Frequently Asked Questions
What is Cinemachine?
Cinemachine is a camera system for Unity. It contains modules which allow you to track variable moving objects, follow objects with the camera, do procedural noise, blend multiple cameras together and setup camera state machines. In short, it’s a completely unified camera system which can do everything from gameplay cameras to cutscenes. It’s incredibly versatile and it allows experimentation with ideas near-instantly – no need to code up camera behaviors.
What will Cinemachine add to our project?
Cinemachine will allow you to craft shots and make cameras do things which simply aren’t possible otherwise. It allows for you to make ‘impossible’ shots like tracking AI driven objects or any other performer with variable behavior, all with screen-based composition controls. It lets you build large and sophisticated camera setups very quickly and easily. It works in Play and Edit mode, so you can tune your shots without running the game, unless you’re tracking AI objects of course.
We have built Cinemachine from a cinematography perspective so the controls and naming are from that world. We’ve spent a lot of time making the camera movement and weight feel right. The math going on under the hood has been through numerous redesigns to make everything convincingly feel like how a real camera behaves.
Produced by an award winning cinematographer and a top level math engineer with decades of experience between them, Cinemachine is the culmination of their vast experiences boiled down and refined into a professional quality – yet simple to use – camera system that you’ll want to use on every project.
One of our camera artists has asked for us to buy Cinemachine. Should we get it?
Cinemachine will save your project a pile of time and pay for itself many, many times over. Not only will you save time but the things you create with it are strongly bug-proof. Here is an example: Using Cinemachine for cutscenes, you set the camera up to track objects or perhaps bones in a character, then you define how you’d like to compose them on the screen. Later, if a Designer or Animator changes something, the cutscene will probably still be fine – even though things have changed – because the cameras are continually figuring out how to compose the shot based on your direction. On Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak, we built numerous cutscenes only to discover that later on the Designers changed vehicle speeds, the shape of the terrain and the cutscenes still worked. The cameras just adjusted themselves to get their shots even though things were performing differently. That’s one of many examples where Cinemachine saves time and allows you to do things which were otherwise not possible.
For gameplay cameras, your Designers can try out ideas on the fly and tune camera properties in real-time. A powerful multi-camera state machine setup can be created in less time than it takes you to read this page, without having to code a thing. Do you need the camera to do something different when your character goes to a certain area in the level? When the health is low? When enemies come on screen? Simply make another camera with the desired properties, define how you’d like it to blend in and turn it on when you need it. It’s fast. Time is money, right?
For eSports and broadcasting, you can setup Cinemachine to get shots of your characters wherever they are, whatever they’re doing. No more chasing around the game with a manual camera, instead switch between smart Cinemachine cameras to get great shots no matter what.
Is Cinemachine coming to Unreal?
We get asked this question almost every day. We currently have an R+D Unreal project on the go and are investigating how to best adapt Cinemachine for Unreal. If you are interested in an Unreal version of Cinemachine, please let us know. Email us
What does Cinemachine work with?
Cinemachine works with Unity 5+. It also works with the fantastic Cinema Director timeline editor plugin as we have been working together since mid-2014. It should also work with anything else which allows you to show/hide objects and provide animation data to channels. It also works with whatever game cameras you currently have. You can add Cinemachine just for cutscenes, or use it to spice up existing code cameras you’ve created. We’ve spent a lot of time working out how to make Cinemachine play nice with others.
Ok, one more time, what do you mean about ‘procedural cameras’?
It is a little weird, we know. Procedural cameras have aspects of them which are driven by real-time events or have behaviors like Noise which generate procedural animation. Cinemachine has numerous modules which make it act like a virtual camera operator in that it ‘shoots’ whatever is happening even if you don’t know what’s going to happen. Cinemachine can move the camera body to make it follow things, or give it noise which looks like it was shot with a hand-held camera, or keep the camera from colliding with objects. We’ve designed the modules to ‘see’ like a real camera operator so they track and compose shots of things which have completely variable performances. It’s a very powerful idea because now you can shoot game moments to look like cinematic moments, using really telephoto lenses and hand-held camera shakes, even though you don’t really know what’s going to happen. You do know though, that you’ll get a good shot of whatever it is, wherever it is.
Of course, you can mix in hand-animated cameras, or hand animate the camera movement and use procedural composition (which is a super powerful combination) or any mix of the two. Imagine telling your cameras what to shoot and then you let them go and they’ll always work to get the shot.
What games have shipped with Cinemachine?
Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak was the first game in Unity to ship using Cinemachine. It was our development project. The Director of Photograph on DoK was Adam Myhill, who wanted to do shots which were at the time impossible. He previously designed the procedural camera system in the Frostbite game engine and wanted to be able to employ procedural camera concepts for DoK. It was then we decided to start Cinemachine Imagery Inc., and build the most cutting edge camera system available and then share it with the Unity community after we shipped DoK.
Cinemachine has been built with the experience of designing camera systems that have shipped nearly a dozen titles over millions of units, from driving games, 3rd person action adventure, melee fighting, real time strategy, first person shooter, side-scroller – we’ve done a fair bit over the years.
This isn’t a project we’ve just started and put on the Asset Store once it’s barely working. Cinemachine is the culmination of many years of experience over multiple games and game genres. We believe it’s the finest camera system commercially available.
Can I do split-screen or Picture in Picture setups?
Currently the Cinemachine virtual camera environment lets you blend between any number of cameras and apply that to any one render camera. We know that people would like to have ‘multiple Cinemachines’ going in there game for split-screen and picture in picture type setups. We are working on it and it will be released in a future update.