View Full Version : XSI style Trackball Camera in Layout?

09-19-2007, 05:42 AM
Can anyone help?

The trackball style manipulation of the 'virtual camera' in the Modeler Perspective viewport allows the user to orbit and zoom in and out of models with ease.

Yet the Layout Camera feels clunky by comparison - it's only possible to move and rotate. All the sponteneity and instant feedback of Modeller is lost and I sometimes yearn to be able to render scenes directly in Modeler.

Hopefully the merging of Modeler and Layout will make this possible.

Trackball cameras are available in XSI and Maya. Is there a Layout plugin available anywhere...?

09-19-2007, 06:30 AM
I bought a space navigator together with XSI. The nav with the space mouse is great, you feel like having an arm and a hand less when navigating LW.


09-19-2007, 11:52 PM
One thing that will help is switch the Coordinates System to Local when moving the camera. At least when you switch back and forth between rotate and move you will be moving along the vector you are pointing. This would be similar to zooming in.

Captain Obvious
09-20-2007, 08:10 AM
The funny thing is that modo's camera viewports behave like that by default, and there's been no end to the whining about it...

09-20-2007, 09:19 AM
The funny thing is that modo's camera viewports behave like that by default, and there's been no end to the whining about it...

:D I saw that thread and can't understand why they don't seem to like such a profoundly simple but immensely useful feature. In LW it should be optional. It's made me think very seriously about spending more time with XSI or investing in Modo. I'd rather not, I love Lightwave's renderer too much.

A trackball enables setting up scenes / camera compositions in seconds rather than moving the Layout camera around in such a clunky way.

Surrealist, thanks for the tip... sounds like it will be helpful.

09-20-2007, 11:48 AM
You're welcome. Not close to what you are looking for but hope it helps.

Also another thing I sometimes do is use a null as a target for the camera. This way I can place it in the area I am wanting to look at and quickly try various camera angles on the same subject. I then move the null if I want to adjust the frame further or move to another area of interest. I find this helpful for animation too.

Also you can set up rigs of nulls for the camera to make it work like a traditional camera rig with boom or jib etc.

Here's an exerpt from 1001 tips and tricks. (which I own) I found the link here (http://www.newtek.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-18404.html).

Thought I would leak a tip to the group here to give you an example of the tips we have in the new LightWave 3D 8 1001 Tips and Tricks book from Wordware Publishing. For specials on this book please check out www.wordware.com/tnt (http://www.wordware.com/tnt)

Emanuele Salvucci Animating Inverse Kinematic Intermediate

Virtual Camera Dolly

Movie directors usually use dollies for their cameras. Actually we can approximately create a virtual dolly for our virtual camera doing the following operations in Layout starting from an empty scene:

- Move the Camera to the center of the grid (0,0,0) and create a keyframe at 0
- Add a Null object and create 4 clones (5 Null objects totally)
- Set Null (2) as Parent for Null (1), Null (3) as Parent for Null (2) and so on, leaving Null (5) free
- On Null (2) set Pitch Controller to Inverse Kinematic and set Keyframes for the other channel controllers
- On Null (3) set instead Heading Controller to Inverse Kinematic and the rest of controllers to Keyframes
- On Null (4) set Heading Controller to Align to Path and the rest of controllers to Keyframes
- Now parent the Camera to Null (1)
- Translate Null (1) on the Y axis. This distance represents the length of the first “arm” of our dolly
- Translate Null (2) on the Y axis as this will be the second arm of the dolly
- Translate Null (5) on the Z axis 3 meters, enough to see the dolly rotating
- Set Null (5) as Goal Object for Null (1) and turn Full-Time IK on for Null (1)
- Adjust the Camera Pitch angle to look at the Goal Object (Null (5))

Now that the dolly system is done let’s see how to control it.

First of all, none of the Null objects should have animated translations but Null (4) and the Camera. Null (4) in fact acts as the dolly rails (the heading direction is following the animation path’s orientation).

Null (5) is the main dolly controller as you can experiment by moving it around.

The Camera is actually totally free, so that you can add any other movement to the dolly action.

As you can notice, the second arm of our dolly ( Null (3) – Null (2)) isn’t rotating like the first arm ( Null (2) – Null (1)). To create an extensible second arm we can add the following expression to Null (3) Pitch channel:

((Null (5).wpos(Time)) - (Camera.wpos(Time)))*2

Where the subtraction result represents the distance between the Camera and the dolly IK goal with an arbitrary factor to enhance rotations.

Now you can see how the second arm is extending and retracting when Null (5) moves away and toward the Camera.

Versions 5.0 – 8. 11-15-2003

Thanks everyone!!! If you have questions post or email me at [email protected]

Get more info and special discount on this book at www.wordware.com/tnt (http://www.wordware.com/tnt)

09-23-2007, 01:11 PM

Cheers, I've made some basic rigs before, parenting cameras to nulls but nothing this ingenious or complex. It looks intriguing - are there any screenshots to illustrate how it works? Or better still a LW scene? :D