6 Replies Latest reply on Sep 13, 2014 2:11 PM by TomAndersson

    Camera Orbit Headache


      Hi pros!

      My brain is literally boiling due to this orbit-issue I have. It`s such a basic operation:

      I have a camera that I parented to the famous null-layer (camCTRL) and I want the camera to move towards various objects in my scene.

      The cam should move to object A, orbit around 360 to sort of examine it and then move on to object B, orbit around and then move to object C ....etc.
      Problem occurs when I move the camera (with the camCTRL-null), the point of interest doesn`t stick to the object to orbit (Y-rotation on camCTRL).

      I want the POI to be separated from the cam for individual control. and no matter where I the move the POI, the camera should always be facing it AND orbit

      perfectly around it.

      I tried to make a separate POI-null , and put this script in cams POI-field:

      L = thisComp.layer("POInull");

      ...but it doesn`t keep the POI in place when orbiting around, though it faces the object correctly.

        Any clever geniuses out there?


        • 1. Re: Camera Orbit Headache
          Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          Create a null, parent the null to the orbit null. move the camera using the second null.

          • 2. Re: Camera Orbit Headache
            TomAndersson Level 1

            I really wish it was that easy.

            The problem is to separate the point of interest from the camera. I want the camera to always look at the poi

            no matter where it is. With a second null you still don`t get control over the cameras poi.

            • 3. Re: Camera Orbit Headache
              Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              When you create an orbit null the point of interest is pointed at the orbit null. When you rotate the orbit null the camera sweeps around in an arc equal to the distance between the camera and the orbit null. If you move the orbit null the new position will be the new point of interest. Parenting the orbit null to another null just makes it a little easier to separate the two. Move with one rotate with the other. From your description this will work perfectly. Animating the position of the camera may also work but you also need to then animate the position of the null. Where ever and orbit null is becomes the center of rotation.


              You are making this much too difficult. It is bsolutely dead simple. Put the orbit null at the position of the first object you want to look at. Adjust the position of the camera to get your shot set up. Now rotate the orbit know and bring it to a stop. Now animate the position of the orbit the null until it is at the same location as your second object. Then animate the position of the camera move from its current position to its first position to view your second object. Now animate the rotation of the null. Simple, just requires some basic animation skills to get the timing correct.

              • 4. Re: Camera Orbit Headache
                TomAndersson Level 1


                I realise that I was a bit unclear of what I want to achieve. Your description is perfectly correct when just moving the cam-rig from one object to another and orbit around them.

                What I want is for the point of interest to remain still att object A for some time while the camera is moving towards object B. When the camera is half way to object B, first THEN I want even the poi to start moving towards object B.

                That way I get a much more interesting motion. As if the camera fell in love with object A so that it just can`t keep it`s eyes from it.

                Is there any way to achieve this with the setup you mentioned?

                Here is a clip to better visualize and as it is now, the motion gets jerky and the camera doesn`t orbit around object B as the poi does not stick to object B.


                Thanks for taking yor time!



                • 5. Re: Camera Orbit Headache
                  Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  That is why you use two nulls or you use one, animate the camera position then rotate with the null. I do this kind of thing all the time and it's really easy if you use two views.


                  Another way to do this is to attach the point of interest to a null and move the camera. The disadvantage of this technique is that you then cannot easily rotate the camera around the null. I guess it's time for a mini tutorial. Something like this:

                  Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 9.48.46 AM.png

                  Here's the project saved as CS6. It just takes a little skill to make this kind of thing work. It is all in the timing.

                  • 6. Re: Camera Orbit Headache
                    TomAndersson Level 1

                    Thanks again Rick!

                    I finally think I got it!