Can you store the loc/roc-information of a keyframe (but not in the timeline)?

Is it possible to save the location and rotation information of a keyframe - without having the actual keyframe in the timeline?

Here’s why I ask:

  1. I’m animating the camera.
  2. I have the right start-position and don’t want to lose it. So I inserted a keyframe - let’s call it X - at the correct position.
  3. I want to ‘fly’ thru the scene, using a 3D-mouse, while I’m recording the ‘flight’.
  4. But I can’t do that when I have keyframe X in the timeline, because the camera is locked to the position of the keyframe and can’t be moved by the 3D-mouse.

So is it possible to store the information of keyframe X somewhere?

Or is there another way to record the mouse movements, though I already have keyframe X in the timeline? (Perhaps that should’ve been the headline of this post, instead…)

Put an empty at the start position of the camera - then key SHIFT+S > “Cursor to Selected”. Then fly your camera with the mouse as you want - then, with the camera selected, key SHIFT+S > “Selection to Cursor” and the camera will snap back to the Empty. If you want the rotations stored as well, you have a whole new issue. Why don’t you add a Follow Path constraint to the camera, with a curve as a path and just animate the camera along the path? This is much easier to do and means you can reproduce the path. To store the initial rotations of the camera, set up Custom Properties for each and then either key these into the camera Transform boxes or add a driver to move the camera back to the stored rotate angles.

Cheers, Clock.

Thank you very much, that’s extremely helpful!

Since I need rotation too, Follow Path is probably the best way to go.

But I don’t suppose I can use my 3D mouse to ‘design’ or ‘record’ the path’s direction and speed (the flight needs to be in sync with an audio track)?

I mean, I assume that I’ll have to manually build the curve’s trajectory, step by step, and I’m a bit concerned whether I’ll be able to replicate the natural feel you can achieve when you’re seeing the scene directly through a rapidly flying camera.

I’m failing to see what the problem is here…

You’re animating the camera and you have it’s starting loc/rot keyframed, I understand that.

Now you want to fly the camera thru the scene under mouse control and blender will record the camera’s flight (loc/rot) on every frame, I understand this too.

Now you can’t do this because you have a key frame for the initial loc/rot, this is where I get confused. Why have that key frame to begin with? Why not just place the camera where you want it, and start recording? Why not let blender insert the initial key frame as it’s recording?

Do you want the inital loc/rot stored so if you mess up while flying the camera around, you could start over? If you are wanting to store the loc/rot of only 1 key frame for the camrea, so you can easily return the camera to that spot to start over, you could use an old skool method: paper and pencil. It’s only 6 numbers, 3 for loc, 3 for rot, write them down and manually re-enter them when wanting to reset the camera.

In case I am being very short sighted in this, you could also store that one key frame, (or several key frames for the camera), in a single action. Then when you are at the frame of that keyframe for the camera, add a new action to the camera and delete any keyframes in the new action. Then start recording. If you screw up the recording, delete the action, switch back to initial action and move on time line to position the camera, then create a new action and record again. Combine the two actions in the NLA editor.

Just my thoughts,

Hi Randy, thank you very much!

Yes, I did use the old school way for a while :slight_smile: but it stops being funny when you (literally) go back to the initial position hundreds of times. (It took lots of hours to find it in the first place, so I don’t want to lose it.)

So what you’re saying about a single action sounds super interesting. I have to admit that I don’t know what that is, yet, but I’ll definitely look around.

To clarify… select the camera object in the 3d view. Open the dopesheet editor, it has a few different modes, change it in the header to be an Action editor. Now in the header, you see the name of the current action assigned to the camera. You can create a new action here and name it something like ‘cam_start’ and insert your initial loc/rot key frame. Next, click the ‘F’ to the right of the action name, this creates a ‘fake’ user for the action, (previously if actions had no users they were deleted when the file was saved, currently version of blender pushes the actions into the NLA editor. Not going into all the details, because I haven’t did animation recently.) Anyhow, now you have your action with your start loc/rot, now if you create a new action for the camera, it will copy your current action with your start loc/rot. Delete the keyframes and start flying around & recording. If you mess up while recording, delete all key frames, switch to your ‘cam_start’ action and move to the key frame in the time line. You camera should no be positioned at the start loc/rot. Now switch back to the action you just recorded and deleted keyframes from, and try again.

Hope this helps,

That’s fantastic, Randy - and exactly what I was looking/hoping for when I posted this.

Thank you for taking the time to write a precise step-by-step description of the process. I’m sure it’s going to help other users, too.