Author Topic: Camera animation : struggling with orbit and inclination center of rotation  (Read 5989 times)

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Offline DAOF

Hi, using KS6.3 here.  I'm struggling with the camera animation control.  I'm doing a large scale "walkthrough" type of animation where I translate the camera, then I want to stop and incline and orbit the camera around. Think of a tour of a hydroelectrical dam.

For inclination and orbit, I found out that the camera always keeps its center of rotation on the "look at point".  This is ok in many cases but in mine, as I translated the camera a long way from its look at point, the inclination and orbits are not realistic.  The orbit and inclination will feel "offset" with long radial movement and not at all the feeling of having the camera on a tripod.

So two questions :
1- Is there a way to translate the actual look at point of a camera?
2- Is there a way to translate the camera for a long distance, then stop and "look around"?  This would mean that the orbit and inclination center of rotation is close to the camera location (aka the eyes versus the neck).

Switching cameras would be an option but I can't find a way to have smooth transitions between cameras.  Example would be that I want a new camera to be defined at a certain point in time based on another camera animation.  So CAM1 is translated, orbit, etc to some point, then CAM2 takes over.

Offline richardfunnell


Sadly, there is no way to either move the look at point or have rotations that don't reference the initial camera position.
If you wanted to create the animation this way, you could try animating Camera 1, and when it gets to your desired location, save the result as Camera 2, then animate it, etc. until you get a series of cameras to combine using the Camera Switch Event. This may be an option?

Alternatively, have you tried using the Path animation? It's optimized for interior scenes with no fixed look at point.
It would allow you the ability to make a smooth path instead of creating each transform individually.

I put a really rough example together in the attached KSP. One tip I can give you is to create all of your points in advance, then activate each to add as a control point. I started with "Point 1", created a Path animation based on it, then activated each pre-set camera to use as my control points. It's a 2 minute model but hopefully can help show the functionality of the feature.
Also, definitely activate Geometry View (O key) to assist with visualizing your camera movements. It makes life much easier than simply relying on the realtime view.

Let me know if this is helpful.

Offline richardfunnell

Quick update to this scene; I added a Camera Switch event to show the "Look Around" through a Panorama animation.
I simply added the animation to the last point in the Path, then switched over to it. Timing could be improved a bit.

Offline DAOF

Thanks for the reply Richard, I will give it a go tonight.  I thought of using camera switch but it's too cumbersome to create a new camera that matches another one post-transformation.  It would help if we could create a new camera when at frame XYZ of another camera.  My transformations are too complex to try to mimic on another new camera (multiple zoom, translation, inclination, dolly and orbit to compensate for the poor camera control tools).  I would need to track down all the transformations to figure out how to set up the camera to switch to without a big "jog" in the video.

Really what I need is to be able to animate a camera based on its "First person view" settings.  Just this would be a good step forward.  Right now it's a real nightmare.

Offline DAOF

I would have assumed that the look at point moved when "translations" are applied to the camera.  That would be the logical expecation for this behavior (at least in all the other tools I used worked like that).

Offline Will Gibbons

... but it's too cumbersome to create a new camera that matches another one post-transformation.

If you create a new camera when your current camera is positioned at the end of the timeline, the new camera will be in exactly the same position of the previous one. This allows for that seamless transition you're after, no?

Offline DAOF

I would need to test when I'm back in the office but in theory yes.  However, I'm doing this to relocate the look at point.  By selecting a new look at point, it would need to compensate for the new distance, inclination and orbit angle compared with the previous camera.

Offline DAOF

I followed these steps, see attached KSP :
1- create camera CAM1 and set look at point on corner of the cube
2- add 2 orbit and inclination animation events on the camera CAM1
3- set the timeline at the end of CAM1
4- create new camera CAM2
5- set "mirror" events on new CAM2 to return to beginning camera origin
6- set camera switch event between CAM1 and CAM2
7- Notice the cam movement doesn't go back to position at frame 1
8- Select new look at point for CAM2 and notice the non-consistent look with end of CAM1 position.

The animation doesn't get back to its initial position.  This looks like the look at point is reset automatically upon creation of the new camera to some arbitrary point.  The look is identical to CAM1 but look at point is different.  Therefore inclination and orbit will vary from CAM1 to CAM2.  This is the desired effect but again I can't control the "look at point" for CAM2 manually.  If I select a new look at point, the magic goes away and I end up with non-consistent look.

Is there a way to predict where will be the look at point for CAM2?

Offline richardfunnell

A few comments from my side:
- Use the Mirror function (right-click, Mirror)to help create inverse animations instead of building them manually. This also removes the need for a camera switch event since it's referencing the original camera.
- Use motion easing to help make the animations a little smoother; linear movements can be jarring.

I've attached an updated KSP with those two changes, let me know if this is closer to your intent.

Offline DAOF

Actually, I made this on purpose to show that the new look at point is different from CAM1.  If you select a new look at point for CAM2, the "look" will change as soon as you select the new look at point.

I did check your KSP for a Camera Path, I will definitely investigate futher for my next project.  I have major translation involved, in all directions (my customer makes motorized construction platform).

Thanks for the help!

Offline richardfunnell

I appreciate you calling that strange behavior out, it's not something I was aware of. We can file it with our dev team for evaluation.

Good luck with this project!