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Cameras

In Maya, every view relates to a camera. When Maya starts, you have four cameras by default: front, side, top and perspective. Three of them are orthographic—flat, non-perspective views—and have visible icons you can use to translate or rotate the camera. The icon for the perspective camera is, by default, invisible. These four cameras are utility views that assist you in modeling and laying out your scene. When you're ready to pick the final rendered viewpoint of your scene, you should create a scene camera. If you're shooting a series of stills, you can create many cameras, one for each shot. (However, often it's easier to move a single camera to different positions in sequential frames, starting with frame 1, so that you can render the job more easily in batch rendering.) Or you might have several animated cameras that fly through the scene from varying angles, creating several different video clips of the same scene that are rendered separately.

The camera placement determines exactly what will be seen and is used to frame specific portions of the scene, in the same way illustrators or photographers use composition to frame certain elements in their paintings and drawings. Other key variables for cameras are focal length, rotation (orientation), and angle of view. Focal length is directly linked to angle of view; if one goes up, the other goes down. With angle of view, as the angle of the lens widens, you must move the camera closer to the subject to keep it at the same relative size in the frame. The wider the angle, the higher the value for the Angle of View setting. Figure 13.1 illustrates four settings for Angle of View.


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