There have been times in almost every animators’ life when they face acute pain in their wrists due to excessive usage of the not-so-friendly-after-all mouse. We face an injury that has the potential to become a career threatening one, if not taken action on time. I have at times faced such injuries but managed to take evasive actions to be safe from it. Sometimes, this means staying away from the computer for long periods of time, letting the injury heal itself; but this really is not a perfect recipe to treat such injuries. It is bound to come back after some time of mouse usage. These are called ‘dangers of the trade’.
As a CG animator, you have your physical well being to bank upon, for the completion of your tasks at work, and when that is under a doubt, it creates a hindrance and does not allow safe ergonomic ethics at your workplace. While digging for ways to prevent injuries like Tendonitis and Carpel Tunnel, that usually plague those who sit for long hours at the computer, I found a couple of videos that show simple exercises that can be done while sitting at your workdesk and investing a few seconds doing these will save unbelievable amounts of concerns and problems that you might have to, if you are unlucky enough to get diagnosed with them.
I would like to talk more about the ergonomics as a whole. Ergonomics is a field of study that allows specially designed products that allow ease of use to an individual physically. Such products are often heavily researched upon and many designs are taken into consideration before one is finalized, post which, many tests are conducted and results studied.
Kenny Roy, a very cool animator and a mentor at Animation Mentor, made available for free, one of his brilliant VideoMails, that expands upon the topic of ergonomics, and shares some stories that happened during his career, and it provides an eye opening account of how important a role do ergonomics play in an animators’ life. A must watch.
It is safe to say that only after the usage of exercises, extra accessories and devices, that it is possible to have a safer computing life. A Wacom Tablet is anyway a super useful device that I would ask any animator to invest in blindly. I had qualms thinking of how will I be able to adapt my workflow to a mouse free one but today I see myself using the Wacom Pen more than I use the mouse. I have found that I rarely touch the mouse anymore actually. A Wacom tablet also provides impeccable precision besides reducing the wrist burnout and speed. Truly a revolutionary product for artists.
Animate safe, people !