147
$\begingroup$

Often I want to just point the camera to an object or a specific area in my scene to get an idea of how it'll look in the render. What's the most painless hassle-free way to do this in blender?

A quick search on the blender wiki does not lend itself to easy look-up due to all the noise in the search result.

This question could probably be broken down into these two main questions:

  • How do I point a selected camera to the current 3d-cursor location in the scene?
  • How do I point the selected camera to the currently selected object(s) in the scene?
$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ by 'point your camera' do you mean orient the camera to look directly at the object (without translation?), Or is translation acceptable too? $\endgroup$ – ideasman42 May 23 '13 at 1:02
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, translation is acceptable too. $\endgroup$ – greatwolf May 23 '13 at 1:04

10 Answers 10

137
$\begingroup$

The absolute quickest way to do this is to find a good position in the 3d viewport by navigating as normal with the mouse. Next, select the camera and use Ctrl + Alt + Numpad 0 or from the 3d view header, View > Align View > Align Active Camera to View to position/point the camera in the direction you are facing in the viewport.

Alternatively, to point the camera towards an object, you can select the camera, add a Track To constraint to it (constraints can be added in the Constraints tab), choose the object in the Target field, -Z in the To field, and Y in the Up field.

enter image description here

The camera will now always point at the object no matter where it (the camera or object) is moved to. This way isn't very efficient however and it is much better to point the camera towards an empty and then position the empty wherever the point of interest lies.

$\endgroup$
  • 11
    $\begingroup$ Note that in certain Linux desktops this keyboard shortcut will minimize the current window; you may need to remap this in either the GNOME (or equivalent) settings or in Blender. $\endgroup$ – wchargin Oct 23 '13 at 1:44
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ or from the 3D View menu: View -> Align View -> Align Active Camera to View. For those of us working with a small Mac keyboard... $\endgroup$ – Andre Holzner Mar 12 '14 at 11:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The OP refers to 'selected' camera. The answer above moves the 'active' camera. If you have more than one camera (as I did) in your scene then understand that 'selected' and 'active' cameras can be two different things. See below: "The OP says: 'How do I point a selected camera'..." $\endgroup$ – GLCoder Aug 22 '16 at 0:09
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @GirlCoder Can't believe after 3 years nobody mentioned that. Good catch, In all the revisions I failed to notice I left out use Ctrl Numpad 0 first to set the selected camera to active then use Ctrl Alt Numpad 0 to point said active camera. I see what you mean by selected as well, answer still stands as one way to do so. I see you've made an answer but will update. Thanks. $\endgroup$ – iKlsR Aug 22 '16 at 3:23
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @SibbsGambling You have to fiddle with the options then, the default for most 3d spaces is the Z points away from the camera/user hence the -Z and the Y goes up in world or global space. $\endgroup$ – iKlsR Mar 24 '17 at 15:46
71
$\begingroup$

Situation 1: You're not looking through the camera yet

  • Fly Mode: Shift + F or the standard Viewport Navigation
  • Set Camera to View: Ctrl + Alt + Numpad 0

Situation 2: You're already looking through the camera via Numpad 0

  • Select the camera: Right Mouse Button
  • Grab: G & optionally...
    • Lock the grab to a local axis: XX or YY or ZZ (my favorite)
  • Rotate:
    • Tilt: R
    • Look around: R R
    • Orbit around the 3D cursor: .R followed by R, or Z. (Press , afterwards)

Tips & Notes (some go beyond this question):

  1. In earlier versions of Blender, Fly Mode would to make the camera slowly flatten with the horizon line. It doesn't anymore, but you can reset the camera's rotation Alt + R to make the horizon flat and then use fly mode to reorient the camera while maintaining that flat horizon.

  2. If you decide to use another object as a target for the camera to look at, you can use the Object Constraints. To do this:

    1. Select the camera.
    2. Shift-select the target.
    3. Press CtrlT and select Track To or Damped Track To. You can modify the new constraint in the camera's Constraints panel, for example, to animate the influence.
$\endgroup$
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ For the constraints (which is what I usually use) you can use select_camera > select_target > Ctrl-T > Damped Track or Track To to automatically create the constraint with the right settings (-Z-track and Y-up). $\endgroup$ – wchargin Jun 9 '13 at 23:22
  • $\begingroup$ Additional point: If I want to dump the constraint but keep the camera pointed the same way I Apply (Ctrl-A) the Visual transforms before I delete it. $\endgroup$ – Andy J Buchanan Jul 16 '14 at 13:45
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ In Ubuntu 16.10, when I press Ctrl + Alt + Numpad 0, Blender window is minimized. $\endgroup$ – Casper Nov 28 '16 at 4:58
30
$\begingroup$

It looks like the best methods have been mentioned already but adding 2 more (for completeness).

  • Walk/Fly Mode: You can trigger this with Shift + F, you then move the mouse about to 'Turn your head' (as if you're in a first-person computer game), this is similar to rotating the camera itself but you dont have to change the selection or worry about the current pivot-point.

  • Lock the camera to the view: In the View panel this can be enabled, in some cases its nicer than Align Active Camera to View because you can tweak the camera using regular view manipulation and while seeing the camera frame, guides etc.

$\endgroup$
16
$\begingroup$
  1. Select the object(s) you want your camera to be pointed at.
  2. Press Numpad dot(.).
  3. Choose desired view by pressing Numpad numbers and zoom by scrolling mouse wheel (Optional).
  4. Press Ctrl + Alt + Numpad0.
$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ You might want to use Home (View All) instead of Numpad + .to frame the objects $\endgroup$ – brita_ May 19 '18 at 10:34
16
$\begingroup$

If you want to move it quickly I would recommend this method.

Constraint Track

  1. Add a null object
  2. Select the camera then the object then press Ctrl + T
  3. Click damped track to constraint

Now move either object as desired (The camera will always look at that object meaning you can move it around as you please)

$\endgroup$
13
$\begingroup$

Both of these things can be done via the "View" menu. In order to view the current 3d cursor location you would:

  1. View -> Align View -> Center View to Cursor (Alt + Home)
  2. View -> Align View -> Align Active Camera to View (Ctrl + Alt + Numpad 0)

In order to point the Camera at the currently selected object(s):

  1. View -> Align View -> Align Active Camera to Selected

Also, if you want to quickly set the Camera to view all objects in the current scene you can do the following:

  1. View -> Align View -> Center Cursor and View All (Shift + C)
  2. View -> Align View -> Align Active Camera to View (Ctrl + Alt + Numpad 0)
$\endgroup$
9
$\begingroup$

You can also go into the camera view Numpad 0, open the Properties panel, with N, and then check 'Lock active camera to view'. Doing this will allow you to use the same navigation methods you would use on the viewport, but will also move the camera, accordingly.

$\endgroup$
7
$\begingroup$

Step by Step Solution

  1. Select a camera in the Scene object list.

    enter image description here

  2. Press 0 to view in Camera Perp.

    enter image description here

  3. Press Shift + F to rotate the camera angle by your mouse.

    enter image description here

  4. If you don't click the mouse to fix the rotation, you can also use the following keys to locate a position.

    • W - Move the camera forward
    • S - Move the camera backward
    • A - Move the camera to the left-hand side
    • D - Move the camera to the right-hand side
    • Q - Move the camera higher
    • E - Move the camera lower
  5. Finally, left click the view to fix the position and rotation of the camera.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ It's in the blender's documentation. :-) $\endgroup$ – Vishal Kumar Sahu Nov 4 '17 at 6:47
3
$\begingroup$

The OP says: "How do I point a selected camera"...

The keyboard shortcut given in the accepted answer will move the 'active' camera, which is not necessarily the selected camera. A 'selected' camera and an 'active' camera can be two different cameras, if there is more than one camera in a scene.

A full explanation of how to make the selected camera into the active camera is here, for anyone on the same mission I was on: How can I make a camera the active one?


I'd set my view up first and had a tough time with all these keyboard shortcuts so for anyone new like me grappling with more than one camera in their scene.

UPDATED from comment below (Thanks Mr Zak):

  1. Navigate by panning/zooming/rotating your 3D view to what you want.
  2. Select camera (if not already selected)
  3. ctl + Numpad 0 make selected camera active
  4. Numpad 0 Return to desired view
  5. ctl + alt + numpad 0 Align the camera to view.

It's actually a really neat set of shortcuts. Blender rocks!

I found that aligning an added camera to the view I'd created did not give me a result I expected. So I currently find it easier to select the (active) camera and move it using G + X/Y/Z or G + XX/YY/ZZ. There are answers above about setting up the camera to track to an empty and answers elsewhere about sorting the camera out, but this is a quick-n-dirty render I'm doing.


(I originally intended to add a short explanation that the selected and active cameras can be two different things just to give the inexperienced, like me, a 'heads-up' in the comments on the accepted answer, where it would be most useful - except I need 50 reputation points to do so and only have 35 at time of writing).

$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ To point camera to desired already found point in 3d space with already described way select camera (either in 3D Viewport or in Outliner), press Ctrl+Numpad0 to make it active, Numpad0 to exit camera view, view will return to desired, Ctrl+Alt+Numpad0. $\endgroup$ – Mr Zak Aug 19 '16 at 12:22
  • $\begingroup$ There you go... it felt too perscriptive a way of working. Jeez, it's hard being a newbie. Thanks Mr Zak. $\endgroup$ – GLCoder Aug 19 '16 at 12:25
3
$\begingroup$

In my opinion, the easiest way to move the camera is to lock it to the view. You can do this by selecting the camera, pressing N to open the properties, then checking "lock to view". Then press 0 to look through the camera (if you weren't already). You can now control the camera's position with WASD, zoom with the scroll wheel, and point the camera simply by moving the mouse.

$\endgroup$

protected by iKlsR Jun 13 '13 at 12:14

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.