Blender Camera Rig Add-on



Posted: 2022-11-17 | Updated: 2022-11-20

I am starting to create a bunch of tools for Layout Artists to use whilst working in Blender. Similar to my Maya Simple Camera Rig, I have started first by building a Blender Camera Rig. This is not going to be as 'simple' as the Maya rig as I plan to build a whole bunch of functionality into this rig. So watch this space for updates!

The Goal

The goal here was to lay the foundation for a simple camera rig, that accomplishes as much as possible. Lets call it the Minimum Viable Product. It is intended to be used by layout artists seeking a fast, capable camera control system. It is fully functional, however not yet production tested. I am hoping this camera rig can be dropped into any pipeline as it has no dependencies, however my future scripts will be designed to function with this camera rig specifically.

Install / Setup

The quickest way to use the script is to download the file from my GitLab Repo install the .zip file as an Add-on in Blender and enable the Add-on.

Thats it! Its setup and ready to use.

Usage

Hit F3 and start by typing 'Create New Camera Rig'. It will prompt you for a name and traditionally this would contain a sequence number followed by a shot number. I generally use something like Cam_XXXX_XXX where the 'X' represents the seq & shot number. Placing Cam_ at the start makes it easier to spot in the Outliner.

Create New Camera

Once you press Ok, you will have a new camera in your scene:

Simple Camera Rig

Sadly right now the controls do not have any colours. I am actively working on solutions for that issue. Let me explain each control for you though.

Controls

Lets run through the controls from the top of the hierachy to the bottom

  1. local_ctl - this is a curve with no visible controller, its generally left untouched but can be used for complex camera moves. I am planning a future tutorial on that topic.
  2. COG_ctl - Think of this as your Tripod. Use this to place your cameras starting position & rotation.
  3. dolly_track_ctl - This is for moving your camera forwards/backwards and sideways.
  4. crane_ctl - This is for moving your camera up and down.
  5. pan_ctl - Used for rotating left and right.
  6. tilt_ctl - Used for rotating up and down.
  7. roll_ctl - Used to rotate the camera onto its side. Used for a dutch tilt for example.
  8. focus_ctl - The control that lets you animate what point is in focus for controlling Depth of Field. The rig automatically enables Depth of Field on creation.
  9. renderCamera - Finally we have the camera itself. Here is where you would setup any lensing such as Focal Length, fstop and the size of your Film Gate, etc.

Video Tutorial

Here is a quick intro video showing the installation & basic controls of the rig.

Note: The plugin has been updated and will now appear as 'Blender Layout Tools' not 'Create Camera Rig' when Installing.