Using the computer as a tool for design relies on the interface between man and machine.
Mice are the standard tool for navigating a computer. The first mouse prototype was Independently invented and developed by Doug EngelbartÂ at the ‘Stanford Research Institute‘ in 1963. You can see how far technology has come but in essence the interface has remained the same for the last forty five years.
I have been designing with a mouse for over ten years, because it was the standard choice for designers back then. Computer mice are found attached to most computers so they are the consumers’ first choice, but now we have the choice of committing to a tablet, of which there are many options, and are only slightly restricted by price and accessibility.
To successfully design, we use elements from the world around us to create thought evoking imagery. The tablet allows me to design consistently with the way my gestures are more fluid and I can create a more organic image, faster than ever before. Although the surface of the tablet doesn’t parallel pen on paper, they both share the same gestural capacity, so my designs become more natural, allowing me to create original hand-drawn images on my screen.
The tablet market is booming and the ultimate result will see the computer mouse become irrelevant. Developers are creating software (and hardware) that creates a more communicative interface between the idea and the physical image. I imagine that soon it will allow designers like myself to delve into a more intimate experience with the digital environment.
On a recent project I tested the Wacom Intuos4 to create original graphics with Photoshop. However, because my Wacom tablet doesn’t have an inbuilt screen it took me a few hours to build up the hand eye and eye co-ordination. In saying that, drawing in vector based brushes allowed me to record and manually tweak each point in the design, refining it down to a finished piece of art. Sketching on this tablet made it evident that now, more than ever, designers need to embrace tablet technology.
Each day we edge closer to a fully wireless environment and soon the humble mouse will be a thing of the past. As was seen at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, technology is becoming more gesture driven. Interactive televisions were among the highlights of the show, allowing users to control the screen through movement. Soon enough this will integrate with the design industry, giving us the freedom to master hand drawn objects so we can begin with an idea and compose it on screen efficiently.