why is the camera so freaking hard?

Simple – one button: create camera from view. All the view tools for zoom and pan and rotate are already there – so draw a frame in the view window for the camera proportions, line up the shot (set the zoom foreshortening, I suppose) you want and hit the button. Call it a viewfinder. Man, I spend more time fiddling with the stupid camera drag and rotate and fly-by and what-all.

Actually, I do have a specific issue: setting up camera tracking always rotates the camera 180 degrees, even if I alt-R the object and camera first, and / or alt-R the camera and object after setting up the track. Also, alt-T offers me the choice to un-track, but it never does, so I have to delete and re-add.

OK, so I found the thread that showed me how to fix the ctl-num0 issue by shift-MMB pan and zoom (the camera was pointing off into space) (simple reset to center button needed), and another showing the ALT-CTRL-NUM0 set camera to view (it moves the wrong camera but I can live with that wink)(simple button needed) Another frustrated newbie found a thread I couldn’t find showing the tracking bug (ALT-T) can be fixed by manually removing the constraint (I can live with bugs). On that constraints screen I noticed the camera has a fixed “up” position, which can change, but when I change it, the “autotrack” turns red. If I change the axis that points at the object, the camera points off into space. My only solution is to rotate my entire scene? Silly.

OK guys, these are quality feedback points – 4 camera problems with 1 newbie is a big deal – no?

Things like the camera are the first thing we have to deal with, and this kind of frustration stays with us a long time.

How about tracking it to an empty and parenting the empty to whatever it is you want to track your camera to?

Just a quick note on this: The Up axis has to be able to be perpendicular to the tracking axis, so it turns red if they are the same or parallel.


CAMERA ----tracking axis—> (Tracking Target Object)

Another note: In my moddeling setup, I always keep a small 3D window with no headers showing the current camera view. Then I can move the camera around the 3D scene on the main panel and watch the framing on the small one!

Adding more buttons seems like a simple solution until you realise there are people who think there’s already too many buttons making the whole interface confusing :slight_smile:

i find tracking to an empty the easiest way to fix the camera but how do i make the shot less wide? i can make it less tall by changing the limits but how about witdth (thats probbely spelt wrong sorry) sorry to be such a noob but i am noobs are people to

Actually I don’t think that blender has any bugs here. It’s just not documented properly (which is a bad thing I must admit).

I am a writer, and if I stick with blender for a year or so I will volunteer to help on the documentation issue.

bottons – if the docs don’t have the hot key, you gotta have a button – no? excess button complaints are easily dealt with by a button manager, a simple drag and drop like customizing a tool bar in every other app on the planet.

bug – what does alt-t do when it prompts to untrack? untrack things that are only in the old-style track? a function that does not perform as advertised is a bug, special knowledge by the initiated notwithstanding.

up-axis – yeah, I figured I had to rotate the entire scene. And I understand that tracking constraints have programming and functionality limits way beyond anything I am interested in doing.

my conclusion – the interface is a struggle, I understand, and I like hotkeys. but the camera is a deal breaker IMHO, making the entire app unapproachable. It almost seems like the developers are deeply involved with adding bleeding edge features, and the boring, grunt work of making what exists perform as advertised is less sexy. Just a perception, not a complaint!

Thanx all for the kindly reception.

Oh please, “the entire app unapproachable”, because you’re struggling with how to apply a tracking constraint?

  • Select the camera

  • SH-select what you want to track to

  • Press CTR-T, select TrackTo constraint

  • done, To: -Z is automatically set, as is Up : Y, no “scene” rotation is necessary.

Almost all of the hotkeys have a menu equivalent. One glaring exception, that I’ve been bugging the developers about is CTR-NUMPAD-0 (make current camera active).

Alt-t / old track / constraint etc… old track is just there for backward compatibility (I assume), the constraint is the what you should be using. It gives you the option of keyframing the influence (turning it off/on), you can have multiple TrackTo constraints and keyframe them to switch tracking during an animation.

I’m as guilty as the next person when it comes to just trying things out without RTFM, but if you try any 3d package, you’re going to run into a wall eventually where RTFM is necessary :slight_smile:


Alt-Numpad zero returns camera function to the “original” camera (or topmost one in the Outliner). Useful if you’ve lost track of which object is the camera, or are getting otherwise funky views.

I’m not sure if this is what you are asking about, but cameras default to having a “lens” setting of 35. This makes everything look like a toy. I generally set it to 50, which arguably makes the shot less wide.

thanks looks a lot better now

a function that does not perform as advertised is a bug,

Unless it’s just poorly documented.

special knowledge by the initiated notwithstanding.


The simple fact is that a lot of Blender features and functions are poorly documented. Most, however, have probably been discussed at some point in this and other forums. If not, then such discussion can always be prompted with a question and this is one way to uncover true bugs.

Now, you’re certainly not the first to question Blender’s interface - entire threads have been dedicated to it - and you won’t be the last. However, your language is almost patronising and helpful people can quickly become unhelpful in that situation.

The reality is that the coders will code whatever they want to code and the documenters will document whatever they want to document. They do it for free so those of us who can’t code and those who aren’t confident with writing are usually grateful other people do it for them - though none of us is unwilling to suggest areas that might need attention. In fact, it’s usually welcome providing the criticism is constructive.

Blender is free but only in monetary terms. The real cost of Blender is research - and lots of it. Read, experiment, read more, experiment more, ask questions, read answers, make suggestions, read more. Oh, and read more and experiment a bit more and don’t expect to be proficient in a few weeks. When you find a solution you feel should have been easier to find, add something to the wiki docs. It won’t take a year to find some things that you feel you could document better than is currently the case. With a little more reading and experimenting you’ll be able to document the camera and tracking functions in a very short time.