Shader Creating & Settings for Carrara - Q&A - Come One, Come All

wgdjohnwgdjohn Posts: 2,634
edited September 2016 in Carrara Discussion

What to learn about setting up Shaders in Carrara?  You have come to the right place.

Yes of course... come on in... please wipe your feet at the door. :)  Have a seat and we can speak about Carrara shaders and how to get the most out of them.

q:  I have Carrara and Luxus/Luxrender. Can I ask questions about shader settings for Luxus also?.
a:  Of course!  Octane shaders and Luxus/Luxrender not to mention the newest LuxCore.

q:  So tell me what is this for.
a:  Created for those either new to Carrara or those familiar with shaders and wanting to dive deeper into all the Shader settings and what they do. This is not only for the many proceedural shaders that come with Carrara but also for 3rd party plug-ins. It's to help everyone get the most out of both.

q:  How will this benfit me? There are other threads that mention shaders in them
a: Yes there are and I plan to link to all that I know of in my post below. Oh yeah... as for benefiting you... hopefully this will help you become a better, faster and stronger Shader designer. :)  I myself know the basics as well as extra shader tweaking that can be done to create different effects. But of course don't we all want to know more?

q:  What about texture maps in place of proceedural textures. Will these also be talked about?
a: Hey... great idea. I've just been learning how to use apply them in the modeling rooms UV editor. This is shown in my Modeling Objects in Carrara - Q&A - Come One and All  which starts HERE.

Shader Tweaking is a Blast!

 

 ~~~~~~~  This page and my links are currently in WIP stage. Check back for more information and links. ~~~~~~~

Post edited by wgdjohn on
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Comments

  • wgdjohnwgdjohn Posts: 2,634
    edited August 2017

    Which Shaders are 2D and which ones are 3D?

    PhilW has listed these for us in a post here on Page 4.  These are for Carrara's built in Shaders etc, Everyone needs to be aware of these!

    Resources - Links for more help.  New links are added as I stumble upon them.

    In the Forums:

    YourTube Videos:

    looking... please be patient

    DAZ Pay Tutorials: I consider all to be Must Haves. Note Some all can be gotten at very good prices during a sale. However if you can't wait they are worth their weight in gold.

    Are you feeling left off my rather short list of links? or Notice a problem with anyting? - No problem either post a comment or send me a PM.

    more links to come

    Post edited by wgdjohn on
  • HeadwaxHeadwax Posts: 8,271

    thanks for starting this :)

    looking forward to what comes out

    do you have baker by inagoni?

    worth while exploring too

     

    quote:

    Surface Baking, sometimes call skinning, is the transformation of an object procedural texture, lighting or surface definition into a traditional texture map. Baker adds these possibilities to Carrara.
    Using the UV mapping of an object, Baker can extract flat texture maps from any Carrara’s shader, giving then the possibility to rework it in other traditional 2D software. You can now start shading an object with any Carrara procedural shader, either 2D (UV mapped shaders) or 3D (solid shaders) and then add details to it in your favorite 2D software.

    bakerui

    Baker can also bake lightmaps and normal maps: rendering time can be dramatically lowered by using these technics usually used in real time rendering applications. These maps are also very useful to enhance 3D characters modeled for video games.

    To bake an object shader, first select the object in the scene, then choose the menu item Edit->Baking or press Ctrl+F. Note that several objects can be selected at the same time: Baker will generate as many maps as there are selected objects.

    unquote

    more info at their site (google baker by Inagoni)

  • DiomedeDiomede Posts: 11,306

    I recently picked up Baker and am looking forward to experimenting with it.  Would apprecate any tips.

  • HeadwaxHeadwax Posts: 8,271
    edited September 2016

    Oh I am not an expert - but the thing to remember that you need the obj to be uv mapped

    I think it's great advantage is being able to export Carrara's proecdural shaders, then combine them with a texture map and reimport the result into your shader tree -

    I havent tried it with anything Goos (Digital Carvers) yet, but that wpuld be  exciting if it works -

    Post edited by Headwax on
  • wgdjohnwgdjohn Posts: 2,634
    head wax said:
    do you have baker by inagoni?

    I have everything from inagoni as well as DigitalCarversGuild.  Do I know how to use all of them... no.  Pre Carrara 8.5 Pro I only had Advance Pack from inagoni and Power Pack from DCG. Since I wanted everything that DCG had Eric was kind enough to help me out since I couldn't afford all at one time.

    I know, or rather think I do, what Baker does but have never tried it... yet.

    Since buying Carrara 4 Pro I've been very slow learning it and Shaders... both are similar but a different concept compared to my previous 3D Modeler, Imagine3D for the Amiga, which supported Animation, 3D Text creation, Bones and more. It has taken me awhile to adjust... but after upgrading from 8.1 Pro to Carrara 8.5 Pro last summer I've cranked up learning it a lot better. Carrara Challenges, videos - pay - free ones on YouTube and the Forums have been very helpful to learn Shaders.

     

  • HeadwaxHeadwax Posts: 8,271
    edited September 2016

    Cool :)

     

    some Random Thoughts

    1 The thing I do with 'all' models is tweak then with Fenric's shader thing that takes out texture shinyness and adds the texture from the colour channel to the bump channel (if there is none) automatically

     

    2 My most used shader parameter is a mixer  operator with two textures

    mixed  via a noise blender.

    try this

     take an (eg) ground texture and tile it eg 20 by 20 in one texture channel (source 1)

    then ctrl c to copy it, paste it in the source 2 channel, flip it by 90 degrees and then change the number of tiles

    that way you get a more random texture from only one texture :)

    3 I also use Fenric's shader tweaker (???) an awful lot to tweak the colour saturation and lightness of a texture map

    Shoestring shaders have a similar utility I think - I just use Fenric's more

    4 Nvidia has a free utility that lets you make a Normal map from a texture via ps  - never figured out if it is the right type of normal map - but it seems like it is :)  https://developer.nvidia.com/nvidia-texture-tools-adobe-photoshop

     

     

    Post edited by Headwax on
  • MystiarraMystiarra Posts: 35,481

    was wondering what kewlness is lurking in the lighting models options.

    anistropic, meridian, custom

     

     

    caLighting Models.JPG
    567 x 290 - 31K
    caLighting Models-anistropic.JPG
    666 x 510 - 65K
  • AntaraAntara Posts: 444

    Quite a few years back we had several themed shader challenges in which we created and shared a bunch of shaders. I still use many of them and they were also a great starting point for various modifications and learning new tricks. But that was in the old forum and I think I lost the links to the shared files. I'll dig through my archives to see if I can find them.

    If anyone else has better archives, please help out.

    P.S. I miss Brian Rohde.

  • PhilWPhilW Posts: 5,055

    An image I did six years ago - Brian will not be forgotten.

    RIP Brian.jpg
    600 x 450 - 34K
  • wgdjohnwgdjohn Posts: 2,634
    edited September 2016
    head wax said:

    Oh I am not an expert - but the thing to remember that you need the obj to be uv mapped

    I think it's great advantage is being able to export Carrara's proecdural shaders, then combine them with a texture map and reimport the result into your shader tree -

    I havent tried it with anything Goos (Digital Carvers) yet, but that wpuld be  exciting if it works -

    You are to modest... you certainly always have some expert advice. yes

    I've never used textures created by myself... so have always used procedural shaders only but never baked any. Hey I have baked in the Oven for dinner... casserole, roast, stew and more... guess those don't count. :)

    In the past I've had 2 reasons for not using texture maps.

    • I want any Carrara user to be able to load one of my files and need only Carrara's shader setting and procedural shaders.
    • I've also wanted to learn all about shader settings etc that Carrara comes with. This now seems a bit silly... why have all these extra toys/plug-ins and never use them.

    So should I UV wrap the procedurals before Baking them? ... suppose so.

    head wax said:
    some Random Thoughts

    1 The thing I do with 'all' models is tweak then with Fenric's shader thing that takes out texture shinyness and adds the texture from the colour channel to the bump channel (if there is none) automatically

    [cut -- see above for full "Thoughts"]

    Those are some great "Random Thoughts". I think that Fenric's shader thing is Shader Power Tools for Carrara which is on my list of things to get.

     image

    Will have to explore Shoestring Shaders... would help if I read about how it works instead of just playing around on my own. Just now grabbed the free plugins for PS which I have but prefer to use Paint Shop Pro instead.

    Post edited by wgdjohn on
  • PhilWPhilW Posts: 5,055

    I think the reference is to Fenric's Shader Doctor, which I think is part of the Shader Power Tools set.  Also Skin Doctor, although I personally tend to use Shader Doctor anyway.

  • wgdjohnwgdjohn Posts: 2,634
    edited September 2016
    MistyMist said:

    was wondering what kewlness is lurking in the lighting models options.

    anistropic, meridian, custom

    Thanks for pointing those out... I'll have to try this kewlness you speak of.

    Antara said:

    Quite a few years back we had several themed shader challenges in which we created and shared a bunch of shaders. I still use many of them and they were also a great starting point for various modifications and learning new tricks. But that was in the old forum and I think I lost the links to the shared files. I'll dig through my archives to see if I can find them.

    If anyone else has better archives, please help out.

    P.S. I miss Brian Rohde.

    Did you check out Learning tips and tricks from prior Carrara Challenge WIP threads that diomede kindly lists all the Challenges in? If you find the ones you are looking for then please post them here and I'll add them those to my links page.

    Note to All: My first two posts on page 1 one here are still under construction and will get larger, I still have more to add to them and they will get updated at various times. If you link to any post here do not link to a page# for it... instead use the date of the post.

    Post edited by wgdjohn on
  • HeadwaxHeadwax Posts: 8,271
    PhilW said:

    I think the reference is to Fenric's Shader Doctor, which I think is part of the Shader Power Tools set.  Also Skin Doctor, although I personally tend to use Shader Doctor anyway.

    yes Shader Doctor - I tend not to use Skin Doctor because I cant get rid of the SSS if I dont like it - without starting again at least :)

     

  • HeadwaxHeadwax Posts: 8,271

    @wgdjohn said I've never used textures created by myself

    I think the main thing I do is adapt tetures that come with purchased products - I am usually changing signs and glow maps and stuff -

    that's why a  plugin that would let us click on a texture in the shader room and have it load up in (eg) photoshop would be a blessing

    even the ability to copy the texture name to the clipboard would be great - I use google desktop to find things but you need to type the name perfectly - which I never can manage

    you know shaders are named RoTT_-gumP.jpg and I never get them right :)

  • chickenmanchickenman Posts: 1,172
    edited September 2016

    I wish I could figure out what to put into each channel of the LUXCore Shaders in order to more efficiently utilize LuxCore renderer.

    Need to have a document that relates each of the shader channels to Carrara shader channels, same for the IRAY Shaders, then it might be useful to have an IRay shader sets or use items that only come with IRAY shaders. It  cam cros from IRay to LUXCore or Carrara shaders.

    Post edited by chickenman on
  • wgdjohnwgdjohn Posts: 2,634
    edited September 2016

    head wax,  I should have appended in Carrara on objects. I do use some of my digital photos I've taken as backgrounds. I've taken a lot of digital and pre-digital photos... some are time exposures which create some interesting effects all by themselves... however I can't leave anything alone as shown in the included digital pic I took of Sedum, in my garden, which is a closeup along with at least one other if not many more images composited together with the addition of adding quite a few features and effects in PSP... it is my desktop wallpaper.

    Speaking of signs I create a lot of those in DTP programs...PageStream and save as Illustrator files or for use in TypeTool for one of my fonts.

    Regarding the plug-in we all want... I wonder if SparrowHawke3D might be interested... hmmm.

    Below is my WGD - Sedum(modified) background.

    WGD Artwerk

    SedgePlusTopo.jpg
    1600 x 1200 - 422K
    Post edited by wgdjohn on
  • wgdjohnwgdjohn Posts: 2,634

    I wish I could figure out what to put into each channel of the LUXCore Shaders in order to more efficiently utilize LuxCore renderer.

    Need to have a document that relates each of the shader channels to Carrara shader channels, same for the IRAY Shaders, then it might be useful to have an IRay shader sets or use items that only come with IRAY shaders. It  cam cros from IRay to LUXCore or Carrara shaders.

    Glad you mention LUXCore we need to speak of those and LUXUS/Luxrender as well as Octane shaders also here.

    How close to LuxRender is LUXCore? I'd think they are similar but what do I know? :)  If close... do you have Luxus for Carrara Resource Pack by PhilW?

    Did you check out LuxusCore for Carrara plugin – Unofficial manual 2016-01-23 at CarraraCafe? IMO, it needs to explain a lot more but describes some and has some examples for LUXCore shader settings.

  • MystiarraMystiarra Posts: 35,481

    notepad magic?

    is there a filepath syntax to make the .car or .cbr look to it's current folder for the jpgs?

    dont want to have to worry about maintaining runtime,textures,paths, etc

    was testing to see if default search order would check current folder first, ... not sure what's happening here. when it's asking for a jpg it's not starting the dialog box in the folder of the .car or .cbr

    thanks!

    saving internal making files huge-ish

  • chickenmanchickenman Posts: 1,172
    wgdjohn said:

    I wish I could figure out what to put into each channel of the LUXCore Shaders in order to more efficiently utilize LuxCore renderer.

    Need to have a document that relates each of the shader channels to Carrara shader channels, same for the IRAY Shaders, then it might be useful to have an IRay shader sets or use items that only come with IRAY shaders. It  cam cros from IRay to LUXCore or Carrara shaders.

    Glad you mention LUXCore we need to speak of those and LUXUS/Luxrender as well as Octane shaders also here.

    How close to LuxRender is LUXCore? I'd think they are similar but what do I know? :)  If close... do you have Luxus for Carrara Resource Pack by PhilW?

    Did you check out LuxusCore for Carrara plugin – Unofficial manual 2016-01-23 at CarraraCafe? IMO, it needs to explain a lot more but describes some and has some examples for LUXCore shader settings.

    LUXCore is the replacement for LUX Render as I understand it.

    I have the LUXUS pack by PhilW and havent really use it as LUXCore shaders are different again from LUXUS shaders.

    I have read and reread the Carraracafe articleNumerous times, but it would be nice to know how to map a LUXCore material from scratch such as posibly using some of the IRAY shaders and changing the maping of what goes where in the LUX core shader so then we could use the IRAY only shaders or some of the Isource texture maps http://www.daz3d.com/isourcetextures.

  • TangoAlphaTangoAlpha Posts: 4,558

    I always put texture files in a /Textures folder within my project folder. So if the project folder (where the .car file is) is TangoAlpha/MyProject the textures will be in TangoAlpha/MyProject/Textures. That way, so long as the relative path to the textures folder is the same (ie copy/move MyProject AND its subfolders), Carrara will be able to load the textures. On a big project I can easily have a hundred+ texture files (not forgetting bump/normal/alpha maps, and sometimes highlight & shininess maps too)

    Internally, the relative file path to the texture has an "Rpth" tag, and the absolute path to the textures is "Apth"

    I think .cbr files work in the same way, although I don't generally create them.

  • wgdjohnwgdjohn Posts: 2,634
    edited September 2016

    Misty,  I use Directory Opus for Windoze in which you can search a filename and the text you are looking for... it accepts wildcards also. If you have a Mac or use the Windows find you're on your own since I use neither. I also "save all files externally" when saved and have "compress" turned off. I simply opened the file in my text editor UltraEdit, it supports Windows Mac and Linux and used find.

    chickenman,  That would indeed be great to know... wish I could help... I've got plenty of IRAY shaders for DS but none of Isourse texture maps. :(

    Post edited by wgdjohn on
  • wgdjohnwgdjohn Posts: 2,634
    edited September 2016

    Build A Shader - Mission 1

    I had an idea, silly me, that perhaps others would be interested in creating a shader. The idea is to post shader settings with pic of the shader... next person who comes along could take those settings and modify them and post their changes with pic of what changed... might even save the shader a upload as a .zip file.

    Suppose that we should start out with a simple scene or even just a plain with an object on it. If anyone has further stuff the Mission needs let me know.

    Let me know if this sounds like a good idea or shall I pitch it in the can.

    Since no one spoke up I'll post a shader.

    Notes/Problems: About the Shader

    • This is the very 1st one that I designed and put in My Shaders so I could always load it up and make changes to it without starting from scratch. I have lotsa other ones but will save a different one for Mission 2 if there is one. :)
    • One look at it and I see at least two problems. Since I made it for a wall the shininess it too high for a flat painted wall and I have nothing stated for a bump blender.
    • I set shader settings not used as "None"

    I've included the shader itself in the zip file so that you can load it and see any variations in colour and elsewhere.

    BAS_M1.png
    1547 x 883 - 256K
    zip
    zip
    BAS_M1.zip
    8K
    Post edited by wgdjohn on
  • 3DAGE3DAGE Posts: 3,306

    Lighting models were developed to help create different types of surface materials.

    Anisotropic is a lighting model to help create metalic surfaces "streak" lighting

    the preset options are: Lattitude and meridial (horizontal and vertical) and a Custom option to allow the user to set an angle using the little wheel.

    Phong is a lighting model to help create soft materials such as peach skin, soft fruit,  or human skin.

    The default lighting model can be used to create a wide range of materials, from plastics to skin.  Phong and Anisotropic extend the options to create more materials.

     

    Head Wax :)

    that's why a  plugin that would let us click on a texture in the shader room and have it load up in (eg) photoshop would be a blessing

    I normally just hover the mouse over the texture map, to get the Pop-up which shows the location of the image,. then browse to that folder

    I think the main issue with loading texture maps directly into an editor, is the possibility of editing and overwriting the original texture,. it's better to open / edit in PS, /save as new, /update in Carrara.

    SHADERS:

    Here's a quick still life scene,. using procedural shaders,.  ...feel free to change and experiment with different colours or settings in any of the channels of any shader

    since there may be some people here who are used to loading and rendering a pre-made "thing",. which is set up,  ready to render,. it's worth starting out with basic shader creation.

    What are Shaders ?

    Shaders ,. Surfaces, or Materials,. are a set of properties which represent the surface qualities of the 3D model.

    Broken down simply,..

    The Colour Channel is perhaps the most obvious, and simplest to explain,. ...it's the colour of the model.

    Colour can be a simple colour,. or more complex colour gradients, procedural or pattern effects, or a photo image, "texture map".

    Alpha is a way to create transparent or invisible parts of the surface,. you can use High and low values to represent Visible / invisible,. White being Visible and Black being invisible.

    for example : Creating holes in a flat plane, without any modeling,. 

    Add a Tile pattern,. adjust the Grout value to make it thick, and adjust the Tile corner radius to get round holes.

    Highlight and Shininess both represent the way that light effects the surface of the model,. EG: whether it's Glossy or Matt. and how the light spreads across the surface.

    Both of these chanels work with values to represent high and low,. shiny/dull,. and can also use B/W Greyscale images.

     

    The Bump channel also works with values for High and low,. but it also has a sneaky "main setting" on the top level of the shader list.

    if you look a WGDJohn's  Pic,. (previous post)

    You can see that when the Top level of the shader is selected,. you'll notice the BUMP channel has a (Bump Amplitude) value control,..

    This controls the amount of the bump effect,. from the bump channel,. which is applied to the models surface.

    In that pic,. the surface wouldn't have any visible bump,. since the only value being used is white. but,. If you add something to the blender, (such as a "Fractal noise", or a Pattern, or a B/W Greyscale texture map), then it'll show a bump from White to None (black would have the same effect as none here)

    It's also important to note that BUMP,. is a lighting effect,. it creates the "illusion" of a textured surface, ...It doesn't change the shape of the model.

    Carrara 8 added Normal Maps to the shader options,. which can also be used in the Bump channel, by selecting "Normal map" from the options list.

    Normal maps use RGB values, which generally have more information that greyscale, to effect the surface.

     

    anyway,. here's the link to the quick little scene,.  Explore and experiment.

    look at the shaders,. change colours, values or patterns,. have fun learning.

    I've included the little HDRI file which i made for the reflections in this scene (to make it seem more internal),. and  two versions of the scene,. one without the hdri

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/7907045/Half_Life.zip

    HAlf life.png
    1280 x 720 - 941K
  • PhilWPhilW Posts: 5,055
    edited September 2016

    Nice idea!  I have amended your "Painted Wall" shader by toning down the colour just a touch, it's still got a little highlight but not much and quite diffuse and I have added a subtle surface texture with the cellular function.  I have also set up an open room scene, just two walls and a floor.  My lighting uses full indirect lighting (and gamma correction - you knew I would!) and you can see the effect of the light bouncing off the wall and the floor onto the wall which is less directly lit.  Now who wants to take that and either:

    - amend the wall still further, or

    - choose a shader for the floor - could be wooden, could be carpeted, you choose!

     

    OpenRoom.jpg
    640 x 480 - 16K
    zip
    zip
    OpenRoom.zip
    19K
    Post edited by PhilW on
  • MystiarraMystiarra Posts: 35,481

    what about using the volumetric clouds shader on other objects?

    like a lil wisps of steam on top of coffee ?   (cognac based coffee smiley)

  • DiomedeDiomede Posts: 11,306
    edited September 2016

    This may already be covered in one of the linked tutorials.  However, I have created a few terrain shaders based entirely upon mixers and gradients. 

    The base default terrain shader uses single colors for rock (global), land, grass, and snow layers.  Here, I simply replaced each single color with a mixer of two similar gradients.  The drivers of the gradients and the mixers are any of (a) fractal noise, (b) natural spots, (c) natural marble, (d) natural cellular, and (e) natural lumber yard.  Marble and lumber yard are better for rock to get the streak layers of exposed rock sediments.  Spots and fractal noise can be better for grass and weeds. 

    Here is the default terrain (with a zero edge filer applied) with the default texture.

    Here is the same terrain with the shader layers replaced with mixers of gradients.  To my eye, the second would be better for relativel fertile land.

    z03 terrain test render.jpg
    800 x 600 - 41K
    z06 test render gradient terrain based.jpg
    800 x 600 - 50K
    z04 shader colors.JPG
    687 x 708 - 46K
    z05 solid colors replaced by mixers and gradients.JPG
    849 x 835 - 92K
    Post edited by Diomede on
  • 3DAGE3DAGE Posts: 3,306
    MistyMist said:

    what about using the volumetric clouds shader on other objects?

    like a lil wisps of steam on top of coffee ?   (cognac based coffee smiley)

    You can use a Fog primitive to create smaller volumetric effects,. such as steam from a cup.

  • MystiarraMystiarra Posts: 35,481

    fog primitive?  

    yess thank you!  

     

    dino too shiny i think  (and teeth way too clean  lol).  

    a case for the phong lighting?

  • PhilWPhilW Posts: 5,055

    3Dage's rundown on shader basics reminded me of a little tip - in general, you should move Highlight and Shininess together - ie. the more shiny a surface is, the tighter the highlight tends to be, or set both low for a subtle and diffuse highlight.  This is not an breakable rule - satin for example has quite high but broad highlights, but for most common materials, it is not a bad rule to follow. Also the useful range of Shininess is more like 0-50 rather than 1-100, values over around 50 produce highlights that are so small as to almost disappear.

  • Hey, nice scene Andy, simple and straight forward, are you sharing it just for people play with it or can it be reposted as a new download with additions to it ? smiley

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