Setting Camera Parameters in 3D max

When a camera is first created, you can modify the camera parameters directly in the Create panel as long as the new camera is selected. After the camera object has been deselected, you can make modifications in the Modify panel’s Parameters rollout for the camera, shown in Figure 28-5.


Figure 28-5: The Parameters rollout (shown in two parts) lets you specify Lens values or choose from a selection of stock lenses.

Multi-pass cameras can be set up to create Depth of Field and Motion Blur effects. These effects are covered later in this chapter.

Lens settings and field of view

The first parameter in the Parameters rollout sets the Lens value or more simply, the cam- era’s focal length in millimeters.

The second parameter, FOV (which stands for field of view), sets the width of the area that the camera displays. The value is specified in degrees and can be set to represent a Horizontal, Vertical, or Diagonal distance using the flyout button to its left, as shown in Table 28-2.


The Orthographic Projection option displays the camera view in a manner similar to any of the orthographic viewports such as Top, Left, or Front. This eliminates any perspective distortion of objects farther back in the scene and displays true dimensions for all edges in the scene.

Professional photographers and film crews use standard stock lenses in the course of their work. These lenses can be simulated in Max by clicking one of the Stock Lens buttons. Preset stock lenses include 15, 20, 24, 28, 35, 50, 85, 135, and 200mm lengths. The Lens and FOV fields are automatically updated on stock lens selection.

On cameras that use 35mm film, the typical default lens is 50mm.

Camera type and display options

The Type option enables you to change a Free camera to a Target camera and then change back at any time.

The Show Cone option enables you to display the camera’s cone, showing the boundaries of the camera view when the camera isn’t selected. (The camera cone is always visible when a camera is selected.) The Show Horizon option sets a horizon line within the camera view, which is a dark gray line where the horizon is located.

Environment ranges and clipping planes

You use the Near and Far Range values to specify the volume within which atmospheric effects like fog and volume lights are to be contained. The Show option causes these limits to be displayed as yellow rectangles within the camera’s cone.

You use clipping planes to designate the closest and farthest object that the camera can see. In Max, they are displayed as red rectangles with crossing diagonals in the camera cone. The Clip Manually option lets you specify the Near Clip Plane to be something less than three units. Figure 28-6 shows a camera with Clipping Planes specified. The front Clipping Plane intersects the car and chops off its front end. The far Clipping Plane intersects the middle of the car and clips the back-end of the car as well as the construction grid.

Clipping planes can be used to create a cutaway view of your model.

Camera Correction modifier

To understand the Camera Correction modifier, you first need to understand what two-point perspective is. Default cameras in Max use three-point perspective, which causes all lines to converge to a vanishing point off in the distance, but two-point perspective causes all vertical lines to remain vertical.

The visual effect of this modifier is that extra tall objects appear to bend toward the camera when corrected. For example, if you have a camera pointed at a skyscraper, then correcting the camera with the Camera Correction modifier makes the top of the building appear closer rather than having it recede away.


Figure 28-6: A camera cone displaying Clipping Planes

The Camera Correction modifier has an Amount value that lets you specify how much correc- tion to apply and a Direction value that orients the angle of vertical lines in the scene. There is also a Guess button, which automatically sets the correction values for you based on the Z- axis vertical.

The Camera Correction modifier doesn’t appear in the Modifier List in the Modifier Stack, but you can select it from the Modifiers menu.

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