Creating Camera Animations Using the Timeline

By Jake Smeester | Posted March 7, 2018

Cameras are likely the most important component within Amazon Sumerian. Without cameras, we wouldn’t be able to see anything, which is why even “empty” scenes come with a default camera. Because of the crucial role cameras play in creating immersive 3D experiences, it’s important to know how to use them in various capacities.

Camera animations are just that, animations, and are commonly used in 3D scenes. You could use them to mimic a drone in flight or demonstrate the perspective of a scene as viewed from a person or object. To use a real-world analogy, think of camera animations as akin to putting a camera on a railroad track. It moves along the track and can only see from that perspective. But the trick with creating camera animations is placing cameras using other cameras. This can also be difficult because cameras can move anywhere in the scene.

In this article, I’ll use the Timeline to animate multiple cameras within a single scene, and use the State Machine to make both animations play on continuous loops. This is the scene I’ll create.

Note: For best results, use Firefox Quantum 57.0 as your web browser.

This article focuses on providing best practices and processes for creating unique camera animations. This is why I’d encourage you to experiment with different Timeline and Keyframe values to produce a unique animation. It’s also best to build camera animations by visual testing. For this reason, you don’t need to use the exact Transform values as they appear in this article.

Before you begin, I recommend you complete the following:

Set up the Scene

From the Dashboard, create a scene from the Warehouse template.

Animated cameras can literally move anywhere within a scene. Because there are no restrictions, it can be difficult to know where to place and move the cameras, which is why it’s helpful to use a stationary visual to guide your animation. We’ll create two camera animations: one that runs on top of the conveyor belt (which can act as “track” to guide us) and one that flies across the ceiling, like a drone.