Cameras present a scene
from a particular point of view. Camera objects simulate still-image,
motion picture, or video cameras in the real world.
viewport you can adjust the camera as
if you were looking through its lens. Camera viewports can be useful
for editing geometry as well as setting up a scene for rendering.
Multiple cameras can give different views of the same scene.
Correction modifier lets you correct a
camera view to 2-point perspective, in which vertical lines remain
If you want to animate
the point of view, you can create a camera and animate its position.
For example, you might want to fly over a landscape or walk through
a building. You can animate other camera parameters as well. For
example, you can animate the camera's field of view to give the
effect of zooming in on a scene.
The Display panel's
By Category rollout has a toggle that
lets you turn the display of camera objects on and off.
A convenient way to control
the display of camera objects is to create them on a separate
You can hide them quickly by turning off the layer.
allows you to start with
a background photograph and create a camera object that has the
same point of view. This is useful for site-specific scenes.
There are two kinds of
camera views the area around a target
object. When you create a target camera, you see a two-part icon
representing the camera and its target (a white box). The camera
and the camera target can be animated independently, so target cameras
are easier to use when the camera does not move along a path.
camera views the area in the direction
the camera is aimed. When you create a free camera, you see a single
icon representing the camera and its field of view. The camera icon
appears the same as a target camera icon, but there is no separate
target icon to animate. Free cameras are easier to use when the
camera's position is animated along a path.
An example of a camera
in a scene.
The result after rendering
through the camera.
You can create cameras
from the Create menu Cameras
submenu, or by clicking the Cameras button on the Create panel.
You can also create a camera by activating a Perspective viewport,
and then choosing Views menu Create
Camera From View.
After you have created
a camera, you can change viewports to display the camera's point
of view. While a camera viewport is active, the navigation buttons
navigation buttons. You use the Modify
panel in conjunction with a camera viewport to change the camera's
While you use the navigation
controls for a camera viewport, you can constrain Truck, Pan, and
Orbit movement to be vertical or horizontal only with the Shift key.
You can move a selected
camera so its view matches that of a Perspective, Spotlight, or
another Camera view.
Choosing a Camera for Vertical
If you need an animated
camera to look vertically upward or downward, use a free camera.
If you use a target camera you might run into a problem of unexpected
movement. 3ds Max Design constrains a target camera's up-vector (its
local positive Y axis) to be as close as possible to the world positive
Z axis. This is no problem when you are working with a static camera. However,
if you animate the camera and put it in a nearly vertical position, either
up or down, 3ds Max Design flips the Camera view to prevent the up-vector
from becoming undefined. This creates sudden changes of view.
Camera Object Icons
Camera objects are visible
in viewports unless you choose not to display them. However, the
geometry that appears in the viewport is only an icon meant to show
you where the camera is located and how it is oriented.
cameras create a double icon, representing
the camera (a blue box intersecting a blue triangle) and the camera
target (a blue box).
cameras create a single icon, representing
the camera and its field of view.
A free camera has no
target. A target camera has a target sub-object.
You cannot shade camera
objects. However, you can render their icons using Animation menu Make Preview and turning
on Cameras in the Display In Preview group.
The display of camera
object icons is not scaled when you change the scale of the viewport.
When you zoom in on a camera, for example, the icon size does not
change. To change the size of camera object icons, you can use the
panel of the Preferences dialog, and change
the value of Non-Scaling Object Size.
Scale transforms have
the following effects on a camera object:
- Uniform Scale has no effect on a target
camera, but does change the free camera's Target Distance setting.
- Non-Uniform Scale and Squash change the
size and shape of the free camera's FOV cone. You see the effect
in the viewport, but the camera's parameters do not update. Non-Uniform
Scale and Squash will change the size and shape of a target camera’s
icon, but have no visible effect in the viewport.
mental ray Camera Shaders
When you use the
ray renderer, you can apply shaders to
the camera used to render the scene. Specifically, you can assign
shaders to modify the camera's lens, its output, or its volume (effectively
making a volume out of the entire scene).
A dimly lit scene
The scene's colors
desaturated using the Night shader
Lens shader: lume Night
shader with Multiplier set to 0.5
You assign camera shaders
using the Render Setup dialog
Effects rollout while the mental ray renderer
NoteNo camera output
shaders are provided with 3ds Max Design. You might have access to light
map shaders if you have obtained them from other shader libraries
or custom shader code.
To render a scene using a camera:
- Create the camera and aim it at the geometry
you want to be the subject of your scene. To aim a target camera,
drag the target in the direction you want the camera to look. To
aim a free camera, rotate and move the camera icon.
- With one camera selected, or if only
one exists in the scene, set a Camera viewport for that camera by
activating the viewport, then press C.
If multiple cameras exist and none or more than one are selected, 3ds Max Design prompts
you to choose which camera to use.
You can also change to a Camera viewport by
clicking or right-clicking the Point-Of-View viewport label, and
then from the
viewport label menu choosing Cameras the name of the camera
- Adjust the camera's position, rotation,
and parameters using the Camera viewport’s navigation controls.
Simply activate the viewport, then use the Truck, Orbit, and Dolly
Camera buttons. Alternately you can select the camera components
in another viewport and use the move or rotate icons.
If you do this while the
Key button is on, you animate the camera.
- Render the camera viewport.
To change a viewport to a Camera view:
- Click or right-click the POV viewport
3ds Max Design opens the
View viewport label menu..
- Choose Cameras.
The Cameras submenu shows the name of each spotlight
or directional light in the scene.
- Choose the name of the camera you want.
The viewport now shows the camera's point of
The default keyboard
shortcut for camera viewports is C.
Making a camera viewport active does not automatically
select the camera. To adjust a camera by using its viewport and
the Modify panel at the same time, select the camera and then make
the Camera viewport active.
As in other viewports,
in Camera viewports you can opt to see a display of safe frame areas
to help you compose the final rendered output.
To control the display of camera objects,
do one of the following:
To change the display size of camera
- Choose Customize Preferences Viewports, and set Non-Scaling Object Size
(default=1.0 in current units).
NoteThis also changes the size of light icons,
helper objects, and other non-scaling objects in the scene.
To use the Modify panel in conjunction
with a Camera viewport:
- In any viewport, select the camera.
- Right-click the Camera viewport to activate
the viewport without deselecting the camera.
The Camera viewport becomes active, but the
camera is still selected in the other viewports.
- Adjust the camera using its Parameters
rollout on the Modify panel, or the viewport
The Camera viewport updates
as the parameters are changed.
To constrain Pan and Orbit to be vertical
- Hold down Shift as
you drag in the viewport.
The initial direction of the drag sets the constraint.
If you drag vertically at first, the pan or orbit is constrained
to be vertical; if you drag horizontally at first, the constraint
The Zoom Extents All
flyout and the Min/Max toggles remain visible. These controls aren't
specific to camera views. Clicking Zoom Extents All affects other
kinds of viewports, but does not affect Camera viewports.
To see the safe frame:
Boxes in the viewport
indicate safe frames.
To match a camera to a viewport:
- (Optional) Select a camera.
- Activate a Perspective viewport.
- If no camera was selected, 3ds Max Design creates
a new target camera whose field of view matches the viewport. If
you first selected a camera, the camera is moved to match the Perspective
view. 3ds Max Design also changes the viewport to a camera viewport
for the camera object, and makes the camera the currently selected
- Free Camera
Free cameras view the
area in the direction where the camera is aimed. Unlike target cameras,
which have two independent icons for the target and the camera,
free cameras are represented by a single icon, making them easier
to animate. Free cameras can be used when the camera's position
is animated along a
as in a walkthrough of a building or when the camera is attached
to a moving vehicle. The free camera can bank as it travels along
the path. If the camera needs to be directly overhead in a scene, use
a free camera to prevent it from spinning.
- Target Camera
A target camera “views” the
area around the target icon that you place when you create the camera.
A target camera is easier to aim than a free camera because you
simply position the target object at the center of interest.
- Using Cameras
These topics provide
a general introduction to using cameras in 3ds Max Design.
- Multi-Pass Rendering Effects
Cameras can create two
kinds of rendering effects: depth of field and motion blur.
- Walkthrough Assistant
The Walkthrough Assistant
lets you easily create a predefined walkthrough animation of your
scene by placing a camera on a path and setting the height, turning
the camera and viewing a preview. This feature is available from
the Animation Menu.
- Camera Correction Modifier
The Camera Correction
modifier applies two-point perspective to a camera view. By default,
camera views use three-point perspective, in which vertical lines
appear to converge with height. In two-point perspective, vertical
lines remain vertical.
- Camera Match Utility
The Camera Match utility
uses a bitmap background photo and five or more special "CamPoint"
objects to create or modify a camera so that its position, orientation,
and field-of-view matches that of the camera that originally created