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Our shark has been animated and the next step in the process is going to be to animate the camera over the length of the shot. Now, I'm going to be using a camera parenting technique in this scene and that's going to make it a lot easier to set up the type of camera move that I'd like to do. Basically what I want to have happen is I'd to have the camera move through the scene while it's looking up at the sharks. The shark school that we're going to create is going to look a lot more intimidating if we see it from the underside as opposed to seeing it from above. When you look at a shark from above, the profile is kind of scary, but we don't get to see the mouth and the teeth in the shark.
So when you're looking at a shark above, you really get to see those teeth and it looks a lot more intimidating. The first thing I need to do is to position my camera. Now we haven't been looking through our camera up until this point and let's switch the layout back to Standard to give ourselves a little more room to work. So, let's look through the camera and then switch our layout to a four-way view and now I can zoom out in each of the views a little bit so I can see my shark easily in each of the views.
Now that I have my camera selected, I can reposition it easily. I'll do this in the right-hand view. I'm going to move it back on the Z-axis and then down on the Y-axis, and you see the ground plane come into view there. I was actually flush with the ground plane. That's why it wasn't visible before. Then I use the Rotate tool, R on the keyboard or click the Rotate tool icon up here. I'm going to click and drag. If you click and drag outside this yellow circle, it will rotate the camera on a plane that's perpendicular to the viewport.
If I click and drag right outside here, you notice I'm not clicking on the yellow line. I'm clicking outside. That makes it really easy to rotate that camera in this view. Now I'm looking up at the shark and I can reposition the camera. I'll hit E on the keyboard to get the Move tool and then I'm going to grab just the axis band and drag it down just a bit, and I think that's a good position for our camera. Now, you notice I haven't really worried about where the shark is. We're going to be repositioning the shark later on. So all I really care about is kind of getting a general position for the camera. Now that I've got my camera positioned, I want to animate that camera moving slowly through the scene, but I really don't want it to change its angle of view.
So, the easiest way to do that is using a Null object. I'm going to add a new Null object to the scene and call this Null object camera Parent. I'll take that camera and parent it to the camera Parent Null. Now, the camera Parent and the camera are not in the same location. If I select the camera Parent, you can see that the Null for it is at 0,0,0, but the camera is way down here, in this case, on the bottom-left in the right-hand view. Now, the great thing about this relationship is if I animate the camera Parent along the Z-axis, look what happens to my camera. If you watch the view here as I slide this Z-axis, my camera moves nicely through the scene and it doesn't change its angle of view.
So by simply animating the Z position of this camera Parent, it makes it really easy to move the camera through the scene. So I'm going to undo that for a second, Command+Z or Ctrl+Z on the PC, and I'm going to set a keyframe from the coordinate's position of my camera Parent at Time 0. So I move my time slider to Time 0 and I move to the Coordinate properties of the camera Parent and Ctrl+click on the P column. You notice that I selected the entire column of Ps and then Ctrl+click on the first dot and that sets keyframes for all of the Ps.
Let's do the same thing for rotation as well. If I hit the entire R column by selecting the R column and then I hold down the Ctrl key, that sets keyframes for the entire R column. So I've set a keyframe for my camera at Time 0. Now I can move it to the end of the shot at 160 and set keyframes again. So, all I need to do is grab the camera Parent and in the right-hand view I'll grab the Z handle and just drag it to the scene. It doesn't have to move very far. I want my movement to be kind of slow. So I'll move it about 2000 units or so, and you can see in the Z property of my coordinates for the camera Parent I've moved it in this case 2286 units, but this is one of those "your mileage may vary" situations.
It really doesn't matter exactly how far. It's more about the feel of the animation. So I'm going to set a keyframe for that. You see that all these dots turn to circles and this one's yellow. That means I changed that value. So let's set a keyframe for that and then let's set a keyframe for the R as well, Ctrl+clicking on that dot again. And that gives us the ability now to play the animation. So I'm going to just preview that. Let's bring the Perspective view full-screen. I'll hit Play here in the interface. Now we can see the shark is moving through the scene and it's not doing exactly what I want, but that's okay.
I'm going to pause this animation here. All I really care about is the camera movement. The camera's moving smoothly, but it still does that same ease animation that the shark was doing, and so I need to fix that using the F-Curve Manager. So if I switch over to the Animation layout, now you'll notice here in the timeline, because I changed my view to Show Animated, it only shows me the left-hand side of the F-Curve Manager that I have keyframes on them. So if I twirl open my camera Parent, you can see there is my F-Curves for Position and Rotation.
So if I select the Position track and if you twirl it open, you can see the individual curves. But I don't really care about that. I only care about the whole track. I can see part of my curve here. If I hit the letter H on the keyboard, that frames up the entire curve and there is that ease again. So it eases out of this keyframe and eases into that keyframe. So if I select all, just hitting Command+A on the keyboard, that selects all of the keyframes and I can right-click now in the interface and go to Spline Types > Zero Angle/Length and what that's going to do is eliminate those Bezier handles. And you can see now I have a nice linear move and if I scrub through my animation, as I scrub through, you can see that my camera does not slow down as it reaches the end and it also didn't take off to a slow start.
In this video, we animated the camera using the camera Parent and that gave us the ability to make a very smooth animation in a very short amount of time.
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