How to "bake" a track-to contraint's animation

I’m a noob to blender (but that I mean I’ve only been using it about 4 years… :confused: )

Using 2.6 - I am having trouble getting camera animations to look “smooth” - so am trying to resort to having the camera “track” a moving object - only in specific pieces of my timeline.

So in such places - I set up the track-to constraint - and want to “record” the cameras motion.

I assume the way to do this is to set up the constraint, then do a “bake action”. This however only gives me a single keyframe at the end - which is no different than the first - thus no movement.

In 2.4 this appeared to be done a completely different way - with Control-I in the 3-D window…I think. I have also tried using “Automatic Keyframe Insertion” which I read somewhere will work in animations, but doesn’t seem to do anything.

Any ideas how to go about doing this???

Thanks,

-Brad

It sounds like you’re tracking a rendered object, like a car driving by or a person walking around, for instance, but you don’t want to always follow that object (perhaps when the person stops walking, you don’t want the camera to track the little bobbing around motions he does while standing around). Is that about right? If so, there are two easier ways to get the result you want that don’t involve any kind of baking.

  • You can keyframe the influence of the constraint. When you want to stop tracking, drop the influence to 0 and add a keyframe to the influence value. When you want to start following, keyframe it back to 1.
  • Don’t track your rendered object (character, vehicle, asteroid, etc.). Track an Empty instead. This way you can keyframe the Empty, rather than occasionally telling it to stop tracking some other object.

You’d sort of have to do one of these anyway, in order to get track/no-track behavior animation to bake in the first place.

Thanks for an awesome and timely answer!

This sounds very good - thanks!

The dilema with this would then by getting the empty to match the original object. This could work - but if I then wanted it to follow different objects, my follow-up question would be how I could parent/unparent/reparent during an animation (which I’ve also inquired about) - or if I could parent - bake - and then unparent, which recording baked animation in a manner that I was originally inquiring about.

So I just googled this question - and found my own question from 6 years ago :open_mouth:

Anyway - there is a better way of doing this - (and I’m now using Blender 2.8)

Click the tracking object (I am using a camera) - and under the “Object” menu, select “Animation -> Bake Action…”

In the dialog that comes up, you want to select “Visual Keying”, “Clear Constraints” and “Object” - then “OK”.

After doing this, the Track constraint will have disappeared, and if you go into TImeline or Dopesheet and select the camera - you will see an “action bake” for the camera, with a bunch of keyframes for each frame of the animation, specifying the camera’s position.

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I needed exactly this! Thank you!!