Adding life to CG Camera move

Cg Cameras can inherently feel too smooth compared to an actual physical camera move. Now you could spend the time and really add subtle nuances to your camera move or you could explore other means to achieve this.

One way is using a script to randomize your camera move. This will add some artifacting to your camera’s keyframe that will give it a little life and feel more organic. There are a multitude of scripts out there that people have written. One I have  used is from Creative Crash site: http://www.creativecrash.com/

The one that I used is RandomizeKey. It’s a python script that you can copy into your script editor.

1_randomize_key_python

Once copied you can File–Save Script to Shelve for future use.

2_script_editor_save_to_shelf

I typically add extra keyframes to my animation (maybe every 5-10 frames) so that the randomizer has more to work with.

Open up the Graph Editor, Window–Animation Editor–Graph Editor. Select the keyframes you want to randomize.

3_script_editor

Click to activate the script to get the GUI for it.

Spacial Keyframes will modify attribute values for each keyframe. Min/Max Randomness is the amount to be applied to each value. You can have positive and negative values. Start/End Frames is the frame range you want the randomization to happen on. Then you have a whole list of values you can affect on those frames; translate, rotation, scale, etc. You can even affect each parameter for individual x,y,z or as groups.

4_randomize_gui

What you are looking to do is add a little life to your camera move and not cause to much disruption to cause the camera move to be distracting.

Another way to add noise to your camera move is to use fractals. Add a group node to your camera.

a_fractal_group

In the transform Attributes, right click on what parameter you want the fractal to affect. Select “Create New Texture”.

b_fractal_create_new_texture

Select the “Fractal” node.

c_fractal_node_shader

In the fractal node, you’ll want to check “Animated” on. This allows the fractal to animate over your frame range. Amplitude will add wobble to your camera. Ratio can either smooth out the fractal (lower number) or increase it (higher number). Try experimenting with all the different parameters.

d_fractal_node_attributes

You can even go in the 2dTexture node and use the Repeat UV fields to add additional variations. Again subtle bits of artifacts to your camera’s movement is all your want. Little hints of imperfections to give an organic feel.

Try also using both techniques the script approach with the fractal.

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2 thoughts on “Adding life to CG Camera move

  1. Awesome Eric! Such an important subject. I’d love a follow-up post with a bit of discussion on the philosophy of moving the camera: how and why to move. I see a lot of CG camera movement that seems like the “camera operator” doesn’t know where he’s going or why – but there’s movement.

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