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The editor camera vs. the camera object

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

Video: The editor camera vs. the camera object

Up until this point in CINEMA 4D we've been working with something called the Editor Camera. The Editor Camera is a virtual camera that's provided by the software in order for you to be able to look at the world that you're working in. When I navigate around the scene, I'm moving that virtual camera called the Editor. When I add a cube to the scene, I'm looking through the Editor Camera to actually see the space that the cube is sitting in. Now the Editor Camera is fine and dandy for when you're modeling or building your world out. But when it comes time to animate, it's absolutely crucial that you start to work with something called a Camera Object.

The editor camera vs. the camera object

Up until this point in CINEMA 4D we've been working with something called the Editor Camera. The Editor Camera is a virtual camera that's provided by the software in order for you to be able to look at the world that you're working in. When I navigate around the scene, I'm moving that virtual camera called the Editor. When I add a cube to the scene, I'm looking through the Editor Camera to actually see the space that the cube is sitting in. Now the Editor Camera is fine and dandy for when you're modeling or building your world out. But when it comes time to animate, it's absolutely crucial that you start to work with something called a Camera Object.

A Camera Object is specifically designed to be a reproducible changeable object in the scene. One of the big problems with the Editor Camera is that you can't numerically control where it is. So there's no way to animate it. So how do you know what camera you're looking through? Up here in the Viewport menu is the Cameras menu and under the Use Camera submenu, you can see that there's the Default Camera listed and that's the Editor Camera that we're looking at right now. I don't have any other cameras in the scene, so that's the only thing I can look through right now.

So let's add a camera to the scene. Now a very big gotcha, when you're in a four way view like this, the Active view is the view that has a white line around it. If I click up here in the top view, you can see that the top view is now active. You never want to add a camera in one of the Orthographic Views, unless you specifically choose to do so. You always want to add a camera in the Perspective View, so make sure that's the active view and then click on the Camera icon. When I do that, I now get a camera in the scene, you can see that I have a physical Camera Object, it's listed in the Object Manager and it shows up in the Viewports.

Now I'm not actually looking through that camera yet, it's just in the scene and if I'd back out here in the Perspective View, you can see that the camera is there in the scene. If I move the camera on the X axis, it moves around, everything works just fine. When I grab the handles, I can move the camera around, but you don't see the Viewport changed based on the Camera view. In order to do that I have to look through the camera, there's two ways to do that. I can go to the Camera menu, in the Perspective View and go to Use Camera and then select the new Camera Object and I get this cute little animation that pops me around to the camera position.

And now, I'm actually looking through the camera. You can see that when I move the camera, when I rotate the camera the Viewport in the Perspective View changes along with that camera. The second way to look through the camera is with the Active Camera Button. This little White Button right here on the Camera Object allows you to choose that camera to look through. When I Click that Button, I've just disabled that camera and you saw that my Editor View popped back to wherever the last position that the Editor Camera was before you looked through the camera.

When I clicked that button again, it goes right to the Camera Position and now I can look through. If I use my 1, 2, and 3 keys to navigate, everytime I make a change, I'm moving the camera as well as changing my Viewport here. That's a really important distinction. The Editor Camera cannot be manipulated, you can move around and you can look at things, but you can't physically touch it and that's the most important reason for using a camera for all your renderings. Once you start to work with the Camera Object, a very important menu option is under the Perspective View menu, it's called Use as Render View.

The Use as Render View option allows you to tell CINEMA 4D which Viewport you're going to be rendering from, and most of the time you're going to leave it on this Perspective View here, but there may come a time where you have a very complicated project and you want to be able to look through the camera in a different Viewport and render from that Viewport and keep this Viewport as the Viewport that you're modeling and move objects in. The way that you do that is by going to the Window menu and selecting New View panel. I now have a brand new Perspective View and this Perspective View, if you go to the View menu, is not being Use as a Render View.

You can see that this little icon has an X to it, it's not checked. If I go over to this View menu, this icon is checked. so it is using that as Render View. So now what I want to do is I want to go to this Viewport selected as the Use Render View, now when I click the Active Camera icon, it looks through this Viewport. What that does for me if I go in this view -- now this is another big gotcha. You can see that in this Viewport, I'm still looking through the camera. I've got two viewports looking through the same camera. When you set the extra viewport as the Use Render View Viewport you want to make sure to tell this main Viewport to be just the Editor Camera.

And so you go to Use Camera and tell it to be the Default Camera. Now, I'm free to look at my scene. I can manipulate my camera here in the Viewport and I can look at that. Another great tip is that you can take this Viewport and park it in the interface. So if I grab this little grid of icons right here and I Drag these grid of icons and I put it just above this line, you can see that I get this fat white line here, if I let go, I now have a viewport right in my interface just above there. I can now look through my camera and change, and I can move around in this space and always have a viewport available to me for looking to the camera.

I really like to work this way because it allows me to not touch the camera and still have a great deal of space to work in, and I can come around here and set my lights and do my texturing and add all my other models and just keep a viewport dedicated to the camera.

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