Animation Project - Blender vs Carrara

swordvisionsswordvisions Posts: 0
edited October 2012 in Carrara Discussion

I am about to start my first serious animation project a 3 or 4 minute short. My goal was to use it as a learning project about animation in Carrara. which I bought from Evovia just before it was acquired by Daz. However, I am having second thoughts and may do the animation in Blender instead.

I admit I love using content and Genesis but the animation tool set is a little more robust in Blender. I have been using Blender more and more. In fact, I have done maybe twice as many animation in Blender then I have in Carrara. However, all of my sets are content and the outdoor scenes would be much easier to in Carrara.

I could bring them in as objects and I already have a couple of characters that I modeled and rigged in blender, but they are not as good as what I can get from Daz

Blender's dynamic hair, dynamic cloth and the particle system are better than what is available in Carrara (or I don't really know how to use them as well) and I am not sure if Daz is really going to invest the development time into improving those parts of Carrara.

But Blender does not support content and I truly love the versatility that brings

I guess my dilemma is do I invest the several months working on this animation into Carrara or Blender. If I use blender, I will have to do a lot more modeling and rigging and that will extend the time that it takes to finish and I am not sure I can really get the look that I want.

I have not had much luck moving things from carrara to blender.

Post edited by swordvisions on

Comments

  • tyler zamborityler zambori Posts: 65
    edited December 1969

    I wonder how well the Mdd plugin could work for that......I've been thinking about that
    MDD plugin lately.

  • Kevin SandersonKevin Sanderson Posts: 637
    edited October 2012

    This artist is using the animation tools in Carrara pretty well in this video. Makes me think of the videos of people using messiah, which is an awesome animation tool. I don't understand French so I'm not sure of the usage of Puppeteer in this way but it sure looks good.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcNE7dvUK6s

    MDD might be a good option. BVH is another. I was thinking of using those with messiah to get animations into Carrara if I run into problems with Carrara. But I too am looking to Carrara for animation of content. If only content was more readily handled by other packages. Blender has some neat effects capabilities, but they are involved to setup.

    Post edited by Kevin Sanderson on
  • swordvisionsswordvisions Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    Hmmm, I wonder how well mdd would work. Another thing that Carrara has going for is its shader system is much easier to use.

    But, I really like Blenders dynamic cloth and hair.

    Either software that I use is going to create trade-offs in the final product.

  • JaguarEllaJaguarElla Posts: 10,370
    edited December 1969

    I have Messiah too but never use it, one of those impulse buys, I did however get Genesis in dynamic cloth animated into it via Animate2 mdd plugin for Daz studio.
    I have gotten mdd exports out of Carrara into Blender too but Blender is even more beyond my small brain, oddly I can also via collada export get stuff I and others have rigged in Carrara into Blender as a dae import but not Daz figures, they mangle up when animated.
    I cannot get Blender stuff out rigged, bought the Sintel box set and tried quite a bit but so far the skeletons do not remain attached or only partly.

  • tyler zamborityler zambori Posts: 65
    edited December 1969

    They're also working FBX import in blender now - hopefully that could work too.

    http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?241595-Blender-FBX-Import

  • swordvisionsswordvisions Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    ... Carrara into Blender as a dae import but not Daz figures, they mangle up when animated.
    I cannot get Blender stuff out rigged, bought the Sintel box set and tried quite a bit but so far the skeletons do not remain attached or only partly.

    That has been my experience for the most part.

  • PhilWPhilW Posts: 1,648
    edited December 1969

    I've used MDD a lot for moving animations into and out of Marvelous Designer which I use for cloth animation. I have also had some success in using lo-res proxies to improve hair animation. As a long term Carrara user, Blender would be a big learning curve for me, so I would do it in Carrara but it has to be a personal choice.

    I used Carrara in doing an animation for a music video (which I did around six months ago but has just been released!):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOvH6VNpib8&feature=plcp

    The animation kicks in around 4:00 (but I recommend watching it all!)

  • 3DAGE3DAGE Posts: 2,003
    edited December 1969

    What about using the best of both, by rendering out animation sequences with alpha channel backgrounds, and then compiling in a video editor.

    you can make a plane in carrara, and have a sequence of images applied to that. (like a sprite) so, you could combine stuff in carrara from blender or any other software,...also, backgrounds or set's rendered separately, combined with animated figures or sprite's in blender could get you round some content handling issues.

  • swordvisionsswordvisions Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    Carrara is about the only 3d software that I have really used except for Blender and I have only been using it since 2.5 I love Carrara but I wish the developers would try to improve some of the non-content features like hair, particles, soft body physics and the animation timeline.

    Blender is much more powerful in these areas and with 2.5 blender is not that hard to use. Plus Blenders animation tool are better and in many ways easier to use then the ones in Carrara. My modeling and rigging skills are okay but not in the same league as what I can get from content creators.

    Don't get me wrong, I would have been very disappointed if Carrara would not have added support for Genesis. The flexibility that Genesis gives is just unbelievable. I love using content

    I will probably use Carrara and if Carrara lags in development in the future most of the skills I learn with this project will be transferable to Blender. I might have to rewrite the script a little.

  • swordvisionsswordvisions Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    3DAGE said:
    What about using the best of both, by rendering out animation sequences with alpha channel backgrounds, and then compiling in a video editor.

    you can make a plane in carrara, and have a sequence of images applied to that. (like a sprite) so, you could combine stuff in carrara from blender or any other software,...also, backgrounds or set's rendered separately, combined with animated figures or sprite's in blender could get you round some content handling issues.

    Hmm, that thought crossed my mind but I have not done much with composting scenes so it would definitely add to the learning experience

  • Kevin SandersonKevin Sanderson Posts: 637
    edited December 1969

    Compositing could save you tons of time and frustration. The way Andy (3DAGE) suggested will save you even more time as you can see where effects are going and they can be enhanced with lights, etc. in Carrara. As good as Blender fire looks, it's still not as good as the real thing, so I've been planning on adding things like that into scenes in Carrara as needed. There are some very good affordable stock footage VFX collections around (especially the ones at Video Copilot). And you can easily animate lights to make it look like the fire is casting flickering light and more tricks like that. You can put sprites into the Carrara particle generator that will really enhance what it can do. I don't think many use it as well as it could be used. I think Age of Armour has made the best use of it so far. I have so many ideas but so little time working a split shift.

    I'm experimenting with hair in the coming weeks and I'm thinking of trying it on geometry that has morphs so it can be moved that way for more control. There are many ways of doing things and sometimes it's better not to let the software package do everything.

  • PhilWPhilW Posts: 1,648
    edited December 1969

    Doing it in multiple passes can be useful even if only working in Carrara (or Blender). For the music video animation, I rendered out the backgrounds first, containing the moving water surface (from the underside), shafts of visible light (using an animated light gel) and particles for debris in the water. I then used this in the Backdrop when I added the characters, and more particles for bubbles. It made setting up the animations easier without so many elements all in the same scene, and sometime I was able to re-use a background sequence so it didn't have to be rendered twice.

  • BC RiceBC Rice Posts: 463
    edited December 1969

    Something I learned about using Carrara for 12-24fps character animation (and this may only apply to me), is that I can either use it in conjunction with mocaps (gfa, BHV, etc) or I can animate robot people -- androids, cyborgs, transformers, etc. But if I'm animating living, breathing organic life without the aid of any motion capture, I'm not sure Carrara is best suited for this kind of animation.

    A little OT perhaps, but I think at the stage you're at (development) it's really important to know exactly why you're creating the animation you want to create.

    For instance, my main objective is to tell stories, so I'm able to get creative in the presentation. I'm not stuck in a fixed mindset that I need to create an animation that move and looks like a Pixar animation.

    If story is your main objective, I personally believe compositing is in fact the most important tool you can have at your disposal. Whether you use Carrara or Blender or both, learning how to composite and manipulate images is key. I cannot use Carrara without After Effects or Flash.

    If your objective is to showcase your abilities as an animator, that's a tougher position, because if you're looking to be hired by a studio, they're not hiring people to animate in Carrara or Blender. And I'm not certain that practicing in either of these disciplines will help you to animate in, say, Maya.

    If you don't have it, I would suggest grabbing a cheap copy of PS (or whatever program you'd like) and start fiddling around with PNG sequences. AE and PS are essentially the same program when it comes to compositing.

    You can composite just inside Carrara and Blender, but I still think the workload is too intense if your objective is to just tell a story.

    Even something like Rosa which was a huge achievement by a single animator relied heavily on Mocaps and, while some of it was done in Blender, obviously DAZ content was used, as well as a ton of compositing.

  • swordvisionsswordvisions Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    The main purpose is to tell a story using animation and to learn as much as possible especially in the area of character animation. This is strictly a personal project to push my 3d knowledge.

    Carrara, Blender, DS Studio and Poser 7 are the 3d apps that I own and I am not planning on buying anything else, but I want to get decent results using these products.

    I currently teach graphics design and animation in a public high school, so I have access to the entire Adobe suite through adobe creative cloud ($30 a month)

  • BC RiceBC Rice Posts: 463
    edited December 1969

    The main purpose is to tell a story using animation and to learn as much as possible especially in the area of character animation. This is strictly a personal project to push my 3d knowledge.

    Carrara, Blender, DS Studio and Poser 7 are the 3d apps that I own and I am not planning on buying anything else, but I want to get decent results using these products.

    I currently teach graphics design and animation in a public high school, so I have access to the entire Adobe suite through adobe creative cloud ($30 a month)

    So your learning process is primarily about telling your own stories, not to utilize it as a reel in order to get a job animating in the studio system? If that's the case, then I say go forth and use the products at your disposal. No need to invest in anything further.

    But I'd reiterate the focus on compositing.

    I look at something like Star Trek: Aurora which is just such a massive achievement by a single animator. It took him 5 years to finish it, he used motion capture for a lot of the animation, and while the animation is not distracting, it's still limited in some areas as are some of the aesthetics. Aurora is a MUCH larger feat than was Rosa, but because Rosa had layer upon layer (upon layer) of composited effects, to me they're not even in the same league -- which doesn't take anything away from the accomplishment of Aurora (it inspires me frequently), but it certainly speaks to the importance of compositing.

    I'd even take the Rosa/Aurora comparison a step further and point out that the characters in Rosa were android-esque while the characters in Aurora were human folk.

    Even with motion capture and a devout focus to a project, I still think that a single animator animating a CG rig is going to have struggles selling the humanity of the character. Especially if you're not working with something like Maya. There's just so many hours upon hours of tweaking that goes into a single moment to sell *life*. Traditional animation has it much easier because it's organic from beginning to end. The rig is a rig is a rig no matter what it's posed as.

    So just some food for thought. Any opportunity for your characters to not be *alive*, I think, takes an incredible (possibly insurmountable) burden off the individual animator, especially when using inferior animation software. I personally refuse to animate living things unless it's motion capture, and even then the project I'm working on now is meshed with a lot of compositing to disguise the fact that I'm using less-than-stellar animation software and am a single animator doing it all myself.

  • swordvisionsswordvisions Posts: 0
    edited October 2012

    Blender cookie has a new animation course with a custom rig

    Animation Course for Blender

    A little snippet from their page
    In this Blender training series you will learn body animation, facial animation, lip syncing, and a complete workflow for animating your character scenes in Blender using our new Cookie Flex Rig. Through the series you will be walked through the complete process of animating two scenes, from story-boarding to layout to blocking to polishing the animation.

    $38 for the pre-order.

    90% of my blender knowledge comes from these guys so I will probably invest in this course

    Post edited by swordvisions on
  • LamaGeliLamaGeli Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    The main purpose is to tell a story using animation and to learn as much as possible especially in the area of character animation. This is strictly a personal project to push my 3d knowledge.
    .............

    If you want to learn character animation from scratch, Carrara is not so bad.

    Especially the clearly arranged timeline in Carrara is a great advantage.
    Maybe the fully automated animation tools in some other programs are very helpfull, but if you can use Poser and DAZ Studio for create for example walkcycles for DAZ content characters, you can save many time, because the modelling of characters is very time-consuming.

    Some helpfully tools for character animation in Carrara are Sparrowhawkes "The Jiggle Deformer" plugin and Fenrics "Pose Helper" and "Carrara Enhanced Remote Control".

    If you want to use BVH-Data for animation, you should watch this video:
    http://vimeo.com/13777422

  • swordvisionsswordvisions Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    LamaGeli said:

    If you want to use BVH-Data for animation, you should watch this video:
    http://vimeo.com/13777422

    I have not decided if I want to use bvh data or not but thanks for the link. It was helpful

  • 3DAGE3DAGE Posts: 2,003
    edited December 1969

    HI Swordvisions :)

    BVH is "still" probably the most abundant animation format available,. most motion capture systems kick out BVH, as does Poser and DS
    and with Fenrics plugin .... so does Carrara,. :)

    You can get BVH editors but,... using something like DS / animate2 to Edit down "chunks" of animation from the Carnegie Mellon collection can be an interesting way to build more useful animations from what are essentially a bunch of (free) "test" motion capture files.

    I also agree with LamaGeli that posers Walk designer is really useful for making basic walks to use in other programs , whether you save them as Animated poses PZ2, or export them out as BVH.

    with poser (or DS) you can also import the BVH onto a figure,and save as PZ2 to use in Carrara.

    I also use Fenrics BVH/PZ2 exporter to export walks (which I've made in poser),. then brought into Carrara, to add the forward motion, ..then export them out again,.. so that I can use them in Endorphin to make more complex animations using endorphin's dynamic physics.

    You can obviously convert any of the animations to Carrara NLA then you have the ability to use several in different tracks and limit what clip animates which figure part.

    :)

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