just turn the sensitivity way down and take advantage of the grater range of movement and you can get quite a lot of precision. Plus you don't have to move your arms around to switch between UI control and typing.

what about (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34130402)

a good ol' fashioned trackball?

QAF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34130420)

Wait, wasn't this a Queer as Folk plot arc?

Vocal Joystick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34130442)

http://www.vocaljoystick.org/

SVG... (1)

Hangin10 (704729) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130496)

in a text editor.

Code. (1)

radarsat1 (786772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130542)

This may or may not be his thing, depending on what kind of a person he is, but try to get him into graphics coding. Introduce him to Processing [processing.org] for example, or one of the many similar projects. (It's certainly no replacement for someone who wants to do "hands on" art, but it's a suggestion that fits your requirement of enabling graphic arts without requiring input precision.)

Two Broken Arms (2, Interesting)

Herkum01 (592704) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130576)

Have a good friend, Russell who broke both his arms [typepad.com] . This might help give a new perspective on the issue.

NaturalPoint TrackIR (3, Informative)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130608)

I don't know if they still promote it for handicapped people, but they did at one time.

It's an infrared head tracker that a lot of people use for flying and driving games. I'm sure other things as well.

They used to have a whole section of their website devoted to handicapped applications.

From their website:

"Eye Control Technologies, Inc. (dba NaturalPoint) was founded in 1997 to develop computer control devices for people with disabilities. Founders Jim Richardson and Birch Zimmer were initially inspired to develop affordable motion tracking technology after Jim’s cousin was completely paralyzed in an accident and could communicate only by moving his eyes."

"During the last several years, engineering breakthroughs have made it possible to introduce ordinary users to the same revolutionary technology that enables people with disabilities to communicate and effectively use their computers. Capitalizing on these breakthroughs, company leaders decided to launch the NaturalPoint SmartNav in order to provide the general public with an affordable alternative to the traditional mouse."

Re:NaturalPoint TrackIR (2, Informative)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130638)

Looks like if this might be along the lines of what you are interested in, the "SmartNav" is what they have tailored to assisting people with disabilities. (http://www.naturalpoint.com/smartnav/)

Re:NaturalPoint TrackIR (1)

stvn (674703) | more than 3 years ago | (#34131096)

Probably a step too far, but there is a group working on an ongoing collaborative research effort to empower people who are suffering from ALS with creative technologies. Basically they designed/build a low cost eye-tracking device and open sourced it. If you still have hand-control you want to focus on that, but once that's not an option any more http://www.eyewriter.org/ [eyewriter.org] might be interesting, especially because it is designed by/for the creative industry.

Eyewriter (2, Informative)

Octopuscabbage (1932234) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130654)

http://www.instructables.com/id/The-EyeWriter/ [instructables.com] This might work, but i do not believe he is full paralyzed but i guess if he loses control of his other appendages for some reason...

If your friend is made out of money... (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130762)

he could try something like an Emotiv headset.
http://www.emotiv.com/ [emotiv.com]

It would replace keyboard and mouse. I presume it offers HID class interface, so that it works with most applications? (would be pretty useless as an interface device if it didnt.)

Might have a steep learning curve though.

Go abstract (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34130838)

Don't fight against your inability to use your hand.

Use it as an opportunity to liberate yourself from rigidity in art.

You've got options, don't forget that.

http://www.callahanonline.com/index.php

Not a direct answer.. (1)

kent_eh (543303) | more than 3 years ago | (#34130950)

Just maybe a bit of inspiration for your friend.
this [photobucket.com] is a guy I met on a music related board a while ago. He recently played his first solo gig.
Point is: there's always a way, the trick is avoiding discouragement.

I'd like to know myself (2, Interesting)

Windwraith (932426) | more than 3 years ago | (#34131238)

I got some strange...thing in my hands that makes moving them very painful, mostly the fingers. Drawing became difficult since then, and I can't really use my left hand (same condition) or anything...it's a massive delay in my projects.
Since this started I lost more and more interest on doing anything, since it's just painful and unrewarding.

Re:I'd like to know myself (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34131444)

You might want to see a doctor about that, if for no other reason so that you can call it by name instead of "some strange... thing". He might even be able to help you with it.

EyeWriter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34131272)

"The EyeWriter is a low-cost eye-tracking apparatus & custom software that allows graffiti writers and artists with paralysis resulting from Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis to draw using only their eyes."

http://www.eyewriter.org/

Photography? (1)

Sal Zeta (929250) | more than 3 years ago | (#34131312)

I say, try photography for creative expression?

Probably is not the answer you are looking for, but photography puts the same skills (composition, color theory) around most of the same aesthetic concepts, without requiring the same physical requirements on the hand of your friend, especially in case of studio photography, where the camera could be even physically mounted over a tripod.

Similar situation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34131322)

I also am.. have a um friend who often has his dominant hand er busy, and would like to use his free hand to switch imag.. do digital art as well.

How about one of these: (3, Interesting)

denzacar (181829) | more than 3 years ago | (#34131324)

http://the-gadgeteer.com/2000/08/30/cat_eye_finring_review/ [the-gadgeteer.com]

http://www.engadget.com/2010/09/08/genius-ring-mouse-slips-around-your-finger-cues-up-beyonce-jams/ [engadget.com]

These guys offer various alternative pointing device solutions:
http://www.adapt-it.org.uk/browse_category.asp?id=40&item=Mice [adapt-it.org.uk]

And there are solutions like these out there too:
http://www.fentek-ind.com/nh-mouse.htm [fentek-ind.com]

Re:How about one of these: (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34132818)

What? You gave actual technical solutions. That seems out of character here, judging from most of the posts.

Bravo.

Jamboxx Breath Controller (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34131612)

There is a hardware controller called the Jamboxx that is basically a breath controller on a 2d slider. With that you can paint / control the computer mouse handsfree.
http://www.jamboxx.com/ is the website, and a video demonstrating how the painting works: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vCAqNXanSA

EyeWriter (1)

coaxial (28297) | more than 3 years ago | (#34131628)

Perhaps overkill, but EyeWriter [eyewriter.org] uses eye tracking to control a stylus.

Keyboard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34131668)

Some programs will allow you to use the keyboard for input. Arrow keys can sometimes be used for fine work while your friend could use the other hand for course mouse work.

EyeWriter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34131738)

http://www.eyewriter.org/videos/

You're kidding, right? (2, Interesting)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34131750)

"What expressive art tools are available that deemphasize precision work with your coordinated hand?"

Precisely none.

And what kind of a question is that anyhow? "My friend is used to doing precision work, what can I replace that precision work with?". The answer is trivially simple and should be blindingly obvious - you can't replace precision work with anything but precision work. You can retrain the non coordinated hand, eventually, but that's down to the person - the usual Slashdot "t3chn0l0gy ub3r all3s!" answers need not apply.

Opengazer (1)

An dochasac (591582) | more than 3 years ago | (#34131910)

If he doesn't want to use the other hand or if he would like to explore other artistic entry methods, he should try Opengazer [cam.ac.uk]

No substitute. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34131946)

I don't think the OP understands exactly how 'precision work with your coordinated hand' affects art. I myself am a digital artist and I do not think there is any technical aide that will properly compensate. Our hands are not just output peripherals. Artists spend YEARS developing highly specialized muscle memory that have a direct impact on the work they produce both technically and stylistically. Sure he still has all the technical knowledge, but he's either going to have to wait it out and heal up or train for his off hand. There are no short term substitutes, any suitable substitute will take time and effort to train and master.

Construct a harness? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34131950)

Maybe your friend could try rigging a harness of some sort on or around his hand/wrist and secure a stylus that way?

I've got it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34132554)

Pain killers. Lots and lots of pain killers. He won't even know if he was in a fire, or if this is real life.

I know the feeling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34132558)

It's just not the same using you other hand is it? I find the solution is to get someone else do it. It's much better than either hand. Failing that maybe sit on your other hand till it goes numb. Than it's kinda like someone else doing it.

Digital "art?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34132754)

That's a bit of a stretch. Sort of like calling NASCAR a sport. It's pretty fucking easy when the machine is doing all the hard work for you...

The main problems will be, (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 3 years ago | (#34132770)

Your friends main problems will be first swelling in the hand and secondly nerve damage. I did a pretty good number on my hand, second degree burns and 3 day stay at the regonal burn center, my MD was surprised that I could feel anything on my thumb and fingers, I think I had about 50% sensation, but was lucky and it all most all came back over time. With 3rd degree burns he'll probably have permanent loss and need skin grafting, I just missed needing skin grafts. He probably will not be affected as much as you are assuming, most of the dexterity comes from the wrist and arm, I'm a dental technician and was able to write after a week, and work which involved intricate carving wax 6 weeks after the accident. while I was off work I was knitting chain maille to pass the time. As soon as they get him into a compression garment he'll know what he can and can't do any more.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>