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I'm wondering how professionals animate cameras for indoor archviz (typically a one-shot virtual visit of an apartment). Do you draw a bezier curve and use a follow path constraint? And then manually rotate camera? Doing this method seems so outdated, making any change to the path will destroy all the keyframes work, and overall it's difficult to switch between "follow curve" and manual rotation. I'm certain there is a better way, but what is it? I'm looking to get a smooth movement, non-destructive animation, and maximum control.

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@Marty I think the pose-to-pose animation is a good idea, but I don't really like how "floaty" the camera feels with this technique. It just tends to create unnatural, sliding, movements when transitioning from one pose to another. And working with curves can be annoying. It's just a lot of work and tweaking but probably the best approach for client work if there is a lot of suspected changes happening during production...

@Chris That's the technique I used but sometimes you don't want to "Follow curve" because the camera should be looking at another direction while continuing on it's path and it's hard to make the transitions smooth (not even getting into gimble locks and other weird rotation issues which are just awful to work around).

So far what worked best for me is actually recording my own camera movements in walk mode and smoothing them. This give me very natural and smooth movement and allow me a lot of control. I can still delete and adjust keyframes in bulk for re-timing or even re-recording a small portion. It just work surprisingly well for a my needs.

Tutorial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7qyW1G350g&t=434s

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  • $\begingroup$ Animating camera movement to look natural is hard, especially if you're trying to mimic handheld shots. I hadn't realized you had real world geometry to match the layout you wanted to move the camera through. Certainly if you can get the data from your camera or at least do a good job of motion tracking, that will give you more natural movement. $\endgroup$ Jan 12, 2022 at 16:18
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    $\begingroup$ I record camera movement in blender in walk/fly mode with wasd and mouse $\endgroup$
    – globglob
    Jan 13, 2022 at 17:19
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    $\begingroup$ That's impressive. I actually find it easier to set up keyframes than do that. I'm glad it works for you. $\endgroup$ Jan 13, 2022 at 17:30
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    $\begingroup$ You should give it a shot, it was a life changer for me. Once youve recorded you can still make a lot of changes, retime things, stretch keyframes, even tweak rotation/location keyframes by selecting a bunch and turning on smooth editing with "o". Then just resample and smooth with ctrl+o. It gives a really natural feel without any king of roughness in the movement. It's really only good if you want to avoid having a camera too much on rail but don't want a handheld look either. $\endgroup$
    – globglob
    Jan 24, 2022 at 12:33
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Maybe i misunderstood you, but if you have a follow path constraint like this:

enter image description here

you don't have to keyframe any rotation/location.

Result may look like this:

enter image description here

Now i can easily change the curve and it still works fine.

enter image description here

I just keyframed the offset from start frame with value 0 to value -100 at my end frame.

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I don't think we have any professional Arch-Viz animators here at the moment, but what the simple "follow path" approach misses, as you point out, is managing the rotation of the camera with respect to the path.

Camera follow-path animation is usually limited to situations where the path is being used to follow another object - like a tracking shot where you're tracking two people walking on a path. In this case, the camera angle problem is solved by using a Track To constraint on the camera.

But apartment walk throughs don't have the luxury of having an easy to track object, so movie animation takes one of two approaches:

  1. Animate the camera pose-to-pose, using interpolation to handle the transitions, as you would with other moving objects; possibly using multiple cameras and switching between them. (In real-world movie making, shot planning, including camera movement, can take a significant portion of the movie's production time.)

  2. Fake the target by creating an empty that follows another path and having the camera track to the empty.

There is no magic tool to set up these animations as far as I know; and I suspect that Arch-Viz animators use the first approach.

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