Does Carrara Pro do it all?

Z@n3Z@n3 Posts: 42
edited December 2012 in Carrara Discussion

Hello everyone. Is it true that the new Carrara Pro can do it all and make use of all the DAZ models? It can create landscapes like Bryce 7 Pro, pose characters and build scenes like DAZ Studio 4.5 Pro, and create 3D models like Hexagon 2. Is that all true? If so then why would anyone need anything else from DAZ other than 3D content (unless you make your own entirely)? So, is it true? :)

Post edited by Z@n3 on
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Comments

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 7,704
    edited December 2012

    It is true with some significant caveats.


    Right now Genesis is only supported in the 8.5 beta. The earlier DAZ figures are supported in the non-beta Carrara 8.1 and earlier (down to C6 I believe).

    Carrara doesn't have dynamic cloth like D/S, but then again, D/S doesn't have dynamic hair.


    Regarding Bryce and Hexagon, they're specialty software. Bryce does beautiful environmental pictures. Carrara can do beautiful landscapes and environments as well, but may lack some Bryce specific tools, that would drive you nuts if you were coming from Bryce to Carrara. It's kind of the same situation with Hexagon and Carrara's built in vertex modeler. Some tools are different or combined, or in different areas, some may not exist. I haven't used either extensively, so I can't say how annoying it is.


    Advantages to Carrara, are that it is a full featured suite. It not only does it have the terrain, sky and vertex tools and modeler, it also has a spline modeler and metaball modeler.


    Some things Carrara has that D/S doesn't (or didn't) without additional (possible) plugins would be volumetric clouds (and with C8 volumetric skies, i.e. god rays) fire and fog primitives, robust key frame controls, advanced shader system, two different replicators, plant generator, particle emitter, etc. etc.


    All of the software has strong points. D/S for the beginner or transitioning from Poser, Bryce for landscapes and Hex for modeling. My personal opinion is that Carrara handles all of what the others do, and I've never regretted buying Carrara.


    There is a learning curve as with all complex pieces of software, but I find the user experience pleasant and the people here helpful. DAZ's biggest achilles' heel with Carrara and possibly it's other software, is documentation. What comes with the latest iterations for Carrara is the version 7 manual in PDF available through the help menu. Most of the sections are still relevant, but it lacks documentation on items added for version 8, such as bullet physics, sunlight beams (AKA God Rays), added shader room functions and Genesis.

    Post edited by evilproducer on
  • Z@n3Z@n3 Posts: 42
    edited December 1969

    I see, thanks for the thorough answer! I kind of wish I bought Carrara first before I bought Bryce 7 Pro. Then I wish I didn't even do that because soon after they gave it away for free. Which makes me feel they should have told me or refunded my money, because it happened within a month. Anyways, I now have since downloaded both Hexagon and DAZ Studio 4.5 Pro. But, now that I have those, do you think I should purchase Carrara? Would it be worth it? Thanks again, and Happy Christmas. :)

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 7,704
    edited December 1969

    My short answer would be that if you can afford to do it without hardship, then go for it. If money is tight, then wait for a sale. Carrara 8.5 is beta. As the release date gets closer (whenever that would be) you may see substantial discounts. I do know one thing, if you decide to get Carrara, you'll probably want the Pro version. That's just my own bias though.


    I guess for me, a big factor would be how often I hit the limits of my software. If you find yourself saying if only I could..... Then maybe you need to consider adding to your tool set. Which reminds me to say that many people here use multiple software for multiple purposes. It's not uncommon for someone to use Poser to generate a walk cycle to use in Carrara, or convert a dynamic piece of clothing's movement in D/S to animated morphs for use in Carrara.

  • KharmaKharma Posts: 1,530
    edited December 1969

    I purchased Carrara and the Infinite Skills learning videos. The program is awesome in what it can do and the videos fantastic as well. I wish this was done for more programs and even some of the more complex products for Daz Studio...makes the learning curve alot easier. I go over the steps in the videos over and over until I can use the tools no problem, it really helps to see what they can do instead of guessing, also I think you sometimes miss the potential of the tools. Its a great foundation for learning and I would never have figured out alot of the abilities of the program on my own. the people here in the forums are also awesome at answering any of my questions

  • 0oseven0oseven Posts: 388
    edited December 1969

    Why not download this manual for Carrara 7

    http://docs.daz3d.com/doku.php/artzone/pub/software/carrara/start

    Its not right upto date but will give you great insight to what the program can do.

  • 3DAGE3DAGE Posts: 2,036
    edited December 1969

    There's also a 30 day Demo / Trial version of Carrara 8 Pro,. available at
    www.downloads.com

    try before you buy :)

  • KharmaKharma Posts: 1,530
    edited December 1969

    0oseven said:
    Why not download this manual for Carrara 7

    http://docs.daz3d.com/doku.php/artzone/pub/software/carrara/start

    Its not right upto date but will give you great insight to what the program can do.

    why don't they update the manual along with the program? even just an addon with new functions and features ....Just curious

  • Kevin SandersonKevin Sanderson Posts: 654
    edited December 1969

    Short version, they hired some people to do that and it didn't work out. Since then, they had a bunch of staffers working on updating docs for Studio and Carrara was supposed to be next. But those same staffers have been working on everything else, like the update of the store, the download files, Genesis, etc. There is a thread somewhere where they were explaining it all but I think it was on the old forum.

  • bytescapesbytescapes Posts: 497
    edited December 1969

    I think evilproducer summarized it well.

    Carrara can do 'everything' - landscape modeling & rendering, figure posing, object modeling, animation, and more - but it's like that old line about "Jack of all trades, master of none". For specific tasks, such as landscape modeling, don't expect it to have the power or flexibility of a specialized application like Bryce.

    I'm actually a big fan of Carrara. I find it powerful, flexible, and easy to work with. I've used it to make scenes of mountains and forests, scenes with large numbers of figures, cityscapes, gloomy interiors, character studies, more gloomy interiors and scenes with both posed figures and landscapes. (Apologies for the self-promotion, but I wanted to show the range of scenes you can make with Carrara). It's definitely versatile.

    However, you can expect to hit some limitations. Carrara's landscaping and atmospherics aren't quite there yet (the Realistic Sky editor could use a lot more love, for instance). Posing isn't quite as flexible as in D|S. Hexagon's modeling tools may be easier to use, etc. Carrara is also in an odd limbo state just now: the official 8.1 release is often unstable (at least on recent Macs), while 8.5 seems to have been in beta forever, with no end in sight.

    If I had to pick just one application to use, I'd pick Carrara without hesitation, because it's a Swiss Army knife of a program. However, a specialist will almost always beat a good generalist, and that's the case here too.

  • 3DAGE3DAGE Posts: 2,036
    edited December 2012

    HI Kharma :)

    why don’t they update the manual along with the program? even just an addon with new functions and features ....Just curious

    Because as the new features develop,. they change,. so they would be constantly updating the doc's to reflect those changes.

    the Carrara 7 manual covers more than 90 % of how to use Carrara. and is still applicable to C8. or 8.5

    Here's a basic guide to using Bullet,.. which has been changed and updated several times.

    https://dl.dropbox.com/u/7907045/First_step_Physics_C8.pdf

    Hope it helps :)

    Post edited by 3DAGE on
  • holly wetcircuitholly wetcircuit Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    angusm said:
    "Jack of all trades, master of none".

    Actually, being a Jack of all Trades is a skill unto itself that is very under-rated, imho... When you need a job done quick and on the spot, there is nothing that beats that Jack.... Look what Dr Who can do with that one Sonic Spanner™. ;-)

    When projects become very large and detailed (Master level), they tend to split into sub-projects and spill into outside programs anyway....

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 7,704
    edited December 1969

    One needs look no further than a Howie Farkes scene to see hpw well Carrara can do environments.

  • Steve KSteve K Posts: 1,031
    edited December 1969

    ... But those same staffers have been working on everything else, like the update of the store, the download files, Genesis, etc.

    And therein lies the problem. When DAZ struck out on the DS path, I could see it coming. Carrara, the best horse in their stable after adding Poser content support, would get neglected. And it is, IMHO. But happily it still works and I use it almost every day, much more than Vue Complete, and WAY more often than Poser or DS.

  • JoeMamma2000JoeMamma2000 Posts: 2,589
    edited December 1969

    One needs look no further than a Howie Farkes scene to see hpw well Carrara can do environments.

    Uh, yeah, but that's like saying "Carrara can render great environments if it has great environments to render". Little to do with Carrara, a lot to do with Howie Farkes.

    What it does to well is handle scenes with HUGE poly counts very well. And also includes some decent, prepackaged environment elements. But it's vastly different from, say, Vue. Which makes sense, because it's not designed to be what Vue is.

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 7,704
    edited December 1969

    One needs look no further than a Howie Farkes scene to see hpw well Carrara can do environments.

    Uh, yeah, but that's like saying "Carrara can render great environments if it has great environments to render". Little to do with Carrara, a lot to do with Howie Farkes.

    What it does to well is handle scenes with HUGE poly counts very well. And also includes some decent, prepackaged environment elements. But it's vastly different from, say, Vue. Which makes sense, because it's not designed to be what Vue is.


    I was going to put in a little bit calling back to the master of all, master of none comment, but I was getting too wordy. The point is, the tools are there to do a great job. Howie proves it with his scenes. It's up to the individual how far he or she advances.

  • 0oseven0oseven Posts: 388
    edited December 1969

    3DAGE said:
    HI Kharma :)

    why don’t they update the manual along with the program? even just an addon with new functions and features ....Just curious

    Because as the new features develop,. they change,. so they would be constantly updating the doc's to reflect those changes.

    0oseven says - thats no less than they ought to do ;-)

    the Carrara 7 manual covers more than 90 % of how to use Carrara. and is still applicable to C8. or 8.5

    0oseven says - It's the missing10% that bothers us. I dont think we expect updates to cover betas Just the Public release of a new version which currently would be 8.1- it must be 3 or4 years since the last manual :-P

    Here's a basic guide to using Bullet,.. which has been changes and updated several times.

    0oseven says - Where and when did this little gem come from ?( not a Daz Release I presume)
    and thanks to the Author (3dage ?) but the several changes you mention were they in version8.1 or the new beta ?
    :-)
    https://dl.dropbox.com/u/7907045/First_step_Physics_C8.pdf

    Hope it helps :)

  • JoeMamma2000JoeMamma2000 Posts: 2,589
    edited December 1969

    0oseven said:
    3DAGE said:
    HI Kharma :)

    why don’t they update the manual along with the program? even just an addon with new functions and features ....Just curious

    Because as the new features develop,. they change,. so they would be constantly updating the doc's to reflect those changes.

    0oseven says - thats no less than they ought to do ;-)

    Yeah, the whole "they can't update the manual cuz the software always changes" argument is just silly. Of course the software always changes, but if they waited for the software to stop changing they'd never make a manual. Carrara has been changing since it first came out many years ago.

    Now if they had a dedicated tech writer assigned to update the manual, it wouldn't be an issue. That person could be continuously updating the manual as needed, at regular intervals. The fact is (I believe) that they don't have a dedicated tech writer, so they work on the manual when and if they can find someone with the time to spend on it. Which is never.

    Small company, limited resources, and that's why we pay so little for the software. Totally understandable. But don't blame it on the fact the software is always changing. That's kinda like saying you can't get a haircut because your hair is always growing.

  • 3DAGE3DAGE Posts: 2,036
    edited December 1969

    0oseven says - Where and when did this little gem come from ?( not a Daz Release I presume)
    and thanks to the Author (3dage ?) but the several changes you mention were they in version8.1 or the new beta ?

    I wrote the Bullet physics (first steps) thing, as a way to help others get into using Bullet.
    It was first written when Bullet was added to C8, but has been revised to add the changes to features and the UI layout as the developers change how bullet functions in the C8.5 beta.

    I'm glad it's helpful

    I've also done a (First steps) introduction to getting started in Carrara and some other stuff on UV Mapping, 3D Painting etc

    https://dl.dropbox.com/u/7907045/Carrara_first_steps.zip

  • DBuchterDBuchter Posts: 49
    edited December 1969

    One needs look no further than a Howie Farkes scene to see hpw well Carrara can do environments.

    Uh, yeah, but that's like saying "Carrara can render great environments if it has great environments to render". Little to do with Carrara, a lot to do with Howie Farkes.

    What it does to well is handle scenes with HUGE poly counts very well. And also includes some decent, prepackaged environment elements. But it's vastly different from, say, Vue. Which makes sense, because it's not designed to be what Vue is.

    I can't resist a little jab to Daz here... Carrara's renderer is pretty good, but it really could use some work. This is not to say Bryce, or Daz Studio are any better - I think they're all about the same - may even use the same engine. I just think they all need some improvement to keep up with the industry leaders.

  • Kevin SandersonKevin Sanderson Posts: 654
    edited December 1969

    dbuchter said:
    One needs look no further than a Howie Farkes scene to see hpw well Carrara can do environments.

    Uh, yeah, but that's like saying "Carrara can render great environments if it has great environments to render". Little to do with Carrara, a lot to do with Howie Farkes.

    What it does to well is handle scenes with HUGE poly counts very well. And also includes some decent, prepackaged environment elements. But it's vastly different from, say, Vue. Which makes sense, because it's not designed to be what Vue is.

    I can't resist a little jab to Daz here... Carrara's renderer is pretty good, but it really could use some work. This is not to say Bryce, or Daz Studio are any better - I think they're all about the same - may even use the same engine. I just think they all need some improvement to keep up with the industry leaders.

    This is how misinformation starts. Carrara, Bryce and DAZ Studio all have DIFFERENT render engines. Carrara's is more up to date than Bryce's and DAZ Studio uses 3Delight which is the same core render engine used in the pro expensive version.

    Where Carrara could be improved is the use of better defaults and documentation.

    It's amazing what it can do in the right hands. It is still very fast and very good. But you can't just willy nilly decide on settings and pick the wrong light colors and sources. The bad renders out of Carrara are due to people who don't know what they are doing, including myself for many years. Unfortunately, there are not enough people using the software who do know what they are doing who are willing to share. You have to really dig to get good info.

  • holly wetcircuitholly wetcircuit Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    This is how misinformation starts. Carrara, Bryce and DAZ Studio all have DIFFERENT render engines. Carrara's is more up to date than Bryce's and DAZ Studio uses 3Delight which is the same core render engine used in the pro expensive version.

    Where Carrara could be improved is the use of better defaults and documentation.

    It's amazing what it can do in the right hands. It is still very fast and very good. But you can't just willy nilly decide on settings and pick the wrong light colors and sources. The bad renders out of Carrara are due to people who don't know what they are doing, including myself for many years. Unfortunately, there are not enough people using the software who do know what they are doing who are willing to share. You have to really dig to get good info.


    I agree.

    I have never seen a plant modeller tutorial, except for adding a new "leaf" object....

    A human hair tutorial is long over due.

    More deep shader tutorials are really needed.

    I see people saying they want more "defaults", but the fundamental problem with that is the assumption that there are just settings you should load in and boop you're done.... I started building some starter scenes for myself, but you know what? it's seriously just as easy to change the settings as I hit the point where a step up in resolution or AA quality is needed... As I am piecing together a scene, the "low end" settings are faster/better.... Once I have most of the elements in place and start needing a finer texture quality, I am far into the process... slower high-res test renders are not a help when you are starting a scene....

    One thing I would change is the default Targa renders, I don't know who uses Targa or what decade they were invented... I also don't know where the temp Targa renders are saved. They do not appear as renders in the temp folder, like most formats do... Are they hogging vertual memory?

    In my opinion encouraging people to PRACTICE with Carrara is better... It's like sailing, or cooking, or playing piano.... You can read a tutorial, but that's not going to take you to the next level where you can DO things. I think we should host more "challenge" threads to get people using and discussing the range of possibilities when you learn the controls.... That's something that presets really can NOT do... Presets actually prevent you from learning the controls, imo. I realize that goes against the DAZ philosophy, but I'm sure we will all agree that the DAZ way doesn't always benefit Carrara users...

  • 0oseven0oseven Posts: 388
    edited December 1969

    Mark Bremmer, in one of his tutorials (VTC Tutorials for Carrara) makes this remark

    " With Carrara Daz gave you a Ferrari and then threw you the keys "

    I think thats a great observation because I think many people (including me ) just dont grasp the power of Carrara under the hood:

    I think Holly is right about "practice" like driving the car youve got to be behind the wheel and not always reading the manual but they go hand in hand and guidance from a few experts always needed.

    Holly - mark has an excellent over one hour of video on hair in the tutorials from VTC. I find his style of tutorial a cut above others .He explains every move he makes and doesnt assume you know too much. Unfortunately he only covers up to Version 7 but well worth getting anyway.

    My problem is just remembering everything !!!!:roll:

  • JoeMamma2000JoeMamma2000 Posts: 2,589
    edited December 2012

    I have a slightly different version of Mark's analogy....

    To me it's more like, DAZ hands over a 767 airliner, together with a slightly outdated user manual, to someone who has never flown an airplane before.

    And the new user 'learns how to fly' by looking at all the dials and knobs and displays, and poking them with a stick, not really knowing what they do, but trying to figure them out. Kinda 'reverse engineering' the aircraft. And occasionally they'll check the user manual for some help.

    But they never actually learn how to fly (which, of course, isn't covered in an airliner's user manual), they just figure out (or think they've figured out...) what some of the more important knobs and levers and displays are. And from that they decide to try to fly the thing.

    And then when they crash they get upset and blame DAZ for an outdated manual. :)

    Post edited by JoeMamma2000 on
  • 0oseven0oseven Posts: 388
    edited December 1969

    Very Good Joe !

    Anyone else have an analogy of their experience with carrara ?

  • holly wetcircuitholly wetcircuit Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    The Carrara book, written around the time of C5 provided some ah-ha moments for me.... But that was long before so many wonderful tutorials were online by a diversity of people.

    Manuals aren't always as helpful as they should be... DAZ threatened to start a wiki and we were all suppose to help update it, but it never went "live" and we weren't allowed to log in to update the info... A wiki was suppose to move the "manual" into the modern age...

    Nevertheless, there is valuable info in the manual. To refuse to read it because it is for C7 is silly. The program hasn't changed that much and everything in the manual is still valid in C8. At best there are a few new aspects to some features (Bullet is not that different than the "old" physics, for example, it just works better).

    And it has been said 100 times so I will say it 101..., get the lighting books by Jeremy Birn! http://www.3drender.com/light/index.html
    They actually explain SO MUCH that applies universally across any 3D program. You just have to figure out what Carrara calls the features he describes, but you learn industry terms for things.

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 7,704
    edited December 2012


    ....This is how misinformation starts. Carrara, Bryce and DAZ Studio all have DIFFERENT render engines. Carrara's is more up to date than Bryce's and DAZ Studio uses 3Delight which is the same core render engine used in the pro expensive version....


    True, but regarding the 3Delight renderer, from what I've read it is extremely hobbled because they give D/S away. I don't know if D/S Pro has a more full featured version or not.

    Post edited by evilproducer on
  • JoeMamma2000JoeMamma2000 Posts: 2,589
    edited December 2012

    0oseven said:
    Very Good Joe !

    Anyone else have an analogy of their experience with carrara ?

    Cute.

    In any case, regarding renderers, I'm guessing that nowdays what most consider "good" renderers are the ones with the cool and fancy features that update their renders while you watch and make changes, and you can get those realistic renders real easily, and do it 'a lot faster' than those other renderers.

    I doubt that a careful consideration of the quality and abilities of the renderers on the market, including comparisons with the non-fancy ones, is really the issue.

    So yeah, Carrara's renderer is ancient and not nearly as good. But DAZ Studio is good because of that cool render plugin.

    Post edited by JoeMamma2000 on
  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 7,704
    edited December 1969

    You mean the plugin that takes four days with multiple passes to render a 640X480 image?

  • RarethRareth Posts: 1,457
    edited December 1969

    You mean the plugin that takes four days with multiple passes to render a 640X480 image?

    you could always export it to Blender and let cycles chew on it for a week

  • 0oseven0oseven Posts: 388
    edited December 1969

    The Carrara book, written around the time of C5 provided some ah-ha moments for me.... But that was long before so many wonderful tutorials were online by a diversity of people.


    Nevertheless, there is valuable info in the manual. To refuse to read it because it is for C7 is silly. The program hasn't changed that much and everything in the manual is still valid in C8. .

    I just HAVE to respond to this ;-)

    I dont think anyone "refused' to read the manuals that are available. They probably have read them. What users are asking for is an updated manual meaning, i'm sure, they want the manual to include the new features and changes since the last publication Even a supplement would suffice. The situation will worsen if when 8.5 is publicly released if they still have not provided up to date coverage.

    puppeteer might be an example - whilst I have more or less answered my questions after many hours trying to suss it out I believe the manual would have made a big difference, in time at least..Even the Infinite skills video tutorial I paid for didnt cover it properly.

    Totally agree with you about the fine videos online - we always need those bu7t with Daz putting effort into free training videos for Studio maybe its time they did the same for carrara. Many companies are putting free training vids of their products on youtube because I think they realise the marketing value they have. Hitfilm for example.

    I might take up your suggestion on the lighting book though :)

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