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Animation and Compositing in Carrara?
Posted: 30 January 2013 04:10 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I’m currently animating using DAZ Studio Pro 4.5 but I was wondering if Carrara 8 is a lot easier to animate with?  I think the keyframing facilities of DAZ are pretty primitive and awkward to use compared to keyframing in other software such as video editors like Vegas Pro and Premier Pro.

One of the things I’d like to do is combine 3D modelling with film and green screen.  I can do this to some extent in After Effects and Hitfilm 2 but is it possible to use Carrara 8 to composite in this way?

I also want to animate speaking parts but DS doesn’t seem to handle this well since only Mimic Live works with Genesis.  Does Carrara do this a lot better using Mimic Pro?

I want to use the Genesis figures so does Carrara 8 handle Genesis as well as DS?

Thanks for your advice in advance.

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Posted: 30 January 2013 04:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Hi SuperDog smile

Yes.

In Carrara, you can load footage or an image, or Image sequence, and apply it to the backdrop, (which fit’s the size of your camera output)
then you can add a plane, with a “Shadow-catcher” shader, and add your 3D figures to that backdrop with shadows (see pic)

As far as animating, Carrara has key-frames, motion path’s, and Physics simulation.
you also have a range of animation “Tweeners” which handle the change from one key-frame to the next,.

For example,. pose a figure waving, and make two key-frames for the arm movement,. then select an Oscillate tweener and set a value for how many times that value should change between those two keys, and you have a figure waving several times within whose two keys.

Carrara also has a “graph editor” where you can get in deep for fine adjustments.

I also want to animate speaking parts but DS doesn’t seem to handle this well since only Mimic Live works with Genesis.  Does Carrara do this a lot better using Mimic Pro?

You can buy, (mimic pro for carrara) which handles Genesis and previous Daz figures, but also allows you to create lip-sync for your own carrara created figures with your own custom morphs and visemes

you can also export Lipsync animation from DS as DUF. or poser format (PZ2)

I want to use the Genesis figures so does Carrara 8 handle Genesis as well as DS?

Currently only the “Beta” development version of Carrara 8.5 supports Genesis, Autofit, Smart content, and DUF format.
Carrara 8 was made and released before genesis was, so it doesn’t support it.

hope it helps smile

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Posted: 30 January 2013 05:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I would add to what 3dage said about importing a background video. It’s great for matching your lighting and camera angle, but I would still render it with an alpha channel and composite it with your background in your video editor of choice because you’ll have more control and it would be easier to add additional elements.


I did this test with Carrara 7.2 Pro. I used my background footage in Carrara to match my camera angle, lighting and ground plane (with shadow catcher applied), but I rendered with an alpha channel and did the final composite in Final Cut Pro. Came in handy as I used a filter to add noise to the rendered elements to match the noise in the video footage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8puXTRXt7Y&feature=share&list=UU6wB1FKPN4DWpuoVsQY2o8Q

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Posted: 30 January 2013 05:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I totally agree 100%  smile

compositing in a video editor gives you more abilities,.

I’ve been playing with the new “Element 3D” from Videocopilot,. and so far I’m really impressed.

I managed to export an M4 (animated OBJ sequence) and load it into After Effects using Element 3D,. although I’m still playing with it and haven’t rendered anything worth showing here, but it’s a ground breaking game changer as fas as I can see.

EP,... you should have a look at the example videos on www,videocopilot.net and check out the Metropolitan City pack, built for use in Element 3D

There are some issues with it (no ray-tracing), so objects dont reflect the things around them,. but you can use environment maps or even layers in AE,

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Posted: 30 January 2013 05:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I don’t have AE unfortunately. Sounds cool though.

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Posted: 30 January 2013 05:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Thanks you both for your quick replies.  I’m really tempted to upgrade to Carrara right now due to the discount.  Is it cheaper if you’re a Platinum member?

Concerning compositing, I like what you’ve done in the video evilproducer and think I’ll do as you’ve done and model/animate in Carrara and then import this into Hitfilm 2/Vegas Pro.  Did you import the film clip into Carrara first to set up the lighting and shadows correctly and then export the model into a compositing program and then load the film clip (to add effects etc.) for final rendering?

My main concern is getting the shadows looking relatively accurate and matching the lighting for both Carrara models and Vegas Pro film clips.  I’m planning to have live green screened people interacting with modelled characters and want the artificial appearance this will create rather than realism but I’d like to get shadows and lighting spot on.  I’m just hoping I’ll be able to model in Carrara 8 and then composite externally so that everything looks like it’s in the same environment.

The still shot looks great too 3DAGE.  That’s the kind of quality I’m aiming for in my animations.  You say that Carrara has many more animation features for fine tuning than DAZ Studio but is editing keyframes easier to manage?  I find the keyframe timeline in DAZ really clunky and after loading a number of figures it feels really difficult to manage.  Perhaps that’s the nature of 3D model animation but I hope the Carrara method is better laid out than DS.

Concerning Carrara 8.5, is it able to handle Genesis properly yet and is the final release on the horizon?  Most of my content is Genesis you see.

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Posted: 30 January 2013 06:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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3DAGE - 30 January 2013 05:16 PM

I totally agree 100%  smile

compositing in a video editor gives you more abilities,.

I’ve been playing with the new “Element 3D” from Videocopilot,. and so far I’m really impressed.

I managed to export an M4 (animated OBJ sequence) and load it into After Effects using Element 3D,. although I’m still playing with it and haven’t rendered anything worth showing here, but it’s a ground breaking game changer as fas as I can see.

EP,... you should have a look at the example videos on www,videocopilot.net and check out the Metropolitan City pack, built for use in Element 3D

There are some issues with it (no ray-tracing), so objects dont reflect the things around them,. but you can use environment maps or even layers in AE,

I also have Element 3D and it’s a great addition to AE but because I prefer editing in Vegas Pro I’m now hoping to use Hitfilm 2 for importing 3D models and compositing.  Hitfilm 2 also has a lite version of Mocha for motion tracking.  Do you know if it’s possible to import the 3D Element models into Carrara?  Their Metropolitan City pack looks very impressive and seems pretty cheap.

Although I’ve been editing video for a long time I’m quite new to 3D modelling (and compositing) and DAZ Studio seemed like a way in so I was hoping that if I bought Carrara 8 that would be the next step up rather than if I bought Poser Pro 2012.  I can’t afford Lightwave or the Autodesk stuff and Modo didn’t seem as intuitive as DS (and hopefully Carrara) when I tried the demo.  But my main reason for using DAZ products is the content because I don’t plan on doing much modelling myself.

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Posted: 30 January 2013 06:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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What I did was set my video clip as a backdrop and set Carrara to show the backdrop. I set the scene’s time range to that of the background clip. This way, you can scrub through the timeline and accurately try and match your animation to whatever is going on in the background. I then made sure I was at the first frame and set my lights and such to match as best I could the lighting in my clip. I also matched as best I could the perspective of the ground plane.


I rendered the animation with an alpha channel which gave me a 2D movie with just the dinosaurs. I layered the dino clip over the original background clip in Final Cut Pro, added a couple of filters such as noise, blur and a color correction filter to better match the background video.


The ground plane and the animated grass both used shadow catchers. Not only do they appear transparent except for the shadows, but they act as a mask as well, so the grass in front of the dinosaurs actually takes it’s color from the background plate. For standard definition it’s a pretty neat trick and time saver. Not sure how it would work for hi-def.


It should also be mentioned, that Carrara can import cameras generated from motion tracking software such as SynthEyes, which is nice if you want to lock your computer animation to a background video where the camera moves. It’s a bit beyond my price range at the moment, but it is getting cheaper year by year.

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Posted: 30 January 2013 08:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Thanks for explaining your workflow.  That’s how I’ll work too.  Concerning camera tracking do you know if it’s possible to import Mocha cameras?

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Posted: 30 January 2013 08:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Superdog - 30 January 2013 08:11 PM

Thanks for explaining your workflow.  That’s how I’ll work too.  Concerning camera tracking do you know if it’s possible to import Mocha cameras?


Sorry, I don’t know if it’s possible to import them. I would look at the software that you would use to create the camera and see if Carrara is listed as an export option.


There are people here that do use SynthEyes and the like and may be able to answer your question. It might work best to start a thread specifically for that, so as to get their attention. Another possible information source could be the Animation Forum.

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Posted: 30 January 2013 08:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I think Mocha is part of AE6,. so.. probably not,.. unless it exports out as a Syntheyes (syncar) format camera.

there are some much cheaper camera trackers like voodoo and Pixelfarm which can be used or converted into Syncar files.

As far as Animation functions and features in carrara, I’ve only scratched the surface.
Carrara has “Non Linear Animation” (NLA) which is a bit like Aniblocks in DS.
NLA clips can be placed into a single track or multiple layers, with different parts of the animation in those clips controlling different parts of a figure.

You can convert any Key-frame animation you make, into an NLA clip.
and convert the animation from any NLA clip back into key-frames in the timeline.

You should download the demo / 30 day trial version of Carrara 8 Pro from www,downloads.com
Try before you buy is always a god idea.

Here’s a screen capture of the carrara timeline, showing the key-frames (black triangles)  and the tweeners and NLA tracks.

 

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Posted: 30 January 2013 08:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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evilproducer - 30 January 2013 08:15 PM
Superdog - 30 January 2013 08:11 PM

Thanks for explaining your workflow.  That’s how I’ll work too.  Concerning camera tracking do you know if it’s possible to import Mocha cameras?


Sorry, I don’t know if it’s possible to import them. I would look at the software that you would use to create the camera and see if Carrara is listed as an export option.


There are people here that do use SynthEyes and the like and may be able to answer your question. It might work best to start a thread specifically for that, so as to get their attention. Another possible information source could be the Animation Forum.

I did a search for Carrara Pro and Mocha Pro but there weren’t any links.  SynthEyes looks great but it’s $599 (Pro version) and I already have Mocha Pro (upgraded during a sale) which works with AE and Hitfilm 2.

I wonder if it’s possible to import Carrara animated 3D models into Hitfilm2 or AE/Element 3D?

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Posted: 30 January 2013 08:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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You can import an “Animated OBJ sequence” into AE using Element 3D.

but bear in mind that each OBJ in the sequence is getting loaded, so it makes sense to work with short and simple clips, like a 30 frame walk or run.
Element 3D can loop that animation for as long as you need it,. and you can animate the position of the model using Element 3D’s controls.

search for “Carrara”  on www,downloads,com

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Posted: 30 January 2013 09:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Good to know that short animated OBJ sequences in 3D Element are possible but its probably easier with less cpu/gpu crunching to render a film clip of what I model in Carrara and import that into AE or Hitfilm 2.

I came across this video that uses motion tracking and green screen footage:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iO4hk_GfrEA

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Posted: 31 January 2013 03:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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The advantages that Element 3D gives you, are several… and I’m still in the beginnings of exploring it

the big advantage is speed. as the GPU is rendering the model in openGL it’s almost instant feedback when adjusting shaders.

It’s a replicator and array system. so,. if you import a spaceship 3D model,. you can instantly make a fleet of spaceships, with different scaling and position offsets, and animate the position using controls within after effects,. and do it in “near” real time.

or,. you could load in a couple of different spaceships, add them to element 3D, and create flying space traffic, where each different ship is a “particle” within a group and there’s a bunch of size, rotation, position and noise adjusters to create really complex scenes which would normally take much longer to render in a 3D program than in AE.

so, whether you load in some 3d buildings to create a city layout with different scaled buildings, or an animated figure to create a clone army,. is up to you, the advantage is that you see what you’re getting in near real time, and

for animated objects, there’s a bunch of animation adjustments which means that you can have each figure animated, starting at a different frame within the loop, and have different scaling and position offset to make it look more natural.

there’s also an Animation engine to transform the “state” of one particle group, into another particle group.

So you could have a 3D (multi-part) model, which bursts into it’s parts, then flies around and assembles into a different 3D model.

there are a bunch of example, tutorial / guide videos on Videocopilot.net which explains it’s features.

it’s not a replacement for compositing 3D footage and 2D footage, and it has it’s limitations,

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Posted: 31 January 2013 08:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Superdog - 30 January 2013 05:56 PM

Thanks you both for your quick replies.  I’m really tempted to upgrade to Carrara right now due to the discount.  Is it cheaper if you’re a Platinum member?

Yes, it drops from $199.50 to 119.70 with the Platinum Club. It is well worth spending $30 for the monthly membership to get the discount.


Edit: you also get a 30% discount on Mimic Pro and a $6 coupon that you can use on these.

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