In Blender, cameras are used to capture scenes and each scene can have one or multiple cameras. Because the camera is such an important component, this post gives some tips about using cameras in Blender.
Apart from a light source and a basic cube, each new Blender file also opens with a camera object. The camera is used to determine the exact dimensions of what will be rendered. If there is only one camera in the scene, the (then only active) camera view can be toggled at any point by pressing the Numpad 0 key.
Setting a camera to the current view
While in camera view (see earlier), the camera might not show the scene correctly. There are a couple of ways to set the camera, but a simple, fast way is to set the camera to the current view. To do this, simply press the Ctrl + Alt + Numpad 0 keys while the camera is selected and the mouse pointer is in the 3D view area.
Adding multiple cameras
More cameras can be added to a scene by pressing the Shift + A keys while the mouse pointer is in the 3D View area. The camera can be renamed in the Outliner section to make it more descriptive.
To be able to use a specific camera, it needs to be set to the active camera. By simply changing the active camera from one to another, different cameras can be used one by one for renders. In addition to this, markers can be used on the animation timeline to view the scene from consecutive cameras at different times during the animation (see markers later).
To use a specific camera, but only that camera, the active camera can be chosen by selecting it and pressing the Ctrl + Numpad 0 keys. By pressing the Numpad 0 key that camera’s view will be active.
Using markers to change camera views
In Blender, markers can be used to indicate key points or significant events within an animation. It is very handy to indicate (or mark) a change in the active camera while in the viewing and/or rendering process. They also act as stepped keyframes, meaning they will change immediately from the previous frame to the next frame (i.e. there is no interpolation). One or multiple markers can be used at different locations on the timeline and can be named to give an overview of what change is made.
Before a marker can be used, the camera that needs to be assigned to it needs to be created and named first (see adding multiple cameras earlier). To insert a marker, first, go to the frame it needs to be inserted too and then press the M key while the mouse pointer is in the Timeline View. Alternatively, it can be added by using the Marker menu – Add Marker. This will create a little triangle indicating that that frame has a marker assigned to it.
Markers can be selected and deselected as with everything else in Blender. It will be deselected while hovering over the Timeline View and pressing the A key, and clicking on it with the select mouse button will select it. By default, markers will be called by the frame number they are situated at. Markers can also be given a descriptive name by pressing Ctrl + M buttons while the mouse pointer is in the Timeline view area.
To bind a camera to a marker, it needs to be set to active camera first (see earlier). While the camera is active, select the desired marker and hit the Ctrl + B keys while the mouse pointer is in the Timeline View. Alternatively, the Bind Camera to Markers option under the View menu can be used. When a camera is bound, the line above the marker triangle will become dotted.
Change the camera view with viewport
Instead of working with a camera’s coordinates or moving out of the camera view, in some cases it might be easier to simply lock the camera to the current active view. The setting for this is under the Properties panel (visible by either pressing the M button while in the mouse pointer is in the 3D view area or by clicking on the + at the top right of the 3D view window).
By checking/unchecking the Lock Camera to View setting, the camera can be moved around while in the Camera view.
Using common camera resolutions
Most viewing devices these days have screens that are capable of viewing fairly high resolutions. Blender can render at the exact dimension and/or resolution that you might need for your project. For this, the camera settings are used.
The dimentions and resolutions settings are situated under the Render tab in the Dimentions section. Common resolutions can be selected from the Render Presets drop-down list. Custom X and Y values can also be dialed in. The percentage bar below the X and Y values are used as a percentage multiplyer to scale the resolutions down. 50% will halve it, and 100% will render at the full resolution. Values for common resolutions:
- 720p – 1280px x 720px
- 1080p – 1920px x 1080px
- 4k – 3840px x 2160px
These are the common and/or recommended resolutions used for the following platforms:
- Facebook – 720p or 1080p for video and 940px x 512px for post images
- Twitter – 720p or 1080p for video and 1200px x 675px for tweet images
- YouTube – 720p, 1080p, 4K
- Pinterest – 1000px x 1000/1500px
- Flickr – 1080p
- WhatsApp – 176px x 144px for video
Using Composition Guides
Blender makes it easy to create better compositions by using their composition guides. Multiple pre-set composite guides are available under the Display settings under the settings of the active camera properties.
Each camera can have its own, single or multiple guides activated. Guidelines will not interfere with rendering.