Multiplane panning problems

I’m having some problems with doing vertical pans on some of my scenes. For example, take a look at my Story of Thanksgiving animation at around 2:25 where I do a pan down to the pilgrims at the table. Watch the hills in the background layer. Notice that they appear to be dropping down as the camera pans downward and comes to rest. Actually, it was much more pronounced before I added a start and end keyframe on the layer to compensate for the movement. This layer, as well as the clouds and background sky, are set at a distance further away from the camera than the rest of the layers–trees, characters, table. It just seems that if I use the multiplane feature I get some unwanted and unnatural effects. Is there any way to avoid this problem?

It’s hard to know without having the actual scene but when you do your pan down are you just moving in Y or are you also giving a 3D rotation (tilt down)? If you are doing both that might be the issue. They might have different ease in/out.

It’s just a straight pan in Y, no 3D on the camera nor any of the layers, Steve. Maybe I can do an example and post it on YouTube.

Hi Zeb

If we leave animation terms and use live action/movie terms a pan is a shot where the camera is not leaving its position in space. A pan is a turning or tilting of the camera. A pan in this sence will give no parallax effect( the effect that object on different distance seems to move and change position)
What you describes will in those terms, moving the camera, be a truck or crane shot. It can be usefull to use movie terms when using the 3D scene.
Realisme in 3D scene cameramovement will be very dependent on object sizes and distances. A pan like described above will appear plain and easy but flat.

Merry Christmas.


Thanks, Ivaar! I always get confused with the difference between panning and trucking–LOL!

Merry Christmas to you, too!

Here’s a video clip showing what I am talking about in this thread. A description of what I did is in the About section of the video.

Zeb, I looked at the video and I actually prefer the parallax-like effect of the trees. With your keyframes and workaround it is like the small trees in the distance and the larger trees in the foreground are printed on a billboard and give a very flat effect. It seems like you could just have all of the background on a single plane and do away with playing with any multi-plane features at all.

Again, it just seems like your first test in the video is more natural to me.


Can you make that scene available? I sometimes saw a wooble but other times not. I’d be curious to put marks on the trees going down to see if really there is a difference in speed. The second test in a way is not fair because the distance travelled by the trees is much less visually.

After sending the scene files to Steve here is what he had to say which I thought would be helpful to add to this thread. Many thanks for your insight into this, Steve!

(Steve:) "So if I assume that the look you wanted is the one in test 1 then I think it’s just a normal effect of the z depth. In real life it would do the same. By using a peg to re-adjust the position of the tree/mountains you did the same as if you had put less depth on that layer.

I think what you have to do is bring the mountain closer to the foreground trees and then the mountains won’t travel as much. Typically I put the clouds, moon and sky quite far away and then I put the mountains not so far compared to the character and foreground. I play with the z depth until it gives a good feeling with the camera move. I use the Maintain Size advance animation tool in the top view to adjust the z. Since it’s an artificial depth we can’t put miles or feet to give real distances so I have to do it this way until it visually works. Using the peg adjustment works also but if you have many levels it can get tiring to do more changes afterwards."