How do I make a camera orbit a sphere?

About the camera orbiting…

Do I make a circle around the planet and contrain the camera to a track attached to the circle?

Please explain a step-by-step way to do this…

I’m slowly learning this thing…

Thanks for all the help, guys!


In top view press SHIFT S to open the Snap menu. Snap cursor to Sphere.

Press Space bar and Add>Curve>Bezier Circle or Path (up to you which one, use Bez Circle for now.) Scale circle to size required, press TAB key to exit EDIT mode. Select Camera then hold SHIFT and select Circle. Press CTRL P to parent camera to circle.

Now go to the Animate buttons, squigley line with arrow head, on the left hand side of these buttons, you can change the length of the circle in frames. ie how long camera takes to revolve round sphere.

Then select camera, click on Constraints button, two connected chain links, click Add New. By default this appears as Track to. In the OBj text window, type Sphere (or what ever you sphere’s mesh name is).

Hit Alt A to see animation. The camera should now follow the circle whilst constantly pointing at the Sphere.

Hope this helps,


just like that

The easiest way however, is this::…

Snap cursor to sphere. Add an empty. Align your cam the way you want it. Then parent the cam to the empty. Add a rotational animation to the empty. Voila.

lol, i just use a single armature.
Put your cursor at the center of the circle. Insert an armature and pull it out to the camera, left click once then right click. Tab out, select the camera then the armature as well, parent them (use armature) then you can rotate the armature and the camera moves.

Similar to the answers above, but this is the way I do it:
Add a mesh circle in top view centered to the origin of the object you want to orbit.
Parent the camera to the circle.
Now, just animate the circle. This way, you can animate the location and rotation of the circle to make a neat fly-in, orbit & fly out like a Voyager-type satelllite would.

How the heck do you do a rotate animation? I create a keyframe for it at frame one (i > rot), and another at frame 150 once it’s been rotated a certain amount. Back to frame 1 and press alt + A and nothing happens.

The IPO curve for rotate doesn’t change (is flat) and I can’t change it manually. It always moves both points together with no way to select a single point.

Someone please tell me how to do it :frowning:

This tutorial tells a lot more but you shouldn’t have much more trouble with rotations after reading it.


Sounds like you have inserted the key frames for the object in EditMode; that doesn’t work. Insert keys in ObjectMode.

For manipulating the IPOs, the other way round. Change to EditMode [TAB] select one key. Now you can move it or enter its position with [N]-key

Would this “certain amount” happen to be a multiple of 360°?

If it is, then after rotating the object, the rot coords for the object will be unchanged - blender automagically adjusts them - before you even add the second key.

To asjust the keys seperatly, use tab to enter editmode. Same idea as in the 3d window - outside edit mode you move whole IPOs, insode editmode you move individual keys.

To get the rotation to look good, especially if you want to loop it, press TKEY->Linear in the IPO window.

Thanks for the replies :slight_smile:

I managed to get it working using the IPOs. I didn’t know much about them since I’d only covered translation animations and you don’t need to touch IPO curves for that (very basic ones).