Tutorial: Setting up an opponent’s view in 3D max

There is no limit to the number of cameras that you can place in a scene. Placing two cam- eras in a scene showing a game of checkers lets you see the game from the perspective of either player.

To create a new aligned view from the opponent’s perspective, follow these steps:

1. Open the Checkers game.max file from the Chap 26 directory on the DVD.

2. Select Create➪Cameras➪Target Camera, and drag in the Top viewport to create the camera. Then give the new camera the name Opponents Camera.

3. Position the new target camera behind the opponent’s pieces roughly symmetrical to the other camera.

4. With the new camera selected, drag the target point and position it on top of the other camera’s target point somewhere below the center of the board.

To see the new camera view, right-click the Perspective viewport title and choose View➪ Black Camera (or select the camera and the Perspective viewport, and press the C key). Figure 28-2 shows the view from this camera.


Figure 28-2: Positioning an additional camera behind the Black player’s pieces offers the opponent’s view.

Controlling a camera

I was once on a ride at Disneyland when a person behind me decided to blatantly disregard the signs not to take photographs. As he leaned over to snap another picture, I heard a fum- bling noise, a faint, “Oh no,” and then the distinct sound of his camera falling into the depths of the ride. (That was actually more enjoyable than the ride. It served him right.) As this example shows, controlling a camera can be difficult. This chapter offers many tips and tricks for dealing with the cameras in Max, and you won’t have to worry about dropping them.

You control the camera view in a viewport by means of the Camera Navigation controls located in the lower-right corner of the screen. These controls replace the viewport controls when a camera view is selected and are different from the normal Viewport Navigation con- trols. The Camera Navigation controls are identified and defined in Table 28-1.

You can constrain the movements to a single axis by holding down the Shift key. The Ctrl key causes the movements to increase rapidly. For example, holding down the Ctrl key while dragging the Perspective tool magnifies the amount of perspective applied to the viewport.

You can undo changes in the normal viewports using the Views➪Undo (Shift+Z) command, but you undo camera viewport changes with the regular Edit➪Undo command.


If a Free camera is selected, then the Dolly Target and Dolly Camera + Target buttons are not available.

Aiming a camera
In addition to the Camera Navigation buttons, you can use the Transformation buttons on the main toolbar to reposition the camera object. To move a camera, select the camera object and click the Select and Move button (W). Then drag in the viewports to move the camera.

Using the Select and Rotate (E) button changes the direction in which a camera points, but only Free cameras rotate in all directions. When applied to a Target camera, the rotate trans- formation spins only the camera about the axis pointing to the target.You aim Target cam- eras by moving their targets.

Don’t try to rotate a Target camera so that it is pointing directly up or down, or the camera will flip.

Select the target for a Target camera by selecting its camera object, right-clicking to open the pop-up menu, and selecting Select Target.

Tutorial: Watching a rocket

Because cameras can be transformed like any other geometry, they can also be set to watch the movements of any other geometry. In this tutorial, we aim a camera at a distant rocket and watch it as it flies past us and on into the sky. Zygote Media created the rocket model used in this tutorial.

To aim a camera at a rocket as it hurtles into the sky, follow these steps:

1. Open the Following a rocket.max file from the Chap 28 directory on the DVD. This file includes a rocket mesh.

2. Select Create➪Cameras➪Target Camera, and drag in the Front viewport from the top to the bottom of the viewport to create a camera. Set the Field of View value to 2.0 degrees. The corresponding Lens value is around 1031mm.

3. Select the camera target, click the Select and Link button in the main toolbar, and drag from the target to the rocket object.

4. To view the scene from the camera’s viewpoint, right-click the Perspective viewport title and choose Views➪Camera01 from the pop-up menu (or press the C button). Then click the Play Animation button to see how well the camera follows the target.

Figure 28-3 shows some frames from this animation.

Aligning cameras

Another way to aim a camera is with the Tools➪Align Camera menu command or by clicking the Align Camera button on the main toolbar (under the Align flyout). After selecting this command, click an object face and hold down the mouse button; the normal to the object face that is currently under the cursor icon is displayed as a blue arrow. When you’ve located the point at which you want the camera to point, release the mouse button. The camera is repositioned to point directly at the selected point on the selected face along the normal.

The Align Camera command does the same thing for cameras that the Place Highlight com- mand does for lights. A discussion of the Place Highlight command appears in Chapter 29, “Basic Lighting Techniques.”


Figure 28-3: Positioning the camera’s target on the rocket enables the camera to follow the rocket’s ascent.

Cameras can be automatically positioned to match any view that a viewport can display, including lights and the Perspective view. To do this, select a camera, activate the viewport with the view that you want to match, and choose Views➪Create Camera from View (Ctrl+C). The camera is moved to display this view. If you use the Match Camera to View command while a camera view is the active viewport, the two cameras are positioned on top of each other.

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