Animating the camera with a curve

Creating a curve path

A camera can be animated to follow a curve path. By clicking the button in the toolbar, a camera curve is created. The button opens the following camera curve panel.

Creating a camera curve and opening the panel

The first table of the panel lists all the points in the curve. At first, only one point is created at the position of the camera. Other points can be added with the corresponding button in the toolbar or via the contextual menu. If a point is selected in the table, the new point is added just after it.

The curve is visible in the main view. The points can be moved using the manipulators (see Using the selection toolbar).

Viewing and modifying the curve in the viewport

The curve is a Bezier curve. Each point have two surrounding control points that define the aspect of the curve. They can be moved with the translation manipulator. The selected curve point can be rotated using the rotation manipulator or by moving the "lookat" position.

Note:

Make sure the selection mode is set to Curve Point to be able to pick the curve points in the viewport.

Note:

By default, the two control points move together. However, they can be translated independently by pressing the CTRL key while moving the manipulator.

Several options are available in the curve panel. By enabling the Add From Observer checkbox, the new points are added at the current position of the observer in the main viewport. A Set From Observer button in the toolbar and in the contextual menu allows to update a point with the current observer view. The toolbar also have a button to set the top vector of the curve points aligned with the normal of the planet surface.

Playing the camera along the curve

Each point of the curve is associated to a timestamp in second that can be edited in the table. The timestamp controls when the camera will reach the point when animated.

A Timeline slider is available in the view to move the camera on the curve path depending on the timestamps of the points. By moving it, a camera gizmo can be seen progressing along the curve.

The Apply The Camera checkbox allows to directly move the current view of the viewport.

A Set Timestamp button is available to set the camera to a specific point of the curve.

Note:

The Tangent Orientation checkbox overrides the curve points orientation by an orientation that follows the direction of the path.

Finally, a Play and Stop buttons start and stop the animation in real time.

Exporting the camera video

It is possible to export the camera animation shots to be used outside of NDunes. By clicking the Export button, the camera animation starts and each frame is rendered in an external folder in the working directory. The images are saved as a series of .png files.

Note:

The current application settings are used during the export. For a high quality export, make sure to boost them (see Settings). No need to be real-time. Also don't forget to deactivate the camera and curve gizmos in the scene otherwise they will be visible in the saved images.

Some export parameters are available: