Slick Orbital Camera Movements Using Free Look Cameras in Cinemachine

Objective: To understand Cinemachines Free Look Camera.

Traversing our way around

The free look virtual camera was designed for a 3rd person experience, and its purpose is to orbit around it’s target which is defined by 3 rings (top, middle, bottom) that are also located around the target. It was also designed to have a slick orbital movement between the X and Y positions along the rings and the spline curvature.

E.g. It is fantastic for orbiting around a player and being able to look at all the armor/weapons they might be using.

It takes player input on both the X and Y axis, with the X axis controlling the orbital position of the camera along the rings horizontally and the Y axis controls the vertical position (using the spline curvature) of the camera respectively.

Axis Control

Adjusting the ‘Value’ in the Inspector for the X and Y axis will set the default position of the free look camera.

How to Get a Free Look Virtual Camera in Your Scene

This couldn’t be any easier! Just make sure you have Cinemachine installed into your project and then along the top tabs, click Cinemachine → Create Free Look Camera. This will automatically create a free look camera in your Hierarchy window and you will see that it comes with a HUGE amount of settings in the Inspector:

Cinemachine Free Look Camera & Inspector

It will also look like this when it is in the scene:

Cinemachines Free Look Camera

From first glance it looks a little similar to the orbital transposer that we setup here with the virtual cameras, but with a top and bottom ring attached to it also.

It also has the same binding modes as we setup on the Transposer here. But we do have a bunch of new options to play around with so let’s take a look at those:

Cinemachine Free Look Camera Settings

Spline Curvature

This is related to the lines that connect the middle ring to the top and bottom rings, and refers to the final placement of the free look camera on the Y axis. This can be adjusted between the range of 0 to 1. The lower the value, the more linear the camera will move on the Y axis and vice versa.

Spline Curvature lines
Adjusting the Spline Curvature from 0 to 1

Height & Radius

We are able to adjust and move around the rings height and radius for all 3 rings using these settings:

Adjusting the rings height and radius
Adjusting the 3 rings radius and height

The Rigs

As these rigs were designed to blend between each other using the rings and the spline curvature for slick orbital movement, it makes this camera extremely versatile, capable of performing 3rd person camera movement very well.

All 3 rigs can also have separateLookAttargets, Aim settings and also Noise.

Top, Middle and Bottom rig

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Passionate Unity Game Developer

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Chris Hilton

Chris Hilton

Passionate Unity Game Developer

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