I am making a scene in Blender that involves a character walking into a diner. He simply opens the door, enters, and walks a few steps. However, the issue that I am facing is that I want the camera to start tracking the guy the moment he walks in. It may sound pretty simple, but I couldn't figure out how to have the camera follow the guy so that he's always in the center of the camera view. I don't want the camera to be static and rotate to the guy's direction, rather, I want it to move along as if it was on a track. The problem is that if I parent the camera to the rig, it will start following it and moving before the character reaches the middle of the screen (the camera is pointing at the door already).

As another possible solution, I created an empty which copies the rig movement and then added the Child Of constraint to the camera. I followed up by parenting the camera to the empty using this constraint and keyframing the influence so it kicks in when the guy is in the view center. It worked, but the camera snaps when the influence turns to 100%, so tweaked it a bit and Set Inverse many times until I had a shot where the camera follows the guy with no snapping, BUT it initiated the movement in a very linear way, I want the camera movement to start off smoothly, the interpolation modes did not solve the issue as the influence key frames are next to each other to eliminate the snapping issue.

Any thoughts on how to fix this?

  • $\begingroup$ I think you are thinking that the wrong way, why trouble with parenting and such ? You could simply keyframe the camera yourself which will give you much better results. All you need is a nice camera rig so you don't fall into the gimbal lock troubles but then you'll have all the proper control to ease however you want. If the purpose is an other one, please provide more info so we could help. $\endgroup$ – melMass May 26 '16 at 9:36
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, well, mate I tried that already, the problem with my rig is that its speed is not at a constant pace, the camera went ahead of the rig and couldn't keep the guy in the center, so this may involve plenty of counter-animation and wont eventually deliver a quality animation i believe. $\endgroup$ – Abedd May 26 '16 at 10:14
  • $\begingroup$ Yes thats what I meant by "thinking the wrong way", if your aiming at believable camera movement you have to think of it as a real camera on a real set. How would the operator make the shot? With what kind of gear. That's the way I prepare all my cam animations. $\endgroup$ – melMass May 26 '16 at 10:23
  • $\begingroup$ I see your point, makes sense, gonna animate the camera again and try to make it look believable, but will also keep an eye on the post, perhaps there is a solution for such issues that might come in handy for making similar scenes $\endgroup$ – Abedd May 26 '16 at 10:29
  • $\begingroup$ Perfectly centerpoint tracking camera looks artificial and naive you don't want it. Tracking has its use but for best results just make the keyframes for camera manually for this case. $\endgroup$ – kheetor May 26 '16 at 11:35

IF what you want is a rigid, mechanical way for the camera to follow the guy, you should put an empty where you want the camera to look, parent that empty to the guy (so that it follows him when he moves), and then add a "Track to..." constraint, with that empty as a target.

This will produce what you're asking for, but as Abedd pointed out, I don't think that's what you want.

This problem has been solved before, in two different ways. One way is to just make the camera do what you want it to do. It might mean you have a keyframe on every frame (probably not), but it'll look at what you want, when you want it to look there.

The REAL solution is a genuine camera rig. You build an armature for your camera that makes it move more like a real camera does. you build different rigs for handhelds, locked shots, crane shots, and Steadicam shots. There are also existing rigs that you could get from elsewhere. I'll bet there's one on BlendSwap, but I haven't looked.

The best solution for you, right now, is probably a really simple rig. Don't spend too much time trying to learn a new skill and new rig, just make an empty that's easy to move around and make your camera look at it. Then you can animate it and the camera at the same time. Don't parent the empty to anything, just use it to control where the camera is looking.


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