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Posted: 22 December 2012 02:54 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I downloaded a Trial version of Carrara.  I’m trying to decide on which software to “graduate” to after cutting my teeth on Daz (with a li’l Bryce and Hexagon.)

I’ve been looking at 3DS Max, Maya, Vue, and Lightwave.  I’d almost completely decided on Lightwave but I don’t particularly like the interface and after watching a demonstration of the soft body physics stuff, I’m not sure that’s exactly what I want.  I’ve loved 3DS Max and Maya but I’d have to do a lot of begging and pleading and chores to convince my wife it was worth it for what is essentially a hobby for me.

But… anyway… I downloaded a trial version of Carrara to take a look at what it could do.  BUT.  None of the Wizard files are part of the trial… I’m watching some training on Lynda.com and there are a lot of Wizard scene presets with terrains and skies and spline objects and plants and stuff.  My version has none of that.  Did I download the wrong version?  Is there a way to see that stuff and play with it during the trial period?  Or is that stuff that you’ve got to buy at some point?

Right now, my work is mostly just single scene renders.  I might do animation in the future but that’s not really my main focus.  I’m looking for a more integrated modeler/renderer with better support for large outdoor scenes: battlefields, naval battles, forests, mountains, etc.  I’d also like to get better soft body dynamic cloth sorts of effects and particle emitters and things like that.  With Daz, I just feel like I’m putting band-aids over band-aids.

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Posted: 22 December 2012 05:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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HI and welcome smile

The wizards and example scenes come in a file called the “Carrara Native Content” and that only comes with the full version,.

However,. you should be able to create Terrains, Plants, Models, Shaders, and use all the functions of the pro version.
you just wont have any example shaders, models, terrains or plants.

If you want to work with Daz3D or Poser figures in a scene,. start out by making a new, empty, Medium scaled scene.
You can still add bigTerrains and Props or make you’re own models.

You can add your Daz3D / Poser Runtime folders to the browser in carrara,.(see pic) then load your figures, material, hair and clothing, and pose or animate,


Hope it helps

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Posted: 22 December 2012 06:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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For most of what you’ve mentioned that you want to achieve, I think that you’ll find a fantastic home in Carrara. I didn’t know that the trial didn’t come with the native content. When you purchase Carrara, it comes with a separate installer for the native content, so that you can opt whether to install that or not. I really like having it in there - but I also find that I don’t use it very much at all.
I do know that the Carrara 8.5 beta doesn’t have wizard functionality yet - unless I’ve missed something.

Soft body physics is better in the 8.5 beta, especially for single-frame renders - as it doesn’t yet animate dynamic cloth - style soft body to a very useful solution - or so I come to understand, as I haven’t been doing that.

I bought Carrara Pro as a hobbyist solution towards making a series of animated movies mostly because of the modeling capabilities it has - but the rest of its wealth of easy-to-implement features lends nicely into my vision.

I have to admit that I have NOT been disappointed!

I find that Carrara’s render engine is exactly what I needed. It has so many possibilities that it may take a little ‘getting used to’ before you find your favorite settings - because it can go from super-fast to performing such a realistic render that your machine may not be able to finish it. I have found a meager default that I like very much - which is really quite basic compared to what it can do, but is better than what I was doing in Poser, and much, much faster - with much superior ray tracing.

Lighting is refreshingly a complete array of various techniques from placing various “lights” that perform different tasks, to adding light (anything glows) to objects, to HDRI, to using a sun light in combination to the realistic sky and atmosphere settings, etc., and I’ve undoubtedly left some out… the choices and combinations are vast! But the lighting set up has a lot to do with your rendering capabilities. Again, I’ve been very happy to find ways that work very well for what I’m doing - since I need to render out animated sequences (and LOTS of them), I need to find efficient ways to keep my render times and quality of images to a happy medium - or I’d never get anything done. Which brings us to another of my favorite aspects about Carrara:

Shaders (textures) are all edited in the Texture Room, which also plays a big hand in how your renders behave. With a little practice along with advice from some of the great tutorials found in the freebies forum, you’ll quickly learn how to adjust materials to look exactly how you want them to look. There are also a plethora of shader products for Carrara in the Daz store - each of which can teach you a lot about how to produce different effects - and the shaders can also be animated! [WARNING - Shaders sold for other apps, like Daz Studio or Poser, do NOT work for Carrara - only purchase Shader products advertised to work specifically for Carrara!!!]

Daz/Poser figure compatibility is second to none. If, like me, you find that you’d rather spend your time doing other things than modeling every object yourself, and instead prefer to purchase models from Daz, you’ll amaze at how well Carrara works with this stuff. It’s been years since I’ve touched Poser, but I remember how surprised I was when I realized how easy it is to load and use Poser-style figures, props and such. If dynamic cloth is your thing, and you have a copy of Poser, you can use Poser’s dynamic cloth and save the scene, then open the scene in Carrara. Remember to delete all Poser lights and cameras before continuing because that part is not compatible, but the cloth simulation comes into Carrara just fine.

There are so many more features about Carrara that I’d like to tell you about - that I feel you would find superior over the next product - but instead, I’ll just say that I have been more than pleased with the whole experience - but everybody’s got their own dream. Undoubtedly, 3DS Max and Maya are going to blow you away with features. Those two are highly polished and very professional applications that allow you to perform Hollywood quality effects - which may also require the further purchase of various plugins…
Lightwave is priced right in between Carrara and the least expensive version of Max.

What I have to say about Carrara vs Max/Maya is all about ease-of-use. I don’t have any experience with Lightwave, though. But when I tried Maya after already having some practice in Max, I quickly began to realize that I was going to have to purchase some training or enroll in CG college somewhere, which I’ve looked into… oooops! For a very affordable offering, I was looking at well over $95,000 just for tuition. I felt quite comfortable in 3ds max, but not so much compared to Carrara. Carrara is set up to help you learn on your own, simply by exploring the tools on the interface. Max and Maya aren’t that simple - where you’d really need to know what function you’d need to perform and how to get that going… very little hand-holding.

That’s not to say that I wouldn’t buy Max or Maya (or Lightwave) if I had the means, but it would definitely put my whole endeavor on hold for who knows how long.

With that realization in mind, I set about “Creating a Look” for my scene style - so that my animations will all be coherent.

Howie Farkes and Mark Moir (mmoir) product documentation along with the scenes that they come with have taught me a bunch about lighting vs render settings to produce quality vs time comparisons, which launched me well on my way to creating my very own default ‘Artificial Global Illumination’ in conjunction with render settings. Then I just save various scenes: Blank (just includes render settings and resolution) and pre-lit empty scenes was a great start. Now I have a whole catalog of “Beginning Point” scene files that save me gobs of time.

Sorry for the rant, but it is not the easiest question to answer without going into some length.

I have to go play my drums now, or I’d probably elaborate - we’ll touch base later, though wink

Dartan

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Posted: 22 December 2012 09:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Thanks, guys.  That helps alot.

I think the Add Runtime is disabled in the Trial Version.  And I’ve realized I need to do some things different.

Does 8.5 (or WILL 8.5) allow me to load in a DAZ scene instead of just a Poser scene?

I was hoping to look at the Wizard Content just to look at examples of how to set things up.  That sort of thing helps a lot… at least, it helps me out.  I’ve set up some basic scenes and things but I’m having issues with the Shaders (or lack of preset shaders, at least).

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Posted: 23 December 2012 08:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Dartanbeck - 22 December 2012 06:30 PM

Then I just save various scenes: Blank (just includes render settings and resolution) and pre-lit empty scenes was a great start. Now I have a whole catalog of “Beginning Point” scene files that save me gobs of time.

That is a great idea! Sometimes it is the little things like this that can make a big difference.

thepencilneck: 3DAGE and Dartanbeck are just two of the spectacularly helpful people in the forums. They have both assisted my thought process about Carrara in uncountable ways.

Depending on your 3D background; I would strongly recommend exploring PhilW’s Carrara training from Infinite Skills. That is also tremendously helpful.

For the record; I have recently bought LightWave and am slowly learning that too. The interface does take some getting used to but there are some Carrara UI “idiosyncrasies” that drive me up the wall and around the corner. But I’ll cut that rant off now.

Carrara is a great tool for a hobbyist 3D artist.

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- Garstor
Australian-Canadian currently trapped in Texas (maintaining sanity with doses of Carrara, LightWave and PhotoShop)

My 3D art Flickr page for final or near-final images
My 3D art Flickr page for work-in-progress or experiments

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Posted: 23 December 2012 02:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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thepencilneck - 22 December 2012 09:55 PM

I think the Add Runtime is disabled in the Trial Version.

I doubt it - it’s really easy to miss. Look at the window along the bottom of the workspace (the browser window). Along the top right side of that window, you’ll see a little dark page-shaped icon. Click that while your browser is in the “Content” tab.

thepencilneck - 22 December 2012 09:55 PM

Does 8.5 (or WILL 8.5) allow me to load in a DAZ scene instead of just a Poser scene?

Simple answer is “no”. 8.5 development is incorporating a new Daz file format, “.duf” which will allow some transfer between the two, perhaps even a scene(?), but the lights, shaders, cameras, etc., are not compatible at this point.

thepencilneck - 22 December 2012 09:55 PM

I was hoping to look at the Wizard Content just to look at examples of how to set things up.  That sort of thing helps a lot… at least, it helps me out.  I’ve set up some basic scenes and things but I’m having issues with the Shaders (or lack of preset shaders, at least).

The Carrara Native Content that comes with the software is an incredible resource for that, yes. Are you sure that it didn’t come with a separate installer? Would be nice (I’ve never had the trial). Shaders are still something that I use all the time for examples and inspiration. But then, when you buy products from the store, these artists take those shaders to new heights. Howie Farkes, mmoir, 3D Lust, Dimension Theory, Megamorato, 3dage, Age of Armour, just to name a few, provide great resources on a more pro level. But the native content has some incredible presets that can often be used just as they are - as well as giving the artist a great way to learn from - especially regarding what each of the channels can achieve.

Garstor was right - the training dvds in the store are an invaluable piece of training, as well as entertainment!

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Posted: 23 December 2012 10:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Dartanbeck - 23 December 2012 02:24 PM
thepencilneck - 22 December 2012 09:55 PM

I think the Add Runtime is disabled in the Trial Version.

I doubt it - it’s really easy to miss. Look at the window along the bottom of the workspace (the browser window). Along the top right side of that window, you’ll see a little dark page-shaped icon. Click that while your browser is in the “Content” tab.

I found the button and I see the “Add Runtime” but it’s grayed out.

Dartanbeck - 23 December 2012 02:24 PM
thepencilneck - 22 December 2012 09:55 PM

Does 8.5 (or WILL 8.5) allow me to load in a DAZ scene instead of just a Poser scene?

Simple answer is “no”. 8.5 development is incorporating a new Daz file format, “.duf” which will allow some transfer between the two, perhaps even a scene(?), but the lights, shaders, cameras, etc., are not compatible at this point.

Are the DUF files the DSON User Files?  Because that’s how I’ve been saving all my recent stuff.

Dartanbeck - 23 December 2012 02:24 PM
thepencilneck - 22 December 2012 09:55 PM

I was hoping to look at the Wizard Content just to look at examples of how to set things up.  That sort of thing helps a lot… at least, it helps me out.  I’ve set up some basic scenes and things but I’m having issues with the Shaders (or lack of preset shaders, at least).

The Carrara Native Content that comes with the software is an incredible resource for that, yes. Are you sure that it didn’t come with a separate installer? Would be nice (I’ve never had the trial). Shaders are still something that I use all the time for examples and inspiration. But then, when you buy products from the store, these artists take those shaders to new heights. Howie Farkes, mmoir, 3D Lust, Dimension Theory, Megamorato, 3dage, Age of Armour, just to name a few, provide great resources on a more pro level. But the native content has some incredible presets that can often be used just as they are - as well as giving the artist a great way to learn from - especially regarding what each of the channels can achieve.

Garstor was right - the training dvds in the store are an invaluable piece of training, as well as entertainment!

It only downloaded the one executable.  Nothing else.

After playing with it, I’ve decided to go ahead and buy Carrara.  It looks like it’s got what I’m looking for and the layout is similar enough to what I’ve been doing that it’s comfy and it’s got the pieces that I’ve been missing from Daz/Bryce.  I’m probably still going to buy Vue but that will be in a couple of months.

Thanks for everything, guys!

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Posted: 24 December 2012 07:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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When you Buy Carrara (standard or Pro) then you’ll get the Carrara Native Content installer, plus a bundle of “bonus” files from Daz3D.
You should get some Models and morphs like Victoria and Michael 4, as well as some Carrara (high resolution) shaders for both of those models,. which give you a good example for the shader setting for other figures.
there’s also some 3D paint brushes, and example scenes.

The Wizards can be handy for quickly creating scenes from a set of options, but generally , once you’re familiar with using carrara,  you’ll want to start with a new empty scene and just add the components you want to work with.

As far a Importing complete Daz studio or Poser scenes,. yes, it can be done,. but it’s just as easy to load figures directly into Carrara, and create your scene, rather than go through an Import process which will convert and open the scene from another application.

The C8.5 beta , can import DUF files from Daz studio 4 or higher, but Daz Studio, and Poser, both have features which Carrara doesn’t support,. such as Uber-environment or other DS plugins like dynamic cloth,. or posers dynamic hair and cloth,. which can mean that Carrara will either not load the Poser / Daz Scene file, or it will cause an error when loading it.

It’s an easier process, and a better work-flow to build your scenes in the program you want to work in, rather than importing from another program,

as for the “Add runtime”,. make sure you’re in the “Content” section of the browser,. (See pic)


Hope it helps smile

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Posted: 24 December 2012 05:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I don’t see the Genesis Evolution (and other Genesis) Morphs in Carrara.  Without those, I can’t build the characters from scratch like I want to.  From what I can tell, I’ll be looking at a workflow where I create my characters in Daz and then import them into Carrara to pose them.

Besides, I have a bunch of characters already built in Daz that I want to bring over.

I was able to load one of my Daz scenes after I removed the cameras and ubersurface lights.  But it put everything back at 0,0,0.

I’m still figuring everything out and at this point, I can generate much better looking pictures in Daz than I can in Carrara.  I’ve got a lot to learn.

Here’s a test render of what I’m working on at the moment.

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Posted: 24 December 2012 06:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I take it back.  I just had to search for the Evolution Morphs a little bit more.

Still having issues with figuring out how to tell Carrara to use the V4 UV Maps when applying a V4 skin to Genesis…  But I’ll figure it out sooner or later.

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Posted: 24 December 2012 07:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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thepencilneck - 22 December 2012 02:54 PM

I downloaded a Trial version of Carrara.  I’m trying to decide on which software to “graduate” to after cutting my teeth on Daz (with a li’l Bryce and Hexagon.

To hopefully assist in your decision, I’m not sure “graduating” to another app is really what you’d be doing. All of the apps you mentioned have essentially the same functionality. The biggest difference, IMO, is the ability to easily render characters (humans, etc) and have access to premade commercial content. Aside from DAZ and Poser apps, those others can’t do that. At least not directly, and probably not well. Although I could be out of date on a couple of those apps, but in general I think it’s accurate.

So if you want to render images of characters, the DAZ/Poser apps are pretty much the way to go.

Other than that, it really depends on what you want to do.

Also, keep in mind that Blender blows the shorts off some of those apps in some areas, and it’s free.

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Posted: 27 December 2012 07:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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thepencilneck - 24 December 2012 06:42 PM

I take it back.  I just had to search for the Evolution Morphs a little bit more.

Still having issues with figuring out how to tell Carrara to use the V4 UV Maps when applying a V4 skin to Genesis…  But I’ll figure it out sooner or later.

If you load the Character preset: “Basic Female”, Genesis will have V4 UVs, then…
V4 (actual) and Genesis with V4 UVs have different shader placements. Here’s how I take my favorite V4 shaders to Genesis:

1 - Load in Genesis “Basic Female” character preset

2 - Load in V4 (It can be any V4 - we only need it to sort out the map structure)

3 - Load the appropriate MAT onto V4 (the texture set you want to give to Genesis)

4 - In the upper menu, go Edit > Remove unused masters > Consolidate Duplicate Shaders. Then Edit > Remove unused masters > Remove Unused Shaders

5 - (this can be a pain, but worth it) Go into the texture room and take a close look at the fact that some of the slots for shaders on the far right use the same shader. Determine the best name for those shaders and rename them.

Here’s an example: Hip, Head, Nipple, etc., all use the same shader, so I name that shader “Body”. Face I name “Face” (head and face are not the same. Head is actually the back of the head)

I even name all of the eye parts if they use unique shaders… whatever it takes. What we’re doing here is making sure that we know which shaders to put where on Genesis.

6 - Back in the Assembly room, select ‘Actor’ in the Genesis hierarchy and go into the texture room again.

7 - On the far right side, use the drop down arrows at each shader heading and select the best match out of the shaders you’ve named.

By the time you’re done, you’ll have Genesis mapped for V4
Please note that many V4 textures (as with other Poser-style figures) come with blue highlights that just makes them look funny in Carrara. Fine for Poser, yucky in Carrara. You’ll find that many shaders will need tweaking in Carrara. I’m here to tell ya… it’s worth it. You’ll get faster in time, too… because you’ll find settings that you like and stick with them. Just for a quick start, change highlight and shininess to “None” and you’ll just have a texture map and, perhaps, a bump map. There are great tutorials on shaders around. In the Daz Tutorials section for Carrara (not the forums one), there’s one called something to the order of “V4 feeling blue” or something ... great tutorial on V4 shaders to get started.

BTW, love your render! Can’t wait to see more of your work!

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Posted: 27 December 2012 07:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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You should also know that, just because the morph sliders only go from 0 to 1 doesn’t mean that’s all you can do. Hit the little button to the left of the slider and you can set the slider limits.

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Posted: 27 December 2012 11:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Actually, I got it to use the V4 shaders for Genesis without going through all that.  BUT, like Daz, once it gets into V4 mode for the UV maps, it doesn’t seem to want to use anything else.  I was just working on a scene where I set up Genesis using the V4 skin and everything was working well. Then I loaded up another Genesis character with the intent of loading it with an M4 skin but that wasn’t working (neither did male genesis or M5 skins).  Since it was just a test, I loaded a V4 skin onto the character without makeup.

Then I went to place some new stuff I’d bought onto the character and… Carrara crashed.

I think I’m going to look at saving each individual character into a file or something and then merging it together when I want to put the final scene together.

And,yeah, I know (and love) the fact that I can mix bits and pieces of different morphs to create my own characters.  That was the whole reason I got into Daz to begin with: to help me visualize the characters of my novels.

I’ve learned a lot over the past few days.  Still putting things together.

Here was a test of various things:

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Posted: 28 December 2012 04:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Genesis in Carrara doesn’t have the same UV swapping ability of DS yet,. so….

To work with previous generation texture maps,...

Load the Genesis “Basic Female” or “Basic Male” to use V4 and M4 texture maps.

you should be able to apply any DS or Poser mat’s for V4 or M4 from your runtime, to these figures.

the same applies to the kid’s 4 ,..
Use the Genesis “Basic Child” as your starting figure if you want to use those Kid4 textures.

Once you have texture’s applied, you can still change the shape of genesis to be whatever figure shape you want.

Hope it helps smile

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Posted: 29 December 2012 12:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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THAT is a beautiful render!
I can hardly believe that you’ve just purchased Carrara. Great camera placement, the water is amazing with your choice lighting, the overall composition… Just stunning and I love it!

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