How to Make a Camera in Unreal Engine? (+ 7 Common Errors)

In this lesson, you will learn all you need to know about creating a camera in Unreal Engine, the general use of cameras for beginners, and how to avoid some of the most common mistakes.

We will cover how to create different types of cameras, from third person to first person, as well as how to place cameras in the world outside of a character.

Common Cameras in Unreal Engine

There are three main ways of creating a camera in Unreal Engine:

1. Blueprint Character + Camera Component

The first and most common way to create a camera is inside the Blueprint Character.

This results in a camera that either follows the player in third person or serves as the player’s view in first person.

Third vs First Person Camera Unreal Engine
Third Person (Left) and First Person (Right) Blueprint Character

2. Blueprint Actor + Camera Component

A second way is to create a Blueprint Actor for a single main camera that will be used throughout your game.

This is common in card, puzzle, arcade, or strategy games.

This camera serves as the main perspective of the game but does not follow any specific player.

Blueprint Actor with a Camera Component Unreal Engine
The Blueprint Actor with a camera component can be easily used for games like Tetris or Pong.

3. Camera Actor

Another method is to place a camera directly within the level, for example, for special events or for camera changes during gameplay.

When a player enters an area, the camera changes.

Camera Actor Placed in Level Unreal Engine

How to Create a Camera in Unreal Engine?

Let’s learn how to create these different cameras.

Understanding how all these cameras work is highly useful, as you can combine them during gameplay and switch between cameras depending on your game or project requirements.

1. The Blueprint Camera Component

To create a camera inside a Blueprint, first, you will need to create a Character Blueprint for your player if you don’t already have one.

Alternatively, you can also create cameras inside other Blueprints like Pawns or Actors, depending on your goal.

To create the Blueprint Class, simply right-click on the ‘Content Browser’ -> ‘Blueprint Class’ -> ‘Character, Pawn, or Actor’.

Unreal Engine Create a Blueprint Class
Blueprint Pick Parent Class in Unreal Entine

Open the Blueprint and simply press the ‘+ Add’ button to add one of the three Camera components:

  • Camera: Use it for game projects.
  • Cine Camera: More focused on cinematic use.
  • Spring Arm: Works as a Camera Boom or Selfie Stick, automatically adjusting the camera distance to avoid collisions. Most commonly used in Third Person games.
Add Blueprint Camera Components

For now, just add the Camera. Sometimes, you may also need to add a Spring Arm component, but let’s focus on the most common cases for now.

First Person Camera

If you’re making a first person game, you usually place the camera at the character’s head. Then, you adjust the mesh and animations to achieve the desired first-person view. Typically, there are three possibilities:

  • No Mesh: You only place the camera where the character’s head would be, but there is no mesh. The player doesn’t see any hands or body of the character during gameplay. This method is commonly used in walking simulators.
  • Hands Only: If you want to show only the character’s hands and not the rest of the body, it’s helpful to create a 3D model of just the hands. Here, you can add as many body parts as needed, such as legs or a full body without a head. This approach is commonly used in single player first person shooters or horror games.
  • Full Body: However, if you want to use a full body 3D model of the character, you’ll often need to make the body bend as the camera moves. Although this is the most complex method of the three, the results usually look more professional.
Full Body 3D Mesh Character First Person Unreal Engine
Quick example of a Full Body First Person perspective in Unreal Engine

Third Person Camera

To create a Third Person Camera, begin by adding a Spring Arm component. This will assist the camera in avoiding unwanted collisions and correctly following the player.

Next, create the Camera component and attach it to the Spring Arm.

Finally, adjust the Spring Arm’s ‘Target Arm Length‘ parameter to set the distance between the player and the camera.

Tip: If the camera position is not at the end of the spring arm, select the camera and reset its position in the details panel to 0 on the X, Y, and Z axes.

In third person games, cameras are typically positioned behind the character’s right shoulder, but feel free to experiment.

For example, if you want to create a top down game, place the camera above the character and rotate the spring arm accordingly.

Third Person Camera Component Example

Blueprint Actor

This also applies to games with a single main camera, such as card, puzzle, or strategy games.

Simply create a Blueprint Actor instead of a Blueprint Character, and add the camera component.

Then, drag and drop the Blueprint Actor into the level.

2. The Level Camera Actor

If you simply want to place a camera inside the level for cinematics, camera changes during gameplay, or any other purpose, you can use this approach.

To create a camera in the level, right-click in the Viewport and select “Place Actor -> Primitives -> Camera Actor“.

Unreal Engine Place Camera Actor Level

These cameras are typically used in the Level Blueprint with Trigger Boxes. Since these cameras only exist where you placed them in this level, it’s easy to use camera references.

To do this, simply select the camera in the Outliner and then go to the Level Blueprint to create a reference.

Camera Actor Reference Unreal Engine

Tip: If you right-click the camera actor in the viewport, you can select ‘Pilot Camera Actor’ to easily adjust the camera position using the WASD keys.

How to enable the Camera in Unreal Engine?

Once the camera is created inside a blueprint or in the level, it’s time to let Unreal Engine know how we want to use the cameras.

Since you can create as many cameras as you want, we need to inform the engine which one you want to enable.

1. Game Mode Pawn Class

If you created the camera inside a Blueprint Character, you just need to change the ‘Default Pawn Class‘ in the Game Mode to your character.

Once the Pawn is set up in the Game Mode, it will spawn at the beginning of the game, and the camera you created should work and follow the player.

Game Mode Override World Settings

2. Set View Target with Blend

If you created the camera inside a regular blueprint actor or directly in the level, you will need to use a blueprint node called “Set View Target with Blend” to activate the camera.

Blueprint Actor with Camera Component

In case you have a Blueprint Actor with a Camera, you need to connect a reference of the Camera, for example, by using ‘Get Actor of Class‘, to the ‘New View Target‘ input node.

For the ‘Target‘ input, you usually just need to connect the ‘Get Player Controller‘ node.

UE5 Set View Target with Blend

Camera Actor in the Level

On the other hand, if you have a camera actor directly in the level, you can connect it directly inside the Level Blueprint by creating a reference to the camera.

For the ‘Target’ input, simply connect a ‘Get Player Controller‘ blueprint node.

Unreal Engine Set View Target with Blend

Set View Target with Blend Input Pins

  • Blend Time: How long it takes to switch between the two cameras.
  • Blend Func: Choose the type of blend you want between linear, cubic, ease in, ease out, ease in out, and pre-blended. Experiment with the different blends and hover the cursor over them to learn more individually.
  • Blend Exp: Set the Blend Exponent, used by certain blend functions to control the shape of the curve.
  • Lock Outgoing: If this is true, the first camera will stay in place after the switch. Locks the outgoing view target to the last frame’s camera position for the remainder of the blend.

Solving Common Errors

1. Black Spot in the screen in Unreal Engine

If you see a black circle or sphere when playing your game, it’s likely because the circle is the default pawn that Unreal Engine uses.

To fix this issue, simply go to the Game Mode and set the ‘Default Pawn Class’ to ‘None’.

Black Spot in the screen in Unreal Engine

2. Auto Manage Active Camera Target

When utilizing a camera outside of the blueprint character, experiencing issues could result from this option being active.

To have full control of the camera, set “Auto Manage Active Camera Target” to false in the Player Controller details panel.

If you are using the default player controller, simply create a new one and select it in the Game Mode.

Blueprint Pick Parent Class in Unreal Entine
Auto Manage Active Camera Target

3. No Socket Offset

In the Details panel, select the Spring Arm and adjust the Socket Offset parameter to create and enhance an over the shoulder camera effect.

4. No Camera Interpolation (Camera Lag)

By default, the Spring Arm follows the player’s location without interpolation.

To make motion and camera movement more fluid, it’s a good idea to set the ‘Enable Camera Lag‘ option to ‘True’.

A value between 8 and 10 for the ‘Camera Lag Speed’ is usually a good range.

Third Person Camera Component Example

5. Camera Clipping with Walls

If the camera is clipping through walls or producing strange angles, try increasing the value of the ‘Probe Size‘ parameter in the Details panel of the Spring Arm.

6. The camera is inside the player or colliding with other players

If you’re having issues with camera collisions during gameplay, try selecting the Character Mesh and changing the Collision Presets in the details panel to ignore the camera.

Collision Presets Ignore Camera UE

7. Disable or Change Camera Auto-Exposure

To adjust the automatic camera exposure and a lot of Post Process settings, select the camera and navigate to the Post Process settings in the Details panel.

If you wish to disable auto exposure directly, change the ‘Metering Mode‘ to ‘Manual‘ and set the ‘Exposure Compensation‘ to a value that suits your Unreal Engine project.

Post Process Camera Manual Exposure UE

Hope this helps! Keep on creating!

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