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So as a follow up to the gimbal lock question, I've learned that for a camera it's best to use YXZ euler model (as explained in this video).

Here's the problem. When I add a camera in blender, it for some reason points downward, so when you change the euler to YXZ, rotate the camera 90° along X axis(gimbal), you immediately hit the gimbal lock. That wouldn't be a problem, if you could apply rotation to the camera - which seems to not be possible.

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ One convenient thing about the unrotated camera pointing down is that it's super-convenient to make orthographic animations in the XY plane. (use the Z for layering) $\endgroup$ – Mutant Bob Apr 24 '14 at 19:39
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The suggested YXZ order from the video does not work in Blender because it uses the Z up axis convention, whereas Maya uses Y as up axis.

If you want to get a setup like the video, where the gimbal lock occurs when looking up or down, you need to parent the camera to an empty and rotate the empty 90° on the X axis, then set the rotation order on the camera to YXZ.

Only changing the rotation order on the camera can't work, the gimbal lock always happens at 90° on some axis and the camera is at (0°, 0°, 0°) when looking down, so this extra parenting is needed.

That being said, I think the standard XYZ rotation order in Blender may actually be better for cameras. It will give you gimbal lock when tilting the camera 90° sideways, which is perhaps even less common than looking down or up.

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  • $\begingroup$ Good point about the Z axis convention. The set up with the empty works great and you're probably right about the XYZ model. Btw, do you have any idea why it's not possible to apply rotation to either the camera or the empty? $\endgroup$ – dwelle May 31 '13 at 11:25
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    $\begingroup$ There is nothing to apply the rotation to, cameras or empties do not have a rotation stored somewhere besides the object. For meshes there are the vertex coordinates that can be changed but there is no equivalent here. $\endgroup$ – brecht May 31 '13 at 11:37
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Since you are asking this question you may want to consider setting up a camera rig.

There are some example videos online link, link, of different camera rigs however I'm not sure which are good to use with the latest blender release. (Nice addon project for beginner/intermediate developer).

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  • $\begingroup$ +1. Great idea. The book "Film Directing Shot by Shot" has some nice examples of standard camera rigs. Will be nice if there is an add-on with such rigs. $\endgroup$ – satishgoda May 31 '13 at 16:23

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