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In 3ds Max 2011 Essential Training, author Aaron F. Ross demonstrates how to use this top-tier application for digital content creation, widely used in diverse industries such as architecture, industrial design, motion pictures, games and virtual worlds. This course covers modeling with polygons, curves, and subdivision surfaces, defining surface properties with materials and maps, setting up cameras and lights, animating objects, and final output rendering. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this chapter we are going to look at the basics of creating cameras. You'll need a camera whenever you're going to render something. So, of course rendering is the final output stage when you're creating images for display, on movie, or a DVD ,or a Web site, or what have you. In order to render, you really do need to have a camera. You don't want to use the Perspective View to render, even though you might be tempted to do so. The Perspective View is intended to be used as the sort of God's eye view, or the director's point of view.
So the analogy is with a live-action set, you've got a director who is onset and he can see the entire scene, and he can see the camera and the camera operator. The camera operator is looking through the camera lens; the director is not. So we need a camera in addition to this Perspective View. So I am going to create a camera. It's created from the Create panel of course, and you'll see there is a category of objects there called Cameras, and you'll see that there are two types of cameras: Target and Free.
A Target Camera has a look at point, so it's always going to point at that look at, but a Free Camera does not. Let's start with a Free Camera. So I will activate that, and to create the camera, I will click in any Viewport. In this case, I want to click in the Front Viewport because a Free Camera is going to point into the Viewport in which it's created. So if I click once in the Front Viewport, the camera is created so that it's looking forward, which in this case is the positive Y axis, and you can see that in the Top View.
If I scroll back here with the mouse wheel, you'll see the camera is pointing into the positive Y axis. I can grab that and move it back. Now just to show you what would happen if I created it in a different Viewport, I am going to delete this one, just select Delete. If I created a Free Camera in the Top View, the camera would be pointing down, and you can see from the icon that we've got the camera pointing downward.
So generally speaking, you will create a camera in the Front View, and not the Top View or any of the other ortho views. I will delete that. And finally also, if you create a camera in the Perspective View, it'll obey the same rules that creation of objects does throughout 3ds Max, and that is if you create an object in the Perspective View, it's as if you created it in the Top View, and the object will be oriented in the same way. So you'll see here now this camera is pointed down, and we don't really want that. So again, you usually create a Free Camera in the Front View.
I am going to move it back, whoops! Ctrl+Z to undo. I will make sure I've got the camera selected. There we go. So I have moved the camera back and finally I also want to look through the camera lens. So I'll need to sacrifice one of my Viewports to do that. I've only got four views available here. I need the Top View because that's kind of my Scene Layout View. I will need the Front View for the same sort of reasons. I will need the Perspective View to be my sort of director's point of view.
But I don't really need the Left View so much in this case. So I can sacrifice this view. The way that I look through the camera view, there is an easy way, and I can just click here on the name of the Viewport, in this case, it's Left, and then I can go up here to choose Cameras and choose the camera. Click on that. And now I'm looking through the camera lens. I can adjust the camera point of view in lots of ways. The easiest way is to simply select the camera in one of these other views, and move the camera so that we can see through the camera lens.
And then finally, I can also choose different shading modes in this camera Viewport. I can hit F3 so I can see Shading, Smooth and Highlights. That's the basics of creating a Free Camera.
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