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This course provides an overview of modeling, animating, and rendering 3D graphics in the open-source software Blender 2.6. Beginning with a tour of the Blender interface, author George Maestri shows how to create and edit basic objects, work with modifiers and subdivision surfaces, and apply materials and textures. The course also demonstrates lighting 3D scenes, setting up and using cameras, animating objects, and assembling basic character rigs.
When you add a new camera into a scene, you'll need to place that camera so that it's pointing at the object that you want to frame. So let's take a look at some ways to position our cameras. Now, we can do this manually or we can do it with a constraint. So let's go ahead and add a camera into the scene. Now, when the camera comes in, it comes in at the 3D cursor, and it's facing down. Now, if we want to look through the camera, all we have to do is select a viewport and turn it on to Camera.
Now, we can move this camera just using our Move tool and as you can see as I move this camera up, you can see the top of the character's head. Or if I want, I can rotate that camera a little bit and move it into place. Now, I can switch between global and local moving. So, if I move this, say, here globally, you can see how that works. Now, if you want to actually manipulate the camera along its own axis, you would set your coordinates to Local. And this is actually kind of nice because the blue axis is kind of your truck and then your red and green axes are your up and down.
Okay, so it just depends on how you want to move your camera, but a lot of times putting it in Local mode helps a lot. Now, sometimes this isn't always the best way to position your camera. A lot of times you will want to have your camera pointing at something and you just want to move it around and always keep that object centered. We can do this by creating what's called a constraint. So, I have my camera selected, and I'm going to go over to my Properties panel and click on this little chain link here, and that's called Object Constraints.
So we can add in a constraint to have this camera always pointing at something. Probably the easiest one to use is called Damped Track, so I'm going to select that, and we actually only have a few options here. One is what's the target? In other words, what is this camera pointing at? So, all I have to do is select any object in the scene, and in this case we want it to point at the head. But you can see as soon as I do that, it flips over, and it's pointing at the wrong direction. But we can change that just by selecting which axes we want that to move along, and in this case the -Z axis seems to be the one that works.
Now, once we do that, our motion controls will actually keep the camera pointed at that object. No matter where I move the camera, it's going to automatically rotate to have that object in the view. Now, often we don't really want to point at a specific object; we want to be able to place our target in the scene. So, in this case we want to create a helper object that we can point at and we can place that helper object wherever we want. So, we're going to add in a new type of object, and it's called an Empty object.
So, when I click on that, it's basically just an empty object. It's a little cross that we can see in the viewport. It doesn't render, and we can also see it in the outliner. So, I'm going to reselect my camera and under Object Constraints, instead of my target being Head, it's going to be that Empty object. Now, I can take this Empty object and place it wherever I want in the scene and also move the camera to match that. Now, and order to make this a little bit more understandable, we can rename this Empty object into say Target, and now we have a target which we can select and that will be where the camera is always pointed.
What's really cool about this is that you can animate the target or you can position the camera and animate it as well.
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