Focus Configurations

If you have read and understood the page introducing you to the basic usage of MovieFocus, you should be familiar with the concept of focus flow entries. Each focus flow entry has a focus configuration which defines how that entry should pull focus. There are different types of configurations, and each of them has its individual method for determining the focal depth. By selecting and configuring a focus configuration, you essentially tell MovieFocus what should be focused in which way. Take a look at the following sections for a detailed breakdown of each of the configurations' behaviors.

Conf: Fixed Focal Depth

The first configuration is by far the simplest one. You just tell MovieFocus at which distance objects must lie relative to the camera plane so that they are perfectly sharp. That means that you just set the focal depth to a fixed value:

Notice how when set to a small focal depth, the front of the tall grass block in the foreground is in focus, while the back of that same block — and the entire background — is out of focus. When the focal depth is changed to a larger value, the effect reverses.

Note that you can actually adjust the fixed focal depth while filming by simply turning the mouse wheel.

Tracking Focus

Before we get any deeper into the tracking focus mechanisms, let's talk about tracking focus in general. It basically means that you select some kind of object that should be in focus, and MovieFocus makes sure that that very object is always perfectly sharp. For example, you could use tracking focus to keep the protagonist of a scene in focus at all times.

The following picture depicts the effect of tracking focus on a block. You can see that the tall grass block is always in focus, no matter where the camera is placed:


Say you want to track focus on a point X in your world. The first way that comes to mind in order to do that is to adjust the focal distance so that it is equal to the distance between X and the camera:

Imagine what happens if the target is the center of a block. Our camera would always focus on the center, which isn't even visible since it's the center. It would however not focus on the surface of the block, which is the behavior we actually want. But don't panic, envspheres come to the rescue!

An envspheres basically is a virtual sphere around the target. Its radius can be freely configured. In case the radius is 0, the behavior is the same as with no envsphere. If the radius is greater than zero however, the camera will focus on the point on the envsphere which is nearest to the camera, just like this:

When you move the camera, the focused point will stay on the envsphere, and it'll always be the point that's nearest to the camera:

When you configure the radius just right, you can approximately focus on the surface of a block, even a smaller block like a fence, the eyes of a person and so on. In the following example, the goal is to focus on a sunflower:

In the left picture, the envsphere radius is set to be way too large. As you can see, the sunflower is totally out of focus, since the focused point — the little yellow dot on the orange envsphere — does not lie on the sunflower at all. Contrary to that, the smaller envsphere radius in the right picture leads to the point of focus lying approximately on the surface of the sunflower, meaning that the flower is in focus now.

Conf: Focus on Point

As the name suggests, this focus configuration allows you to focus on a fixed point inside your world. You could focus on a block, a fence post, a sunflower, anything that's static and doesn't move.

When you create a new Focus on Point configuration, the focused point is initially set to (0|0|0). You probably want to focus on a certain block, so in order to get a rough estimate, you can use the Select Block button. Just click it, right-click a block, and its coordinates will be loaded right into the focused point coordinate fields!

The loaded coordinates are rough however, and in the case of this flower, they don't really describe where we want the focus to lie very well. In order to fix that, we need to tweak both the object center coordinates and the envsphere radius so that they fit the flower. The gizmo which is displayed in the center of the screen shows you the different axes (red stands for X, green for Y and blue for Z) so that you don't have to try and randomly put in values to find out.

Now that the envsphere seems to be in the right place, let's try making a nice shot of your newly focused flower:

Conf: Focus on Entity

In contrast to the previous Focus on Point configuration which only tracks static objects, this one follows an entity around and makes sure it's always in focus and as sharp as you can get it to be.

When you create a new Focus on Entity configuration, it doesn't focus any entity initially. You can however use the Select Entity button to tell the focus configuration which entity should be tracked. Just click it, right-click an entity, and it will be loaded right into your focus configuration!

By default, the envsphere radius is set to 0.5. For the villager however, we have to adjust it slightly in order to focus on the villager's eyes and not the air in front of him:

Now that the envsphere seems to be in the right place, let's try making a nice shot of your newly focused villager: