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My journey becoming a Unity game developer: Cutscenes-Pan Mid Shot Camera

Objective: To Pan the Mid-Shot camera from Darren stealing the card to seeing Darren showing his success on his face.

Mid Shot final camera animation.

We’re going to animate the Mid-Shot camera using a different method with the Look At property in the virtual camera. The director’s storyboard notes want the camera to pan down to see Darren stealing the card, and then pan up to see his eyes acknowledging success.

I used the Security Guard’s Card as the Look At object in the CM OTS Shot virtual camera originally. This time we’re going to make this camera animate differently from the Mid Shot by setting Look At to NONE, and Composer to Do Nothing. The position of the camera will still be the same as previous, but not focused on any particular object as it’s panning in the scene.

Set the over-the-shoulder camera to not Look At any objects while panning.

Create a new empty game object name Mid_Shot_Look_At, that will be using Looking At for panning down and then up. Put Mid_Shot_Look_At object inside the Actors game object to keep it local to them. Inside our CM Virtual Cameras select CM Mid Shot. Go to the Inspector, inside the Cinemachine Virtual Camera component click on Solo next to Status, and drag Mid Shot Look At game object over to Look At setting.

Created a game object for the virtual camera to Look At in the scene.

We will need to have a starting position, then scroll down to see Darren take the card off the guard, and then scroll up to see Darren’s face showing him succeeding.

Click on the Sleeping Guard Cutscene, create a new Animation Track in Timeline. Drag the Mid Shot Look At object into the Animation Track slot.

Mid Shot Look At object added to new Animation Track.

Lock the Inspector to allow us to switch between game objects in positioning the camera without coming out of the Timeline. Then inside the Mid Shot Look At animation track, click the REC button and start creating the keyframes for each position of the camera. Begin with moving the camera up to the eye level of Darren. Next, move the camera down to show Darren’s hands over the card. Last, move the camera up to show Darren’s face seeing his success in stealing the card. Stop recording when everything is set.

Animation keyframes created for camera’s down and up movements.

While the Mid Shot camera is moving according to the way it was set, the cutscene shot is to mechanical in not giving us a special shot of the scene. The reason for this is that when we exit the Dead Zone, the camera is going to snap along into a new position and follow the Dead Zone’s new position.

Mid Shot Look At animation track playing.

In the Aim’s properties, there is one property which is Damping. Damping is going to allow the camera to smooth out that transition of following the target’s direction. Keep the Damping values you use the same which will keep the camera from having a wide range of behaviors. We used low numbers to have the camera be more responsive, rapidly orientating to keep the target in the Dead Zone.

Damping settings are set to a low value with the same values for the camera to pan smoother.

If we want to smooth the camera’s animation even more, double-click the Mid Shot Look At Animation Track to open the Animation Window if it’s not open already. Click on the Curves button, and move the curves along the Y-axis.

Using Curves in the Animation Window to fine tune the camera animation.

Just keep in mind the different animation methods that can be used with the virtual cameras between enabling and disabling a game object or looking at a target game object in a scene.

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Rhett Haynes

Rhett Haynes

Learning to become a Unity game developer.

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