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Building smooth shots with Camera Morph


From:

CINEMA 4D Essentials 3: Cameras, Animation, and Deformers

with Rob Garrott

Video: Building smooth shots with Camera Morph

Another new addition to the camera tools in CINEMA 4D R14 is something called the Morph Cam Tag. The Morph Camera Tag allows you to create smooth transitions between Camera Objects. I'm in an empty scene file here. I'm going to add a cube to the scene and then just add a camera here for this position. Now I'm in the Perspective view, I'm not looking through the camera yet. What I want to do is create a transition between two cameras. So let's add a second camera. I'm going to orbit around a little bit and add a camera right about here. That's pretty good.
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Watch the Online Video Course CINEMA 4D Essentials 3: Cameras, Animation, and Deformers
1h 46m Beginner Sep 13, 2012

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CINEMA 4D Essentials with Rob Garrott is a graduated introduction to this complex 3D modeling, rendering, and animation program, which breaks down into installments that can be completed within 2 hours. Cameras, Animation, and Deformers focuses on the basics of animating in CINEMA 4D, including setting keyframes, moving the camera, and adding movement and interest with deformers. Rob shows how to use these tools to manipulate animations with curves, create varying depth of field and smooth shots, and create warped type and shapes.

Topics include:
  • What is a keyframe?
  • Working with the F-Curve Manager
  • Pausing an animation
  • Working with the Editor Camera vs. the camera object
  • Adding movement with a spline wrap
  • Creating custom shapes with the Melt deformer
Subject:
3D + Animation
Software:
CINEMA 4D
Author:
Rob Garrott

Building smooth shots with Camera Morph

Another new addition to the camera tools in CINEMA 4D R14 is something called the Morph Cam Tag. The Morph Camera Tag allows you to create smooth transitions between Camera Objects. I'm in an empty scene file here. I'm going to add a cube to the scene and then just add a camera here for this position. Now I'm in the Perspective view, I'm not looking through the camera yet. What I want to do is create a transition between two cameras. So let's add a second camera. I'm going to orbit around a little bit and add a camera right about here. That's pretty good.

Then I'm going to orbit around and add a camera down here and then I'm going to add one, and let's also rotate this camera a little bit. So let's adjust the banking so that it's dutched. There we go. So now you can see we've got this three Camera Objects here. Now what I want to do is create a transition from this camera, to this camera, to this camera. Before the only way to do that would have been to take the position information from these other two cameras and put it into an animation track and have it animate along a single camera.

Now that's a bit cumbersome to do. So rather than do that, the programmers have given us this really cool tag called the Camera Morph Tag. I'm going to uncheck the look through active camera button and get out here into the world. The way the Morph Camera Tag works is that it needs to have its own dedicated camera to work on. So let's add a new camera to the scene and call this Morph Cam. The next thing I want to do is name my Camera Object so I don't get them confused. So let's call this one Camera 1 and I'll up arrow to Camera 2 and then up arrow and Camera 3.

Now that I've got those cameras named I've got my Morph Camera in the scene. Let's back out a bit so we can see what exactly is going to happen. So I've got this Morph Camera that's way up over here and I've got this three cameras that I want to use as the position information for this Morph Camera. So I Right+Click on the Morph Camera go to Motion Camera Tags and get Camera Morph. N othing happens. That's because I've got to tell it what cameras to use. Now there's two different modes for the Morph Camera Tag. There's the Simple Morph which where you can morph between two cameras or we can do a multi-morph.

Simple Morph is easy enough to understand. But let's show you Multi Morph, because once you see Multi Morph you'll be able to do Simple Morph with no problem. So in the Multi Morph, you get this new Multi Morph field. In order to grab and put these cameras in here, I just drag them down. So I go from camera 1, and as soon as I did that you'll notice that my Morph Camera has now jumped to the position of camera 1. Now let's add in camera 2 and put it right below there and then camera 3 right below there. So now I've got cameras 1, 2, and 3. As I did that, you notice that I now have a white line.

That white line is connecting all those cameras and you could see I've got a tag on there visibly that calls them 1, 2, and 3. The way to transition from camera to camera is by using the Blend slider. When I do the Blend slider, my Morph Camera which is now shown in blue, will move from position to position. So let's see what that looks like looking through the Morph Camera. So when I click on the active camera icon I can now transition through them by adjusting the blend. You can see I got a really nice smooth transition from position to position.

If I want to animate that, I can just set a keyframe for the Blend. So I'll hold down the Ctrl key and click on the gray dot next to Blend. Let's move forward to frame 90 and then I'm going to adjust the blend to be 100% and then Ctrl+Click again to set the keyframe. And now when I hit Play, you can see that I've got a nice smooth motion between each of those cameras. So let's see that in practice. This was a very simple example with a cube. Let's see what that looks like in the scene file. So I've got a scene file open already.

It's morph-cam-START in the exercise files and I've got my four cameras already set up. These are the four cameras I want to look at it from and I've got animation of a car going down a track. You can see the car is going around the curves and that black line is the path that the car is following. So when I look through the cameras; I want to look through camera 1 first. Now in this project file you'll notice that when I click the Active Camera Icon that my camera doesn't jump to the location of the new camera, that's because I have a new view panel set up for this scene.

So if I go to the Window menu and go to New View panel, this new view panel is the camera window. This is the viewport that I want to use to look through my cameras and I'll leave that floating right here. I can also park it in the interface, but it's good to just be floating right now. Now that we got that in camera floating there, when I click these icons for active camera, you can see that it's going to jump from position 1 to position 2, position 3, and then position 4. So the car is going to go pass the camera in each of those different positions and it creates some nice dynamic shots for me.

So now we need to add our Morph Cams. Let's uncheck the Active Camera icon and then add a new camera to the scenes. So I'm going to click up here in the window and add a new camera, and we'll call this camera Morph Cam. Let's right-click on the Morph Cam and go to Motion Camera Tags>Camera Morph and we're going to change it from Simple Morph to Multi Morph. In the Multi Morph field we're going to add our cameras. So rather than drag them one at a time, I'm going to click the lock button on the Attribute Manager and then select all of these and then drag them in all at once and then click the unlock button.

Now I can click back on the tag to see my properties here. So when I look through the Morph Camera, this viewport here is the one that's going to change. So now I can click the active camera icon on the Morph Cam and you can see it jumps through there. Now this red line represents the path that my camera is going to be traveling as it moves through the scenes. Let's orbit around that and see what it's doing here. When I animate that, let's adjust the blend and have it go through those positions. You can see it hits its marks, but there's a spot where it actually passes underneath the ground plane.

CINEMA 4D has a method that it's using to interpret the space between the cameras and that's done under this Interpolation field. You can see that there are two different versions, I could do linear which is just a straight line from location to location or I can do Soft 1 or Soft 2. And neither one of those really fixes my problems. So that means I have to add in a new camera. Let's change this back to Soft 1, because I think that gives me the best result. Now I need to add an intermediate camera right here in this area to fix this spot where the camera goes underneath the ground.

So what I'm going to do is to navigate through the scene using the Blend Option on the Morph Tag and so when I blend through, I'm going to blend through to about this location here. In this viewport, I'm going to add a new camera and I'll click the Add Camera button and that adds a camera right at that location and space. This new camera I'm going to call Camera 3.5. That's how I know it goes between cameras 3 and 4. Now before I add that into the mix, I want to adjust it. If I just add it to the Morph Tag right now, it's not going to do anything for me.

I need to adjust its position. So let's look through this camera. And in we're looking through that camera, we're going to now move it up above the track. You can see as I adjust it here it's going to change its position there. We want to have it just go up a little bit and have it look through. The camera that I'm looking at is this one right here. I want to adjust it around that way and tilt it up that way and then I think move it back just a bit. So let's dolly back so it's a little bit closer to that midpoint.

So what I've done is I've put it about midway between these two cameras. So what's going to happen is when I add this to the Morph Tag, this red line is going to get drawn through this camera now and that blue camera is going to jump position. So let's go to the Morph Tag and let's take 3. 5 and put it right down here into the Morph Tag and you can see that my camera jumped. Let's take 3.5 and put it right down here as well just to keep things neat. In the Morph Tag now, when I blend through, let's look through the Morph Camera and let's scrub through it, and you can see that as we scrub through, there's our camera and it hits its mark right there, boom.

Now what we need to do is add some keyframes. Let's scrub backwards in time to time 0 and before I add the keyframes, let's hide all this other cameras. They're confusing up the scene. So I'll hold down the Opt or Alt key on the PC and I'm going to click twice and hold on this number 1 on the steady dots. Click twice and then drag down. That get rids of the spline, that get rids of the cameras, and that really cleans up my viewport. So now I can set my keyframes on the Morph Tag. So let's rewind the time 0 and go back to 0 position on the tag and I'll hold down the Ctrl key, set a keyframe for 0% at time 0.

Let's go forward to frame 90 or so and the point at which it goes past this camera. That's a good spot right there. It's already gone passed there. So if I back up it's going to be pretty much outside the cameras field of view at this point in time. And let's adjust the cameras so that we are at the end of our movement which is right about there. So let's set a keyframe now. I'll hold down the Ctrl key and click on that dot. So now when we scrub through that you can see we've got this great motion. It feels almost like a helicopter shot as we're flying over the track and it's getting us a kind of motion and dynamic movement that would be really hard to get without having been able to set those camera positions first.

So let's hit Play and see what that looks like. I'm looking through this viewport. So whichever viewport is active is the one that CINEMA 4D is going to actually show you. So let's click on this viewport and make it active and see what our camera is doing. You can see there's a little bit of a bump in that movement there right from Camera 3 to 3.5. So let's Pause playback for a second and let's go to Camera 3.5. And it's right in this range here as where it hits.

So what we want to do is go to 3.5 and select it and just adjust the rotation. You notice that my Morph Camera is moving as well and that's because when I change 3.5, it changes the position of the Morph Cam. I can also adjust its rotation just a bit. And that should smooth things out. There we go. Boom! It hits its mark quite a bit better. The Morph Camera gives you a tremendous ability to create smooth dynamic moves in a way that's very intuitive.

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