February '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 9 F E B R U A R Y P R I N T W E A R 2 1 OUTSTANDING OPTIONS An overlooked factor in display utility is the stand. Budget monitors may have ca- pable panels and skimpy support. With ergonomics critical to preventing injury, adjustability for optimal height and angle should be considered. Even so, an aftermar- ket mounting solution may be the best way to make your workstation comfortable for extended use. Just remember to check your particular display's mounting capabilities before you buy. For laptop users without secondary displays, adding a riser or stand and external input devices may be in order. Lifting the laptop prevents poor neck and back position and placement of external in- put devices can follow a height and angle that promotes a neutral position for your wrists, elbows, and shoulders. INPUT METHODS ILLUMINATED Whether you choose to set curves as splines or brave the Bezier, you'll massage lines, click points, and drag handles every day. As such, your input tools will be constant companions. Digitizers have many options to move the pointer, but two arise as top contenders: mouse and pen tablet. As a relatively new tablet convert who worked almost exclusively with a mouse, I've compiled a personal list of pros and cons to help you decide which is best for you. Since this topic generates debate, I'll reiterate that these are my opinions peppered with conventional wisdom on ergonomics. MOUSE AND KEYBOARD: Pros: Comparatively inexpensive, ubiquitously present, translating well to tasks other than digitizing, and requiring no special accommodation, mice are a common first input tool. Mice not actively being moved leave the pointer still, allowing for accurate positioning on clicks and the plethora of buttons provide easy access to left and right click, scroll/zoom via mousewheel, and mousing promotes speedy movement over large screen areas. Keeping your off-hand on the keyboard opens a world of shortcuts, speeding work by eliminating move- ment into menus or bars to change tools and perform file functions. In combination, they provide a great deal of functionality in a small footprint. Cons: Mice are not intuitive for drawing. Those with art training often find the mouse clumsy. Moreover, they are not ergonomically friendly. It's no surprise to veteran computer users that RSI (repetitive strain injury) and prolonged mouse use go hand in hand. The unnatural angles forced on the wrist by a conventional mouse have resulted in a world of odd-looking, slightly difficult to maneuver alternatives that try to reorient the wrist in a comfortable, vertical position. The same can be said of standard keyboards. The flat angle needed to position one's hand for these devices can cause injury over a lifetime and soreness in the short term. Left: A simple adjustable stand can pack almost flat and still allow you to lift your monitor to a more reasonable height. (Image courtesy the author) Right: On the ergonomic mouse, the exaggerated angle means that what we conventionally think of as the 'top' of the mouse is facing right as we hold it. (Image courtesy the author)

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