10 Replies Latest reply on Feb 25, 2014 12:56 PM by Rick Gerard

    Animating the Camera in AE

    GeoffVane Level 1

      For years and years I tried to animate the camera in AE.


      I MUST deactivate the 2 node option or I'll burst into a rage within 2 minutes.

      And the auto orient too.


      I tried parenting to a null, with and without split coordinates.

      The null isn't really on the same spot as the camera when youy start.

      I don't know if that is the reason but the movement gets nervous: no good angle and position interaction.


      I tried using the numeric sliders.

      Tiresome fiddling, as the system sticks to world coordinates when you do that.


      I tried the unifified cameratool.

      It seems so luxurious, until you try tweak things and discover the orient system creates bogus curves.


      I tried swith between world-, local- and view axis.

      That system doesn't work at all.

      Nothing happens.


      I'd like to meet the camera system designer.

      Have a word.


      The ONLY way I get reasonable and fast plus predictable 3D animations in AE is when Imparent EVERY object to a master null and animate that.

      Perfect moves, great angle and position integration.

      Only this is so lame, so not professional.


      Can't Adobe just copy the lightwave camera engine?

        • 1. Re: Animating the Camera in AE
          Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          I haven't had any problems with the null parenting procedure. From the sound of things, you're missing something.


          If you create a null and make it 3d and then make a camera and make it 3d and you then parent the camera to the null, you're golden. You animate the null's position to each object you'd like the camera to look at while animating the null's x and y rotation values and you get some lovely camera moves. This is especially good if you want to orbit objects. If you animate the camera's z position to move closer and further from the null, you have even more control. The camera shouldn't move on the x or the y and the rotation values should be zeroed out.

          • 2. Re: Animating the Camera in AE
            Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            The AE Camera is different than lightwave's but it is very usable for me. I usually create a null called a dolly, parent a 2 node camera to the dolly, animate the dolly, the camera height, and if necessary, add a point of interest null that I move through the scene. I find it easy and predictable.


            I use Blender and C4D a lot, 3DSMax occasionally, and each has their own quirks for animating a camera. In all cases I treat the camera as I would treat the camera on a set. Set pieces don't move, actors do. Cameras move on dollies and are pointed by camera operators. Mimicking real world camera movement technique works very well in AE for me, OK in blender and just fine in C4D, but when I try to move the camera, point it, focus it all with one set of controls I feel as overwhelmed as I would on a set trying to push my camera around on the dolly while pointing it while pulling focus. There's a reason you hire a dolly grip and a camera assistant on a complex shoot. There's a reason I use a couple of nulls when animating the camera.


            I'm not sure how many AE users I would find in a room full of artists that could not get the camera to do anything they wanted it to do. Not trying to start a war and not trying to say that AE is perfect, but I am saying that with each tool in the tool box you're going to need to learn a few tricks to utilize them in the most effective way.

            • 3. Re: Animating the Camera in AE
              GeoffVane Level 1

              I made a large map. The camera looks down. I wanna land in an angle close up and then move over the map.

              As I land, the map completely rotates out of the view.

              Extra keyframes introduces horrible wonks.

              I tried every system.

              Parenting to a null caused weird wonks right away when landing.


              Then I just parented ALL OBJECTS to a null.

              Zero problems.

              The only thing you need to know, is that position keyframes must be set on linear in their spatial curve, when they act up.

              It took me months to find out about that. Terrible waste of heart tissue.


              I totally had it with the AE camera.

              There is NO WAY I'm ever gonna master it.

              After trying ALL these years, I think I'm done.

              I'll stick to the stupid parenting method, as that seems to be the ONLY predictable and controllable method for me.


              I think the inconsistencies between temporal and spatial interpolation are the biggest problem, plus the stupid absolute axi.


              A very sad moment; I've actually given up.
              My only hope is a development of a relative camera control from the viewport, with translating axi which makes the camera a constant origin.

              Fiddle free, like in lightwave. I can't get the hang of the AE system.


              Further more, the need for dimension splitting to get to the tangent handles is also irritating.

              Not to mention the value tangent handles act nasty half of the time too.

              This is supposed to be an animation tool. It's more like a collection of workarounds.

              Doesn't anybody over at Adobe see this?

              • 4. Re: Animating the Camera in AE
                Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                Gymbal lock...That's going to be a problem with the camera looking down. You run into the same problem with any 3D app. I'm guessing you rotated the map on the X axis and are trying to fly the camera around the set with it pointed down.


                Try keping the map in XY space instead of X Z. I do exactly what you are describing all the time with maps, dynamic text, and lots of other things. If you need an angle on the map just tilt the camera up or down.

                • 5. Re: Animating the Camera in AE
                  GeoffVane Level 1

                  It's not gimbal lock. That's what you get when you want to try create a plane making a looping.

                  • 6. Re: Animating the Camera in AE
                    Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    Extra keyframes introduces horrible wonks.

                    I tried every system.

                    Parenting to a null caused weird wonks right away when landing.



                    That is a good a description of gymbal lock as any I've seen.

                    • 7. Re: Animating the Camera in AE
                      bogiesan Level 4

                      I've been using the After Effects camera since it first appeared. It's difficult, yes, but I've never thoguht of it as flawed in any way. I've assumed, correctly, that there are limits within After Effects' paradigm. It' is not a 3D modeling application. I'm not an appologist for Adobe, they have paid staff for that, but I know that if I have a project where I need a better 3D camera, I would use a different application that has as better camera. But then I'd have to learn a new piece of software and get up to speed on all of its peculiarities and it's easier -- for me -- to reframe my clients' needs so they fall within my expertise in After Effects or maybe Apple's Motion (now there's a weird 3D camera paradigm!).

                      • 8. Re: Animating the Camera in AE
                        GeoffVane Level 1

                        Rick, I,ve been creating animations since 1997. In 3D too. I may suck at it, but I know a gimbal lock when I see one. It's more like a flipping movement or unpleasant lining up of two axi. It's not that.

                        • 9. Re: Animating the Camera in AE
                          GeoffVane Level 1

                          I'll try simplify the scene and upload it somewhere. Maybe I did it wrong. I can't find any advantage over a null coupled camera for standard camera work, when you have a one node camera. Two node cameras are silly anyway and a null coupled camera only makes sense in my experience when you want to orbit something and mimic a rig.

                          • 10. Re: Animating the Camera in AE
                            Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                            In ae when you are pointing the camera down if you move it just slightly it will flip around like crazy due to gymbal lock. If you put the map on the XY plane and fly the camera around  XY and in and out in Z the problem should go away.


                            I've been shooting film since 1969, using AE since it was owned by COSA and 3D apps since they were available and a camera attached to a null or a camera on a dolly or crane arm is a seriously good way to move a camera in any app I've ever used or on a set. I'd love to see the project file that is giving you fits. I don't even need footage. Post it and I'll take a look at your problem and hopefully provide a solution that will make animating the camera in AE easier and more accurate for you.