2D Camera

This video is part of the official comprehensive video course about Duik Ángela

With 2D animation, it is usually easier to animate the positions of 2D layers than to set up a 3D space using cameras to create camera movements.

The 2D camera tool creates virtual 2D multiplane cameras to easily animate all types of camera movements, using only 2D layers1.

Similarly to the Camera rig 2, Duik also adds nice camera behaviors to these 2D cameras, to easily simulate real cameras and the way they’re manipulated (hand, shoulder, tripod, etc.).

Fleischer Studios’ stereoptical camera,
From the patent by Max Fleischer, “Art of Making Motion Picture Cartoons”,
Public Domain.

  1. Select the layers corresponding to the background planes.
    This is optional, if there are no layer selected, Duik creates a default 2D camera.
  2. Click the 2D Camera button.

Duik creates a controller for the camera, and a null layer for each background plane (or three null layers if there was no layer selected).
Selected layers are automatically parented to these null layers.


Each null layer controls one plane, one level of the background. In the effect of the null layer, you can adjust the influence of the camera with a simple slider.

The Camera Influence, as the name suggests, indicates how much of an impact the camera controller has on that null layer.

Camera Influence can be found in the effects of the generated or duplicated nulls. A common use case for these nulls would be to view them as planes, or “depths”.


Let’s say we want to create the illusion of three dimensional space that has a main focus on the objects in the middleground (mg).

You have a foreground (fg) layer, an mg layer, and a background (bg) layer.

You would parent your mg layer to Level 2 since it is your primary object, the bg to Level 1, and the fg to Level 3.

From here, you can set the camera influence of Level 1 (bg) to a number with a value lower than 100 (the default is 50 %) and the camera influence of Level 3 (fg) to a value greater than 100 (default: 150 %).

Now when you manipulate the controller, the background will move 50 % that of the mg and the fg will move 50 % more than the mg, giving the illusion of depth/parallax.


Duik will create a null called Z along with the 2D Camera, just ingore it and don’t try to modify, duplicate or move it. It’s needed to give the camera control it’s anchor point and some other calculations but you should not have to manipulate it by yourself.

If you need more or less layers to control other levels, you can remove or duplicate these null level layers, and just parent the actual background image layers to these null layers.

Camera animation and effect

An effect on the main camera controller helps you animate the camera, with nice interpolations for a smooth camera move, and advanced behaviors to simulate real cameras.


The type of camera and type of motion work similarly to the 3D Camera rig&nbsp2.

The Type of camera changes the behavior of the camera.
With the Fixed camera, there’s no random values at all, the camera perfectly follows the animation keyframes.
With the other modes, Handheld, Shoulder, Tripod, Steadicam, Duik adds some handmade, fine tuned wiggling to the motion to perfectly simulate the way the camera is moved by the operator. Depending on the type of camera, there are different degrees of liberty for each axis, both in position and rotation, and their weight may change. Duik takes all of this into account to generate a perfect motion. This option also influences how camera shake is generated, all these types will shake differently, to get the most realistic motion possible.

The Type of motion changes the interpolation* and extrapolation* of the keyframes.
To generate a perfectly smooth and realistic movement on cameras from your keyframes, Duik uses different interpolation and extrapolation algorithms*, and you just have to set the type of motion you’re animating:

With all these types of motion, you can tweak the acceleration or deceleration of the camera with the Easing / Acceleration property. This property can be animated if you wish!

The Easy-Bézier options are available in the end of the effec; they’re similar to the Bézier mode of the Interpolator 3.

Camera Animation

Although you could animate directly the position of the camera controller layer, it should be easier and better to animate only from the effect, where all camera moves can be keyframed.

Duik differenciates the translation of the camera, which generate a parallax effect, from the rotation or scale which should not generate any parallax4. Of course, you can combine all of them.

Random motion and camera shake

According to the type of camera, Duik may add some random motion on top of the keyframe animation, to simulate the corresponding type.

You can adjust the amplitude and frequency of this wiggling animation.

You can also animate the amplitude of the camera shake to make the camera shake at a specific time, for example as the result of an explosion, of the ground trembling or the wind…


You shouldn’t have to change much the frequency values which should be the same for almost all cameras.

As with all other random values, you can change the seed in the advanced section of the effect, to test different versions of the motion (or to make sure mutliple controllers use the same seed to generate the same motion).


  1. This is the digital equivalent of Disney’s multiplane camera (vertical setup) or the Fleischer Studios’ stereoptical camera (horizontal setup) from the early days of traditional animation. 

  2. cf. Cameras / Camera Rig

  3. cf. Animation / Tools / Interpolator

  4. That’s how it works in real life; there is no change of perspective with rotations, thus no parallax effect, in an ideal setup where the pivot would be exactly at the center of the censor (and the censor would be infinitely small). As this perfect case scenario is almost impossible, there may be a very small parallax when a camera is panning, which is the result of the censor actually translating a bit too instead of just rotating.