Cinematography for 3D animators

Cinematography isn't simply the art of placing and moving the camera - it involves framing and editing shots to tell a story visually, express a point of view, create a rhythm, and add tension and atmosphere to a scene. An animation can be made or broken by the quality of its cinematography, while framing, editing and camera moves are all great tools to help accentuate the action or amplify the storyline.

Even technically good and experienced animators are often let down by their cinematography. The difference between a professionally composed and edited film and an unwatchable mess comes down to having paid attention to a few simple rules. Here are three rules that aspiring virtual cinematographers most commonly break. Rule 1: when going from a wide to a close shot, keep your character on the same side of the screen - if he was on the left in the wide shot, don't frame him on the right in the close shot. Rule 2: when intercutting between two people, their glances must always face in the opposite direction if the viewers are to feel that they're looking at one other. Don't make them look towards the same side of the screen or they'll both appear to be looking in the same direction. Rule 3: when a character moves between shots, he should move in the same direction on screen in each one. If he doesn't, it will look like he's changed direction.

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