Still, as you see the key problem is the same. And when you accept paid content and plug ins, being “nonfree” is a strange reason to block Carrara. Stating it is “one of the 3 paid piece you can use” would look far more fair. And if you are a member of the team, you could see why it is a problem and it can influence the contest in the future.
Of course there is one more thing to add. As I love Roleplaying games (pen and paper variety), I also own a few “map making apps” to use with them. Back when I still used DAZ studio, I explained how can I use maps created with Fractal Terrains (and bump maps / displacement maps created in same program) with DAZ Studio. Of course I am sure we can import such maps to Bryce and / or Carrara as well. But when I had to explain that, I decided to make a small image. It is super simple. But as you see it is assembled from 4 primitives, comes with displacement map, etc.
If I throw a few primitives in the scene to make some custom stuff and do it in DAZ Studio, it will be on render, I can explain how I done it, etc. but can’t really export it. Even if I stick by your rules and use a lot of freebies and only a few paid stuff, custom stuff can make things interesting.
But the moment I do that, most of the custom work is lost to others, as I doubt if it can be efficiently turned into a freebie and shared. I lose on chances to reuse the content. And I couldn’t refine my Carrara skills and wouldn’t get relevant feedback, which is a thing I need most.
Of course I can use interesting stuff in DAZ Studio with some camera plug ins to create displacement maps (good paid content).
On the other hand, if someone would just post some renders with enough free content, and not much paid content, links to free content, etc, most wouldn’t yell “but it was done in Carrara”. Would you look for signs of that normally? Probably no.
Asking about it, and seeing it similar to paid apps, paid plug ins, paid renderers, etc. is fair. But the key side effect is: Any custom stuff can be exported and can help fellow DAZ users as a freebie.
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