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Creating dynamic camera movement with Motion Camera

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

Video: Creating dynamic camera movement with Motion Camera

New to CINEMA 4D R14 is a very special new tag called the Motion Camera Tag. What Motion Camera Tag allows you to do is add dynamic motion to Camera object without any keyframes. In order to see what this tag does I'm going to first need to add a camera to the scene. Let's click on the Camera object and when I have the camera; I'm not looking through it yet, I just have it on the scene. Let's right-click on the Camera object and go to Motion Camera Tags>Motion Camera. When I do that, my camera jumped to center of the world. Now that's a very big gotcha. There's a special workflow to use with this.

Creating dynamic camera movement with Motion Camera

New to CINEMA 4D R14 is a very special new tag called the Motion Camera Tag. What Motion Camera Tag allows you to do is add dynamic motion to Camera object without any keyframes. In order to see what this tag does I'm going to first need to add a camera to the scene. Let's click on the Camera object and when I have the camera; I'm not looking through it yet, I just have it on the scene. Let's right-click on the Camera object and go to Motion Camera Tags>Motion Camera. When I do that, my camera jumped to center of the world. Now that's a very big gotcha. There's a special workflow to use with this.

Right now I just want to talk about the settings. Let's see what this has actually done to our camera. We'll hit Play on the keyboard and you could see that the camera is now kind of bouncing and rotating as if this little guy were moving. And if we look through our Camera object, I'll click on the Active Camera icon you can see that we've actually got movement in our camera. That's all without any keyframes. Let's uncheck the Active Camera icon and look back at our guy here.

Now this cute little guy is holding the camera over his right shoulder. I can control the height of him by adjusting the Height slider. I can adjust the Parallax which is how far off the center of his head, the object is, and there's an X, Y, Z value for each of those. And I can also add additional rotation and these values can all be keyframed. I can adjust the Head, I can also adjust the Camera Rotation, so he can be rotating it based on his position. The Link field allows you to work around that camera jumping issue that I talk about just a moment ago.

We'll talk about that in just a second. Within the Animation field, there are some additional options for spline paths. So what we have the ability to do is to have this object travel along a spline. So if I middle mouse-click, so I'm going to go to the top view and draw a very quick spline. So let's grab a B spline and go 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, like that. Now when I go to my tag, if I take my path spline and drag it in there, what happens is my camera jumps to the end of that.

I now have a Camera Position field that I can use. If I keyframe that value, let's Rewind back to 0 and I'll hold down the Ctrl key and set a keyframe for camera position and then move forward to frame 90 and then advance my camera position to the end. Ctrl+Click on that circle again to set the keyframe for frame 90. When we look through our camera, you'll see that not only is it bobbing up and down, but now it's moving along that path. Now it's moving a little too fast, but you get the idea.

Let's look through this Perspective view window. So in addition to the bobbing, we're getting movement. The tag allows for a lot of flexibility in the style of movement that you're creating. There's a Dynamics and Motion tag. Underneath the Motion tag there is a preset, and I'm going to delete the spline out of here for now and just to get our camera back to the center of the world so it's not actually moving anymore. You can see that it's just bobbing up and down. I'm going to leave that playing for a second and go back to the tag and under the Presets I'm going to click on that and I'll do Calm.

Calm is basically no movement at all. Then Steady Cam 1 is a very nice gentle movement. Steady Cam 2 is a variation on that with a little bit of rotation in it. Then you've got Ego which is a little bit of rotation and Z movement and then we've got Dogma Cam which has a lot more movement in and it's a little bit jittery. The Focus field allows you to have your cameras focus on a specific location in space. Generally speaking, I wouldn't use this, because I normally want to be able to control exactly what my object is looking at.

So I'll leave this one alone. So let's take a look at how to use that Link field, the control where the Camera Position is. I'm going to go to the Window menu and I have a file already opened here. It's in the exercise files. It's called motion-cam-START, and this is just a very simple scene of some blocks, they're frozen in space and they act of tumbling down under this plane and there's no keyframes at all set on this, so I'm going to scroll back to 0. Let's add a camera to the scene and before we look through that camera, let's rename it Hero Cam. Before we look through it again, let's add a new camera to the scene and let's call that camera Motion Cam.

The reason I called this Motion Cam is because this is the camera that's going to hold the Motion Camera tag. The general workflow that you want to use is that you first want to establish the camera that you are looking through your scene at. This is the angle that I'm happy with for my scene. I know that if I add the Motion Camera tag to the camera, it's going to jump to the center of the world. So let's right-click on this and go to Motion Camera Tags and add Motion Camera. Sure enough, there's my camera. It jumped to the center of the world, but this is the view that I want to look through. I want to be looking from this camera at the world.

If I were to look through the Motion Cam you see at the center of the world inside one of those blocks. The way to get around this is through the Link field. If I click on the tag and go to the Rig Property, underneath the Rig Property is the Link field. In this field, I want to put the Hero Cam. So let's take the Hero Cam and drop it into that field. So what happens is the Motion Camera now jumps to the position of the Hero Cam. The other thing that's happening is that it's also adding to the position, the Rig Height. Now if I don't want to use the Rig Height I can click the Override Rig Dimension settings and that's going to bop the camera right to the same location as the Link object.

I could also have zeroed out the Rig settings there as well. Now what's happened is that the Motion Cam is locked wherever the Hero Cam goes. Generally speaking, you want to have the Motion Camera down below the Hero Camera in the Object Manager. So wherever I move this Hero Cam, the Motion Cam will follow. So if I grab the Hero Cam and move it on its X axis, you can see that both cameras are locked together. There is my motion camera. Let's do a very simple camera move here. I want to set some keyframes for the Hero Cam. And when I tried to drag it, be very careful about which camera you're trying to drag.

The Motion Camera will not move, because it's being governed by the position of the Hero Cam. So make sure you actually select the Hero Cam up here in the Object Manager. Now I can move those guys around. So what I want to do next is set up some keyframes. If I take this camera, and I'll just do a very simple move from left to right. I'll set some keyframes here at time 0 for the position of the Hero Cam. Let's go to the Coordinate Properties and I'll set Position and I'll set Rotation and then I'm going to go forward in time. Let's go to forward to about frame 90 or so. I'm going to set my preview range down to 89 and then move my slider to 89 as well.

I'll take my camera and move it over here and then use a little bit of rotation as well and adjust the pitch as well. So adjust it like that. Now I'll just take the Hero Cam and set those keyframe values at that moment in time. I was holding down the Ctrl key to set those keyframe values. If I look through my Motion Camera now, I can hide the Hero Cam and when I hit play; let's Rewind back to 0 and hit Play, you can see that, now we've got this really interesting motion.

Now that little ball that you see dancing through the screen is the selection of my Hero Cam. So if I deselect that I won't see that anymore. Underneath the Hero Cam if I go to the Motion Properties I can adjust the intensity of the Footsteps and Head Rotation and Cam Rotation and Position. If I add in a little bit of intensity on the Head Rotation, let's hit Play, and we can crank that up a little bit. There we go. I can now also twirl these values open and adjust them as well.

We've got a Frequency and Maximum Value. The Maximum Value is the range in which the object will be allowed to move. The Frequency is how fast it will move within that range. So let's Stop playback for a second. So within the Head Rotation, I'll change the max value from 5 and let's make that say 50. Now this is going to be way too much. I'm just trying to illustrate a point here. Now when I hit Play you'll see that I've got a much wider range of rotation values that it's allowed to move in.

Let's change the Frequency value from 1 to say about 4 by 4 by 4 and this is going to have the camera moving much faster. So if you're trying to create that super earthquake shaky cam look, adjusting the Frequency and adjusting the maximum values will give you a lot more range of motion on those sliders. As you can see, the Motion Cam Tag allows you to add dynamic motion to just about any camera move. Experiment with the settings to see what kind of cool new movement you can come up with.

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