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Suretarget question

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Donald Mitchell
Suretarget question
on Mar 27, 2012 at 2:01:00 pm

Does anyone use SureTarget 2 here? I'm using it to set up some camera moves between areas of a large comp. I want it to do the moves and use it's lovely hand held feel, but I'd like the camera to also follow a spine path I've created. Is this possible? Or am I best using a normal camera and adding the handheld feel?


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Walter Soyka
Re: Suretarget question
on Mar 27, 2012 at 3:35:42 pm

[Donald Mitchell] "Does anyone use SureTarget 2 here? I'm using it to set up some camera moves between areas of a large comp. I want it to do the moves and use it's lovely hand held feel, but I'd like the camera to also follow a spine path I've created. Is this possible?"

SureTarget's raison d'ĂȘtre is simplifying camera moves, so that things like motion paths aren't necessary. You'll have to add that hand-held feel another way. You can parent the camera to a 3D null, then use the wiggle expression (or the Wiggler, if you'd prefer to work with keyframes) on the null's position.

If you want to get fancy, you could track a piece of handheld footage and use the tracking data to move your camera for a more natural feel.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Re: Suretarget question
on Mar 27, 2012 at 3:38:43 pm

One technique I've been using is to link the camera to a bunch of Nulls. You need the same amount of Nulls as the targets you have in your move. The camera needs to be at the bottom linked to the last Null. The Nulls are linked to the ones above. Start by animating the top Null to the first target, then the second and so on.
You can add a camera shake to the Camera itself using expressions.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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Donald Mitchell
Re: Suretarget question
on Mar 27, 2012 at 4:50:49 pm

Thanks guys. Ted, not sure I understand your technique!

I have now created a path for a camera to follow, and shelved the sure target method for now. I've key framed the camera's motion along this path, and now want to give it a handheld feel. How do I add a wiggle expression without mucking up the path animation?

Also how do I have the handheld feel apply at the points the camera stops at, but make it a bit smoother during the moves?

Sorry these are dumb questions, but I haven't used AE for a while. I do a lot of work in c4d these days and there I just add a tag, which I can then keyframe.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Suretarget question
on Mar 27, 2012 at 6:10:55 pm

You can use a wiggle expression on the null's rotation parameters if you like to give it a more hand-held feel.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Re: Suretarget question
on Mar 27, 2012 at 8:45:21 pm

Dave pointed you in the right direction.

You can also have just one Null that follows the path and the expression applied to the camera only. The issue you pointed out was what to do when the camera stops at one of the targets. My first impulse is to think that the best would be to create a series of keyframes that you can apply then only on the parts where the camera travels and animate separately with smoother movements when it is stationary... but there may be other better ways of doing it.

The technique described early is quite simple- lets say you have three targets. You create three 3d Nulls. Link the camera to the bottom one. The bottom Null to the middle Null and this one to the top null (top/middle/bottom refers to the layer order). Start animating the move to the first target by moving the top Null in position. This will move the other two Nulls and the Camera. Once you get to your first target, start animating the second Null (after whatever number of frames you need the Camera to be stationary in that point). Go to your second target. From here pick up the animation using the third Null. This way each movement is easy to control since you get only two keyframes for it, the camera does not go wacky on you and you can easily adjust the timing(as Dave pointed out). Hope that clarifies the technique.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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Walter Soyka
Re: Suretarget question
on Mar 28, 2012 at 12:46:16 am

[Tudor "Ted" Jelescu] "My first impulse is to think that the best would be to create a series of keyframes that you can apply then only on the parts where the camera travels and animate separately with smoother movements when it is stationary... but there may be other better ways of doing it."

Here's my method.

  • Create a null object, rename it Camera Wiggle, promote it to 3D, and position it at [0,0,0]
  • Add a Slider Control effect to the null and rename it Amplitude
  • Alt-click the null's position stopwatch, and enter the following expression:
  • wiggle(1,effect("Amplitude")("Slider"))
  • Alt-click the camera (or camera rig controller)'s position stopwatch, and enter the following expression:
  • value+thisComp.layer("Camera Wiggle").transform.position</li>
  • Keyframe Camera Wiggle's Amplitude slider. When it's 0, you'll have no wiggle. When you increase it, you'll get more shake. To change the camera wiggle speed, adjust the "1" value hard-coded into the first expression.


Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Re: Suretarget question
on Mar 28, 2012 at 6:40:53 am

Neat trick Walter!

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Suretarget question
on Mar 27, 2012 at 6:13:37 pm

That's a pretty neat trick, Ted. It's easy to change the timings on camera moves using it, too: there's a single null with a single set of keyframes for each move.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Re: Suretarget question
on Mar 27, 2012 at 8:32:33 pm

Thanks- it served me well. Takes a bit of planning, but that's always the best way to start.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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adam taylor
Re: Suretarget question
on Mar 28, 2012 at 8:19:47 am

surely if you already have a motion path set up, then all you need do is animate either a layer or a null along the path and have sure target set to be looking at that particular layer?

Then as the layer moves, suretarget should follow? as you get to the end of the move switch from the motion target to the next layer.

Adam Taylor
Video Editor/Audio Mixer/ Compositor/Motion GFX/Barista
Character Options Ltd
Oldham, UK

http://www.sculptedbliss.co.uk
My YouTube Animations Page


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