Tuesday, 16 October 2018

How to Avoid "Motion Sickness" Camera in Maya

One of the challenges of learning 3D animation is knowing not just how to animate characters, but also where to put the camera, and what to do with it.  3D animators have to be cinematographers too.

The art of cinematography is complex and has many pitfalls for the unwary. The most common mistake made by junior animators is to over-animate the camera.

The general rule for animating the camera in Maya is this: Don't do anything you wouldn't do in live action.

Avoid Motion Sickness
Where a cg camera is over-animated, I often call it the "motion sickness camera", because anyone looking at the shot on a big screen would be starting to feel seasick.

Camera should be invisible
The trick with good camera work is that the audience shouldn't really notice it at all. If the cinematographer is doing their job well, the audience should simply feel that they have seen a good film. Ask the average movie-goer what they thought of the cinematography on a movie and they probably won't understand the question - why would they?

Animating cameras in Maya
Animating a camera in Maya isn't always easy. Part of the problem is that the camera itself can be difficult to control, and it can be hard to create a nice smooth "Steadycam" motion.  One useful trick is to select the object you want the camera to rotate around, and then press F on your keyboard. By pressing F you tell the camera to focus on that object, and that way the camera pivot should be easier to control.

You can also try going to go to View>Camera tools>Tumble Tools. Once inside the Options Box, tick the box labelled "Tumble on object". This should make your camera in Maya easier to use.

Introduction to Cinematography
To see a brief introduction to the art of animating cameras, watch the short video below:

To find out more about Animation Apprentice, click here for a link to Frequently Asked Questions. To sign up for our next classroom at Animation Apprentice, follow this link.

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