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The Camera

Add a new camera

Mode: Object mode

Hotkey: ⇧ ShiftA to add new, F9 to change settings.

Menu: Add » Camera

In Object mode simply press Space and in the popup menu, choose Add » Camera. As all objects, new cameras have a null rotation (i.e. are directed to the negative global Z axis – they look straight down!).

Change active camera

Mode: Object mode

Hotkey: Ctrl0 NumPad

Active camera (left one).

The active camera is the camera that is currently used for rendering and camera view (0 NumPad). Select the camera you would like to make active and press Ctrl0 NumPad (by doing so, you also switch the view to camera view). In order to render, each scene must have a camera.

The active camera is the one with the filled “up” triangle on top seen in the 3D viewport. The left camera in (Active camera (left one)).

Exclamation mark.png
The active camera, as well as the layers, can be specific to a given view, or global (locked) to the whole scene – see this part of the 3D view options page.

Camera Settings

Mode: Object mode

Panel: Camera (Editing context, F9)

Camera panel.
Camera View.

Cameras are invisible in a scene. They are never rendered, so they don’t have any material or texture settings. However, they do have Object and Editing setting panels available which are displayed when a camera is the selected (active!) object.

  • Lens, D – Represents the lens, in millimeters. By enabling the D option, you can specify the “lens” in degrees. When Orthographic is selected, all this will change to a Scale variable.
  • DoFDist – Distance to the point of focus. It is shown as a yellow cross on the camera line of sight. Limits must be enabled to see the cross. It is used in combination with the Defocus compositing node.
  • Orthographic – Toggles Orthographic mode for rendering. See the 3D view page for a more detailed description on Orthographic perspective, as well as the render page about perspective. You can limit what is rendered by moving the camera. Objects behind the camera’s XY plane are not rendered. When enabled, the Lens size field changes to a Scale field, which includes more/less area in the render.
  • Clipping Start/End – Sets the clipping limits. Only objects within the limits are rendered. If Limits is enabled, the clipping will be seen as two yellow dots on the camera line of sight (C on the Camera picture – the first is at camera’s origin).
  • Shift X/Y – Shifts the camera viewport (useful to render a low-angle picture of a building, without too much deformations, for example).
  • Limits – Toggles viewing of the limits on and off.
  • Mist – Toggles viewing of the mist limits on and off. The limits are shown as two white dots on the camera line of sight (A and B on the Camera picture). The mist limits are set in the World panel, World sub-context (F8), Shading context.
  • Name – Toggle name display on and off (D on the Camera View picture).
  • Title Safe – When this is enabled, an extra dotted frame is drawn inside the camera viewport, delimiting the area considered as “safe” for important things, like titles (shown beside E in Camera View)…
  • Passepartout, Alpha – This mode darkens the area outside of the camera’s field of view, based on the Alpha setting.
  • Size – The draw size of the camera in the 3D view. This doesn’t affect the camera’s output (render), it is just a convenience to enable easier selection of the camera object in the viewport (the camera object can also be scaled using the standard S transform key).
Remember that a 3D View window, in the Blender user-interface, also has some of these settings, such as Clip Start/Clip End. These of course have nothing to do with cameras, but they serve the same purposes with regard to the 3D window itself: they determine what you can “see” through that particular 3D window, and, generally speaking, how the window behaves (when it isn’t in Camera view!). These settings are accessed through the View » View Properties... menu of the window in question, see the 3D view options page.

Camera Navigation

Here you will find some handy ways to navigate and position your camera in your scene.

Remember that the active “camera” might be any kind of object. So these actions can be used e.g. to position and aim a lamp…

Move active camera to view

Mode: Object mode

Hotkey: CtrlAlt0 NumPad

This feature allows you to position and orient the active camera to match your current view point.

Select a camera and then move around in 3D view to a desired position and direction for your camera. Now press CtrlAlt0 NumPad and your selected camera positions itself at your spot, and switches to camera view.

Roll, Pan, Dolly, and Track

To perform these camera moves, the camera must first be selected, so that it becomes the active object (while viewing through it, you can RMB Template-RMB.png-click on the solid rectangular edges to select it). The following actions also assume that you are in camera view (0 NumPad)! Having done so, we can now manipulate the camera using the same commands that are used to manipulate any object:

Roll: Press R to enter object rotation mode. The default will be to rotate the camera in its local Z-axis (the axis orthogonal to the camera view) , which is the definition of a camera “roll”.

Vertical Pan or Pitch: This is just a rotation along the local X-axis. Press R to enter object rotation mode, then X twice (the first press selects the global axis – pressing the same letter a second time selects the local axis – this works with any axis, see the axis locking page).

Horizontal Pan or Yaw: This corresponds to a rotation around the camera’s local Y axis… Yes, that’s it, press R, and then twice Y!

Dolly: To dolly the camera, press G then MMB Template-MMB.png (or twice Z).

Sideways Tracking: Press G and move the mouse (you can use twice X or Y to get pure-horizontal or pure-vertical sideways tracking).

Aiming the camera in Flymode

When you are in Camera view, the fly mode actually moves your active camera…