Smooth AE Camera Movements

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Aperture, Aug 9, 2008.

  1. Aperture macrumors 68000

    Aperture

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Location:
    PA
    #1
    I've recently become interested in motion graphics and began trying my hand at After Effects. I believe I have some of the basics down but the one thing I'm struggling with is getting smooth, fluid camera movements. When I create a complex camera movement through a 3D scene, I end up having to move the camera around many times to get the right look (obviously). When I go ahead and preview it, though, it comes out a bit wobbly. I'm wondering if this problem could be avoided by animating a null object and parenting the camera to it?... Or is it just my inexperience with the camera that is causing it to come out wobbly?

    Thanks in advance!

    Edit: I think I have a better way to explain what is happening. Basically, I make a new keyframe and play with the XYZ values until I put the camera into the position I would like it to be in at that keyframe. When I play the animation, it plays each part of the animation in the exact order the XYZ values were edited. For example, I make a keyframe for the camera at 0 seconds and another at 5 seconds. When I play it, it first adjusts the camera's X position, followed by the Z and Y (or whatever order I edited them in) to reach the final camera position I intended at 5 seconds. Basically, I would like it to mix all of those together into one smooth, fluid animation.
     
  2. tri3limited macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Location:
    London
    #2
    It this happening post render? By the sounds of it you're doing everything reasonably correct so all I can think is that you're playing back the timeline (probably with the space bar).

    A couple of things to try;

    1. Try a RAM Preview by press Shift+(Numpad) '0'
    This should rough render your project and play it bak at half the full framerate. This will give you a much smoother and better representation.

    2. If you are just looking to Accel and Decel the camera then use the graph function (next to the property you are keyframing) to adjust the graphs curve. Add new points by Cmd+Click where you want to add the keyframe. You can then right click the new points and add a preset Easy Ease whick smooths out the jerky movement.

    All in all for what you're doing i feel that Final Cut Studio 2's Motion 3 would be better suited to what you're doing, due to the inbuilt behaviors that work wonders for these things.

    It can be easily done in AE but i think that Motion 3 might be more down your street, and it can still create wonders.

    Feel free to keep plugging away with it though and any questions ill be happy to help. If possible could i grab some more information on the project so i know exactly what you are trying to animate around? I'm not quite sure what camera movements you're trying to replicate at the moment... Pans, tilts, dollys, straight cuts etc?

    http://isuwa.com/swf/application.swf
    Is this the sort of thing you're trying to achieve (obvs completely different footage!)
     
  3. Aperture thread starter macrumors 68000

    Aperture

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Location:
    PA
    #3
    First, thanks for the help, I really appreciate it. After playing around with it for about an hour I realized I wasn't correctly animating the camera movements. I was mainly using the 3D tools (orbit, etc) to manipulate the camera angle which wasn't working out the way I wanted it to. For the parts of the animation causing trouble, I didn't touch the tools and strictly stuck to changing the values which seemed to work great. Every time I previewed the project I did do a RAM preview. I also did use the easy ease keyframe assist to not make it seem no mechanical.

    As far as using Motion, I almost asked this in my first post but I figured I would just stick with AE as I was already somewhat getting used to the controls and how things worked. Can Motion be had as a standalone product? I'm mainly interested in 3D scenes, title sequences, animations, and some basic special effects/compositing... Not so much movie making.

    Oh & the project I was working on wasn't necessarily for any exact purpose, I was just playing around to see what I could do. I'll certainly upload the finished video in a few minutes.

    Here is the link to the video. It isn't anything too crazy, I was just trying to make something simple.
     
  4. tri3limited macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Location:
    London
    #4
    Motion 3 is motion graphics software and that's about it. That said it does have some really useful filters built-in as well as an almost perfect image stabilizer and the perfect slow-motion using Optical Flow (it's truly unbelievable!)

    Optical Flow - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSO5PGrPA8U
    Stabilize Motion - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aX-UxxM_6sI

    The in-built behaviors save time as they are simple pre-sets (there's loads of them) but they allow for a hell of a lot of customization. The keyframe feature is the same and the 3D is brilliant for motion graphics (okay for compositing video, slightly better than Final Cut in areas and worse in others).

    Best of all is the bonus content that it comes with (something like 6Gbs of it!). Pre-built particle generators work wonders and can be adapted so easily.

    For special effects I use After Effects (the odd bit of Shake when i can be bothered with it) and for my titles, motion graphics, slow-motion footage, stabilizers and brief animation projects I use Motion 3.

    Without a doubt After Effects is way more powerful but all in all I feel they do distinctly different things for me. I would rather do something in Motion 3 most of the time because it's quicker and easier to create the perfect professional piece, whereas AE is a bit more of a manual slog.

    EDIT: I added an extra video link. Well worth watching!
     

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