CAP 203 - Computer Animation III

Chapter 26 - Configuring Cameras


This lesson reviews information about cameras as used in 3DS Max. Objectives important to this lesson:

  1. Camera basics
  2. Creating a camera
  3. Viewing a camera
  4. Viewport camera controls
  5. Aimed cameras
  6. Camera correction
  7. Camera effects

The chapter begins a lesson on cameras as though you had not used them before. Of course, at this point we have covered camera basics already, so let's move ahead.


  • cameras can be free cameras or target cameras
  • viewports can be set to show the scene from the point of view of any camera: right-click the viewport title and choose the name of the camera
  • camera movement can be controlled with the Camera Navigation controls
  • Camera Navigation controls appear in place of the standard viewport controls when a viewport that shows a camera view is selected

New items appear on page 633:

  • you can use the dolly control to dolly the camera, its target, or both, into or out of the scene
  • the roll camera control is used to rotate the camera on its z-axis
  • the icon that looks a bit like a pencil point is the field of view button, which modifies the width of the camera's field of view. This is like changing the focal length of the camera.
  • the orbit button rotates the camera around the target
  • the pan camera button (not the pan button) rotates the target around the camera

Take a look at the second tutorial in the chapter, as noted below,

Tutorial Notes and Questions

Tutorial 2 (Seeing the dinosaur's good side): Load the file indicated in the exercise. Follow the steps.
Step 3 tells you to use a Tool menu choice that does not exist in version 2009. You can, however, use the Align Camera button which is buried in the flyout options of the Align button on the main button bar.

The Camera Correction modifier is described in the text (page 638), but a tutorial does not address it. It is worth your time to read the section on perspective on the page. We are told that 3DS Max uses three point perspective by default, which we have discussed as showing a scene with three vanishing points. For a classic illustration of this in an optical illusion, follow this link to a picture drawn by M. C. Escher. The Camera Correction tool forces the scene into two point perspective.

The text also discusses applying Depth of Field and Motion Blur effects to the scene. As usual, this is described adequately but there is no compelling reason given for doing it, since the scene is made harder to see in each case.