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When dealing with camera motion, its very sensitive to any movement discontinuities. Is there a way to easily achieve natural looking motion when dealing with complicated motion paths and timings?

Follow path animation feels too robotic unless I adjust all the keyframe easings carefully and this has to be re-done everytime the animation changes (the automatic bezier type just doesn't work).

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A way to achieve camera motion with fluid non-synthetic feel is with softbody camera rig. This will do automatic easing of any motion and will save some graph-editor work.

  1. Create a filled Circle with 3 vertices, subdivide it and delete the middle face:

    enter image description here

  2. Create new empty vertex group, don't assign any vertices to it, leave it empty:

    enter image description here

  3. Add camera to the scene and parent it to the 3 inner vertices (select Camera, select Mesh, enter edit-mode, select vertices, Ctrl+P):

    enter image description here

  4. Add Soft Body to the mesh object. These are the settings to take care of:

    • Friction: higher will be more lazy smoother camera
    • Damping: less means more camera jiggle and more overshoot

    enter image description here

  5. Its good to hide the Soft Body modifier visibility when animating. Always bake the softbody cache. This is a result of a simple linear-interpolation animation with just 2 keyframes, you can see how the soft body smooths everything:

    enter image description here

  6. Best it's in combination with follow path animation to smooth any paths and timing discontinuities. Use the Follow Path constraint on the softbody to animate the location (animate evaluation time under the curve) and Track To constraint or just keyframes for the softbody rotation.

    enter image description here

  7. The resulting camera motion will be the curve smoothed, so even when the curve itself is not C2 smooth the resulting animation will be. This can't be done in graph editor or with smoothing the curve with smooth modifier (it follows the un-smoothed curve)

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  • $\begingroup$ This is an awesome solution cheers to that! $\endgroup$ – beiller Jan 27 '15 at 17:48
  • $\begingroup$ Found it - the soft body menu is under the Physics tab of the Property editor, which is on the far right. $\endgroup$ – kim holder Oct 9 '18 at 17:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Jaroslav Jerryno Novotny Why do you have to parent the camera to a mesh object? Is it not possible to add the soft body modifier to the camera itself? Just curious. $\endgroup$ – faybn Mar 12 '19 at 14:52
  • $\begingroup$ @faybn no, a camera object is basically just an empty. You can add a force-field or a rigid-body constraint to it, that's all. $\endgroup$ – Jaroslav Jerryno Novotny Mar 12 '19 at 16:10

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