Computer Hardware

Find the Best Keyboard for 3D work

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Finding a Good Keyboard

color keyboard

There are so many different keyboard types to choose from, that it's hard to find a great one.  It's even harder to imagine how comfortable it would be to long hours of work.  The best is to shop in a real (not online) store and test them for yourself.

Do you want to know what is really important to consider for long hours of 3D work?   Then you're in luck because we've done the work for you.   Take a look at the most important aspects of a keyboard and our best recommendations.

  • Ergonomy
  • Wire/less
  • Connectors
  • Key pressure
  • Key configuration
  • Backlighting
  • Price

 

1. Ergonomy & Comfort

First of all, you'll want to be comfortable with your keyboard, as with any human-interaction device (HID).  When resting your hands on the key board, your wrist have to be at rest.  This means that you hands and forearms should be aligned in the straightest line as possible without putting any effort or pain on your wrists.

To help with this, you will want to have a keyboard with an integrated wrist-rest, in line with the angle of the keyboard.  This is where you will place your wrists and pivot them to reach the keys you need.  It is usually made of a soft but rigid silicon or plastic, but you can pick any surface that you will be comfortable with.  Test it out, and remember you will be pivoting the exterior bone in the inside of your wrists on to it.

 

Typing Ergonomy keyboard writst laptop
source: pxhere

Extra Wrist Rests

You can also purchase a soft silicon keyboard wrist pad/wrist to complement your pose afterwards, but it is entirely optional.  In fact, it is probably unnecessary if you are alreaduy comfortable without it.  Just make sure your wrists are aligned with your hands and forearms .

 

3. Wired or wireless

We recommend you to go with wired keyboards, because it becomes much more troublesome when the batteries fail compared to the mouse.  It usually starts skipping some keys randomly, then more and more, until you realize why you've been making so many typos for days.    In fact, when you type too fast and the batteries are low, it will often just skips some keys and make your text illegible.  This can also happen when there are problems with the wireless communication between your computer wireless keyboard.  In our experience, even two AA batteries on a keyboard needs changing much more often than a mouse with one identical battery.

You'd better just go with a wired keyboard, save yourself the trouble and have the peace of mind in terms of reliability.

 

4. Connectors

Additionally, a wireless devices still needs to connected to a USB port through a wireless adapter.  We do not recommend  akeyboard with a PS/2 conenctor, as they are no longer supported by most motherboards today.  Wireless devices still need to be connected either with a fixed USB dongle, or sometimes a short wired antenna to work properly.  This means, that it still takes a valuable spot in your already crowded USB hubs.

A dongle is convenient, but you'll have no choice in range if it doesn't connect properly.  However, with an antenna, you get the same type of loose wire that you wanted to avoid by going wireless in the first place.

 

4. Key pressure and depth

keyboard depth

You will type millions of keys during the lifetime of your keyboard! Each time, you'll exert pressure on your finger muscles, bones and articulations.  Over time, these forces add up, always on the same parts of your fingers and it can cause fatigue or pain in the long term.  To reduce these problems, try to find a keyboard with a 'soft touch'.

Soft keyboards usually have shallower keys, so you have less distance to push each key to make the contact.  They're also a lot less resistant to finger pressire so they are much more pleasant to work with.

They are also much quieter than othertypes, in fact, they are almost silent compared to cheap ones.  This is very practical to avoid disturbing other family members while you work late at night on your 3D projects.

 

5. Keyboard Configuration

You don't really need any of the fancy ergonomically 'split' keyboard with a reserved space for each hand. In fact, they haven't really been proven to be any better, just different. A simple rectangular keyboard will do perfectly and you should spend on other considerations.

Choose a keyboard that has either your native language or English (US) it to maximize compatibility with 3D software.

Also, you will need to type a lot of numbers in this type of work, so you should definitely have an integrated numerid pad (numpad).  The numpad is the block of numerical keys grouped separately on the left of the keyboard.  They are usually present by default for standard sized keyboards on desktop computers.  For laptops, it depends on the model and brand.   The numpad also contain 2 other blocks of 'special keys': the 'page Up/Down', the 'delete key' and the directional arrow keys.  Both of which will be very useful for your work as a 3D creator.

Here are the principal keys that you will need to have direct access to, when using 3D softwares.  They have to be usable directly, with no shortcuts or modifiers (such as the 'fn' key on laptops): alt, shift and ctrl.  In addition, you will also need to have access to these keys

  • Numbers 0 to 9 and operators (+ - / * = . , ^)
  • Function Keys: F1 to F12
  • insert, delete, page up, page down
  • Directional arrows
  • All types of brackets - round ( ), square [ ], swirly { }
  • The Back slash (\) and the forward slash (/)
  • The dot, comma, single and double quote (' . ' ")
  • The !, @, #, %, &, *,

 

6. Back lighting

backlit keyboard

A retro-illuminated of backlit keyboard is an unsuspected bonus that your eyes thak you for tremendously, especially at night, in low light 'studio-like' conditions, or just when you're just tired.  They are easier to focus onto because the letter name is luminous, but they are also much less tiring for the eyes because  they are on a black background.

Finally, they make the whole experience so much more pleasant, and makes it easier to setup a good lighting that suits the eyes, instead of the hands.  The ideal retro-illuminaton color is most likely white (cool or white), to avoid a bias on your computer screen.  But in the full possible range of possible colors, blue or green are also well suited.   You may however want to stay away from violet, yellow and red because they are harder to focus your eyes onto.

 

7. Price

Of course, you can easily get a mouse and keyboard combo for around 15$.  But for around 60$ to 75$, you'll have a lot more interesting choices.  This is the price range where there is the most competition between brands.  This means that the prices and features ratio are optimal.  You can read more about how to find the optimal price point in electronics in our article on the topic.

 

Our Recommendation

We love the K740 keyboard, because it has everything good that we discussed in this article.  Otherwise, go with a simple and cheap standard keyboard.

Value

Standard Dell Keyboard

 

Also available at Newegg.com

And also at Newegg.ca

Recommended (US)

Best  logitech keyboard, with backlight and soft keys

 

Also available at Newegg.com

 

Recommended (CA)

Canadian site for the same great logitech K740 keyboard

 

Also available at Newegg.ca

 

 


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