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Doing Digital Art When You Can't Use Your Hand? 131

Posted by timothy
from the down-all-the-days dept.
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?"
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Doing Digital Art When You Can't Use Your Hand?

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  • by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @05:29PM (#34130036) Homepage Journal
    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.
    • by TamCaP (900777) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @05:31PM (#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: (Score:3, Informative)

        by harrkev (623093)

        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.

      • by icebike (68054)

        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: (Score:2, Interesting)

          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"
          (

    • by pieceofstone (1579885) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @06:05PM (#34130436)
      I also agree with this. Frank Frazetta learned to paint with his left hand after a stroke impaired his right.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by pspahn (1175617)

        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)

        • I remember some time ago, Dave Mustaine (from Megadeth) had a hand injury which they said would prevent him from playing guitar...

          Fortunately after a lot of recovery he came back to play (and is still good).

          Thus, although I would recommend try to use the other hand, people should also not leave out the possibility of recovering.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by durrr (1316311)
      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.
    • 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 th

    • 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: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

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

    • 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.

    • by RockDoctor (15477)

      It would be cheaper to work on being ambidextrous, and that may pay off in the future sometime as well.

      Same comment.

      For reference : one spring while I was a student, I decided to teach myself to write with my right hand. After a couple of weeks of inconsistent effort, I could write with reasonable legibility in each of 8 ways : left or right (hand) ; left-to-right or right-to-left (as per Galileo, or was it Leonardo of Quirm?) ; and normal way-up versus upside-down.

      I wouldn't claim to be particularly limber, and I haven't done it for 20 years, but it did only take a few weeks to attain reasonable facility.

  • 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.
    • 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.

  • Umm... (Score:5, Informative)

    by painandgreed (692585) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @05:31PM (#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... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tverbeek (457094) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @07:45PM (#34131302) Homepage

      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... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @08:16PM (#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.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702)
          So she is the one who keeps propagating the lies that you can only email screenshots as bitmaps embedded in Word documents!
    • by xtracto (837672)

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

      A: Grafitti.

  • Simpl (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Let go of your diddle

  • Use feet, elbow... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Qzukk (229616) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @05:33PM (#34130096) Journal

    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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by grcumb (781340)

      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.

      Correction: A mouse and a tablet.

      I have carpal tunnel syndrome in my right hand. Using a mouse exclusively is agonising. So, I set up a Wacom tablet in one hand and use a mouse in the other. The mouse is useful when I need to position something and the tablet for gestures. I can spend an entire day working in Lightroom/Photoshop/Inkscape/etc. without experiencing too much pain.

      It seems to me that the burned hand should still be able to perform gestures. Heck, I believe it was Cézanne who actually ti

  • by kurokame (1764228) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @05:34PM (#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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Hatta (162192)

      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.

    • by PCM2 (4486)

      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.

  • 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.
  • by geekoid (135745) <[dadinportland] [at] [yahoo.com]> on Thursday November 04, 2010 @05:37PM (#34130134) Homepage Journal

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

  • Mice (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sonny Yatsen (603655) * on Thursday November 04, 2010 @05:37PM (#34130138) Journal

    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 (Score:4, Funny)

      by aardwolf64 (160070) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @05:56PM (#34130338) Homepage

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

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

      • Re:Mice (Score:5, Funny)

        by LambdaWolf (1561517) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @08:12PM (#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.

        • by owlstead (636356)

          This makes me realize how much I miss the early days of the internet. Everything was more "academical" and many things in it were making a mockery of the commercialized world or were just funny for being funny. Don't forget that GIMP is an old program - one where those kind of names were considered cool and were probably responsible for making the program a hit in the first place.

          Now, GET OFF MY LAWN, or I'll BASH you!

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Ouch? what are you, his Corsican brother?

      • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

        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".

  • ambidexterity?

  • by cptdondo (59460)

    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.

  • by haemish (28576) * on Thursday November 04, 2010 @05:40PM (#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

  • by nizo (81281) *

    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

    • by mikael_j (106439)

      ...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

    • Re:No hands (Score:5, Interesting)

      by kenrblan (1388237) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @05:56PM (#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 (Score:5, Informative)

        by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @11:30PM (#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.

  • 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.

    • by awilden (110846)

      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.

  • 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.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    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

  • 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]
  • by Anonymous Coward

    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 v

  • 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

    • by tverbeek (457094)

      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

      • Sorry I meant tools that artificially add precision without user input. I agree with you 100%

        Some of these tools hamper expression to the extreme (i.e. the difference between hand-inking an illustration VS using Adobe Illustrator). You can be creative in both but one seems... less interesting.

  • 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 (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    a good ol' fashioned trackball?

  • in a text editor.

  • 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 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Herkum01 (592704) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @06:18PM (#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 (Score:4, Informative)

    by NeverVotedBush (1041088) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @06:20PM (#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: (Score:3, Informative)

      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/)
    • by stvn (674703)
      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 (Score:2, Informative)

    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...
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • by Windwraith (932426) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @07:35PM (#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: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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.

  • 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.

  • by denzacar (181829) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @07:47PM (#34131324) Journal

    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: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

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

      Bravo.

      • Didn't really have the time to argue how he should give up art and take up fishing or horse riding or something, or how this accident could really be an opportunity for him to explore new art-forms and techniques and such.

      • by tverbeek (457094)

        It may surprise you to learn that sometimes technology isn't the solution.

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

  • by DerekLyons (302214) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .retawriaf.> on Thursday November 04, 2010 @08:40PM (#34131750) Homepage

    "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.

  • 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]
  • 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

  • how disappointing. The most famous tech-forum in the world and all you have to suggest is use the other hand?

    I guess somebody has to ask this question again in 10 years from now.
  • It gave me a weird, detached feeling like it wasn't even *my* hand. Must be like having a girlfriend!

  • It might be an interesting time to explore algorithmic art. There are many authoring environments such as Processing [processing.org] which have a rich array of methods to create using algorithmic techniques. Your friend could perhaps learn a chording keyboard with the other hand, or simply use a QWERTY keyboard one handed to work in such an authoring environment.
  • Many things spring to mind.

    a. A monkey with a satellite dish implanted in its skull; satellite uplink to the artist's AI in orbit, back to the computer through cellular phone cradled in acoustic coupler; inevitable ICBMs release spray paints from passing, low-flying trajectories.

    b. Use "good hand" to pay fashion models to pose as prostitutes for reality TV show; approach and pay them again to use their finely functioning, perfect and precise bodies as cybernetic extensions of artist's abilities.

    c. Look up a

  • I didn't have burns, I have recurring bouts of tendonitis which makes it impossible to work a mouse or grasp a stylus.

    So I switched hands. The first few days really pissed me off! I was so slow! But it got better fairly rapidly, and now I tend to switch off a few times a week to give the dominant hand a rest and keep the other hand in practice.

    The non-dominant hand will never be as fast as the dominant hand, but if I have a choice between nothing and 70-80% ... I'll take what I can get.

    Having to learn

  • It works for the members of MY family with limited manual ability. :-)

    More seriously, though, WHY does it work well? (aside from being fun) 2 strong points:
    1. The simplicity allows everything to be oversized, making for easier targets
    2. It's easy to undo accidents

    Lowering mouse (or other controller) resolution so that it takes larger, but less precise, movements, helps prevent those "pointer moved half-way across the screen when I clicked" moments. A combination of changing your technique and choosing th

  • As an artist myself (and one who has be unable to use her right hand in the past and dealt with some* of the frustration your friend has), I'll suggest a couple things.

    One is off-handed use of the tablet, if the non-dominant hand can still be used.

    Another would be some sort of touch interface, especially if at least one fingertip of the dominant hand is still usable.

    And the last would be honesty: no matter what you try, it's going to take time. He's had all his life to perfect his art with his dominant han

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