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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.
We've got a Free Camera in our scene. Let's also look at Target Camera, so we can see the difference between these two. So I'm still in my Create panel > Cameras, and I've got Target. For a Target Camera, you're always creating it in the Top or the Perspective View. So unlike a Free Camera, which should be created in the Front View, a Target Camera should be created in the Top View or the Perspective View, and what you'll need to do is click somewhere in the Top View, hold down the mouse button, and drag out.
And what you are doing here is you're here creating the camera and its target, and when you release the mouse button, you just finish the creation operation. So now I've got a Target Camera, and as the name implies, it's got a target, or a look at point. So I can go here and click on that look at point. And if I move it, you will see that the camera is always pointing towards its look at point, or its aim point. Let's look through this camera's lens. We've currently got Camera001 loaded into this Viewport.
I've got Camera002 here now currently. So I can click on the Viewport name, and then choose Cameras, and now I've got Camera002. And I'm looking through the Target Camera's lens, and as before, I can move the camera in various views, and I can see the results in this Viewport. I am going to press G over here to turn off the Grid, and I'm also going to move the camera target around. Now one thing that might make it easier for you when you're setting a camera up is to use the selection masks from the main Toolbar because you might accidentally click on a piece of geometry when you intended to click on the camera or its target.
So on the main Toolbar, you've got a Selection Mask or a Selection Filter. So I can go up here and choose Cameras, and now when I click in the Viewport, I can only select cameras and targets. I can move that target up so I can make the camera tilt up. And I can manipulate in these views to get different framings. Cool! Okay, now the fundamental difference here between a Free Camera and a Target Camera is obviously that the Free Camera does not have an aim point or a look at point.
Why would you use one versus the other? Well typically a Free Camera is good if you've got complicated movements of the camera. So if you are going to animate the camera, maybe it's a walk-through, or maybe it's a really complicated dolly-shot or something like that, then you might use a Free Camera because it's easier to animate. The Target cameras are better for lock-down shots or for very simple camera movements. So in general, if you're working with stills, you'll probably want to use the Target Camera, and if you're doing complex animated movements of the camera, you'll use a Free Camera.
But in fact, you can actually convert one from the other at will. So if you select a camera and go to the Modify panel, you'll see that there is an option for the Type of camera, and you can actually convert it from one to the other. So now my Free Camera has been converted to a Target Camera. Now the target is actually ironically kind of inside the camera icon. So I might need to zoom in closer to get at that, or maybe I will just move the camera out of the way. Click on it, and drag it out.
Excuse me. I stand corrected. Here is the target. It was out there. There we go. So I've got two Target cameras now currently. So I don't really need this other one here. I am going to use this Camera001. I am going to select the other camera, which is Camera002, and its target, and I can delete them or manipulate them both by clicking on the line between the camera and its target. So when I do that, I'm actually selecting both the camera and its target.
I can press the Delete key on the keyboard to get rid of that, and you'll notice now, since I had Camera002 loaded into this view, it's now been converted to a Perspective View. If I press F3 here, so you can see that little bit better. So we're no longer looking through that camera lens because the camera doesn't exist. So I will go back to loading Camera001 into this view. Now we are looking through this camera lens. So that's the essentials of the difference between a Free Camera and a Target Camera.
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