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For polishing animation in cases where the characters were far away from camera, being able to “zoom” in closer with out affecting the camera’s perspective is crucial to putting the finishing touches to your shot. Maya already has this ability built-in to its cameras. If you go into your camera shape node’s attributes, under the Display Options, there is a section called 2D Pan/Zoom.


Here you can enable the Pan/Zoom and then mess with the fields to try and get something you can work with. The trouble with this, is it takes more time than it should. So, I created an interface to make interaction with the camera’s Pan/Zoom attributes more user friendly. Also included with the script are some tools to speed up  the camera creation workflow. Usually, to create cameras, you have to go through the Create > Cameras > Camera menu, rename the camera, then switch to the camera in your viewport. Or, you could, duplicate an existing camera, rename, then switch to the new one. If you want to duplicate a camera with animation, there is an additional step to transfer the animation. With my script, I tried to streamline this process. I will post a tutorial video soon to go through all the features of my script.

How to use:

1. Download .mel file and copy into your Maya scripts directory. PC { C:\Documents and Setting\#User#\My Documents\maya\#Version#\scripts\ } Mac: { /Users/#User#/Library/Preferences/Autodesk/maya/#Version#/scripts/ }

2. Open Maya and run:

tk_camTools;   OR       source "tk_camTools.mel"; tk_camTools.mel;

3. The upper most section has a menu that lists your scene cameras (not including orthographic cameras). What you select in the menu is what the Pan/Zoom sliders control. You can also use the top section to select cameras using the “Select” button or switch your viewport camera using the “Switch To” button. The “Refresh” button refreshes the menu list.

4. The 2D Camera Pan & Zoom section controls the Pan/Zoom attributes for whatever camera you have selected in the GUI camera menu. The “Enable Pan/Zoom” checkbox turns the camera’s Pan/Zoom on & off. The “K+” and “K-” buttons will add and remove keys on the current frame. The “Value Range” Radio buttons control the range of values for the sliders. The “Reset” button will reset the slider back to default. Finally, the “Reset All” button will reset all the slider values back to default.

  • Disclaimer: The Pan/Zoom keyframes will not display on the timeline unless you select the camera’s shape node (Select the camera then press the down key on the keyboard).

5. The Create a Camera provides tools for a faster camera creation workflow. To create a new camera:

  • First, enter a new name for your camera. A name is required, or else you will get a pop-up error message.
  • Second, set your options using the checkboxes. “Switch to New Camera” will switch your selected viewport to the new camera upon creation. “Transfer Animation” will transfer the animation for the camera you have selected in the GUI camera menu to the new camera. 
  • The “Create from Current View” creates the camera based on your current highlighted viewport. Your current viewport must be a camera view in order to work.
  • The “Create Default Camera” creates a default camera at the origin (0,0,0).

I have tested this using Maya 2011-2014. I am not sure that it will work on earlier versions of Maya. If you run into any issues using the script, please report them to Let me know how you like it!

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