Mars Weather report - Flying a camera to a random location

I’m using Blender 2.8 and I’m playing with this idea that I want to make a mars weather report. (Where I stand in from of a green screen and point out things) Now Mars is split into 30 sections and I was thinking about some kind of rigging where I can fly my camera from a wide orbital view to a location and look down on it. Kind of like Google earth. I saw there is a way to make a path, but I’m looking for something where I start with a wide view and then have the camera move to a location. Maybe as opposed to a ring path, something like an anchor for the camera inside of an invisible shell that it can freely move around on. Then I would tell it tell it to move from the “home” wide view to say “Tharsis” and it will fly about the planet and point to to that area. (But not go though the planet!) I’m most likely going to use scripting for some bits, but with the Game Engine gone, it may be a little more tricky.

Any ideas?

Hey, This is my thoughts, Camera - parent it to an ‘Empty’, that way you have more DOF(degrees of freedom), add another ‘Empty’ and parent it (or not) to the camera empty, name it ‘camera target’ or something. Select ‘camera target’ then ‘camera’ - shift + ctrl + C = ‘damped track’ constraint, repeat except choose ‘copy location’. you can animate the influence property to zoom in and out. ‘Camera target’ is what you use (animate) to get your ‘veiw’, and the cameras empty(parent) moves the whole thing about. Now the only catch is, if you want to animate the camera by itself, because of the ‘copy location’ constraint, you will have to either animate the influence slider or the on/off switch (that llittle eye icon), you could use a driver and a custom property for that.
It sounds good in my head so let me know if I missed something.

Hey, Here is a link to a file I mocked up. This was created in 2.76, so append the objects into your version if it does not open correctly in 2.8. The only thing I added was a ‘shrinkwrap’ mod to the ‘camera target’ to keep it on the surface of the planet.
Also disregard my statement in my previous post

or the on/off switch (that llittle eye icon), you could use a driver and a custom property for that.

as you will probably not ever have that at 1.0 value

I would parent the camera to an empty in the centre of Mars… you can then roate and scale the empty to focus in on any part of mars’s surface… providing you are always looking down.