Automatic camera orbit

Is there a way like some 3D programs I’ve seen where you can press a button and the camera smoothly obits around your model until you press the key again? Sort of like if I were holding down numpad 4 but smoother.

no that I know…
but you could change the orbit speed for 4/6/8/2 keys
go to preferences > input > search for ‘orbit’
expand and change the ‘roll’ values to something like 0.05
save user settings if you like it

I’m sure a script could be written to do that, I’ll look into it unless someone else knows. I find it hard to believe no one would want a feature like that.

And, obviously, if you wanted an actual orbiting camera setup:

  1. aim the camera
  2. add a bezier circle
  3. scale and align the bezier circle with the origin of the camera and the orbit you want to make.
  4. parent the camera to the bezier circle to follow its path (select camera, select circle, Ctrl-P, ‘follow path’)

Verify operation with a split view, top view (assuming you are rotating about the Z-axis) and camera view. Select the circle and rotate it, checking the camera view.

With this setup you can then key frame on the rotation to do full circles whenever you want to.

Dunno about the “press a key” business, but the essential effect is easy to achieve.

First, the camera should be made to follow a 3-D path. This corresponds to the “track” of a physical camera. Next, the camera should be constrained to “point to” a certain target: I recommend an Empty which is placed in the appropriate position. (Of course, this Empty can also be animated, and the camera will dutifully follow it. The empty can even be made to follow its own path!)

You can animate the position of the camera (or any object) along the path.

And the very best thing is, unlike any real cinematographer, you never have to worry about any of the “track” showing-up in the camera’s view!

Another handy trick is to “mount the moving camera on a base.” Have another Empty be what’s actually running down the camera-track, with the camera parented to it. Now, you can animate the local coordinates of the camera independently of “the thing that is glued to the track.”

One more thought: anytime(!) you see a “roller-coaster effect” in an actual movie, bear in mind that you will always see cuts. This means that what you see was filmed in separate shots (probably all while the same track was used), then artfully stitched-together in the editing room. Take full advantage of “OpenGL Preview” renders here, to enable you to “stitch together the shot” before you final-render it. “Action editing” is an art unto itself.

I downloaded Wings3D because I knew I’d seen it there. You press the U key and its called “Auto Rotate”. I just think its a nice feature when you want to take a break for a bit and watch your model from all angles. I’m playing around with the Python API right now, maybe I’ll be able to create something like this and someone will find it useful.