How to use a Dolly track in Unity

In one of the cut-scenes in The Great Fleece project, our Hero Darren is captured in a bad ending.

The director wants a shot where the camera circles around the guards and Darren before going into an arial view. We’ll need a Dolly track for this.

In the film world, this would consist of actual tracks laid down for a camera to ride along on. In virtual terms, it’s as easy as moving our virtual camera with the movement and rotation tools.

So let’s prepare our Dolly! Go to Cinemachine/Create Dolly Camera plus track.

This creates 2 items: a DollyTrack1, and a CM vcam1 connected to the track. I already have another camera prepared in this scene so I’m going to delete the newly added camera.

Even though we added a dolly track, we don’t see anything on our screen yet because we have to add a waypoint, so let’s do that.

after pressing add waypoint, nothing seems to have happened, but if we press F to focus, then it will zoom to the waypoint! Right now, we only have 1 waypoint and it’s labeled 0, let’s add another to create a track.

Great! We now have the beginnings of a track! Let’s move it up to the actors where we need it.

The track consists of those 3 dots. the first one moves the entire track as you’ve just seen, the other modifies the track, and the last one ‘bends’ it. Let’s adjust our track right now to start at the wall and curve around the guard.

Let’s add another waypoint:

From here, I massaged the waypoints a bit so it smoothed out.

With everything set up, it’s time to hook it up to our fullshot virtual camera:

With the virtual camera selected, open the body properties and change the transposer to Dolly Track. Then drag the actual track to the path slot.

I have all of my cameras and assets under a main holder called Game_Over_Cutscene. I’m going to create an animation track for it, drag the full shot camera into the slot and let it create an animator for it.

Slight edit: I figured I didn’t need the 2nd waypoint so I deleted it and now only have waypoints 0 and 1, this will actually make animating it easier.

Now hit record in the animator slot, at 0, select path 1 and then path 0 in path position to initialize the keyframe, then at 3 seconds, type in path 1 to put another keyframe at the end of the shot.

It’s animated on the dolly but now we need to rotate the camera, so let’s do that. While we’re still recording, let’s return to frame 0 and rotate the camera on its y axis

That’s better! Now let’s do the same for the last frame!

Perfect! We did it! And now we have a recorded dollied track!

Tomorrow, we go over animating objects over a timeline!

cartoonist, game artist, and wanabe gamedev.