I am using Blender for the first time. Currently, I have a basic scene with a camera and some light sources present. What I would like to do is to add a second camera that is located at a random position in the same Z-plane as the first camera and is looking at the same XYZ-point. Maybe it would be possible to define a circle where the first camera is on and the second camera can freely choose a point. The first camera should not move. I would like to do this through Python, since I am generating multiple renders from this scene in a loop.

Any pointers to relevant documentation would be helpful, since I am not finding the correct resources to tackle this.


2 Answers 2


You can spawn cameras in a circle around your object, at the altitude of your main camera. Then add a "Track to" constraint to make the camera face the target object. Finally, set the camera to active.

The constraint adds the benefit that it will follow the target object if it moves. If you dont have a target object you can create an empty in the scene.

How to randomly distribute points along a circle

import bpy
import math
import random
from mathutils import Vector

camera = bpy.data.objects['MainCamera']  # Make sure your first camera is named 'MainCamera'
target_object = bpy.data.objects['Cube']  # The camera will face this object. /!\ Naming

z = camera.location[2]
radius = Vector((camera.location[0], camera.location[1], 0)).length
angle = 2 * math.pi * random.random()

# Randomly place the camera on a circle around the object at the same height as the main camera
new_camera_pos = Vector((radius * math.cos(angle), radius * math.sin(angle), z))

bpy.ops.object.camera_add(enter_editmode=False, location=new_camera_pos)

# Add a new track to constraint and set it to track your object
track_to = bpy.context.object.constraints.new('TRACK_TO')
track_to.target = target_object
track_to.track_axis = 'TRACK_NEGATIVE_Z'
track_to.up_axis = 'UP_Y'

# Set the new camera as active
bpy.context.scene.camera = bpy.context.object

Result :

enter image description here

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thank you! This is exactly what I am looking for. $\endgroup$
    – JNevens
    Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 9:20

Make a rig of sorts

Started this answer, came back the question was answered... it has become a little TL;DR. Since you are just beginning might find some tips useful

Given the remit of the question,

I have a basic scene with a camera and some light sources present.

For example sake let's use the default scene. The focus object is the default cube at (0, 0, 0). The camera focus does not go thru this point. The blender devs spent days getting the default camera position just right.

add a second camera that is located at a random position in the same Z-plane as the first camera and is looking at the same XYZ-point

Imagine you're the cube, and the cam is on a fixed length "selfie stick". As you rotate the cam orbits. The location of the cam on its orbit is dependent only on one variable, how far you have rotated. Can reduce down to one variable.

Keep the same camera focus and data

Can as shown in accepted answer use a track to constraint on camera to subject, to get a serial killer like focus on target. Notice though that to default camera isn't focusing on the cube origin. This answer will keep the camera perspective as is, and make copies, radials or orbits around the global (0, 0, 0)

Using Object.copy() gives us another, in this case camera with the same data settings as original.

Use the animation system

I would like to do this through Python, since I am generating multiple renders from this scene in a loop.

Even so recommend using the animation system. Instead of scripting change frame, change settings, render still, script animation data and render animation.

Add a camera copy bind to a timeline marker

Add a new copy of the camera object. Use the same camera data as original. Use same focus target as orginal. To rotate to another position on the orbit a rotation matrix about global z axis, at (0, 0, 0). Add a timeline marker at frame you wish to switch to each added camera.

Use matrices

In as much as can use trig methods for circles, recommend getting the hang of using linear algebra as soon as possible. Let multiplying the camera object world matrix by the global z axis matrix calculate all the transforms for us.

How can I make a camera the active one?

bind camera to marker via python

enter image description here

import bpy
from mathutils import Matrix
from random import random
from math import pi

context = bpy.context
scene = context.scene
coll = bpy.data.collections.new("RandCams")

for f in range(1, 258, 10):
    cam2 = scene.camera.copy()
    R = Matrix.Rotation(2 * pi * random(), 4, 'Z')
    cam2.matrix_world = R @ cam2.matrix_world
    m = scene.timeline_markers.new(name=f"R{f}", frame=f)
    m.select = True
    m.camera = cam2

Pros: Can easily shuffle the markers around. Cons lots of extra objects (if saving set up). Hard to tweak a camera location.

The joys of parenting

Multiplying by the rotation matrix above is exactly the same as parenting to an object with that matrix. This gives us the advantage of being able to adjust the single rotation property.

For an answer to

Script to render one object from different angles suggested making a dolly.

Quite simply, duplicate camera, add empty at desired location, parent camera to empty. Now rotating the empty on its local z axis makes the camera scribe a circular path.

The only property to set is the z rotation of the empty.

import bpy

context = bpy.context
scene = context.scene
cam = scene.camera

if cam:
    bpy.ops.object.empty_add(location=(0, 0, 0))
    mt = context.object
    mt.empty_display_type = 'SPHERE'
    mt.empty_display_size = 4
    cam2 = cam.copy()
    cam2.parent = mt

Note since am using the global origin as pivot point, adding a LOCAL to LOCAL copy transform constraint on copy to original, will adjust radius automatically based on originals location.

Instead of adding a new camera for each random location am going to move the camera by rotating the empty. Possibly worth noting that to see for example a turntable rotation, without reference points like grid and directional lighting could have stationary camera and spin the cube, or spin the whole scene (sans cam), spin the camera as shown, or orbit a circle path... result would appear same


enter image description here

To animate with drivers. Add a driver to the z rotation euler property of the empty

driver = mt.driver_add("rotation_euler", 2).driver

Set the expression. For examples below No driver variables are needed as frame is "known" (a member of the driver namespace) to be current frame, as is the noise module

Spin 1 rev per 24 frames. Zero at frame 1.

driver.expression = "2 * pi * (frame - 1) / 24"

Random location on ring

driver.expression = "2 * pi * noise.random()"

IMO particularly handy for a "turntable" animation. The image above switches scene camera to active object. The first half is driver 1, the second driver 2.


Adds a random location at every 10th frame starting from 1, sorted by order of angle.

frames = range(1, 250, 10)
angles = sorted(random() for f in frames)
for f, a in zip(frames, angles):
    mt.keyframe_insert("rotation_euler", index=2, frame=f)

Make an orbit

Here we make a circular orbit. A camera with a follow path constraint with follow curve, tracking -X axis with Y up focuses camera with no transform on the path center.

Here is a script to add orbit, set up a new camera copy, put it on orbit.

enter image description here Once again notice that the camera is not focused on (0, 0, 0) and orbiting gives the impression of cube rotating on (0, 0, 0)

Now only the offset of the follow path constraint need be animated. 0 is same position as orginal. 1 is same position (one full orbit) At 0 and 1 the added camera match the orginal scene camera.

import bpy
from mathutils import Vector, Matrix
context = bpy.context
scene = context.scene

while scene.collection.objects:

cam = scene.camera
mw = cam.matrix_world
r = mw.translation.xy
r3d = Vector((r.x, r.y, 0))

h = mw.translation.z
from math import degrees
R = Matrix.Rotation(
        r.angle_signed(Vector((0, -1))),

T = Matrix.Translation((0, 0, h))

        location=(0, 0, 0),
path = context.object 
cu = path.data
cu.transform(R @ T)

cam2 = cam.copy()
cam2.matrix_world = Matrix()
fp = cam2.constraints.new('FOLLOW_PATH')
fp.target = path
fp.use_curve_follow = True
fp.use_fixed_location = True
fp.forward_axis = 'TRACK_NEGATIVE_X'
fp.up_axis = 'UP_Y'


cam2.matrix_basis = cam2.matrix_world.inverted() @ mw
scene.camera = cam2
context.view_layer.objects.active = cam2

Pros. Can see the orbit, can edit to be non circular.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Well, you went above and beyond. Thanks for the lengthy explanation ! $\endgroup$
    – Gorgious
    Commented May 7, 2020 at 7:39

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