Wacom's Pro Pen 3D has an extra customisable button to pan, zoom & tumble in 3D apps

Wacom’s new digital pen has been created to make it easier for animators, designers and artists to work in ZBrush, Maya and other 3D apps and programs for Windows or Mac.

Wacom has today announced the release of its Pro Pen 3D – a digital pen with new control options (an extra button) specifically designed to make your workflow easier within 3D programs and apps such as ZBrush and Maya. The pen is designed to be used on a Wacom MobileStudio Pro, Cintiq Pro or the Intuos Pro (2017 model), but can be used with any Windows or Mac application. It can still be used within 2D applications as well.

The Pro Pen 3D has a third button (the Pro Pen 2 only has two) for creative professionals working in game design, animation, VFX, VR and AR, 2D and 3D art and industrial design. Wacom says the three-button stylus was designed specifically for digital artists and designers who frequently need to navigate 3D objects and design from many angles and perspectives.

All three buttons can be customised to pan, zoom, left-click, right-click for menus and tumble (rotate in 3D) – among other functions you choose – when sculpting or modifying a 3D model or prototyping within apps such as Pixologic’s ZBrush or Autodesk’s Maya. Users can manipulate their work without having to touch a keyboard, says Wacom. The extra button control has been set to tumbling and rotation.

But the function of all three buttons on the Pro Pen 3D can be customised through the default settings, so for example, you could use the first button to change a model's rotation, the second to pan or zoom and the third for right-click menus.

Alongside the three buttons (which have different shapes for tactile and visual differentiation), the Wacom Pro Pen 3D has a slightly thinner grip near the tip of the pen for comfort, and doesn’t have an eraser. Wacom has chosen not to include an eraser on the end of this pen because most 3D apps require precise selection of 3D elements to in order to be erased, so it’s better to use a narrow pen tip rather than a physical eraser.

Most applications offer an eraser or undo tool, and users of the Pro Pen 3D can choose to set one button to Eraser if preferred.

As you can see here, one button has been placed closer to the nib for easier access and usability. The pen's exterior includes an aluminium barrel. 

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The Pro Pen 3D still retains all the normal features from the Pro Pen 2, including 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity, a sensitive pen tip, lag-free tracking and exceptional tilt-response. It will also have the same nibs, pen case, pen stand and colour rings that come with it.

To use the Pro Pen 3D you’ll need a v6 3.25 Wacom tablet driver, or a later version, and the latest Wacom Firmware. You can check you have these within the Wacom desktop center notification. The Wacom Pro Pen 3D is not compatible with previous Wacom (Pre-GD16) tablets, displays or pen computers.

Although the Pro Pen 3D works will all applications, the new specific functions of pan, zoom and tumble can emulate the app’s pan, zoom and tumble in the following 3D applications:

Pixologic ZBrush
Pixologic ZBrush Core
Dassault Systèmes
Autodesk Fusion 360
Autodesk Maya
Autodesk Maya LT
Autodesk Inventor
Autodesk Alias Design
Autodesk Alias Surface
Autodesk Alias Autostudio

Autodesk 3D Studio Max

Autodesk Mudbox
Maxon Cinema 4D
Foundry Modo

*SolidWorks 2017 & older: unselect “Use Windows Ink” on the Mapping tab.

Priced at US$99.90, €109.90, £89.90, the Pro Pen 3D is available later this month and select retailers.

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To see which Wacom tablet is best for you, take a look at our reviews: