Cinemachine: Dolly Camera with Track vs. Dolly Track with Cart

Intro

In this article, we are going to cover the difference between Cinemachine’s Dolly cameras, Dolly Camera with Track and Dolly Track with Cart.

Dolly Camera with Track

When creating a Dolly Camera with Track this will create

a Virtual Camera and a Dolly Track.

The Dolly Camera with Track has the Auto Dolly feature which will track and follow an object on the provide track.

When using the Auto Dolly you you will need a Follow object, but I will assign a Look At object in the example.

In the Body section, make sure to enable the Auto Dolly function.

The Auto Dolly has a few settings and the definitions are below according to Unity’s documentation.

Position Offset — Offset, in position units, from the closest point on the path to the follow target.

Search Radius — The number of segments on either side of the current segment. Use 0 for the entire path. Use a lower number when the path’s shape relative to the target position causes the closest point on the path to become unstable.

Search Resolution — Cinemachine searches a segment by dividing it into many straight pieces. The higher the number, the more accurate the result. However, performance is proportionally slower for higher numbers.

The Dolly Track consist of Waypoints and the Track

The Waypoints are the stops along the track and determine the shape of the track.

You can add and remove Waypoints and reposition using the Move tool.

You can easily rearrange the Waypoints by clicking and dragging.

Below, you can see how the Auto Dolly works. The camera will move to the point on the track that is closet to the Follow object.

You will want to be careful when using the Auto Dolly function and laying out the track. Since the Dolly Camera is made to move to the closest point in the track this can cause some issues when the Follow object is close to multiple points on the track a small movement can cause the camera to quickly move between those points.

Unity documentation says to, “Choose your path shapes with care when using Auto-Dolly mode. This becomes problematic on paths that form an arc around some point. As an extreme example, consider a perfectly circular path with the Follow target at the center. The closest point on the path becomes unstable because all points on the circular path are equally close to the target. In this situation, moving the Follow target small distances can cause the camera to move large distances on the track.”

You can see in the image above how the camera is jumpy with small movements of the player.

Dolly Track with Cart

The Dolly Track with Cart is different than the Dolly Camera with Track in that it will move no follow an object, but move along the track from start to finish only looking at an object.

This will create a Dolly Track and Dolly Cart. The Dolly Track is the same as it was with the Dolly Camera with Track, but the Dolly Cart is something new.

You can determine the type of Update method it will use when moving the Cart.

How the positions will be measured on the track.

The speed it will move at and the current position of the Cart on the Dolly Track.

You will need to ad a Virtual Camera to the Cart. This means when you create a new Virtual Camera, you will have it Follow the Dolly Cart and have it Look At the game object you want.

The Virtual Camera will move along the Track at the speed you set regardless of where the Player moves.

Since the Camera is moving independently of the game object and only Follow the Cart along the Track, you can have more circular Track paths and avoid the camera from jumping like when you use Dolly Camera with Track.

Conclusion

These cameras sounds similar and have some similarities like they both use Tracks. But the differences are the Dolly Camera with Track has the Auto Dolly function where the Camera will move along the Track depending on the game object’s position while the Dolly Track with Cart will move along the Track from start to finish at a set speed.

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