Sniper is a Blender Addon by Jacques Lucke that creates professional Motion Graphics like, for example, Lyric Videos with just a few clicks.
You can download Sniper version 1.3.2 directly here (Right Click -> Save As). You can also visit the Github profile of Jacques Lucke to get the latest version.
Installation works like all Blender addons. Open User Preferences and go to the Addons tab. Choose Install from File... and select the .zip file you just downloaded. After clicking Install from File... again (this time in the top right) the addon appears in the list and you can activate it by placing a check in the box. If you want the addon to stay activated even when Blender closes, click Save User Settings.
Sniper requires some further settings if you want to be able to load the files created with it correctly. In this case you neeed Blender to allow executing Python scripts automatically. You can find this setting in the File-Tab of the User Preferences under Auto Run Python Scripts. After clicking it, select Save User Settings.
The Sniper addon is located in the Toolshelf (T) in the Animation Tab. There you can find 3 new buttons:
- Add Target Camera: A new camera is created and the currently selected objects are used as targets. You can always add or remove objects later on, though.
- Seperate Text: This function takes the currently active text object and creates seperate ones for each line.
- Text to Name: All text objects get their text as a name. That will come in handy later as the objects are shown by their name in the target list.
After a target camera has been created, a new tab named Sniper can be found in the tool shelf. There you can find all settings required for the animation.
- Recalculate: Some settings in Sniper don't update the animation automatically. In that case Recalculate should be pressed. Sniper will give you warning whenever that is required. It can also be used to re-hide objects created by Sniper if they have been un-hidden by accident.
- Manipulate Timing: A Dope Sheet will show up in which the animation can be tweaked (more about it below).
- Travel: The number tells at or between which targets the current frame lies. With the buttons to the right and left one can jump to the next or previous target, changing the current frame number.
- Target‐Liste: Here you can find all targets and change the sequence. Adding the selected objects as targets and and deleting targets is also possible. A target can show up more than once.
- Target‐Settings: This box appears for every target that is currently marked. The number behind the name shows the index of the target in the list.
- Slow In: Value between 0 and 1 that tells how "soft" the camera will slow down while approaching the target. 0 means a very aprupt stop while 1 will result in an ease-out-effect.
- Slow Out: Value betwwen 0 and 1 indicating how strongly the camera will accelerate when leaving the target. 0 means a very strong acceleration and 1 a very soft one.
- Copy to All: Copies the settings for Slow In and Slow Out to all the other targets.
- Camera Wiggle: Use this to add "life" to the camera motion.
- Strength: How strong the shaking of the camera is, from no shake (0) up to very strong (1)
- Time Scale: How quickly the camera shakes. 1 means fastest possble shake and the higher the value, the slower the camera shakes.
- Inertia Strength: The inertia of the camera when breaking. The higher the value, the more the camera will overshoot and swing into the rest position. This setting should be tweaked according to Slow In, otherwise the movement will feel unrealistic.
Tweaking animation keyframes:
You can set when the camera is moving by moving the keyframes in the channel travel in the ANIMATION DATA object. There are exactly 2 keyframes for each target. After each change, Recalculate needs to be pressed. Animation Keyframes for sniper should not be edited in the graph editor as the handles of the bezier curves are ignored. Use Slow In and Slow Out instead.
If the camera is too close to or too far away fom a target or you want to change the position of the camera relative to the target, just move or scale the emtpy that is attached to each target. Scaling it wll change the distance of the camera for example.
For those who are interested how the addon is working internally and how the object setup looks like, take a look at the following diagram: