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Posted: 31 January 2013 10:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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AniMating in Carrara

I began this thread back in the old forum, and am in the process of adding it to this manual.

After being asked for some tips regarding my usage of The AniBlock Importer for Carrara, I decided that the most appropriate way to help folks is to run a new thread on the subject and, as time permits, I can simply edit the original post to keep the information in one, handy article - while leaving the rest of the thread for asking/answering questions, additional tips, remarks or comments, and we’ll see from there where this whole thing takes us. The fact is; I love Carrara’s intuitive interface for everything - especially animating. In this, I have developed some insight into getting a lifetime of mileage from the AniBlocks from GoFigure, available here, at Daz3d, and I’m more than happy to share my experiences with anyone who might be interested in what I have to say about it - so here goes… Ready?

Never used the aniBlock Importer?  Watch Jonny Bravo’s quick and simple video tutorial and watch your questions disappear! wink
One caveat that I do differently: Instead of copy/pasting the NLA clips, I drag in a fresh clip from the clips tab each time. When clips are copied and pasted, they actually create new clips in the clip tab - which steals resources. We don’t want that, now do we. The importer was brand new when Jonny made this splendid tutorial, and wasn’t yet aware of that. Here is a short video that Jonny made using aniBlocks in Carrara.

AniBlock Importer Fun
GoFigure has a whole slew of AniBlocks available at Daz. But doesn’t it seem that, there never seems to be the exact pose or, better yet, animated sequence for sale that will give me what I’m looking for? Happens to me all the time. Falling in love with the sequencer in Carrara was just the help that I needed to get some really great animations going for my project - with the help of GoFigure’s AniBlocks and Posermocap’s animations as well.

One trick that I’ve found to work beautifully is to increase my collections of AniBlocks and animations so that I have more starting points from which to choose. For example, I’m not planning to have any sport-related activities in my movie. But I bought “At the Park” AniBlocks for all of those exciting foot and arm movements that I can tweak later.

“Wait… did you say tweak?” Yup. That’s what I do. Here’s how:

I’m going to use my favorite TV show as an example here. Star Wars - The Clone Wars (No… I really am 47… I just love that show, though!!!!) has some really great animation work going on. I’m noticing how those Jedi run all around without their arms pumping like a train. Whenever I use a Walk Designer file or an AniBlock, the arms are always counter moving with the legs, which is the proper way to create an ‘All-Purpose’ walk animation file.

Simple fix. Import the AniBlock. Before saving out the NLA clip, I’m sure to remove the key frames from anything that I don’t want the NLA clip to LOCK into animation. CAUTION - Never delete the first key frame of a figure with rigging (like Genesis or V4, M4, etc.,) If the first frame (0) is the only place in the timeline that contains a key, that particular bone will NOT get LOCKED by the NLA - and you’ll have to animated it separately.

So, I scroll down the sequencer looking for the arms. Sometimes I leave the Collar animated to get a little sway, but otherwise, I select all of the key frames for all parts of the arms - including the hands and fingers - except for those that are in the zero (0) time frame. (It takes a little practice selecting all but the first keys - but it has to be done!)

If there are any other changes you want to make to the animation, you want to either fix them right now, or delete those key frames as well so that you can easily fix it while your NLA clip is in place.

Once this is all done, select your figure and create an NLA clip. If you notice, you have the option of using “Scene Range” instead of “All Key Frames” for your NLA. Sometimes I don’t want to loose the figure’s pose while doing all of this, so I set the scene time to start at 1 second. Then I have to make certain that the end of the scene ends on the last key frame - or I get an improper clip. The advantage of doing it this way is that you don’t have to get so close to the first frame to delete your unwanted key frames! In this case, you DO want to remove the keys for unwanted bones at the beginning (yellow start point) time frame.

Now that your NLA clip is done, load it onto your character. Now you can mess with using any poses you like for all of you non-animated parts! Wink

Using the Browser
Part of the Power of Carrara’s extraordinary interface belongs to its super incredible file organization system - better know as the Browser. Before firing up Carrara, I go into My Documents > DAZ 3D > Carrara 8 > My Presets > My Clips and create a folder structure to help keep my clips organized. I like to be specific with folder names so that I can keep the actual clip names brief.

Example structure:
My Clips > Walk > Complete
My Clips > Walk > Hip_Legs_Only
My Clips > Walk > Hip_Legs_Only > No_Neck_Head
My Clips > Torso_Arms_Only
My Clips > Expressions
<Etc.,>

You can also do this while Carrara is running, and then choose “Update Folder” from the File/Folder menu (just above the browser - far right side - small icon)

I should also mention that I go beyond the above example structure, and put that same structure type inside folders for Main Characters and general folders for M4, V4, also now Genesis Male and Genesis Female - and I even have an entirely different set for, what I call NPC’s (D&D term for Non-Player Characters - bystanders, and the like) So that I can save clips that offer different nuances and style to keep my animations from becoming too static-looking.

Now I have some fun-time importing all sorts of various AniBlocks, deleting everything except for parts that I want to keep for partial body animation helpers and save them off to my browser for use in later animations. Adding everything from the torso up from “Angry Hands” to a walk clip from the hip down makes the character walk around all peeved at the world, etc.,

This is where collecting ALL AniBlock sets makes the job of animating easier and much more fun - with much more realistic results. And once these AniMations are saved to NLA clips, they can be stretched and shortened to further enhance the realism of a scene. Example: Saving out just the Left Side Collar, Shoulder, Forearm and Hand of any of the “At the Park” AniBlocks (or any other set, for that matter) can add amazing differences to any animation. Granted, to make a habit of something this subtle, you’ll want to create other clips to finish off the rest of the body.

This is where you begin making an outline (I make my outlines using folders with descriptive names rather than writing them out on paper, etc.,) so that you can save off enough NLA clips to create entire ‘Construction Kits’ of clips that you simply drag onto your characters in the sequencer - and, voila!!! Instant cool animation made from professional motion capture!

AniBlocks and Genesis
As of this writing, I’m using Carrara 8.5 Pro beta, Build 72

The bone structure of Genesis’ new Triax Rigging, in my opinion, is superb. I am completely sold on this technology and am pushing my throttle full steam ahead for collecting products to help in my new Genesis endeavors.

Importing V4 and M4 AniBlocks into Genesis requires a bit of tweaking due to the differences in rigging structures. From what I’ve seen so far, it’s the feet that require the attention. The animation I’m rendering now is “Short Combo”, a roughly sixteen and a half second AniMation from the “Martial Arts Combos” set of AniBlocks by GoFigure and it took some time to tweak the feet, but the tweaks were painless using the tweak tactic that I explain next. Another important thing to note about this new Triax, is that it adds a new bone, the Pelvis, which is an incredible addition that creates a much needed buffer between the legs and the hip, allowing for additional bending without rotating the entire figure… Genius! What’s more is that, since Gen 4 models didn’t have this bone, nothing gets put there from Gen 4 AniBlocks. Now this doesn’t hinder the AniMation in the slightest because its zero position is null, for all intents and purposes, but, what it does do is that, it gives us a bone that is free from locking right from the start! Just something I’ve noticed - I haven’t done anything with it yet - but I’m sure I’ll find it to be most useful. By selecting the Pelvis and rotating it, you’re actually rotating both legs from the upper thigh(where the thigh joins the pelvis to be exact) on down - something I’ve wished that I could do in the past… Many Times - So I’m one Happy little Guy!!! Smile

Dartanbeck’s AniBlock Tweak Tactic
Be it known throughout the lands that, this tactic is useful for any model receiving an AniBlock import - not just Genesis. I also use this same method for Predatron’s Low Rez characters as well, who’s feet zero out differently than that of Daz3d’s Gen 4 models - much more similar to that found in Genesis - so it will be interesting to see how well Genesis AniBlocks work with P3DA’s LR figures! (Wow! while acquiring the above url, I noticed that Predatron just released another new LR figure! Very Happy )

Again, if you’re actually trying this stuff, I really don’t feel as if any screenshot are necessary. Let me know if you have any questions that would be better answered with an image - but please be specific, so that I know what exactly to capture. My time is quite limited.

Obviously AniBlocks, even if they disagree with the figure you’re using them on, contain useful movements related to the AniMation in question, so we don’t want to go in and delete all of the keyframes of a bone that we want animated, but something just isn’t quite right - like the feet, for instance. Speaking of feet, I’ll be using them throughout this tactic as further examples, but the same tactic applies to any bone you’d like to tweak, without actually removing the AniMation altogether. So, let’s just say that the morphs you’ve added to M4 make his arms clip where they shouldn’t - and you’d like to ‘fix’ the AniMation, rather than start over - this tactic will work very well for you… I promise!


The Tactic:
To make the explanation easier, I’ll use the following scenario:
I’ve imported a walk loop to Genesis, and the feet are pointed wrong. Here’s how I’m going to fix this:

* STEP 1 - Since I know it’s both feet that need work, I’m going to select all of the keyframes (except for the first key at frame zero (0) ) for both feet - but don’t delete just yet.

* STEP 2 - I click the ‘Step Forward’ icon (single arrow pointing to the right in the playback console) watching the animation closely. Keep stepping forward and backward to get the feel for the most important parts of the animation for “key” foot angles - like when they should land squarely on the floor, or when they are at full height and should hang comfortably down due to gravity.

* STEP 3 - Once you get the feel for the animation in step two, stop the scrubber at one of those “Key” moments in time. While holding down the Shift key, deselect the keyframes for both feet where the scrubber line intersects. If you’re new to this, it takes a little practice getting the right one - clicking just to the right of the vertical line usually gets the key you want.
Now repeat this step at each ‘Key’ moment in time.

Special Note - As this is a “Looping” AniMation, we know that the motions at the last frame are specially designed to fit seamlessly with the first - so we need to deselect the last keyframe for both feet as well.

* STEP 4 - Delete the remaining keyframes. What we’ve just done is to remove most of the in-between keyframes that are less important to the AniMation giving us some room to work without having to try and adjust each and every keyframe. Whenever I’ve tried to correct each keyframe - even when using math to assist - there always seems to be a glitch in at least one spot - which I simply cannot have - It just throws off your eye as you try to watch.

* STEP 5 - (Brief explanation first) - When I import AniBlocks, I follow GoFigure’s advice by letting the AniBlock remove constraints where necessary. In Genesis, this throws off the rotation maiking it look like the character has a broken foot. Now is the time to fix that!

For Starters, Let’s go in and take some quick notes, shall we? Good.
Select a foot and set the time frame to the beginning.
Open the “Motion” tab on the right of the interface and locate the Rotation value for the “Y” axis (red) and write down the number. While you’re here, go ahead and select the values for “X” and the “Z” axis’ and set them each to 0.00 right away - Then do the same with the other foot.

Now we need to repeat the last step at the End frame of the AniMation. We are looking for the difference between the starting and ending “Y” axis angle before making any changes, so that our final AniMation loops together smoothly. I made the mistake of making the end frame identical to the first once… Once!!! Rolling Eyes

Once we have taken our notes, we simply go to each frame that we kept and adjust them to match the floor. I set each of the “X” and “Z” axis values to 0.00 as I work with the “Y” rotation with the Rotate tool by hand. Afterwards, if I feel that a bit of tweaking to either the “X” or “Z” axis’ would help make things look or work better, I do so, making sure that the first and last frames match up nicely.

Speaking of the first and last frames, let’s finish off this step by making sure that we include the differences that we noted down earlier. Simply use either the first frame, or the last to determine which to use as a reference, and then change the other accordingly.

* STEP 6 - Now we’re going to start at the End frame and, using the “Step Back” icon (single arrow pointing to the Left in the playback console), scrub backwards through the AniMation. We’re looking for problem areas in the foot angles. In this, we’re not tweaking both feet at the same time frame, but rather, each foot individually as needed.

Please remember to scrub all the way through problem areas BEFORE MAKING ANY CHANGES so that you can find the middle of the problem, and make your fix there. This will help to eliminate the need for making too many changes and let the tweeners do the bulk of the work for you. Sometimes during intricate animations, you may find that you need to make several keyframes in order to solve the issue. In these cases, treat the problem the same way; scrub through, frame-by-frame, the entire problem and begin the tweaks in the middle of the problem - unless you are certain that another method will work best for you.

That should fix the AniMation and you can now use it to make your new NLA Clip and move on to the next AniBlock.

Daz Studio 4 & AniMate 2
Let us not forget that these AniBlocks are, first and foremost, designed to be used with an incredibly powerful animation tool, AniMate 2 by GoFigure (pssssst - A FREE trial version is available HERE!!!), which works specifically within the interface of Daz Studio 4. Jonny Bravo and I have been thrilled with the possibilities since its inception, and have been pleased with it ever since. AniMate2 contains a wealth of amazing tools for joining, blending and even creating your own AniBlocks! I strongly recommend looking further into this technology if you’re at all interested in getting serious with animation. It’s great (and great Fun!) to develop and master the skills of hand-crafting your own animations. But in the end, these tools will save you enormous amounts of time - especially when used along with your own! Check it out!

Here is GoFigure’s YouTube channel for aniMate2:
GoFigure’s aniMate2 Video Tutorials Page

Side Note regarding building animations from scratch - I need to animate many things beyond bipedal human figures. So I need to get in and build by own animation sequences frequently, and I love doing it. Having tools like aniMate2 and the aniBlock Importer for Carrara actually helped me out in many ways, especially in timing out my animations and studying the natural flow of various human actions and reactions. By using aniBlocks, for example, I can study the timing used in the “Surprised” walk style to help see the timing between just walking and suddenly blocking.

When it comes to Daz Studio and aniMate2, I can take this far beyond that, by using the powerful tools (see the “New to AniMate” vids at GoFigure’s YouTube page and watch them all in sequence!) to turn my animation into an aniBlock, and then edit the file to my liking - before saving the final result to a new aniBlock that I can use in DS, or import into Carrara. Carrara is my actual filming studio, so that is the option I always use.

Here are some great tutorials available by GoFigure:

►  New to AniMate Playlist This will play several short tutorials in a row that cover everything you need to set up aniMate 2 in Daz Studio.
►  New Features in AniMate 2 Playlist This playlist likely shows feature that you didn’t know where there to use!
►  Tutorials Playlist Five tutorials that demonstrate its use.
►  Troubleshooting For those times when things just go wrong.

Not really a tutorial… but I like this one that demonstrates a short example of what the Martial Artist went through during his Martial Arts Motion Capture Session.

I truly hope this helps you all in all of your AniMating endeavors!
Dartanbeck


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Posted: 31 January 2013 10:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Some Miscellaneous Tips & Tricks

I’ll be adding more to the manual as I get the time, which will allow for better organization of this information. Until I do get the time, I’ll leave this page in here as many have found it to be useful in the past.

As far as Carrara animations go, I love it. For going back and fourth, I use the yellow start/end sliders. Just move those to two frames I’m working between, and then to the next two, and so on.

To me, I find the interface to be the Best on the Market.

* The tools are perfectly organized into groups that can be tossed around throughout the working window on a whim.

* Carrara’s separate “Rooms” adds to this extraordinary organization design, and the features contained within each of these rooms are top class, professional tools which is the main reason I selected this software over all others for the purposes of making my films.

* The sequencer is also top in its class and is nicely included in each of the rooms - as the power of animation in Carrara is extended throughout most of its tools. (I could go on forever about how Carrara is, quite simply, the best CGI software on the planet for the amateur - perhaps I’ll continue with that as time allows)

Other parts of the sequencer folks may find helpful:

Stretching Time -
By selecting multiple keyframes and holding down the Cntrl key, drag to the right to increase the amount of time those multiples take, left to shorten the timing.

Copy Multiple Keys -
Select the keys that you need to copy, hold down the Alt key and drag them where you want them along the timeline.

Fire and other primitives -
Some changes may be keyed where you have placed the primitive in order (the universe), but other things may be keyed down further under Master Objects. Using an Oscillating tweener on the completion of fire can make rapid successions of the fire going from 0 completion to 100. For Fire, you’ll likely want to try the ‘Sawtooth’ method of oscillation. Try this tactic on Lights as well - either lights that change colors or blink, etc.,

Animating Shaders -
Any value can be changed along the timeline - as well as changing the color selector. Therefore, you can animate the bump value, shininess, highlights, reflectivity, and so on - in addition to having the color you select on the color wheel do anything you like, when you like. Keep in mind that color changes may have to pass through other shades along the way. If it takes the wrong way around the wheel compared to what you were looking for, simply go in between those times and set it where you want it to be.

Swapping Textures -
I knew that something like this was possible, but I wasn’t quite sure of how to go about it. Well, I pulled it off very easily (gotta love Carrara!!!!) You can see the results in my Genesis in Carrara 8.5 Demonstration Clip video. Here’s how I did it:

Example: In this tutorial, let’s just say that we want to use morphs and textures to have Genesis change from a normal male human to a lowland gorilla, right before the eyes of the audience. That’s a cool example, don’t you think?

Now you’re going to want to see where you make your ‘transformation’ changes all the way through this process - so please refrain from actually animating poses until after this entire process is complete. Once you’re done with nothing more than the Texture and Morph transformations, it would be a good idea to save the scene before animating the character - just in case you figure out later that you need to make any changes to the timing of the transformation itself.

This tutorial is set up to cover “How to swap textures along the timeline” and NOT to teach how to set up textures. If anyone has any questions on that topic, give a holler as that’s another of my favorite things to do in Carrara - but it would simply drag this tutorial out far too long.

Let us start by opening up the Genesis Gorilla character (My Library > People > Genesis > Characters > Gorilla) in an otherwise blank scene. Now, in the same scene, load in the Basic Male (My Library > People > Genesis > Characters > Basic Male) You can use any Genesis male for this, but let’s just keep it simple here, shall we? Good.

To save a pile of time in setting up the texture change, go ahead and Edit > Remove Unused Masters > Consolidate Like Shaders from the file menu on top. At this point, I usually go in and see what shaders are assigned to what body parts, and rename them for ease of use down the road. In any case, you’ll now need to know which shader goes where on Genesis for both the Human figure and the Gorilla.

Select ‘Actor’ from the Human figure and go into the shader room. This gives us access to his entire range of shaders. Open the first shader that you want to animate textures in and, at the very top left of that shader window, you’ll see that the top radio button is set to “Multichannel”. Click that button and from the advanced set of options at the bottom of the list, select “Multi-channel Blender”. The multichannel shader that used to take up the whole shader window is now “Source 1” in the list, which is followed by “Source 2” and “Blender”.

Leaving this shader open in the texture room, we now need to open up the shader that the Gorilla uses for that same body part. In top blue area that surrounds the “Multichannel” slot of that shader window, right-click > copy.

Go back into the shader we were just working. On the left side of the shader window, under “Multichannel Blender”, expand the list (click the little black arrow that points to the right) and click on “Source 2”. In the blue area that takes up the “Multichannel” slot of the shader window, right-click > paste.

Finally, set the “Blender” of the “Multichannel Blender” (which currently says ‘none’) to “Value 1-100”.

While the value = 0, your figure will use the Human shader. Changing the value to 100 will give him the Gorilla shader.

Now you can safely delete the Gorilla model.

Personally, I would have the shader change at least slightly before the morphs change - but everybody’s vision may differ.

Working with the sequencer for such things is quite simple, once you get the hang of it. What I do is this:

Start by dragging the yellow triangles at the top of the sequencer (Start and Stop Scene Range markers) to the beginning and ending of the transformation process. At this time, we’ll probably leave the start frame at ‘0’ . Using the Fast Forward button (double arrow that points to the right in the playback console), go to the last frame, which is when the transformation reaches 100%. Set the Gorilla morph to 100%.

For this example, let’s assume that the transformation is really fast and the morph we just set is at 6 seconds. If we want the texture change to take place slightly before this, the 4 second spot sounds good… so let’s go there now. While parked at four seconds, go into the texture room and change all of the animating shaders from 0 to 100%.

In this state, both changes will begin to gradually change starting at frame 1. let’s make things a little more exciting than that.

On the left side of the sequencer, select the first keyframe for the Actor slot of the character. Hold down the ‘Alt’ key and drag that key to 3 seconds on the timeline, or somewhere thereabouts. By using the ‘Alt’/drag method, we made a copy of that key and placed it further down the timeline. You may now drag that key to wherever you feel it’s best placed.

Now scroll down to “Master Shaders” on the left side of the sequencer. You’ll be able to tell which one’s you’ve animated because there will be a second keyframe and a tweener. Select each of those starting keyframes and ‘Alt’/drag them slightly down the timeline to give the render a little time before the change starts to occur.

You may then select individual key frames and alter their timing somewhat to have them change with subtle differences.

This will make for a very fast “tester” animation. Rendering it out would show you that Six seconds is just far too fast. To fix this with very little hassle, drag your mouse selecting ALL of the keyframes in the scene.
With all of them (even the keys at frame ‘0’) selected, hold down the ‘Cntrl’ key and rag to the right, to a more suitable time frame.

By ‘Cntrl’/dragging, we’ve stretched the animation evenly along the timeline! Sweet, huh!!! Wink

I hope to see everyone have fun with this.
More info to come in the near future

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Posted: 01 February 2013 01:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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I am always working towards building a series of movies. Most of this work is not shown here or anywhere else - mainly because the bulk of it is preparation, learning, experimenting, and when I get things the way I want them, I consolidate and squeeze them to maximize efficiency and storage space, and save them to my browser.

I had a small hard drive filled with piles of test render animations when I finally bought Sony Home Movie Studio HD Platinum Suite and used them to create a test clip as I worked through tutorials on how to use my new movie studio software. I must say that for as little as that suite costs, I was very impressed with how robust it is. It is available as a free 30 day trial, but I suggest that you have the means to purchase it before trying it - because you’ll probably like it. Like Carrara, it has a really friendly interface with built in - view anytime (even in the midst of your own work) tutorials that pop up with arrows, telling what to do next. Pretty cool.

Anyways, I built a short show using nothing but those test clips: Just a Bit of Fun
It is a fairly decent example of how well Carrara can render at very low settings.
The resolution was always set at 1280 x 720
Most clips had the following settings:
Object Accuracy = 2
Shadow Accuracy = 4
All buttons above checked except for compatibility shadows - but sometimes I’ll turn off refraction
Filter sharpness at the default 75%
Anti-aliasing at Fast
No Global Illumination or Indirect lighting
No Caustics or Motion Blur

Many folks here say that lights should always be set to 100% Shadows, if they use shadows at all, and to leave scene ambiance at 0%
I never follow this advice. I have many light situations that use 35% shadow without soft shadows and plenty of situations where I’ll play around with Scene Ambiance color and values until I enjoy the result within the scene. I guess the moral of the story would be to listen to people, but try to avoid the word “Never”.

Anyways, before telling me how bad of a job I’ve done, Try to remember that 0% of that footage was made to be used - but rather to view the timing of a motion, try a certain effect, experiment with lighting, and so fourth. Feel free to let fly what you think… but just know that I have grown a lot since those old clips wink

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Posted: 01 February 2013 05:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Dynamic Hair
Added by Daz3d in their first official release of Carrara under their roof, Carrara 6
Here’s what the official documentation has to say:

Dynamic Hair and Fur (Standard, Pro)
One of the most exciting new features is the addition of dynamic hair and fur: hair that moves realistically
when you animate a figure, and that responds to forces and collisions with other objects in your scene.
For Carrara 3D Express users, dynamic hair and fur can be loaded into Carrara 3D Express and rendered,
but cannot be modified.

About Dynamic Hair

Dynamic hair is different than geometry-based hair in that it is strand-based. There are two types of hair
strands: guide hairs and generated hairs. Guide hairs help you style and shape the hair. Generated hairs
are the hairs that actually render in your scene. When you move a guide hair, the generated hairs move
in the same direction.
Another key difference between dynamic hair and geometry-based hair is that you won’t see a true
representation of dynamic hair until after it is rendered. During render time, Carrara examines all of the
properties that you assign to the hair: thickness, length, color, hair scale, and much more. All of the
properties are calculated out for the final render. As a result, you may need to perform an occasional
render while you are styling the hair to ensure that the final result appears the way you intend it to appear.

They weren’t joking around when they say “Exciting New Feature”. Because Carrara’s Dynamic hair is outstanding. Like any of the hair growing apps I’ve tried, it might require a bit of practice to get the hang of how to style, or otherwise ‘grow’ hair onto your subject - but it’s well worth the fun time you’ll have experimenting.
The above excerpt from the manual is only just that, an excerpt - it’s the introduction to the chapter - a chapter well worth reading through if you want to explore this great feature.
Hair isn’t just for people either. You can add fur to animals, grass to fields, fuzz to a peach - Garstor and Evil Producer just experimented in the “Post your Renders” thread with using hair as velvet on a crowd control rope. It’s truly amazing stuff - but it does take practice.
Holly Wetcircuit, one of our members, has a lot of experience using dynamic Hair in Carrara. She has tutorials and Freebies, including fur for the Millennium Cat! Check it out for yourself at her site

I find it amazing how hard of a time I actually had with the hair tools. It wasn’t until I watched Cripeman’s explanation of Guide Hair Styling that I’ve truly figured out how they work. So I strongly recommend at least watching that one at the very minimum, if you’re having difficulties:
Making a Skullcap in Poser

Guide Hair Styling

Shader Hair Styling

Just check out what Cripeman does for fun while he is giving a very cool demonstration on how you can make real stubble on the face of a model. It can be like this. You can easily find yourself just messing around as you work, simply because you can… and it’s fun!
Cripeman teaches how to create and edit hair stubble, with a good explanation of painting hair domains


I have been making my own now, in my spare time. Here’s Rosie sporting an Alpha version of Dynamic Rosie Hair
Here is a thread I started for asking questions regarding Dynamic Hair.

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Posted: 01 February 2013 05:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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My current endeavors have me using the Dynamic Hair supplies that Phil Wilkes so kindly includes in the working files of the Advanced Carrara Techniques learning package. I am using both Proxies.
The conforming V4 Proxy allows me to grow hair on it. You turn collision off on everything except for the Hair and the Proxy, so that the hair has far less polygons to interact with.
There is also a V4 Proxy Figure - that you use as V4 rather than conforming it.
Face Shield - This is used to kep the hair from always wanting to fly over the face.
V4 Proxy Hair - This is a great starting point for me, and I’m sure that many people will find it to be a great hairstyle without further customization.

The issues that I’m finding myself faced with in using Dynamic Hair are as follows:
Jitter Jitter
When putting the hair in motion, my dyno hair jitters heavily like those old cartoons that shake. The culprit appears to be any of the hair shaders that adds tight curls to the hair - Frizz and Kink - possibly Wave, I’m not using that at the moment. The thing is, I need them. She has to have wild, curly hair - and when I rely on the curl tool, they rinse out during simulation.

Effects Ignorance
Like other Volumetric primitives in Carrara, Dynamic Hair does not play nicely with Lighting Effects, which include Light Cones and Spheres, Glow Channel Auras, possibly Glow Channel itself, etc..,

Incompatible Morphs
The most minor of them all, the Proxies seem incapable of getting set to the scale of my morphified V4-based character, Rosie.

This Video Illustrates the first two Issues. The third issue disappeared as I attempted to animated both my Rosie figure and the stand-alone V4 Proxy figure one on top of the other. The process was entirely aggravation free!
The image below is a test render from the video, linked in the above statement:

The lower two images are of a conforming, curly hair layered in three, separate figures of the same type - each getting larger, longer and with the curls being translated around for variety. In this the curls got a bit too stretched, so I made two vertex objects; a clump of hairs forming a curl, and a single strand curl. I surface replicated thousands of them on the three conforming figures.

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Posted: 01 February 2013 05:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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In the conformed hair, I added quite a few action movements morphs before creating the extra two assets of he hair and scaled them. So all three layers have all of my custom morphs as well as those that were included in this great hair product. Thanks Goldtassel!


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Posted: 02 February 2013 12:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Faster, Stronger, Better
Carrara 8 is faster, more dynamic, and even more full of life than ever before. Guided cooperatively by both professional users and dedicated engineers, this latest version of Carrara demonstrates the power of group-sourcing and building upon a solid foundation to accomplish truly impressive results.

Technical Specifications and Features Comparison
See for yourself, a list of the named features of Carrara 8. Add your intuition and imagination and the sky is no longer a limit!

What’s New for Carrara 8

64-bit for Mac and Windows OS
Work faster and smarter as you take full advantage of your computers 64-bit hardware.
Developers at DAZ3D deserve a huge round of applause for this. Re-writing all of that code to work in a 64 bit environment was neither simple, fast or fun - but they did it… and they did it well. Now, with our shiny new 64 bit operating systems, we can enjoy going into Carrara in 64 bit, as we work and render utilizing that RAM we paid so dearly for!


Multi-threading for Mac and Windows OS
Spread the load on your CPU intensive calculations.
This will become more and more useful as time goes on, and we decide to upgrade our computers. With cpu technology churning along as it has recently, my latest build includes eight… count ‘em… Eight cores on a single, tiny cpu. Thank goodness for the above mentioned 64 bit technology, because I wanted to give my computer no less than 1 GB of RAM per core, which would be 8GB. 32 bit Windows would have only made use of less than 3GB of that. I put in 16GB RAM, since I wanted overhead and now I’m considering doubling that! Anyways, Carrara makes very good use of my new eight core power render machine - which is like a dinosaur in comparison to these beasts that Garstor built! This new technology of multi-core processors coming in at very affordable prices, along with Carrara having the capacity to use it, makes upgrading to faster rendering computers more and more affordable all the time!


Bullet Physics Library
Create and edit rigid and soft-bodies for realistic and exciting animations.
Introduction to the new Bullet Physics library integration for Carrara 8 Pro
Brief Introduction to Soft Body Physics
Another fun video of physics in motion inside Carrara 8 Special thanks to DimensionTheory for this video.


Improved FBX and COLLADA Data Exchange
Take rigged and animated models straight into your favorite game engines, like Unity, and see how rich your experience can be with your own, or any of DAZ 3D’s existing content options.
Just talk to Wendy. She uses this functionality all the time to get her Carrara files out of Carrara and into other things and back again all the time!


Plant & Vegetation Improvements
Add custom models and textures for unique leaves, flowers, fruit and more. You can also use a variety of different leaf objects per plant for natural variation.


Render Time Optimizations
Get more than 200%* improvement in performance when rendering complex scenes using your high-end MAC or Windows system.


Network Render Optimizations
Enjoy greater control over your render farm as you easily add and remove nodes via your master machine. Render frames or buckets as you choose for greater safeguarding against lost render data.

Negative Lights and Photometrics
Now you can work with negative lights and photometrics (IES) for even greater control over your lighting.


God Rays and Barn Doors
Harness the creative force of god rays and the control of barn doors as you design superior lighting for your scenes.
God Rays are a natural effect of light passing through substance and thereby creating a sort of cone or ray of light. Carrara now has this ability via the Realistic Sky editor. This is a huge enhancement for any environmental 3d simulation. There are tricks to know to make this happen, which I have a wealth of information on. I’ll be updating this post soon.

Normal Maps
View normal maps both in real-time display and at rendertime.
Normal Maps are a sophisticated image used to simulate ultra-high polygon counts onto a much lower resolution figure to create nearly the same appearance to the viewer. Rather like displacement and bump, this adds a whole new range of possibilities to our toolkit of image creation using Carrara. Thanks Daz3d!

Some of us have been experimenting quite a bit with Displacement, Bump, and Normal Maps and comparing the results both in appearance and performance at render time. Please let me know if you have any input in the area. I will certainly be reporting back with what I discover. If you have a product that includes a Normal Map within its texture package, load it into the bump channel of the appropriate shader and experiment with different values. I’m fairly certain that this would also work for displacement, but I’ve not tried it yet. It may very well be too much information for the displacement channel - which could lock up your computer. Perhaps you should let me experiment with that one first, before you try it.

Johnny Ray has an interesting article regarding Daz Studio Displacement in Carrara 8 which you may find useful if this sort of thing interests you.

Editing of Posed Meshes
Now you can do important clean-up and detail work on your conforming objects while the model is posed or conformed so you can see the results as you work.
Bruce Hoins Shows You How


Puppeteer for Carrara
You asked for it, and you got it. Introducing Puppeteer for Carrara. This tool contains everything as seen in DAZ Studio and has been fully integrated for use with any Carrara animation project.
Veiw a “How to Use Puppeteer” Demonstration

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Posted: 02 February 2013 12:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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See what You can do with the Power of Daz3d!
click to see the “Creative Guy” Daz video!

 

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Posted: 02 February 2013 12:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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The Daz3d Professional Artist and Developer Software Suite

It was a beautiful day, indeed, when I woke up and checked the internet (my homepages are this forum and the Official Daz3d site) only to find that Daz3d was… get this… Daz3d was giving away all of the Pro versions of all of their 3d softies except for Carrara - which I already own!!!
(I also already owned Hexagon and had a free version of Bryce 5, but not pro, and not 7 Pro! I had Daz Studio, every free version since version beta 0.7! That was a few years ago)
You see, this is a very exiting event for me. The tough part is trying to pry myself away from Carrara long enough to try out this wonderful pile of Softy!!!      Thank you Daz3d!

Alright, enough about the hype… but it is rather exciting. They really didn’t have to, but I’m glad they did - because I’ve always wanted them all. I’ve had Daz Studio since I first found it, like I said, it was nearing the first official release of version 1.0
I bought Hexagon the same day as Carrara. I haven’t messed around much, still to this day, with any of them since Carrara came along. I did have a single need… which this circle of Softies pulled off for me with true magical ease. I’ll explain.
You see, Carrara really is a complete 3d art suite all by itself. A flagship that cannot be sunk, for it is truly the only software of its kind, period! (or… rather, exclamation point!) So I really have a hard time when it comes to spending time in another softy. I’ve got so much to do in this thing - I truly LIVE in Carrara.

Anyways, to a point of some kind, right?
I needed Carrara most of all because of the combination of being able to work comfortably with Daz3d products, namely their unequaled excellence known as Millennium Figures and their accessories combined with a powerful 3d vertex modeler. This was mainly due to a passion I have to tweak everything - especially subtle body enhancements that occur between words and actions… little quirks of movement in a muscle in the neck, or a tendon, or a smirk - but I also enjoy making my own morphs in clothing and hair. Well, this was smooth as silk most of the time, until it came time to make a blouse open slightly outward, away from the body, when they bend over. Like an unbuttoned jacket. Sure… i could easily drag the vertices around and make the effect - no problem at all. The problem came in animating it. To animate such a thing, I needed to make it a morph rather than a permanent alteration. The only way I could access an “Add Morph” capability on anything except wonderful V4 and non-figure props, was to tweak one morph area at a time: The Neck, Chest, and Abdomen, in this example… and even sometime the hip an thighs. Something in the code structure… I don’t know, but Victoria 4 has no such constraints and you’re free to simply add “Full Body Morphs” all you want.

Thanks to the fine, friendly folks on this forum, I believe his name is Night Wolf… I’ll find out and edit this part, because I definitely want to get his name right. He led me with clues. When it came right to it, I had to figure it out - but it would never have happened without the knowledge in the first place that such things are possible. Here’s what I do:

Open the figure that you want to make morphs for in Daz Studio and don’t dial any morphs. If it’s a conforming figure, and you want the base model as a mold to work from, load that figure and fit the item.
Now with everything selected, send it into Hexagon using the bridge tool. How? It’s simple: File > Send to Hexagon wink
At this point, you can go ahead and create one of your morphs, if you like. I’m far more comfortable modelling in Carrara - but I know others feel differently. Besides, Hexagon allows you to have that mannequin in there with the item. That’s very cool. I really think Hexagon looks great inside, and the bridge to and from Daz Studio is magical. What I mean by that is this:
Whatever you do to the item in Hexagon (you must do some sort of change to the shape of the mesh - even a little or this part won’t work)
Send it back to Daz Studio. How? It’s simple: File > Send to Daz Studio wink
It is during this process where the magic occurs. The bridge, or DS, who cares as long as it happens, gives you a popup where you difine the name of the morph you’ve just made, and gives you an option to add it to an existing morph target or create a default one named something like “Hex”, or… and this is my favorite… you can create your own morph target name! Like Dartanbeck! lol
Now that the item has this new morph target, which has access to every polygon throughout the entire model, export it as a CR2 (nowadays the DUF format may be even better - I’ll have to check that out) and bring it back into Carrara and save it.
Now I can create a morph that moves every part of the model, or just a little. That’s how Rosie’s hair got the way it is, how her clothes got the way they are… it’s not something I need to do all the time, but for her… I need a specific look. She represents the best thing that’s ever happened to me. My true Hero, best friend, savior of my soul… she also happens to be the person who helped me save enough money to buy Carrara, become a Platinum Club Member every year… My Wife, Rosietreats! I Love her - so she has to be just right on the screen. The torn clothes… well… that’s my idea because, well… it’s hot - to me anyways.

So there’s my first encounter using the Daz 3d Professional Software Suite

Let’s have a quick look at this suite in alphabetical order, since they’re all very important tools to the 3d artist:

 

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Posted: 02 February 2013 12:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Bryce 7 Pro
I cannot talk a whole lot about Bryce because I haven’t really used it. Although this whole project is about Carrara, I think it’s important to recognize other softies that can help us achieve our goals as 3d artists.

What I can say is that I know it is very powerful, it turns our enormously beautiful renders, it has a plentiful selection of supporting products from models and scenes to very well promoted learning material. Daz’s decision to offer this exiting software has nothing to do with the end of its development - so don’t even let your thoughts begin to dwell in that direction! The whole “Free Software Suite” was a way to reach out to a whole new population of people who just might be interested in getting into this wonderful hobby world. Yeah, I’ve heard it all. Theories about the thought that the more people who use the software, the more customers we get in the store may be part of it, true. But Daz3d knows that the more people we get into this, the more really good artists emerge and begin to show their talent! Daz3d sell the best content on the planet. This doesn’t just come from the office. I really big portion of content is developed by us. Artists delving deep into a passion. A passion to create art. A drive to push this hobby to places other my only be able to dream about. When people like that go to Daz3d and submit a piece of digital perfection, Daz3d does the right thing. They take you under their wing. Have you read over and sign the (incredibly cool and fair) legal agreements regarding the release of your art as content in their store, and they take care of literally everything that doesn’t have to do with creating the piece you submit. Being the best means that they only want the best, however. They want the best you got!
Want to learn more about becoming a Daz3d Published Artist? Just follow this link!!!
What does this have to do with Bryce 7 Pro, you ask?
I can answer that one… Everything! Because that’s what people do with Bryce 7 Pro. They produce some of the finest 3d art in the world.

Now that my rant is done, lol, I have a new Bryce Tutorials page, courtesy of David Brinnen, himself! Featuring many many videos from his YouTube channel, including a few from his partner, Horo, as well! Please don’t be offended to open a Carrara Manual and find a whole list of great Bryce Tutorials. This is a great resource for anyone interested in expanding using the Daz3d Professional Software Bundle:
Bryce Tutorials By Brinnen & Horo

Brief Update:
With the advent of the Celebration of the New Daz3d Install Manager, I downloaded and installed Bryce 7 Pro and all of the content that comes with it. With the generosity of David Brinnen handing us that whole pile of free tutorial videos, why not, right? I do love to tinker with new tools - so I’ll just have to make it a point to play with it a little each week. We’ll see how I do, and if I get anywhere, I’ll report back here cool hmm

Wow… I was just over at the Bryce forum. OMG! They have tons of help for their users over there!
Just as an example, here’s their Sticky Tutorials Thread!!!
Wanna learn Bryce anyone?
More on Bryce to come. But for now, we’ll move onto:

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Posted: 02 February 2013 12:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Daz Studio 4.5 Pro
Unleash the Artist Within
Everything you need to start creating your own stunning artwork
is waiting for you right here

Okay, I don’t really have the time to write, right now… but I’d just like to say that Daz Studio 4.5 Pro is amazing! It comes complete with the Content Creator’s Kit which is enormous. These tools go deep into 3d. Add Hexagon as a modeler and you really have a content creation factory here. This new Triax Rigging, which is what Genesis and the new Daz Horse 2 are, is superb! I’m really Really happy that we’re getting that for Carrara. But even being the Carrara nut that I am, I can promise you that this set of tools is getting firmly injected into my workflow. Not sure what all it came with - I know that I paid for aniMate 2 and Decimator… so I don’t have any plugins in the list that don’t work. Some time I’ll have to let that opening tutorial thing play and see what it does. The way DS utilizes LOD in the view port is genius. Now that I have Bryce 7 Pro up and running, I’ll finally get my chance to see what that bridge does. I can’t speak highly enough for the bridge between DS and Hexagon. Brilliance!

I’ll write more when I get the chance… until then,
this is Dartanbeck, signing out cool hmm

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Posted: 02 February 2013 12:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Quick Links Menu
Just a little tool I decided to add to help navigate this, and other threads

►    Carrara Walkthrough Main Index

►    Forum Help Links

►    Useful Links

►    Tutorials Index

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Walkthrough is currently under heavy construction, please bear with me

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Posted: 02 February 2013 12:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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HEXAGON 2.5
Sculpt your own 3D models, or modify existing 3D models with intuitive brush-based modeling tools

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Posted: 02 February 2013 12:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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What is Hexagon?

Hexagon 2.5 is a modeling application that allows artists to create their own 3D objects from scratch using a freehand brush-style set of tools. These freehand brush modeling tools let artists sculpt 3D models by pulling, pushing, pinching, inflating and smoothing the geometry. The speed at which you can create a complete model is astounding. With support for graphics tablets, users can design their own creations with precision and flexibility. Through the new 3D paint and UV-mapping tools, users can quickly apply textures using brushes, imported textures or choose from a large choice of predefined textures.
With Hexagon you can…

  *Design architectural objects
  *Build organic objects
  *Build and reuse your own 3D elements
  *Combine your 3D elements into new creations
  *Alter existing 3D models
  *Create 3D text and logos

Powerful 3D Modeling

Hexagon 2.5 is powerful 3D modeling application that includes a large variety of features including freehand modeling brushes, micro-displacement, 3D Paint, support for sculpted primitives, and comprehensive UV mapping and editing. The result is a robust tool that delivers everything a graphic artist needs to create complete, detailed, textured 3D models ready to be rendered.

Model

From subdivision modeling to advanced surface construction tools and volumic operations, Hexagon provides multiple polyhedral 3D modeling techniques, allowing hassle-free modeling of all shapes from simple to intricate.

Sculpt

The new geometry and high-resolution relief (microdisplacement) brushes bring unique and highly creative tools to refine and add extremely fine details to the 3D models.

UV-Mapping

Applying a UV-map over objects is easily facilitated thanks to a UV-unfold tool and a comprehensive UV-mapping module.

Texturing

Choose among the impressive set of predefined textures, provided by Spiral Graphics Genetica™ 2.5, or import any textures, and use multi-channel 3D brushes to paint your model.

Preview

An Advanced Preview engine, including Ambient Occlusion, real-time shadows and advanced lightmaps support, delivers immediate renders of fully detailed and textured models.

Ready-to-Render

Export your fully prepared model to Carrara™, Hexagon’s 3D rendering companion or to other rendering products supporting standard 3D files, to finalize shaders, set-up lighting and environments, and develop fabulous images of the most inspired models.


DAZ Studio Bridge

DAZ Studio Bridge allows you to take models straight from DAZ Studio and back. Change and morph your model in Hexagon and export back to DAZ Studio in one, easy click. Once back in DAZ Studio, you’ll be able to choose if you want the changes to be morphs, alternate geometry, or new geometry. Your runtime just got easier and your creativity limitless.

Brush Modeling

Hexagon 2 introduces an evolutionary way to sculpt and to texture your models: Working like your favorite image editing tools, Hexagon 2 software’s brushes emancipate you from the topology of your meshes, and let you smoothly edit, refine and paint your models. Fully supporting all popular graphics tablets, such as the Wacom line, the new brush system offers numerous presets, and supports your own customized brushes and various parameters such as hardness, size, strength, opacity, blending, and more.

Freehand Modeling Tools

Freehand modeling tools Smooth, pinch, inflate, push and pull polygons smoothly. Sculpt your shapes using displacement brushes, and refine the geometry of your models in a fully intuitive way. Displacement Modeling

Displacement Modeling

Use brushes to add high-resolution details, and generate displacement maps or bump maps which then can be exported to Carrara and other external rendering packages.

Bump Map Painting

To keep from generating heavy models while modeling very fine details, such as skin grain or micro-relief, Hexagon 2 let’s you paint displacement as bumps. A bump map simulates geometric displacement, which then can be exported to your rendering software to generate highly realistic images of detailed surfaces.

Instant Ambient Occlusion

An advanced OpenGL engine provides an ultra-fast ambient occlusion, allowing you to get a very rich preview of your models, simulating global illumination, and better appreciation of details in your 3D objects and models.

Second Life Sculpted Primitives

Model special primitive objects in Hexagon that can be exported in TGA format, then imported and used in Second Life.

Real-time Shadows

An all-new option of the 3D display engine now delivers real-time shadows of the objects between them. This delivers a more realistic preview of your models and scenes before entering the final render stage.

Major Polygon Count Improvement

Hexagon 2 now handles large models more than 5-times faster than Hexagon 1! In fact, this become more evident and dramatic as the number of polygons in a model increases.

Support Pen Tablets

To enable even more precise and flexible modeling and texturing, Wintab-compatible tablets (such as the Wacom line) are now fully supported for 3D paint and displacement brushes.

Contextual Menus

To improve workflow, a contextual menu can be opened with a right click, providing instant access to all options and utilities according to the selected item(s) (Manipulator, Selection, Object, and more).

3D Paint - Paint and Reveal Textures

Use one of the numerous predefined textures, provided by Spiral Graphics Genetica 2.5, or any imported texture, and directly paint material onto your 3D model, using the new brush tools.

Autosnap on Surfaces

All construction and modeling tools now support advanced snapping on surfaces, allowing you to stitch on the surface of an object to draw a curve, and more.

Multi-resolution Smoothing

Models can now be edited at every smoothing range (level of detail), and so once you have created very fine details with high-resolution smoothing, you can still modify lower levels of geometry, such as more global modifications of your model. These global modifications will also be propagated across the upper levels.

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Posted: 02 February 2013 12:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Working with Daz3d Content
Many of us are initially drawn to Carrara for its built-in ability to load and work with content that is originally designed for Poser and now, with Daz Studio. This type of content works beautifully in those applications, but has proven to be a nightmare when trying to get the most out of it with modelers and other 3d software. This is where Carrara stands in a class all its own. Carrara’s browser window has a Content tab where you have the ability to add your Runtime folders and load the content into Carrara just as you would with Poser or Daz Studio. Not everything from these applications work in Carrara, however, and that’s where this article comes into play. Let’s have a closer look at what you’ll be using, and not using within the workspace of Carrara from the content that you buy. While I’m at it, I’ll teach you some tips and tricks that I’ve discovered along the way - which will help to make your earlier experiences smoother, faster and much more fun.

In this article I’m not going to discuss Runtime folders or installing content. I have many tips and ideas towards that subject which will be discussed in another article on its own. This article is intended to help you gain a higher understanding of what parts of a product will be used in Carrara and what won’t. But that alone would make for a very short article. So I’ll also go over some of the more common tweaks that you’ll find essential when using some content in Carrara.

Things that are Not compatible in Carrara
When browsing a Poser Runtime, you’ll notice that options for lights and cameras simply don’t show up. This is because they are NOT compatible with Carrara. Carrara has the ability to load a PZ3, which is a Poser Scene. In most cases these contain both lights and cameras. At this point, you now have Poser lights and cameras in your Carrara workspace. Although you might get a view through a camera, and the lights illuminate the scene, get rid of them. All of them. This also goes for Daz Studio Lights and Cameras as well - but I don’t recall there being a way for them to get into Carrara in the first place, so…
Something else in Daz Studio that are not compatible are materials.
Since these things are not compatible, please make sure that you don’t buy products of this nature with the intentions of using them in Carrara, unless they come with a package that contains the stuff that you do want that is compatible.

Don’t be put off by the fact that Carrara won’t use that cool set of lights or camera that came with xxx product. Carrara has tools powerful enough to make you smile soon enough!

Although Poser MAT files will work for loading textures and material options onto your products, keep in mind that these settings were optimized for Poser and not for Carrara. You’ll amaze at the options you have for shaders within Carrara, once you get to know them.

Shaders in Carrara
When you load figures into Carrara from your runtimes, some of them will have an unwanted blue hue to them. Some will have too much bump applied to them and they won’t have displacement or specular maps applied. This is because Carrara has its own powerful shader options and you need to go in an use some of them. Fenric has many useful plugins available for Carrara. The one called Poser Shader Doctor will correct all of the common shader anomalies with one click, which has been known to be a dream for many Carrara users. But it is very important that you learn how to work with shaders, especially on your characters, so you can truly dictate how your renders turn out. It is the relationship between the lights, the shaders, and the camera that determine how each surface in your scene comes out looking in the end. By the way, Fenric also has his Store, here at Daz3d, too!

Let’s take a look at Victoria 4. Load her into Carrara and you’ll see the classic blue tint. If you’ve installed the shaders for V4 that came with your copy of Carrara, you can fix this blue look by using those. To do so, open V4’s hierarchy in the instances tab (right panel of Carrara) and select “model” just below her name. Now go to the upper right of the window and select the paintbrush icon and enter the texture room. This is one of my favorite things about Carrara. This room, but also the fact that Carrara has such excellent rooms in which to work. But now that we’re here, go to your browser. If you installed to the default location, you’ll find her dhaders under the ‘Shaders’ tab and scroll down to Skin. Once you find the V4 shader, simply drag the file you want from the browser to the big, multi-colored ball above the shaders list on the right side of the screen - way up on top. Take a look at some of these shaders, if you have the time and inclination. I really enjoy working with Carrara shaders for many reasons. Over the years, I’ve not yet tried all of the options available in here, and I spend quite a bit of time in this room just experimenting for fun!

One of the great resources that helped me get my V4 based hero looking the best she’s ever looked, is Indigone’s V4 Skin Shader Kit and Lights. Beyond that, however, her accompanying tutorial has really taught me a ton about shaders. This kit contains shaders for all of V4’s various parts in separate shader files. The tutorial explains which goes where, but their descriptive names say it all. This set may be for V4, but it works for Genesis, M4, V3… any 3d figure, really. It makes use of Sub-Surface Scattering, Highlights and shininess, and just really walks you through the whole process. The lights set that comes with it was developed by her over a long period of optimizing shadows - and really makes your figure look good! If this sort of thing interests you, she also has an eyes shader package available: Endless Eye Kit for V4  Note: You’ll need to have or create a free account at ShareCG in order to download either file. ShareCG has been trusted and used by many of us here for years. If you have an interest in obtaining quality free stuff for Carrara, I recommend signing up.

When it comes to the above mentioned blue hue issue, many folks simply change the blue color box in the Highlight channel to black. A quick way of doing this is by simply clicking once on the tiny arrow off the lower right corner of the box. I’ve always preferred a more ‘hands-on’ approach, utilizing much of what I’ve learned from Indigone’s tutorials.

Poser style Skydomes
Some products include what are called skydomes, which are designed to provide 360 degrees of surrounding sky and environments. Many Carrara users simply ignore, and therefore, don’t use them. Wendy will sometimes use their texture maps as a background image. Carrara can actually use certain spherically projected maps as a 360 degree surrounding background. I’ll be getting into this subject in much greater detail when I write my articles regarding Environments, but basically you select “Scene” in your instances tab and go to “Backgrounds” and load the appropriate texture map. Here I’ll tell you how to simply use the skydome as it was meant to be used.
The first problem with these in Carrara is the fact that it will stop the light from Distant Lights and Sun Lights along with any lights that may be outside of the dome. But since distant lights create light all along the direction it is pointed, without regard to placement, they are very useful and popular. So the first thing to do to your skydome is to turn of its ability to receive or cast shadows. With the object selected (no matter its placing in the hierarchy), go to the top of the instances tab and remove the checks from Casts Shadows and Receives Shadows. Without the ability to cast shadows, it no longer prevents those lights from working. But I still prefer to select those lights and add the skydome to the “All objects Except” list, so that the lights completely ignore the dome object. The dome will no longer mess with our lights’ abilities in our scene, but now we should be noticing our second problem.
The second problem is that we don’t have any illumination on the dome, itself. This already sounds like a headache, doesn’t it? I mean, are we going to put a bunch of lights in the scene to illuminate that dome? Lights add a lot to our rendering resources. These domes are made so that we can have a background - and forget about it - not to be our render-intensive focal point! No… we’re not going to use lights. We’re going to select the dome and enter the texture room! Yeah!
In the texture room, go ahead and change whatever the highlight and shininess channels have to “none”. Now let’s look at the thumbnail of the texture image and make a mental note regarding how bright you want this background to be. We’re going to change the Glow channel to “Value 1-100%”. After that we’ll change it to “Operators > Multiply”. Now you have a Glow Channel function called “Multiply” and under it are two more channels; Source 1 and Source 2. Source 1 already contains the “Value 1-100%” slider we added before, and Source 2 says:“None”. What we’ll do next is to hold down the Control key and drag the texture map from the Color channel to Source 2 of the Glow channel. After all of that you now have the ability to set the brightness of your skydome texture with the slider in Source 1 of the Glow channel.


Conforming Clothes and Hair
One of the huge advantages of the Poser style content is the fact that you can dress them and change their hair styles simply by acquiring more content. And so the madness begins! I am very much a collector of content. I’ve had the costumes for my main characters picked out and ready to go for quite some time now. But what about everybody else? My animation endeavors take me across the genres from fantasy to scifi and then back to reality in today’s world, the past as well as off into the future. If there’s an in-between in all of that, I’ll go there, too! With Daz3d’s Platinum Club savings, I actually do save a lot by shopping for more. That’s not just something I tell myself every time I hit the “Check Out” button! Anyways, Carrara really is a sweet machine in this area.
To apply a conforming anything, you have several options:
Drag the conforming file from your browser onto the target figure in the instances tab (right side panel in Carrara)
or
Select the target figure in the instances tab and then double-click the conforming file
or
Drag the conforming file from your browser anywhere into the scene and in the properties tray click on “Conform To” and select the target figure from the list.

One of the features that drew me towards Carrara in the first place is its vertex modeling capabilities. I was looking all over for any sort of 3d modeling platform that could use Poser content as intended, but would give me the ability to actually change the mesh (3d models are often referred to as a mesh) myself. When I couldn’t find anything, I started looking for plugins for the modelers that I could find. Once I finally saw Carrara my jaw dropped! It included the ability to model and work with Poser content… But a whole lot more!
I’ve always had some sort of need to change the way this draped, or that opened… I needed to be able to tweak the products to my liking.
In Carrara, you can do that, and more…

Adding Morphs
In Carrara you can add additional morphs to figures, props, etc., and it’s very easy to do. Now you can even do this in the Assembly Room, but I’m still a fan of the Model Room for such tasks, so I don’t have enough “Modeling in the Assembly Room” experience to instruct you on that right now. Perhaps another time.
The image below is my main character, made using Victoria 4. The hair is Goldtassel’s Angelina Hair with a few modifications. First of all, no feathers or headband. Well the hair only goes up to the headband - so I had to edit the mesh in ways that would bring those strands up to her scalp. Second, I animate more than anything I do. The product comes with a great selection of morphs - I love this hair product - but I wanted to add some custom movements of my own. Like when she’s laying back on a hospital bed or jumping from great heights. Once I built a good assortment of additional movement morphs, I created three separate instances of the hair. She needs to have really long and full hair if she is to resemble my wife. Each new instance of the model gets fuller and longer and I changed the placement of many of the details while reversing some of the curls - so it didn’t look like just three stacked hair products. I like the way it turned out.
The robe is Anna Benjamin’s Kunoichi for A4/V4 and this one hardly resembles it’s original product. Beyond creating many movement morphs, shaders with fairly detailed alpha map to remove parts of the clothing, I also went into the model room, selected a bunch of vertices and did a View > Hide Selection, which worked globally, not just in the model room. Some models don’t allow this, and I’ve not yet figured out why. But I’m glad it worked for this.

I’ll be expanding upon this section soon. Please feel free to ask questions or make requests for material you’d like me to cover.


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