Tutorial: Seeing the dinosaur’s good side 3D max

Using the Align Camera tool, you can place a camera so that it points directly at an item or the face of an object, such as the dinosaur’s good side (if a dinosaur has a good side). To align a camera with an object point, follow these steps:

1. Open the Dinosaur.max file from the Chap 28 directory on the DVD.

This file includes a dinosaur model created by Viewpoint Datalabs.

2. Select Create➪Cameras➪Free Camera, and click in the Top viewport to create a new Free camera in the scene.

3. With the camera selected, choose Tools➪Align Camera or click the Align Camera fly- out button on the main toolbar.

The cursor changes to a small camera icon.

4. Click the cursor on the dinosaur’s face just under its eye in the Perspective viewport. This point is where the camera will point.

5. To see the new camera view, right-click the viewport title and choose Views➪ Camera01 (or press C).

Although the camera is pointing at the selected point, you may need to change the field of view to correct the zoom ratios.

Figure 28-4 shows our dinosaur from the newly aligned camera.


Figure 28-4: This new camera view of the dinosaur shows his best side.

The Align Camera command points a camera at an object only for the current frame. It does not follow an object if it moves during an animation. To have a camera follow an object, you need to use the Look At Controller, which is covered later in this chapter.

The Align Camera command requires that a camera be selected before the command is used. Max includes another command that creates the camera for you and matches it to the current active viewport. The Views➪Create Camera From View (Ctrl+C) menu command creates a new Free camera if one doesn’t already exist, matches the current active viewport, and makes the active viewport a camera view. This provides you the ability to position the view using the Viewport Navigation Controls, and it automatically makes a camera that shows that view.

If a camera already exists in the scene and is selected, this command uses the selected cam- era for the view.

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