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Understanding Carrara 5 Cameras

Author: anxcon

Tools Needed

  • Carrara 5 Standard or Pro

Step 1 - Starting a new scene

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When Carrara starts, you will see the following window, unless you chose to skip it. In which case an empty scene starts automatically, and you can skip this step.

Click “New empty doc”, a new scene will appear, empty.

Step 2 - The Default Camera and its properties

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Along the right side, you see the above panel. Below is the default starter camera, you are currently viewing your scene through it.

If you select this item, you will see your cameras properties appear on the panel above it.

1. The name of the camera appears here, you can change it to something else if you like. Useful for scenes that have multiple cameras, allowing you to keep track of what/where the cameras is for.

2. This is the camera type, you can change it to another type if you wish, and the next step will explain how the different types work.

3. Focal Length, controls how much of your scene that the camera will see. High focal lengths will “zoom in”, the area of view will be narrow, think of a telescope. Low focal lengths will “zoom out”, and capture a wider area of view. The human eye is a setting of about 50.

Step 3 - Creating a new camera, knowing the types

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Above the current scene there are many icons, one of which allows you to place a new camera when selected. The small white arrow next it to, opens a dropdown menu, with the available camera types.

1. Conical, this camera acts the same way as the human eye. The view is made from the point in 3D space that the camera is at, and views everything within a cone (which depends on the focal length) from that point. Objects farther from the camera will appear smaller than closer objects.

2. Isometric, this type of camera has a flat view, the distance of the object is taken away, so objects close and far will appear as their actual size.

3. Spherical, the 3rd type, acts much the same way as a conical camera does, but has a full 360 degrees of view. This will render an entire sphere of your scene, from the point of the camera, which can be used in ways such as a webpage offering a view of the inside of a house, allowing a user to move the pre-rendered view around, to see any direction from that spot. Much like your head would look around, without moving your body.

Step 4 - Moving the camera around your scene

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Along the left of your scene are more icons, used for moving your camera around. Click an icon and hold down, then move the mouse to move your camera in the selected direction.

1. Track YZ, this one will move your camera forwards, backwards (Z direction), as well as up and down (Y direction).

2. Track XY this moves the camera up and down (Y direction), as well as left and right (X direction).

3. Track XZ, moves forwards and backwards (Z direction), as well as left and right (X direction).

The 4th icon down is for rotating the camera. You can see the small white arrow next to it, indicating there is a droplist with more selections. Whichever type is chosen, will be the one used moving the camera, when you click and drag the icon.

4. Dolly rotates the camera in an orbit type path. If you have an object selected, the orbit will be around that object, moving the camera around 3D space, while keeping the angle of view in relation to that object, as well as keeping the same distance from that object.

5. Pan will rotate the camera as well, but this time the camera itself is the center, staying at that point, and just changing the direction it is looking.

6. Bank is the 3rd type, tilting the camera onto its side, while still looking in the same direction. Just imagine a cup of tea tipping over.

7. Lastly this doesn't have much to do with the camera itself. This has 3 parts to it, which by selecting one, will highly the scene grid (if showing), making it stand out more.

Step 5 - Selecting the camera to look from

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Last, the upper left of the scene window, has the camera being used for your current view. By right clicking it, you can choose which camera to view from, whether it be the defaults, or the new ones you have placed.

Views from the Top, Bottom, Left, Right, Front, or Back, are isometric cameras, not showing any depth when used.

“Set Position To” allows you to take the current viewing camera, and set it to another location, whether a default spot, or at the spot of another camera you put in the scene.

Beyond that, the best way to know how a camera works, is to use it, and get familiar with it. Once your scene is finished, including the camera used for the view of your render, you can select the camera to render from in the render room (“Render” icon in the top right). From the render menu, choose output tab, and there is an option below to choose which camera to render from.

Good Luck!