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Understanding the basics of cameras

From: Maya 2011 Essential Training

Video: Understanding the basics of cameras

Rendering in Maya, or really any 3D package for that matter, is analogous to photography. So you set up your lights, you put cameras in the scene, and then you render. And rendering is the same as taking a picture. So we've set up lights. Let's go ahead and take a look at cameras. So we can create cameras in Maya either by going to this shelf here, my Rendering shelf and creating a camera, or I can go under Create > Cameras, and I have three options here. I have Camera, which is just a basic camera in the scene, Camera and Aim, and what does is it gives you a point to aim at, and then Camera, Aim and Up and that also gives you a Tilt control so you can tilt left or right with the camera.

Understanding the basics of cameras

Rendering in Maya, or really any 3D package for that matter, is analogous to photography. So you set up your lights, you put cameras in the scene, and then you render. And rendering is the same as taking a picture. So we've set up lights. Let's go ahead and take a look at cameras. So we can create cameras in Maya either by going to this shelf here, my Rendering shelf and creating a camera, or I can go under Create > Cameras, and I have three options here. I have Camera, which is just a basic camera in the scene, Camera and Aim, and what does is it gives you a point to aim at, and then Camera, Aim and Up and that also gives you a Tilt control so you can tilt left or right with the camera.

Now in addition to this we have Stereo Cameras for stereoscopic 3D work and what's called a Multi Stereo Rig, which allows you to have multiple stereo cameras in the same rig. Let's just go ahead and create a basic camera, and when you create a camera, it creates it at the origin here and I can go ahead and just move that camera anywhere I want. Now if I want I can actually look through that camera by going into Panels > Perspective and just selecting that camera.

And if I want I can navigate the same way I navigate in viewport, so I can right-click to truck in and out. I can orbit. I can pan and so on. Now if I jump out to my 4 view here, I can actually take a look at my camera here. I can frame it here in my viewport and maybe zoom out so you can see I have a physical camera here. And if I actually move that camera physically I can actually move my placement, or if I rotate it I can change my angle, that sort of thing.

Now it works both ways. Moving it physically in the viewport also changes your view here in your Camera view. But if I zoom in, for example, or zoom out, you can see that the camera itself is moving, so I'm literally moving the camera just by navigating in that viewport. Now I'm going to go back into my Camera view here, and let's take a look at some of the attributes that we have for cameras in Maya. So under View I can select my camera, and if I wanted to I could go into my Attribute Editor just by clicking this button, or I can just select this option here, which is Camera Attribute Editor, does the same thing.

So if I go into my Camera Attributes, you can see I have a number of attributes here. First of all, there's Controls. I can switch between each of those three cameras so I can actually add an Aim constraint or an Aim and an Up constraint here. I'm not going to do that. Now the most important thing here is the Focal Length and Angle of View. Now Focal Length is basically the same as your lens size on a 35 millimeter camera, so the lower the number, the shorter the lens, the wider the angle of view. So, for example, if I brought this down to say 12, a very wide angle lens, you'll see that I'm getting a lot more of the scene in the view and if I zoom into him, we'll see that it's actually starting to get kind of like a fish-eye effect.

Well that's because I have a very wide Angle of View. And this Angle of View here actually goes up as the Focal Length goes down. Now if I were to increase the Focal Length, that would mean that I would be zooming in to the scene, so, for example, if I made this 135 lens, hit Return, you'll see that I'm zooming in pretty closely. But I can use my camera controls to truck out, so I'm just right-clicking and kind of trucking out here and I can orbit as well. And also notice how as this is a long lens, 135, medium long, and my Angle of View is less which means I have less perspective. So it kind of flattens out the image.

Now there are some other options that we have here as well. The most important one is called the Clip Plane. Now what this does is it determines how much of your scene you actually view. So the Near Clip Plane says anything closer to the camera than 0.1 you don't see. Far Clip Plane says anything further away that 10,000 you don't see. So, for example, if I were to make this number lower, say, take out a couple of zeros and make it a hundred, you really don't see much of anything.

Add in a zero make it a thousand. It's like, well yeah. I do see it, but if I zoom out you'll notice that the scene starts to disappear. So again I can just add in more zeros to see it. Now a lot of times you'll go into a scene and also things will suddenly disappear. Check you Clip Plane. Typically it defaults to 1000, and if you have scenes that have a large scale to them, you can easily lose things because of that Clipping Plane.

That's probably one of the number one things that you need to learn when things tend to disappear in Maya. Now if you go a little bit further down, we have our Film Backs, which are basically how we're going to shoot this scene, and if you're doing feature films, this is where you'll go to set your camera up so it matches the camera that live action footage was shot through. Now going a little bit further down we have this thing called Environment. Now this is basically the background color of this particular scene.

So when I render this scene, if there is nothing in front of the camera it's black. So basically that's the background behind everything in the scene. So if I turn this up to say white then I will have white behind my objects in the scene. I can change this to any color I want. Now if I wanted to I can also put an Image Plane behind the camera. We can do that either here by hitting this Create button, or I can go into my View > Image Plane > Import Image.

They both do the same thing. So in this case let's go ahead and put a sky image behind my camera. So if I jump out and go into a Perspective view, we can see that oh, there is my camera and there is my image plane. Well, my image plane is just too close to my camera so it's kind of blocking the view. So all I have to do is select that Image Plane, so go back into my camera and go Image Plane > Image Plane Attributes.

And if you scroll down here you'll see, well, there's a number of attributes here. Some to control the color of the image plane, but if you scroll down, you see here under Placement, Depth. Well, again that's very similar to a clipping plane. What I have to do is just push it back so I'm going to add a couple of zeros here and just push it back. So now you can see that my image plane is actually behind my camera. So now I can move my camera, and I will have a sky behind my character.

So those are some of the basics of camera. So go ahead and place the camera in your scene and start working with an understanding how it works.

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This video is part of

Image for Maya 2011 Essential Training
Maya 2011 Essential Training

115 video lessons · 26243 viewers

George Maestri
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 3m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 34s
    2. Using the exercise files
      26s
    3. A note on screen resolution
      1m 50s
  2. 1h 0m
    1. Overview of the Maya interface
      7m 42s
    2. Working with files and Maya projects
      2m 27s
    3. Navigating viewports
      5m 56s
    4. Reviewing the Viewport menus
      6m 28s
    5. Configuring safe frames and grids
      3m 21s
    6. Selecting objects
      4m 33s
    7. Using the Move tool
      3m 48s
    8. Rotating and scaling
      4m 31s
    9. Manipulating pivots
      3m 59s
    10. Understanding the Channel Box
      5m 36s
    11. Working with the Attribute Editor
      2m 28s
    12. Using the Hotbox
      2m 59s
    13. Working with marking menus
      3m 6s
    14. Customizing the interface
      3m 36s
  3. 59m 25s
    1. Creating polygonal objects
      6m 28s
    2. Working with polygonal components
      4m 42s
    3. Selecting polygonal components
      5m 44s
    4. Working with Soft Select
      7m 3s
    5. Using the Extrude tool
      6m 47s
    6. Keeping faces together
      2m 42s
    7. Extruding along curves
      3m 27s
    8. Using the Polygon Bevel tool
      4m 14s
    9. Smooth and subdivision surfaces
      7m 6s
    10. Blocking out a character body
      11m 12s
  4. 36m 6s
    1. Working with edge loops
      3m 27s
    2. Inserting and offsetting edge loops
      3m 38s
    3. Symmetrical modeling techniques
      5m 53s
    4. Combining objects
      3m 50s
    5. Using the Polygon Bridge tool
      2m 7s
    6. Connecting components and splitting polygons
      2m 48s
    7. Poking and wedging faces
      2m 49s
    8. Working with polygon booleans
      3m 17s
    9. Modeling with nonlinear deformers
      4m 54s
    10. Modeling with lattices
      3m 23s
  5. 1h 18m
    1. Introducing NURBS modeling
      5m 3s
    2. NURBS primitives
      5m 54s
    3. Using the NURBS curve tools
      5m 7s
    4. Creating Bézier curves
      1m 59s
    5. Creating text
      3m 51s
    6. Manipulating NURBS curves
      4m 13s
    7. Refining NURBS curves
      4m 16s
    8. Offsetting NURBS curves
      2m 31s
    9. Editing NURBS surfaces
      7m 3s
    10. Refining NURBS surfaces
      7m 22s
    11. Using NURBS Revolve
      7m 31s
    12. Using NURBS Loft
      4m 11s
    13. Using NURBS Extrude
      6m 0s
    14. Using NURBS Planar
      4m 47s
    15. Stitching NURBS surfaces
      8m 52s
  6. 35m 53s
    1. Extracting NURBS curves from surfaces
      5m 57s
    2. Creating curves on a surface
      3m 53s
    3. Projecting curves on surfaces
      7m 2s
    4. Trimming NURBS surfaces
      3m 42s
    5. Using the NURBS Fillet tool
      5m 31s
    6. Sculpting NURBS and polygonal surfaces
      5m 52s
    7. Converting NURBS to polygons
      3m 56s
  7. 33m 22s
    1. Working with the Outliner
      4m 58s
    2. Grouping objects
      4m 2s
    3. Creating hierarchies
      4m 17s
    4. Duplicating objects
      4m 51s
    5. Understanding the Hypergraph
      3m 32s
    6. Working with Hypergraph connections
      2m 31s
    7. Hiding and showing objects
      2m 12s
    8. Creating layers
      4m 2s
    9. Working with selection masks
      2m 57s
  8. 40m 18s
    1. Overview of renderers
      3m 24s
    2. Understand the basics of materials
      6m 15s
    3. Creating and applying maps
      5m 13s
    4. Using bitmaps as texture
      2m 59s
    5. Working with the Hypershade window
      5m 12s
    6. Working with mental ray materials
      6m 57s
    7. Using displacement and bump mapping
      3m 14s
    8. Using the Ramp Shader
      2m 36s
    9. Using the 3D Paint tool
      4m 28s
  9. 30m 14s
    1. Texture-mapping NURBS surfaces
      5m 46s
    2. Projecting textures onto surfaces
      4m 0s
    3. Texture-mapping polygonal surfaces
      7m 0s
    4. Applying UV mapping
      8m 11s
    5. Using the UVW Editor
      5m 17s
  10. 41m 16s
    1. Creating joints
      10m 2s
    2. Deforming a mesh using the Skin tool
      5m 2s
    3. Creating IK handles
      6m 48s
    4. Creating blend shapes
      5m 39s
    5. Rigging nonlinear deformers
      2m 36s
    6. Finalizing the character
      4m 45s
    7. Rigging the character to the scooter
      6m 24s
  11. 1h 5m
    1. Working with the Timeline
      4m 16s
    2. Creating and adjusting keys (keyframes)
      5m 4s
    3. Editing keys
      3m 13s
    4. Modifying keys in the Graph Editor
      5m 47s
    5. Modifying keys in the Dope Sheet
      2m 51s
    6. Creating breakdown keys
      2m 28s
    7. Animating objects along paths
      5m 54s
    8. Animation playback using Playblast
      3m 10s
    9. Animating with constraints
      6m 16s
    10. Creating animation cycles
      8m 25s
    11. Using set-driven keys
      6m 13s
    12. Adding sound to animations
      2m 24s
    13. Finishing the animation
      9m 45s
  12. 1h 2m
    1. Lights and lighting types in Maya
      7m 29s
    2. Adding depth-map shadows
      4m 13s
    3. Using Raytrace shadows
      3m 28s
    4. Understanding the basics of cameras
      7m 14s
    5. Adding depth of field
      6m 31s
    6. Adding Bokeh using mental ray
      4m 33s
    7. Using motion blur in Maya Software Renderer
      4m 10s
    8. Using motion blur in mental ray
      3m 5s
    9. Raytracing reflections and refractions
      4m 41s
    10. Interactive rendering with IPR
      3m 33s
    11. Lighting a scene
      8m 29s
    12. Batch rendering
      4m 53s
  13. 25s
    1. Goodbye
      25s

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