Join Adam Crespi for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a car camera rig, part of Vehicle Rigging in Maya.
Once I've got all the materials on the car and the rig is ready to go and I've taken care of any extraneous parts or fixes in there. I'm ready to get a car camera rig constructed. What a car camera rig is, is a series of cameras that are positioned around the car to catch different shots of the car along the animation. Typically, a camera rig for a real car, looks nothing like the car. It doesn't look like we simply, take one of these cars and film it with a camera. Rather it looks more like a truck is eating a car, with several cameras watching.
What we may see of the car in the shot >> Is all that may be there. We may remove wheels, hoods, trunks, doors, roofs, and almost everything of the car, in order to get the car we need. Shooting digitally then with a car allows us to use the whole car, and position cameras around it to capture the action as we need. To make my camera rig that, I'll temporarily hide my curves, lights, and cameras Choosing, display, hide, cameras and show, unchecking lights and show, unchecking nerves curves.
Now in a top view I'll start-out with my camera, pressing F to focus on the car. I'll choose create Cameras, camera. This camera is equivalent to a handheld camera, whereas a camera (UNKNOWN), viewable here in the Camera Controls, is a dollied, or crane camera. Camera Aim in Up has an up node that prevents gimbolock and flipping. I'll start out with just a camera, as these'll be parented to the car body. For example, I'm going to leave the focal length at 35. Because my director photography and they want to switch this around depending on his or her needs.
What I will do for camera is to scroll down onto the object display. And boost up the locator scale to lets say 15. This draws the camera object bigger in the view without actually scaling the camera. As a side note, do not scale a camera. What happens when you scale a camera using the object scale is that it distorts this size and aspect to the final image output. So in order to make the camera icon bigger, go into Shape mode and use the object display. What I'll do is I'll take this camera.
And position it on the car looking forward, rotating it around so I catch a classic staring down the front wheel shot. I'll go into my Front View, for example, and make sure this is up, even with the wheel. Then I'll check it out from the camera view, choosing Panels > Perspective > Camera 1 and there's my camera shot. I can dolly it back a little bit with the right mouse, so I see the vents in the exhaust, and tumble it over, so I'm staring down the car at the open road ahead.
And I'll see good shots of the wheels when they turn. We can always move these around. These are just rough placements until we know the actual shot we need. I'll go back in my top view, and duplicate this across to the other side. Pulling it over, rotating it back or tumbling in the view, and checking out what it looks like. In this case, choosing panels perspective camera two for my hotbox. There's another good shot. As a side note, I will need a cover up here in the vent or I can orient the camera a little farther down the car.
Maybe we want to get closer or frame that exhaust full in the view. Now I'll put on some other cameras facing backwards. I'll duplicate this by pressing Control D and spin this camera around so it looks backwards on the car. Maybe I want a rear wheel shot a little bit farther out here, for example. Again, I'll check out that camera and see those tires. I want to see tires or maybe the exhaust as it comes burbling out. We can see places where we definitely the interiors of the fenders, but we can handle that in a model and simply parent that onto a body. I'll take this camera and put it on the other size as a duplicate as well. We want to think of putting lots of cameras on our car, even if we don't use them all.
That way we have the possibility of using them in a shot. We don't have to use them, but it's easy to do it now because there is no cost in the rig or the render. Now I'll duplicate this camera and slide it up onto the hood. This'll be our classic "looking through the window, seeing the driver" shot. I'll pull this camera in, and check it out. Maybe dollying back a little bit, as it's a small car and I want to see most of the windshield. Something of a 3/4 perspective to see the driver here will work well. I'll clone this one more time by pressing Ctrl-D and slide it over, rotating around.
So the camera looks down the hood. Maybe right over the air scoop. Here in my perspective, I'll pan down, making sure I don't pass through the hood. Orbit over and there's those curves of the hood. And right here I'm, next to the air scoop in the shot. Seeing where I'm going in this car. What we want to do is get our cameras in to show both where we're going, maybe where we've been, reaction of the driver and maybe even a side shot. Instead of hanging a real camera off the car, we can hang it off the side of our virtual one.
We need to have shots looking down the road, and also seeing the reflections of what pass by in the glossy car paint. You can add on any others that you wish, and also put others in the scene that are not attached to the car. When you're done placing in any cameras, and this is a typical whiteload/h for a camera, maybe six or eight of them on a car, we want to parent them onto our car body or our master control. This one is up to you where you parent. I'm going to parent to the master control, so that any bumps in the car body don't take the camera with them. I'll select all my cameras picking one, holding Shift and picking the others. And showing those curves again, and now picking the master control and pressing P for parent.
I can always introduce a bit of a shake into the camera later if I need, or shake it during the animation if I'm bumping over or need a little more unsteady footage. Having the cameras on and parented is great because now we can take this car and pull it around, and the cameras go with it. I'll show this in a quick animation so we can see how this looks. I'm going to put a plane under my car. Nice big rows let's say and I'm going to have this car zooming along and drift or slide into a powerstop.
I'll give this road some length maybe 1,000 feet of road. Right now, my road is fairly wide at 30 feet. I'm going to slim this down so it's a 20 foot wide road, and I can even bend if I need. But this'll work quite nicely for our purposes. I'll increase the Clipping plane on my clipping camera. As we can see, I'm starting to clip off the road right there.
I'll put this up to 100,000 or even a million and I should be able to see it full in the frame. Now I'll get the car on. First, I'll pull this back, sliding back on the z and placing that car on the road. Zooming in, and making sure it actually sits down. I'll add in some more frames, maybe doing a four second animation or 96 frames at 24 per frame, and at frame one here I'll key the car. Making sure that it's far back enough on the road.
We'll do a classic approach shot. We see this car coming up and sliding in to stop right by us. I'll key the Master Control by pressing Shift-W, and also Shift-E. This'll constrain that rotation so it stays straight. Now, I'll scrub forward to frame 96, grab that car, and pull it down the road. I'll key that movement by pressing Shift + W. And then rotate the car as if he's drifted to a stop here, pressing shift e.
In a quick test, we start out down the road and come sliding into a stop. I may want to take that rotation key and slide it down further in the timeline so there's a little bit of straight first. What I'll also do, is go into the end here, where the car has slid to a stop, zoom in, and make sure those wheels turned as well. What I need to do is make sure that they're keyed in the right place, and discrete rotate is great for this, because I can tick them over Three times, or twice actually for 25 degrees, does pretty well.
Key it, by pressing shift e, jump back to frame one. Frame in on the car, and spin those wheels back. Now he's keyed, so there's a long drifting power slide. I can go into the graph editor and adjust this, but I'll show it using the camera sequencer first and I'll get one more camera in so we can really see what this looks like. I'm going to take one of my cameras and in a top view, focusing in on it, cloning it down the road or I can create a new camera.
It's up to you how you'd like to work it. If you clone a parented object, it loses its parenting. I'll duplicate this camera and move it back and scrub to the end of my animation to make sure I'm seeing that car. I'll zoom in and make sure I pick that last camera. If you can't find your camera easily because everything has gotten, well, very, very small in the view. We can also make sure that we use our masks for selection. It appears my camera is also still parented.
I'm going to make sure I select it and press shirt p. And now I'll pull it down the road here. The car comes zipping in to a stop, and I'll check it out from my camera. We're to move this camera in a little bit, dollying by pressing ALT and the right mouse, tumbling over, and maybe even moving down. There's my final shot and so in the view, I should see that car come sliding in towards me.
Now I can always massage the animation, but there's that power slide. Our wheels are going, my steering is turning, and I've got all my cameras. Here's how this works for the camera sequencer. Under Window I'll chose Animation Editor's Camera Sequencer. In the Camera Sequencer we can create shots and pass off an XML our editor if we need, along with playblasts of our animation, so we can get started editing on the rough animation. While we're still dealing with the rendering. I'll choose Create and Shot. And the first one I'll do is going to be maybe shot one from camera seven. Seeing the color off in the distance, going over one second or 24 frames. And I'll hit Create shot.
There's that first shot. I'll scrub over in time here at the end. And I'm ready to get the next one in. I'll choose Create Shot, and this one will be from camera one. And I'll start it at 25 up through Let's say 43 or 42. I'll hit apply and I'm ready to make another. Here's camera 2 for a reaction. I'll make a few of these, zipping through my camera here. And then, I'll start to sequence them.
What I can do here, in my camera sequencer, then. Is take these shots and pull them around snapping them up on the same line or having them split if we'd like and frame in pressing F to focus or selecting all of my shots and pressing F and now I can take these and slide them back and forth. Retiming them by clicking and dragging on the end here and setting up my rough cut sequence. We can also import in an EDL or XML, and actually see how our shots will line up.
There's a rough shot, over, let's make it out to the full 96, and see how this looks. I'll verify that I've got the right cameras here. Just going back in on my car. And selecting them. This camera seven I have selected. And when I zoom in on my car, or pick those cameras by going in to them, and selecting it, I can select the right camera.
For example, camera five, is looking over the window. (SOUND) 'll make sure I have a good one of these and Camera four looking back and camera one looking forward. If you'd like to change these around in the camera sequencer, here's seven seeing the approach, shot two down the road, three next to the car, four looking back, five, we can also double click on a shot And in the shot, in the attributes we can switch around which camera we're using.
I'm going to make sure that the final, or maybe the next to last is, camera five. Here in my camera sequencer again, which I closed accidentally, I'm ready to play blast these out. I'll choose playblast and playblast sequence. I'm going to put this out with a quality of 70 and I can specify the resolution per my shot if I need. I'm going to leave it at the default here or maybe go a little bit smaller. And let this play out just to see the sequence.
I'll put my res here by 960 X 540 for 3/4 of an HD frame. I'll hit play last sequence and see what this looks like... It play blasted out an avi that's in the movie's directory of my mya project. I'll go view that avi and see what I get. Here we go. There's the car coming towards us. Reaction, reaction, back to the driver, drift, and we need one more shot at the end to see it come in.
Her'es that sequence again. Car's coming towards us, shots on the wheels, see the driver, and we need one more at the end to show that power slide. It's easy to add, we're just reconfiguring that camera sequencer. I'll add in one more shot, choosing create and shot. And here in the shot I can add in, camera seven. And I'll let the start time be 72, and the end time 96. I'll create the shot, and I can always slide it forward.
This way, I can really use up that action in the car. Focusing in, or selecting all of my shots here and pressing f to focus, and then wrapping them or cutting them as I need. Even stretching out the timing by Dragging out the end or start on that sequencer. I'll play blast of this one more time and see what it looks like. Here's my second play blast. And when I play it, there's the approach, the sequence, and the final windshield, and there's the drift in. It works great, and the cameras rigged to my car helped me get all of those key action shots.
And using the camera sequencer is a great way to really get some mileage out of the animation. As we can see in this play blast, the advantage of doing such a detailed rig, and spending the time getting all the controls right. Is that when it comes time to animate, once we've got our cameras on and our materials ready, we can just drive the car like we want and everything functions. And then we can just see it or shoot it from any position we'd like and get a terrific animation, with all the shot and cinematography we expect to see with cars in the scene.
Note: Some experience with polygonal modeling in Maya and beginning knowledge of rigging and constraints will help you get the most from this course.
- Opening and accessing the model
- Scaling a model uniformly
- Creating and cloning controllers
- Parenting the tires and hubs
- Controlling the suspension
- Stitching the rig together
- Writing expressions for the wheels, steering, and body
- Adding brake lights and turn signal controls
- Creating chrome, rubber, and glass shaders
- Applying interior finishes