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Pt3: Simple Perspective for 2D Animation - Camera Movement

Part 3 of this series will focus on moving the camera forward into a scene and is the final part of this series. The concepts explained here are  kind of a combination of Part 1, One Point Perspective, and Part 2, Parallax Perspective Scrolling, so it will be helpful if you've read and understood those beforehand.

This article focuses on moving the camera forward only because, once you know how to do that you simply reverse the process for backwards. As well, by the time you've worked your way through all three articles in the series you should know enough to be able to move the camera around in any direction fairly convincingly using correct perspective.

The best way to start is to show you the demonstration video which is made up of three scenes.

Camera Forward Movement Demonstration by etourist

Like it? Create your own at GoAnimate.com. It's free and fun!

Scene 1

This type of ZOOM scene should be familiar to most GoAnimators. It's a simple use of the ZOOM tool to move in closer to a point in the scene. What you'll notice is that everything in the scene remains where it is, flat, and, were you to keep zooming, there comes a point where the camera cannot zoom in any more.

Scene 2

In this short scene you'll notice that the camera appears to move along behind the car for a short distance. objects in the background move independent of each other, similar to the way I made objects move across the scene in our horizontally scrolling, parallax scene in Part 2 of the series. As well objects appear to get larger as the camera moves forward (in line with our one point perspective concepts).

What is being simulated is the change of position of the camera in the scene (even though technically the camera isn't actually moving - we're creating the illusion that it is). The camera isn't ZOOMing in, as it does in scene 1. The lens stays fixed. It is the whole camera that appears to move closer to the policeman on the footpath.

I realize scene 2 is a very short demonstration due to the complex nature of constructing the scene and the limited time I had to make it. It's beyond the scope of this article to give you a 'how to' construct this kind of scene. However, if you take what you've learned in Parts 1 and 2, you should be able to work the technique out.

Scene 3

The final scene 3 is a more common illusion of camera tracking that combines both the use of an actual ZOOM of the camera and parallax movement of objects in the foreground.

If you look closely you'll notice the two tables at the left and right of scene 3 move independently of the background as the camera ZOOM's in. The ZOOM gives the impression the tables are moving closer, whilst the movement of the tables sliding out of the scene creates an illusion of depth in the scene.

You can see how this scene is constructed in the two images below. Note that I've used the PAN tool rather than the ZOOM tool because I wanted to crop out part of the scene at the start of the zoom.

I've used the PAN tool to create my
ZOOM in on the scene.
The tables, chairs and table roses all move just
50 pixels to either the left or right.
To finish up I'll leave you with some general guidelines when working with Simple Perspective in your scenes.

  • Generally the horizon line of your scene will be across the middle of the scene and the vanishing point will be in the middle of the horizon line.
  • Objects to the left of the vanishing point will move off the left edge of the scene and get larger as they move closer to the camera.
  • Objects to the right of the vanishing point will move off the right edge of the scene and get larger as they move closer to the camera.

  • Objects directly in line with the vanishing point will simply get larger as they get closer to the camera until they crash into it (if they don't change direction).
  • Objects above the horizon line will move off the top edge of the scene and get larger as they move closer to the camera.

  • Objects below the horizon line will move off the bottom edge of the scene and get larger as they move closer to the camera.

Note that the concepts of perspective are far more extensive than I've covered but, by adapting the relatively simple techniques I've described in this series, you can make your animations seem more professional and visually interesting.

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