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Carrara why do you love it and what do you use it for….
Posted: 01 January 2013 07:27 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi,

Having only just started using Carrara again after an extended hiatus (I’ve been a user / lurker for 10+ years) I thought a thread on why we like using it and to what use if for might be in order.

For me its Fast to use and render, I like the way the app is laid out and in my opinion has one of the best uncluttered interfaces of any 3d app it also has cheap and excellent plugins and content available.

For my use It’ll be illustration type work and content creation as soon as I’m back up to speed. (very long illness kept me away)

Hopefully Id like this post to get as many responses as possible to show Daz and new users the GOOD side of Carrara.

Pete

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Posted: 01 January 2013 07:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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click on the do not click in my sigline, roughly 90% of my scary Youtube videos use Carrara, 9% iclone 1% other.
I love it!

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Posted: 01 January 2013 07:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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petef - 01 January 2013 07:27 AM

Hopefully Id like this post to get as many responses as possible to show Daz and new users the GOOD side of Carrara.

A very noble endeavour. I, for one, will be taking side-bets on how long it will take to devolve into the whiney stream of the usual complaints. smile  (hey, I’m guilty on that front too)

I like Carrara’s speed and wide-ranging feature set. I’m not so keen on its user-interface.

Back in the day, I started playing with POV-Ray and although it has many of the same features…and arguably having to write C-like code to build your scene gives you far greater power than Carrara…it is very tedious. Some of the “code-generating” expansions people have written either don’t work or are missing useful features. I never got very good with it and was deeply jealous of some of the work that others could produce with it (i.e. I wanted that “make pretty art” button).

When you go looking for a GUI-based 3D art program, you inevitably find Maya, 3DS Max, Cinema 4D, etc. Your jaw hits the floor when you see the price tags. Going from $0.00 to $4000.00 is a nasty system-shock.

So I also like Carrara’s price range. It would have been steep when I started with POV-Ray; but today my income is very comfortable and I was more than willing to spend what DAZ charged. I think I spent $800 to buy Carrara Pro and PhilW’s awesome Infinite Skills training package.

It didn’t take long before I was very rapidly creating scenes that far surpassed my POV work. Still not as good as some of that POV artwork that inspired me…but getting there.

Then, with Dartanbeck’s help (not to diminish the valued assistance from many others in the forums), I discovered how to take advantage of the Poser library of models for sale. As a member of the Platinum Club, I would go nuts when Jack Tomalin stuff was selling for $1.99. Once I got brave enough to load V4 / M4 and explore that world…I’ve gone completely insane with PC purchases of various props. DAZ has received far more $$$ from me via props than Carrara.

My skills are still growing but I have reached the point where I am now seeing some of the limitations to Carrara. This is why I have become more critical of DAZ’s approach to the software and us, the user-base.

I am not giving up Carrara soon. I have too much invested in it. But I am expanding in the world of LightWave (if it wouldn’t rain the wrath of the Forum Admins, I’m sure a thread could exists about the pluses and minuses to LW too…or any 3D app).

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Posted: 01 January 2013 08:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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              Ease of use. Speed in setting things up. Render Speed and its texture tree.

            The Animation tools with some of the easiest bones to get started with.

            The amount and wide breath of tools included. ie. Terrain editor , plant editor (Which is one of the best single things Carrara does better than most everyone except for some pricey standalone applications or plugins. maybe check the price of some xfrog trees to gain an appreciation what you have here in Carrara).

            I have complained as well with Daz but very rarely with Carrara. I actually have been with it from Ray Dream times and still have the first versions manual of Carrara. So I have a fondness for Carrara. I have swung a lot of my fun towards Modo in recent times and a few other packages but——-I cannot leave my connection with Carrara as its simple power and ease of getting stuff done is still pretty formidable.

             

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Posted: 01 January 2013 08:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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3dView - 01 January 2013 08:39 AM

...plant editor (Which is one of the best single things Carrara does better than most everyone except for some pricey standalone applications or plugins. maybe check the price of some xfrog trees to gain an appreciation what you have here in Carrara).

When I realized that HowieFarkes’ stuff were all native Carrara plants, I knew that I would have to take a second look at the plant editor.

I dismissed it initially because of the default values. A solid brown for trunk/branches (I didn’t know about texture maps yet). Worse yet the default “roots” were just a fluted twist off the cylinder of the trunk. Gross and completely unnatural. Yep, a second look is in order (maybe later today).

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Posted: 01 January 2013 09:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Carrara has so many good points that it’s hard to single them out. I like the Shader system. As I become more knowledgeable about it and what it can do it impresses me even more.


There’s also the wide range of users. If you want it for just a virtual studio, then that’s great, but if you find you need a prop, a background or whatever, you have the tools at your finger tip to create it.


I also love the volumetric clouds. I just wish I could figure out how to animate them.


Going back to the shaders, I’m going to throw in a couple renders. I really love the flexibility of the procedural shaders. Both of my examples use the Wires function in different ways. The first uses them to give the appearance of ribbing in a Dirigible. I used them in the bump channel and I think in the Highlight channel.


The second image is of the starship, the Cygnus from the movie The Black Hole. I found the model at Foundation3D. I replaced nearly 90% of the image map based textures with Carrara’s procedural shaders. I used Wires to add shadowy frames to the panes of translucent glass in the lit superstructure of the ship. BTW, I’m really happy with how that effect came out. That’s no glow channel, anything that looks lit, is actually internally lit.

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I find it somewhat liberating not to be encumbered by accuracy.

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Posted: 01 January 2013 12:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I like the Idea of this thread.
I’m new to Carrara. I do motion graphics and technical animations for educational video’s.
I had a background in Sketchup, Alibre, a little Solidworks, and Autocad.
I work professionally as a recording engineer, but wish to sell some video’s online.
I don’t expect large sales from these video’s so hiring out an animator is not possible.
I first played around with something called sketchers studio, which was intended to be an animation program for Sketchup.
It was very simple and was never developed, but it got me started.
I looked through 3d graphics magazines to see what programs could do this type of work. The magazines often showed character renders, or renders of elaborate scenes. Maybe a still high res image of a beautiful car, but I was hard to tell if any of these software packages would do what I wanted.
I tried Blender, but the interface was just too much for me. I think if you understood the concepts to begin with, Blender might be excellent, but I had a lot of learning to do.
I tried Carrara demo then bought the book that contained Carrara 6 Pro. So I got in cheap. At first I imported objects from Sketchup, and Alibre. The conversion process had a few issues ( mainly having to convert file types), so I started modeling simple objects in Carrara.
When I was stumpted, I found excellent tutorials on youtube. The manual is over 700 pages and covers a lot of territory. If the manual and youtube don’t cover it there are some very helpful people on this user group. Which is HUGE!
( thank you 3Dage, Holly, evilproducer, Joemama2000, etc)
At this point I model almost everything I need in Carrara. I like the fact that I can make changes on the fly as my skills improve, without going back to my modeling program and reload. FOR MY NEEDS, I have found almost nothing I can’t do as far as modeling and animation.
This program amazes me constantly. I have no desire to be a professional graphics artist or animator. I do have a desire to be a one man band as far a a small film producer, and Carrara fits the bill. I edit the video’s in Sony Vegas, and between these two programs I’m amazed at what can be done. Will a pro look at my work and see how it could be improved? Of course. but everybody I’ve shown clips to literally says “wow who did the animation”? I have since upgraded to 8 pro.In part because I wanted to support Daz, in part because I wanted to take full advantage of the 64bit version 8. and I got it cheap on sale.
I’m rendering full HD movie clips at 29.97 FPS, the quality of the render looks sharp and crisp.
You will see comments on this group about needs for updates, and I believe at the level these people are working they are legitimate issues, but with the type of work I am doing there are almost none. If someone is starting out doing simple animations I think it could be a very long time before they hit the limits or shortcomings of this program.

At my level Carrara is affordable, powerful, and a reasonable interface. Though I don’t think you could call any Modeling, rendering, or animating software ” easy”. Before starting my project I did ask a pro how he did a technical animation for the New York Times web site. He even did a small clip for me to start this project. The answer was vague and long. Maya, Final Cut, adobe after effects. Once I started doing this work I began to understand his answer. He did use a good 12 grand worth of software. I used Carrara Pro, Sony Vegas Pro, Corel Suite, maybe under a grand’s worth of software. ( I may add Apple Motion for $50.00) But with out doubt Carrara covers a lot of that territory. I could have gotten by for much less if I didn’t buy the Pro versions as well or stuck with Carrara 6Pro. Let me state one last Time. I am not a Professional Graphics artist or animator. I have no desire to work in that field as a professional, where I think you would need to know the standard software packages. The software I use does have limits compared to the ” Pro” packages like Maya. I just don’t think for the work I am doing I am hitting those limits.
Though I have wondered if you can’t afford to go to school to learn the big packages is Carrara a good place to learn the concepts?
I’ve learned a heck of a lot these past few months.
I’m almost done with the second chapter of my project which has almost 15 minutes of HD animation.
I’m going to post some samples on Youtube soon .
I’ll post a link here.
8068

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Posted: 01 January 2013 12:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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The speed. The shader room. I think I actually liked the interface better before, when it was simpler and the buttons were bigger. It worked faster with a track ball. Now it feels like 5 extra clicks to do anything, and it adds up…. I don’t hate the newer features, but more and more icons crowding the edges of the screen, and smaller, makes the interface slower to use. I didn’t like C4D for the tiny box icons. Now Carrara is getting that way… At least the plant room got a makeover to help it make sense. Some more areas could use a design massage…. It’s less about hand-mouse gestures now, and more about tiny buttons and triangles, and endless clicking sub-tabs to get to the controls you need… I guess things can’t stay simple forever (and there were always awkward parts with the arbitrary number fields, but now there seem to be more of them…). Adding the Poser functions tripled the interface clicks, but that’s not Carrara’s fault entirely (except you still can’t spin the Poser dials to negative numbers unless the CR2 is specifically written to do it…

That said, it’s still faster than most other 3D programs I’ve tried. I know a lot of geeky-types are attracted to slow “sciencey” calculations and more number-fussy interfaces where you stand back and let it render for two days, but imo Carrara is a dream when the interface flows and projects can be built very fast and with a hand rhythm. The interface designer Kai Krause knew what he was doing…. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it was the part I liked the best about Carrara, and most people don’t mention it, but it’s a comfortable app to work all day in (unless you are on a laptop, that gave me hand cramps). Now I feel it takes a little more time to position the curser over smaller icons and drag-n-drop just isn’t the natural gesture when you are working with a 1920-1080 resolution screen…., now is more like click-n-drag-drag-drag-drop….

Ahh progress. wink

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Posted: 01 January 2013 12:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Oh, and I use Carrara for literally everything… Unless it’s after effects or photoshop. I make textures for other programs, not just 3D, but all my abstract design and VJ work. It’s actually rare when I do the poser-people renders… Most of what I make in Carrara for my job doesn’t necessarily look like it came out of a 3D program. That’s the shader room. Carrara is my favorite creative tool. If I can think it up, I can usually figure out a way to do it in the shader room…

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Posted: 01 January 2013 01:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I’m a novelist.  Or, at least, I’m trying to be.  I was a wannabe artist when I was a kid but I was never very good at it.  Up until about a year ago, I would sketch out many of my characters and some of the settings of my scenes trying to get a better picture of them in my head.  I would “cast” the characters in my novels by trying to find a star or someone I knew who was similar.  I also tried to slap together rough book covers with Gimp and public domain pictures.

Then a fellow novelist who is an artist who gets paid to put book covers and web page art together turned me on to Daz/Bryce/Hexagon (even though she’s a staunch Poser addict.)  DAZ was a god-send.  It allowed me, with the Genesis Morphs and stuff, to create my characters from scratch and get a clearer understanding of who they are and what they look like.  I tried to set up big landscape scenes with Bryce, I bought up tons of sets and characters, I modeled some things in Hexagon.

But, for me, I recently stepped up from Daz to Carrara.  Although I’ve got greater flexibility with the character creation in Daz, Carrara gives me better ability to create landscapes, to create “big” scenes, to use and put together shaders, to include different types of lighting effects… etc., etc., In other words, Carrara gives me more freedom to transfer the things in my head to the screen.

I was looking at Lightwave, Vue, Maya, and 3DS Max and Carrara is a more cost effective alternative.  I may eventually migrate to Maya/3DS Max but for right now, Carrara is everything I need.

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Posted: 01 January 2013 01:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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It’s no secret that I’m a Daz3d and Renderosity asset user - I just don’t have the time, or inclination to model everything, but I still need the abilities of a modeler, at times - mostly for adding in morphs to clothes and hair for my animations.

I bought Carrara for that functionality, but found that I really enjoy the interface as well. And, personally, I love the new buttons smile Sorry.

Most of what I love about Carrara has already been mentioned above, by others. Check out Evil Producer’s renders up there. That is huge - awesome! Meaning (to me) that the rendering capabilities are amazing and incredibly versatile. It is a vast assortment of being able to set up shaders, lights, and render settings to get the results you’re after. And Carrara makes that easier than anything I’ve used before, while actually offering unlimited possibilities - especially if you take the time to try new things.

Much of what you find within Carrara is somewhat self-explanatory, mainly due to the design of the interface and layout. Sensible nomenclature makes it easy to understand at a glance, yet correlates to similar features that are common to the 3d software artist - so, whether you’re new or a veteran at this, you’ll have a good time building your scene and getting it to render the way you want it to.

I love the sequencer (timeline). Nothing hidden, interact-able tweeners (with many possibilities), copy,paste,duplicate, and stretch… I don’t know… it just works very smoothly for me - be it known that my style is more keyframe by keyframe method.

Build in SubD modeling makes getting great results from simple modeling technique a synch! New version (beta) allows you to control SubD levels in the main assembly room with a slider!

The new beta for 8.5 also allows you to change where the limits are for your Poser morph sliders, in response to above.

The generosity of the Carrara forum members is very powerful. You really can find solutions to nearly anything you need help with.

I am working on a series of animated movies filmed strictly within the Carrara Pro interface. Cameras, lights, and the power of the shader trees(textures and their settings) in conjunction with the render settings have been true bliss for me. The speed of the render engine is an incredible bonus. I think it’s truly amazing how fast it is!

I also enjoy the User’s manual. It may not be updated with the latest additions yet, but it is a great resource when I’m thinking about how to create a new effect I’ve been pondering, or to look up what the heck someone was just talking about that sounded interesting. Very concise and helpful (and over 700 page) tome.

Recently bought “Advanced Carrara Techniques” download version, and Phil Wilkes taught me a bundle of new skills in a very entertaining way. I think this is because Phil gets entertained by using Carrara - you can just tell - and he’s great at it! Gonna have to get the basic’s version to see what else I don’t know.

Cripeman’s tutorials are free on YouTube, and also teach you not only new tips and tricks, but also how to think outside the box to get great effects in unlikely places.

Most products sold ‘for Carrara’ at Daz3d include a wealth of informative tutorial. Howie Farkes goes into great detail regarding his findings using various settings in the Render Room, Dimension Theory is always very informative, as is Mark Moir (mmoir in Daz store) - just naming some, and I appologize for not including more of you… I collect all.

Beyond my animation endeavors, I also enjoy simply building models and scenes, shaders and effects, animation construction sets and just beautiful art - just for my own pleasure - to relax at home in Carrara.

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Posted: 01 January 2013 01:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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thepencilneck - 01 January 2013 01:07 PM

I’m a novelist.  Or, at least, I’m trying to be.  I was a wannabe artist when I was a kid but I was never very good at it.  Up until about a year ago, I would sketch out many of my characters and some of the settings of my scenes trying to get a better picture of them in my head.  I would “cast” the characters in my novels by trying to find a star or someone I knew who was similar.  I also tried to slap together rough book covers with Gimp and public domain pictures.

Then a fellow novelist who is an artist who gets paid to put book covers and web page art together turned me on to Daz/Bryce/Hexagon (even though she’s a staunch Poser addict.)  DAZ was a god-send.  It allowed me, with the Genesis Morphs and stuff, to create my characters from scratch and get a clearer understanding of who they are and what they look like.  I tried to set up big landscape scenes with Bryce, I bought up tons of sets and characters, I modeled some things in Hexagon.

But, for me, I recently stepped up from Daz to Carrara.  Although I’ve got greater flexibility with the character creation in Daz, Carrara gives me better ability to create landscapes, to create “big” scenes, to use and put together shaders, to include different types of lighting effects… etc., etc., In other words, Carrara gives me more freedom to transfer the things in my head to the screen.

This is awesome. Great story. I, too, was introduced to Daz by a fellow artist. Tell me, Pete, do you find that everything is just easier to work with in Carrara?
I remember my first steps into this interface - switching from Poser. I had a bit of awe that slowed my progress at first - and the notion that my Daz character’s shaders needed work, but evrything just seems to smooth and easy in Carrara - or is that just me?

thepencilneck - 01 January 2013 01:07 PM

I was looking at Lightwave, Vue, Maya, and 3DS Max and Carrara is a more cost effective alternative.  I may eventually migrate to Maya/3DS Max but for right now, Carrara is everything I need.

I’ve used Max and Maya, more max… and I truly like Carrara better.

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Posted: 01 January 2013 01:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Dartanbeck - 01 January 2013 01:34 PM
thepencilneck - 01 January 2013 01:07 PM

I’m a novelist.  Or, at least, I’m trying to be.  I was a wannabe artist when I was a kid but I was never very good at it.  Up until about a year ago, I would sketch out many of my characters and some of the settings of my scenes trying to get a better picture of them in my head.  I would “cast” the characters in my novels by trying to find a star or someone I knew who was similar.  I also tried to slap together rough book covers with Gimp and public domain pictures.

Then a fellow novelist who is an artist who gets paid to put book covers and web page art together turned me on to Daz/Bryce/Hexagon (even though she’s a staunch Poser addict.)  DAZ was a god-send.  It allowed me, with the Genesis Morphs and stuff, to create my characters from scratch and get a clearer understanding of who they are and what they look like.  I tried to set up big landscape scenes with Bryce, I bought up tons of sets and characters, I modeled some things in Hexagon.

But, for me, I recently stepped up from Daz to Carrara.  Although I’ve got greater flexibility with the character creation in Daz, Carrara gives me better ability to create landscapes, to create “big” scenes, to use and put together shaders, to include different types of lighting effects… etc., etc., In other words, Carrara gives me more freedom to transfer the things in my head to the screen.

This is awesome. Great story. I, too, was introduced to Daz by a fellow artist. Tell me, Pete, do you find that everything is just easier to work with in Carrara?
I remember my first steps into this interface - switching from Poser. I had a bit of awe that slowed my progress at first - and the notion that my Daz character’s shaders needed work, but evrything just seems to smooth and easy in Carrara - or is that just me?

I think the transition from Daz to Carrara is relatively smooth.  There are some bumps and hiccups along the way.  I mean, you’ve seen my trials and tribulations getting going in the thread I started when I was having some problems with the trial version.  But things could have been much, much worse and the software is, overall, very intuitive.  I have to admit that I removed buttons from the interface that wasn’t going to use so what I’m looking at is simpler than the standard layout.

I’m going through PhilipW’s Infinite Skills training right now and things are getting easier and easier.  I especially like the integration of the modeler with the package.  One of my problems with Hexagon was getting into a flow between putting something together, moving it over to Daz, and then getting the textures and shading domains working.  Carrara is infinitely easier with that.

Dartanbeck - 01 January 2013 01:34 PM
thepencilneck - 01 January 2013 01:07 PM

I was looking at Lightwave, Vue, Maya, and 3DS Max and Carrara is a more cost effective alternative.  I may eventually migrate to Maya/3DS Max but for right now, Carrara is everything I need.

I’ve used Max and Maya, more max… and I truly like Carrara better.

I used Max on a trial version for a month and I liked Max a whole lot.  Then I tried Maya for a little bit and at first, I didn’t like it.  It’s a very cluttered screen layout… UNTIL you remove about 3/4’s of the buttons and simplify the screen.  At that point, I like Maya better.

If I had my druthers, it would be a hard toss-up between Carrara and Maya because of the Genesis support that Carrara’s got.  In March, I’m going to be looking at making the decision about whether to buy Maya or not and it’s not going to be a snap decision at this point.  Carrara’s going to have to do something to really piss me off to push me to Maya.

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Posted: 01 January 2013 02:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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thepencilneck - 01 January 2013 01:58 PM

If I had my druthers, it would be a hard toss-up between Carrara and Maya because of the Genesis support that Carrara’s got.  In March, I’m going to be looking at making the decision about whether to buy Maya or not and it’s not going to be a snap decision at this point.  Carrara’s going to have to do something to really piss me off to push me to Maya.

Really love that last bit!
Yeah, I was thinking along those lines, too. This movie saga (meant as a continuation of several, not a mere trilogy) means a lot to me. It’s a long time passion that I’m taking very seriously. I never copped a feel for Maya, but was really ‘at home’ for modeling and UV Mapping in Max (a friend let me have access to his computer smile ) back before even hearing about Carrara. That friend turned me on to Poser For making many models and texture for his endeavors, he actually bought me Poser 5, which I loved for a long time. I was totally addicted and that’s where I got my passion to make some sort of animation movie project.
He pointed out Daz3d to me back when Victoria 3 was being offered for free, and I was under the impression that she was a new(?) figure at the time. I bookmarked Daz3d, but wasn’t yet a frequent shopper - times were very tough.

When I stumbled upon Carrara 5 Pro, Eovia owned it and it looked like my dream software package.

When financials turned for my better (years later), I did a search for Carrara and found it where? At Daz3d!

Anyways… enough of the long version.
I’m just incredibly relieved to discover through a lot of advice, tutorials, and good old fashioned experimenting, that Carrara can do the job and I’ll never have to invest thousands to get my own version of Max.

When I started my movie project, I had the understanding with myself that I’d be buying in most, if not all, of my assets from Daz3d. After all, when I bought Carrara, the book “Figures, Characters, and Avatars” was still available at Daz, which came with DS2.3, Hexagon 2 and Carrara 6 Pro, along with a good assortment of models. So I bought that along with a yearly membership in the Platinum Club, an upgrade from C6 Pro to C7 Pro, which also came with C8 Pro, once released! Add to that a few products that I could now afford due to the above savings. Well I wasn’t even thinking about the Free gifts that Daz gives you when you buy PC and/or Carrara. My account at Daz was literally overflowing with really cool stuff!

I currently own all of the assets I need for my first several movies. My addiction will add to that total, which is fine. As much as I love collecting these models, the artists who sell them are outstanding so it honors me to trade my pennies for their hard work. I have since been developing my own stuff within Carrara and became a Daz Published artist. Know the stringent quality assurance of Daz, I spend nearly as much time, if not more, testing a product as it takes to finish it - but that’s all fun, too!

Carrara has definitely changed me - making me much better at my original vision, and transforming me into an 3d CGI artist as well!
Just so you don’t have to sort through the mayhem, I’ve copied this link from a thread that you don’t wish to visit. It is a short article about a graphics designer who made a movie in his spare time - all in Carrara, with exception to the live-action footage. Definitely worth checking out:
I’ve Seen The Future of 3D Special Effects and Animation - 2006

BTW, welcome back to Carrara bliss. You are certainly a welcome, refreshing new face around here!

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Posted: 01 January 2013 07:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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That video clip is amazing! Wow Wow

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Posted: 01 January 2013 08:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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The prime reason I like Carrara is its direct support of Poser type content, i.e. it loads directly from Carrara’s browser which allows adding external runtimes. (I have an embarrassing number of Poser content items, over 40GB B-} )  And it does a much better job than Poser itself IMHO, at least for large scenes.

I go way back to the early version of Poser and Bryce, but I use them only rarely now.  I also have Vue Complete and Lightwave, both of which get some use when the content requires them.  I am not a modeler, but spend my 3D time making short animations with purchased content (characters, props, clothing, etc.) .  You can see some of the short animations at my YouTube channel:

http://www.youtube.com/user/SteveK77536

The recent ones are “Action Figure”, “Halloween Movie” and “Sexy Chili”.  The one that got the best reaction from the 48 Hour Film contest is “Blown Away”.

If I can answer any questions, lemme know.  Good choice of topic, BTW.

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