Circling Camera -- Final How-To

With the help of BgDM, GreyBeard, and numerous other people on Elysiun who have been so kind as to answer my constant questions on this subject while maintaining their composure. I would like to post a mini-HOWTO on the subject of creating a scene with a camera which continuously circles the subject.

Knowledge of how to place the cursor, create objects, and use constraints is assumed.

Step One – Create a subject model
1.1 Creating the subject of your animation is outside the scope of this HOWTO.
Step Two – Create Two Paths
2.1 Determine the radius of the circle and the frame count you wish the camera to follow around the subject.2.2 Create a Bezier Circle centered on your subject and with a radius of the camera position.2.3 Create another Bezier Circle centered on your subject and with a radius half of the camera path.2.4 Place an empty on the inner path. Add a Follow Path constraint to the empty to follow the inner path.2.5 Place a camera on the outer path. Add a Follow Path constraint to the camera to follow the outer path and a Track To constraint that focuses on the Empty previously added.
Step Three – Create New IPOs
3.1 Switch to an IPO Editor view in another window. Select the inner circle.3.2 Ctrl-LMB click to create a point at 0,0 on the curve at the starting frame. Likewise, ctrl-LMB and create a point at the middle frame of your animation. Ctrl-LMB click to create a point at 1.0, 0 on the curve at the ending frame of the camera circle.3.3 Press TAB to switch back to Object mode and select Curve->Interpolation Mode->Linear to change the curve.3.4 With the line selected, Extend the curve by choosing Curve->Extend->Cyclic

You have created two paths surrounding your character and placed an empty and a camera on those paths. The camera is directed towards the empty which is in front of your subject. Because you chose to Extend the IPO curve in a Cyclic manner, the camera and empty will continuously circle your subject.

The scene can be viewed or saved to your hard drive. This mini-HOWTO will also be expanded into a true instructional document.

Many, many thanks go to the community here at Elysiun! I cannot say enough about the helpful instruction here that is only waiting to be tapped.


Wouldn’t it be easier just to make an empty in the center of your model, parent the camera to the empty, and have teh empty continuously rotate?

That may be true, JordanK. In this case, I was told by BgDM that Paths were a valid solution to my problem. I then proceeded hitting a brick wall with my naked fists until a hole was finally punched out today. My fists may be bloodied and ruined for a time, but it was a great learning experience! :slight_smile:


Never argue with a speeding bullet. You are not Superman and the bullet does not care.

Nice one tilleyrw.
Thanks for taking the time out to put this HowTo together.

This would be a great technique if the path to be followed was not circular eg, orbiting a long shape like an aircraft carrier, or if you wanted the camera to tilt up and down slightly diring the orbit.

Nice one!

Remember, you are inserting a Bezier circle and the handles can be moved to create any closed shape. The general techniques I wrote of can be applied to any path.

If the camera should tilt up or down as it follows the path, that is done by activating the CurveFollow button in the Edit view of the path.

Thanks for mentioning another topic for the HowTo!