PC Accessories

What Does Mouse Smoothing Do?

Mouse
Quick Answer

Mouse smoothing is a hardware setting that attempts to predict where you wish the mouse to move. It does this by attaching virtual “target points” and then cleaning up the movement. While it’s a great feature in some instances, you won’t appreciate the function if you’re a gamer!

In the subsequent sections, you’ll learn more about mouse smoothing, how to check if you have it, and much more.

What Is Mouse Smoothing?

Mouse smoothing is often compared to angle snapping. It’s a technology created by mouse manufacturers who are constantly trying to achieve an increasingly better user experience.

If you take a moment to look at traditional computer mice, the sensor technology is borderline archaic, meaning they were highly inaccurate compared to the ones we use today. It was at this stage that manufacturers created mouse smoothing. 

In general terms, your computer attempts to predict where you’re about to move the mouse based on your present movements. By using a pre-written algorithm, it smooths the movement.

Even though the average mouse is accurate, the technology is still used today. It’s simply used to smooth the operation, giving regular PC users a lovely, flowing experience.

Is Mouse Smoothing the Same As Mouse Acceleration?

Before moving on, let’s address the term “mouse acceleration,” which is often used interchangeably with “mouse smoothing.” However, unbeknownst to many, there is a difference. 

Mouse acceleration determines how far the cursor moves based on how fast your mouse moves. Mouse smoothing, however, always stretches the movements, regardless of how fast the mouse moves.

Why Gamers Shouldn’t Use Mouse Smoothing

With that said, gamers shouldn’t use mouse smoothing. Why? Because it impacts the true position of your mouse. Since most gamers want the highest frames per second and fast response times, smoothing ends up causing nothing but trouble.

Try testing it out for yourself. As you play a game with mouse smoothing, your aim feels lighter because the cursor isn’t moving in the same way as your hand. However, single-player gamers shouldn’t worry too much about the function. It doesn’t have too much of an impact and can even help your movements become less jittery.

On the other hand, if you’re gaming competitively, it’s very different. Playing online games requires highly responsive, pixel-perfect movements. Adding mouse smoothing to the mix will just make it incredibly difficult to be 100% accurate with your cursor. 

Overall, you should avoid mouse smoothing when trying to make ultra-precise movements, like when playing competitive games. 

How To Check if You Have Mouse Smoothing

Most new mice, especially gaming models, don’t come with mouse smoothing. But if you’d like to be certain, check which mouse you have and head to the manufacturer’s product page. If it has the function, they’ll mention it there.

If you can’t find it, open a drawing application on your PC and make a circle. You likely have mouse smoothing if it’s near perfect and doesn’t have irregularities.

When Is Mouse Smoothing a Good Idea?

As you now know, mouse smoothing is never a good idea when gaming. However, when you’re simply using a computer for everyday tasks or digitally drawing using a mouse, the feature is often preferred as it creates a more pleasant experience and cleaner lines. 

The Best Mouse Smoothing Software

While many mice come with a mouse smoothing feature, some people like to use downloadable smoothing software. If you want to give one a go, we suggest Smooth Motion Toggle from Lazy Nezumi Pro or Silky Shark, both of which are recommended for digital artists.

Best Free Software: Silky Shark

If you aren’t looking to splash the cash, Silky Shark is the mouse smoothing software for you. It’s perfect for:

  • Smoothing mice and pen tablets — No need for setup. Just unpack the downloadable archive and double-click the .exe to run. 
  • Controlling smoothing and interpolation settings — The interface is simple and easy to use. Just hit the large power button to toggle smoothing on and off. 
  • Smoothing multi-monitor drawing — You can set one monitor to display the overlay. 
  • Perfecting mouse and pen smoothness — It’s fantastic for graphic designers and those using CAD. It works seamlessly without straining your system.

Best Paid Software: Lazy Nezumi Pro

If you’re willing to pay for a program, Lazy Nezumi Pro is the one for you. It comes with a free 15-day trial and adds rulers, scripting, and stabilizers to programs like Flash, Illustrator, and Photoshop. 

The software mitigates shakiness, wonky line art, and troubles with perspective.

Summary

Hopefully, we’ve helped dispel the misinterpretation of the terms “mouse smoothing” and “mouse acceleration.” Plus, you know what mouse smoothing does, when to use it, and when it definitely isn’t a good idea!

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