Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The Camera

So we had set the scene with our models and it was now time to animate the camera. This was my job! The group asked me to look into attaching a camera to a motion path. The theory was that this would save us time. So i researched a few tutorials on the internet. Here is a link to the tutorial that i followed a fair amount of times in order to master this technique:

I liked this tutorial because it was short and very precise making it easy to follow. I followed it several times so i that i knew exactly what i was doing, in a hope that it would prevent problems when it came to the next day and i had to use this technique. The reason i waited until the next day to do the camera work was because we were meeting up as a group and the scene was set on Nat's laptop. We would have put the scene on all of our laptops but that would mean we would have to go through and set all the textures again. So we just left it on one laptop as that was the most logical thing to do.

So my big moment came we meet up and everything was set all i needed to do was create my motion path and attach the camera aim. Firstly i created my curve or motion path, i then attached my camera aim and before i knew it I encountered my first problem. This was exactly the reason why i spent the previous day practising this technique. However it was a maya problem that was beyond me. Basically the camera aim at the start of the time line would focus on the beginning of the curve and at the end of the time line would focus on the end of the curve or motion path. So the camera aim was basically just jumping between the start of the motion curve and the end, it was not running along the curve smoothly following each point of the curve. Firstly i tested the same technique on my laptop to make sure i was not doing anything wrong I then went back to the tutorial to double check. As i was sure i had done everything right. So it was a matter of going through the settings in the maya on Nat's laptop and trying to resolve the problem. Eventually I found the solution with the help of Nat and the camera aim ran smoothly along the motion curve. Once this worked we watched it back several times. I now had the problem that the camera was fixed in one place and the aim just moved around the scene. This meant that you did not get a good enough close up view of any of the models. I had two choices one was to go in and edit the cameras position in each key frame or to delete what I had done and to create a new camera and hand animate that.

After consulting with the group we decided that it would be best to create a new camera and hand animate it. This took me a long time and i was key framing about every 40 frames. Which at the time i thought was enough. We played it back and the camera movement was way to fast. From the viewers point of view it was hard to concentrate on what I was looking at. So we went into the dope sheet and tried to slow the animation down. Along with the help of Will I succeeded in slowing down the speed yet this meant the keyframes were thrown off. Basically we had a nice cinematic scene where the camera went up the crane and along the cranes arm and into the building. This was key framed in but because we extended the animation in the dope sheet to slow down the animation of the camera this movement of the camera going up the crane now happened before it was suppose to. Which meant the camera just suddenly raised in the scene.

Therefore i came to the conclusion that i would need to do it all again but keyframe the camera over more keyframes. So due to us having the time limit of the scene only being able to be 90 seconds long i needed more key frames to play with which meant i had to cut out the nice cinematic scene of the camera going up the crane. I now key framed the camera every 90 frames or so and kept watching it back as i went along to make sure the camera work looked good. Sometimes the camera went too quick so i needed to add more key frames.

 Eventually after a lot of tampering with the key frames, camera movement and rotation of the camera I ended up with camera work that i was relatively happy with. I mean it wasn't perfect but it was very good considering i had never done camera work in maya before. My main criticism of the camera work would be that it made you feel like you were in a simulator. Which isnt too bad i guess. The camera work basically showcases the models, the environment and the time lapse which is exactly what it needed to do. So i considered it a job well done.

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