Smoothing your camera movements with 1 click in iClone3.1

Smooth your Camera Movements in 1 click with the Camera Movement Smoothing iCon in iClone

Smooth your Camera Movements in 1 click with the Camera Movement Smoothing iCon in iClone

What’s going on iCloners? I hope everyone has had a smooth weekend, and to add to it how about Smooth Camera Movement in only 1 click for your projects? Sound pretty smooth to you? Well it should because in iClone everyone knows you can create up to 16 custom cameras in a scene, and then create custom camera Transform animation for each one as well. This new function will place a key-frame on the Timeline in between your other camera Transform keys, creating a smoother curve to your camera movement. How does it work? Well, first you need to add a camera into your scene and then make as many camera movements as you like, for this example I use 4 camera movements to create a Orbital Camera. When your finished, with the timeline open and the Tranform button clicked, showing your cameras track, locate the new Camera icon with a curved line. You’ll find it right beside the Current Frame field. When you click the icon, it will place the mid-point key-frames between the keys you have just placed. For the best possible result combine Smooth Camera Movement with the camera Look At feature with an animated subject. You can assign the camera to Look At a Parented actor or object in scene, that way the Look At will keep the camera pointed at your subject while smoothing the camera animation at the same time. Follow the simple steps below to create smooth camera movement or watch the high-speed video build provided below.

  • Click the Preview Camera shader from the top left of the view port
  • In the Modify panel select the Add button to place a new camera in the scene
  • After animating your subject, select a starting angle using the Camera Movement tools
  • In the Linkage section of the Modify Panel, select the Pick Parent button
  • Click your animated subject to link the camera to the motion animation you wish to orbit around
  • Use the Pan, Zoom and Orbit tools to create a custom camera rotation
  • Move forward one quarter in your overall project time each time you move the camera (4 or 5 key frames for an Orbit animation in this case )
  • Click the Timeline button from the bottom tool bar
  • Select the Tracklist button to open the list and choose your camera
  • Choose the Custom Camera01 you have placed in the scene
  • Click the Transform tab to drop down the key-frame track
  • Make sure the Transform Track is highlighted by clicking the word Transform
  • Select the Camera Smoothing button to the left of the Current Frame field
  • In the Modify Panel scroll down and locate the Look At portion of the menu
  • Click the Pick Target button
  • Select the object in the scene you wish the camera to Look At
  • Click Play to review your new custom Smooth Camera Orbit
  • Repeat for any other custom camera and movement you wish to smooth

The Smooth Camera Movement button is one of the little known iClone features that seems to get past over by many users. There is a small trick to activating the icon which is selecting the Transform track first in order to activate the icon itself. Otherwise, it almost seems to be some sort of Timeline hieroglyphic or useless graphic, but in fact it is an almost hidden solution to sometimes less than perfect camera animation. This will automatically help to smooth your cameras obviously, but it also will help to correct curves and “crane” style camera angles to make them more pleasing for your users to view. For a more in depth look at Operating Cameras and Camera Transform Tools be sure to check out the Online Beta Index. Every aspect of iClones Camera abilities can be found there. Below is a video comparison of the same exact scene rendered once with Smooth Camera Movement on with Look At applied, and once with it off and without Look At applied to show how it can effect your camera animation and a showcase of how to animate a camera then apply the Smooth Camera Movement with only 1 click. Last week an iClone Training Course was held for 5 users who were shown this technique in conjunction for the C3 Coolclones relaunch, they had great things to say about this feature, you will too after you give it a try. Enjoy!


4 Responses to “Smoothing your camera movements with 1 click in iClone3.1”

  1. December 1, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    Your best tutorial yet. The addition of the written comments really makes a difference. Just leave them on the screen a bit longer because it takes more time to read them than you think. Nice job.

    The smoothing tool button should be made a bit more obvious in future iClone revisions. It does help to clean up camera moves a lot. I’ll be posting this tut in the renderosity.com forums for iClone.

  2. 3 afterThought
    February 22, 2009 at 6:04 am

    Hey James – would it be fair to say that this step of camera smoothing should be one of the last things you do before rendering that camera? I ask because if you camera smoothed your camera and then decided to edit your animation some more (ie add more to beginning or end) you’d have to camera smooth again and what was already smoothed would be smoothed further. I don’t know if the increased amount of extra keyframes from double or triple smoothing would negatively affect performance. Thanks.

    • February 22, 2009 at 2:46 pm

      Hey AT,

      It’s not just fair, but correct to say that you should Camera Smooth only at the end of the project. It should be the next to last step, and another good tip for setting up and entire scene from concept to render is to set you video resolution in the Export tab, Modify Panel at the very beginning of your project so your camera view in the view port is the proper ratio as you create the scene. That way you know %100 for sure that your frame is actual size to the render itself. And then don’t forget to camera smooth! 🙂

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