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Carrara Manual
Posted: 18 August 2013 03:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 91 ]
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Your wish is my command:
Right towards the top of this first post wink
Edit:
He was asking for a link to the latest beta manual for Carrara 8

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Posted: 04 September 2013 10:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 92 ]
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Steve K - 18 July 2013 07:56 PM

But just out of curiosity, will the Carrara 8.5 Production release include an updated manual?

If it hasn’t been officially confirmed, the Gold RTM of Carrara 8.5 does NOT have an updated manual. It doesn’t even include the BETA updated Carrara 8 manual. It ships with the Carrara 7 manual. I’m not sure what version control system Daz3D uses for source code changes, but trying it to a database change-log system could streamline the up-keep of the app’s documentation/manual and make it possible for an updated manual with each release.

Normally, as a web applications developer, I’ve seen the smallest development teams still maintain up-to-date user documentation. Since it’s best practice. However, the best way is to engineer the application is great UX design, eliminating a majority of the demand for a manual.

For the mean time, as it seems the issue of an updated manual is a bottleneck. Maybe Daz3D could simply disable the help link in the help menu to reduce the amount of issues being reported. It’s not better to simply link to content, to link to content, if that content isn’t up-to-date.

I am not meaning to sound critical to Daz3D, just trying to analyze the situation and offer suggestions for improvement.

Is there a way to submit a Request for Enhancement (RFE). As this seems to be a possible RFE, and not a bug fix. Even though a lot of support systems will handled both, one in the same.

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Posted: 04 September 2013 11:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 93 ]
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You know, the more I think about it, why is updating the manual such a hard thing to do?

You take the existing Carrara 7 manual.  It’s got everything divided into sections and none of the info it contains is wrong (as far as I know).  Newer versions have simply added to the features, not taken any of the old ones away, right?

Now you take the added feature list for Carrara 8 and Carrara 8.5.  We know those are written down; we saw them on the promo pages for 8 when we bought it, and also for 8.5 when we bought it.

Now all you have to do is a quick write up of each new feature with maybe a small illustration/render (or not, in many cases it’s not needed, and most of the existing features in the Carrara 7 manual don’t have much more than a paragraph or two to give an explanation for what this button means, and what that slider controls, etc).

Now you just splice the new information into the existing Carrara 7 manual in the relevant section.  For example, a quick glance through the existing manual would show that an added paragraph or two description of Normal Maps could easily be added into the Bump Channel description section in the ‘Shader Channels Reference’ section (currently page 571).  Negative lights?  Well obviously that deserves a paragraph under ‘Carrara’s Light Types’ in the ‘Setting Lights’ section (currently page 480).

Seems like the idea is being floated that creating a manual for 8.5 would be a herculean task that would require re-inventing the wheel, but that just makes no sense to me when it would be so much simpler and easier to simply update the existing manual with descriptions of the newer features and how they work, a few screenshots of the tools (and in some cases and example render of the effect) and simply add it in to the existing Carrara 7 manual, and voila:  a Carrara 8.5 pro manual. 

The more I think about it, the more I don’t understand what the fuss is about.  You don’t need to hire some giant consulting firm to examine your software from scratch and then write an entirely new treatise.  You just need to take one of the secretaries off the phones for a couple of days (or less) and give ‘em a list of the features, telling them “I need a paragraph description or more of each one, and tell the developers “answer any questions the secretary has and make sure the description is right, and give ‘em a render if they need it”

Seems like this could be knocked out in just a couple of days, to me.  Possibly I’m missing something?

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Posted: 05 September 2013 11:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 94 ]
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Jonstark - 04 September 2013 11:57 PM

You know, the more I think about it, why is updating the manual such a hard thing to do?

You take the existing Carrara 7 manual.  It’s got everything divided into sections and none of the info it contains is wrong (as far as I know).  Newer versions have simply added to the features, not taken any of the old ones away, right?

Now you take the added feature list for Carrara 8 and Carrara 8.5.  We know those are written down; we saw them on the promo pages for 8 when we bought it, and also for 8.5 when we bought it.

Now all you have to do is a quick write up of each new feature with maybe a small illustration/render (or not, in many cases it’s not needed, and most of the existing features in the Carrara 7 manual don’t have much more than a paragraph or two to give an explanation for what this button means, and what that slider controls, etc).

Now you just splice the new information into the existing Carrara 7 manual in the relevant section.  For example, a quick glance through the existing manual would show that an added paragraph or two description of Normal Maps could easily be added into the Bump Channel description section in the ‘Shader Channels Reference’ section (currently page 571).  Negative lights?  Well obviously that deserves a paragraph under ‘Carrara’s Light Types’ in the ‘Setting Lights’ section (currently page 480).

Seems like the idea is being floated that creating a manual for 8.5 would be a herculean task that would require re-inventing the wheel, but that just makes no sense to me when it would be so much simpler and easier to simply update the existing manual with descriptions of the newer features and how they work, a few screenshots of the tools (and in some cases and example render of the effect) and simply add it in to the existing Carrara 7 manual, and voila:  a Carrara 8.5 pro manual. 

The more I think about it, the more I don’t understand what the fuss is about.  You don’t need to hire some giant consulting firm to examine your software from scratch and then write an entirely new treatise.  You just need to take one of the secretaries off the phones for a couple of days (or less) and give ‘em a list of the features, telling them “I need a paragraph description or more of each one, and tell the developers “answer any questions the secretary has and make sure the description is right, and give ‘em a render if they need it”

Seems like this could be knocked out in just a couple of days, to me.  Possibly I’m missing something?

I’ve thought the same thing, Jonstark. Heck, I’d do it for DAZ if they’d provide me the original source files (e.g., Word). Heck, better yet, we could do a round-robin and pass it along to all those who wanted to offer their inputs, with MS Word “track changes” left on. Then, we could give the result back to DAZ for them to do a final review and revision.

I *KNOW* there are enough Carrara users who would *LOVE* to have a single source document for reference that we could get this done.

And if DAZ won’t go for that, maybe they can just remove the copyright on the documents and let the user community maintain the document.

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Posted: 05 September 2013 12:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 95 ]
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FractalDimensia - 05 September 2013 11:27 AM

I’ve thought the same thing, Jonstark. Heck, I’d do it for DAZ if they’d provide me the original source files (e.g., Word). Heck, better yet, we could do a round-robin and pass it along to all those who wanted to offer their inputs, with MS Word “track changes” left on. Then, we could give the result back to DAZ for them to do a final review and revision.

I *KNOW* there are enough Carrara users who would *LOVE* to have a single source document for reference that we could get this done.

And if DAZ won’t go for that, maybe they can just remove the copyright on the documents and let the user community maintain the document.

Heck yeah, we could probably knock it out in just a couple of days if they’d just unlock the document and let us add to it.  And give us a receptive Dev who was willing to answer questions about the buttons/sliders/functions that none of us forumites had yet figured out.  Although I think between all of us, most stuff we wouldn’t much need to ask.  Seriously, a small paragraph about what a negative light is, where to find the function, and a screenshot demonstrating, nearly anybody could do that.  Add it in the right section, move on to next feature.  Some of the animation new I don’t have a clue how to use, but I guarantee we’ve got animators here on the forum (Sci Fi Funk is a master, IMO, Dart does tons of animation too) that could explain most of the new functions in a paragraph or two, I bet.

I’m not saying this is the approach daz needs to take, or even that many of us forum members would be willing to do it for them; I just don’t see why daz thinks this has to be such an enormous insurmountable task, when it seems to me it’s probably not much work to add a paragraph description and screenshot/render of each new feature to the existing C7 manual.

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Posted: 05 September 2013 12:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 96 ]
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Um, Dart has a difficult time saying: “hello” within two or three paragraphs wink

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Posted: 05 September 2013 12:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 97 ]
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Dartanbeck - 05 September 2013 12:31 PM

Um, Dart has a difficult time saying: “hello” within two or three paragraphs wink

Lol!  But at least you have no problem being descriptive, right?

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Posted: 09 September 2013 07:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 98 ]
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Jonstark - 05 September 2013 12:11 PM

... I just don’t see why daz thinks this has to be such an enormous insurmountable task ...

Seems like a reasonable question.  I think I asked that back there somewhere ... for all the good it did me.

tongue laugh

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Posted: 09 September 2013 08:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 99 ]
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Narnia - 04 September 2013 10:30 PM
Steve K - 18 July 2013 07:56 PM

But just out of curiosity, will the Carrara 8.5 Production release include an updated manual?

If it hasn’t been officially confirmed, the Gold RTM of Carrara 8.5 does NOT have an updated manual. It doesn’t even include the BETA updated Carrara 8 manual. It ships with the Carrara 7 manual. ...

I am not meaning to sound critical to Daz3D ...

Well, I am.  DAZ is using Carrara to sell Genesis content.  Period. 

Carrara is a great program that many of us rely on.  DAZ has used it as a marketing tool for content that many of us do not want.  A sorry state of affairs.

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Posted: 09 September 2013 09:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 100 ]
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I have no problem with Carrara being used for selling content. After all, this is a content business site. What concerns me the most, is the lack of knowledge on DAZ’s part to see just how much improving/updating Carrara, including documentation, could mean for making money(small improvements and refinements, not comparing to the big industry programs).

I said about not contining to upgrade without certain criteria being met(C8.5). So,...no upgrade. I did see and appreciate the new documentaion others are working on, so not having an updated manual wasn’t the main reason. It was no price incentive at all for existing C8 Pro users(but thats another discussion). I still continue support for Carrara, and I’ll wait for other sales or offers etc.

However, this was again at least three release versions without full/updated documentation. The amount of forum topic questions after the release should fill in the blanks to what could be said about documentation priority.

EDIT:Just my .02 worth.

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Posted: 10 September 2013 12:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 101 ]
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Jonstark - 05 September 2013 12:35 PM
Dartanbeck - 05 September 2013 12:31 PM

Um, Dart has a difficult time saying: “hello” within two or three paragraphs wink

Lol!  But at least you have no problem being descriptive, right?

Right! As long as you let me use as many words as I feel that I need!

Steve K - 09 September 2013 08:09 PM
Narnia - 04 September 2013 10:30 PM
Steve K - 18 July 2013 07:56 PM

But just out of curiosity, will the Carrara 8.5 Production release include an updated manual?

If it hasn’t been officially confirmed, the Gold RTM of Carrara 8.5 does NOT have an updated manual. It doesn’t even include the BETA updated Carrara 8 manual. It ships with the Carrara 7 manual. ...

I am not meaning to sound critical to Daz3D ...

Well, I am.  DAZ is using Carrara to sell Genesis content.  Period. 

Carrara is a great program that many of us rely on.  DAZ has used it as a marketing tool for content that many of us do not want.  A sorry state of affairs.

Critical Fail! Incorrect my friend!
DAZ 3D polled Carrara forum users and Genesis compatibility was pretty much pegged on the ol’ “We Want” meter.
Granted, we didn’t really know what Genesis was, at that time, except that it was the newest DAZ 3D line of realistic human figures. Enough said for those of us who voted “Yes!”

For a lot of us, modeling human figures is a pain in the ass. With DAZ 3D figures, we can make all sorts of different people and things. Genesis (I’m glad that I voted for it because I prefer to use it, and I prefer Carrara) totally blows away the idea of versatility. Genesis 2 female is another fine example of how awesome DAZ 3D is at driving the bar higher.
Ooops. Way off topic. But I couldn’t help but respond. Why wouldn’t anyone want Genesis?

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Posted: 10 September 2013 12:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 102 ]
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tbwoq - 09 September 2013 09:44 PM

I have no problem with Carrara being used for selling content. After all, this is a content business site. What concerns me the most, is the lack of knowledge on DAZ’s part to see just how much improving/updating Carrara, including documentation, could mean for making money(small improvements and refinements, not comparing to the big industry programs).

I said about not contining to upgrade without certain criteria being met(C8.5). So,...no upgrade. I did see and appreciate the new documentaion others are working on, so not having an updated manual wasn’t the main reason. It was no price incentive at all for existing C8 Pro users(but thats another discussion). I still continue support for Carrara, and I’ll wait for other sales or offers etc.

However, this was again at least three release versions without full/updated documentation. The amount of forum topic questions after the release should fill in the blanks to what could be said about documentation priority.

EDIT:Just my .02 worth.

Yes. Some updated doc would sit nicely in my hands as well. I do like reading all about what I can use and how to use it.
In fairness about the software updates, they did exclaim that they were putting that on hold until after 8.5, which was primarily to answer our request for Genesis support. I certainly hope that they can fit in plenty of what the world wants in Carrara 9. I really do. There’s a lot of different uses for Carrara - it can go (and already does) in so many different directions within this field.

I’ve been collecting all of Fenric’s plugins from the start. I find it amazing what he has made available to me as an animator, which has evolved into simply how I now work in Carrara every day. These are things I’d never really ask DAZ to do, as Fenric has already done so, so well. But now I’ve been acquiring Inagoni and DCG, Sparrowhawke, Luxus, YAToons2, and more. It’s simply amazing what we can already do with this great engine of animation. I really had no clue how far DCG and Inagoni take the shader possibilities to - to a point where I now have an entirely new learning curve to overcome- delightfully so, but still… the depth of what can be done is truly astounding!!!
...and not just shaders either. Luxus and YAToon2 also completely expand the horizons.

I really feel for those whom have no want for Genesis, and had this whole wait - and still have more waiting. All I can say is that, what they’ve done for Carrara 8.5 was a beautiful step in the right direction. Carrara needed this or else why would DAZ want to continue developing it? Not only did it gives us Genesis support, but it enhanced Carrara. It’s better. It has, I’m sure, answered a good many questions and opened new ones towards the next steps to take in marching on into the twenty-first century. DAZ 3D has given us so much over the years it’s good that there are plenty of us Carrara users that really do want to follow the path of DAZ 3D and helping them profit along the way. Without them, who knows what version might have been the last.

Frankly, I love the new Carrara 8.5 and DAZ_jared has been doing a terrific job of beginning our new, Living Documentation. I’ve gone through parts of it, and found some great information relating to the new Carrara. But this wiki will be the solution - as it can grow along with the version updates without the need for exhaustive rewrites. He seems to be starting off with info needed most, that cannot already be found in our already excellent documentation. Which is an excellent place to start.

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Posted: 10 September 2013 04:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 103 ]
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Dartanbeck - 10 September 2013 12:18 AM

Critical Fail! Incorrect my friend!
DAZ 3D polled Carrara forum users and Genesis compatibility was pretty much pegged on the ol’ “We Want” meter.
Granted, we didn’t really know what Genesis was, at that time, except that it was the newest DAZ 3D line of realistic human figures. Enough said for those of us who voted “Yes!”

With all due respect Dart - and you are due quite a lot of respect - my voice was a tiny “no” to Genesis in the alleged maelstrom of this poll. Frankly, I strongly suspect that DAZ only heard what it wanted to hear with the results.

As I told you privately, I won’t give up entirely on Carrara…there is too much that it does so well for an entry-level 3D system. But I am definitely slipping further and further away from it being my system of choice.

To keep this reply on-topic for the Manual thread - your work here has been lightyears ahead of DAZ’s own epic fail of updating the Carrara manual.

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Posted: 10 September 2013 06:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 104 ]
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tbwoq - 29 July 2013 10:06 PM

I checked through some of the current PDF manuals available. C6 Online Help(the one that ships with Carrara), Carrara 7 User Guide and Carrara 8 Basic Guide. Carrara 6/7 manuals are the most complete. The Carrara 8 Basic Guide is still very early beta, so not worth it to download atm.

  I still find the Carrara 6 PDF to be the best one. It is a smaller file size(approximately 21mb verses C7’s 60mb, not sure why) and has some tutorials attached. This is probably why DAZ still ships this one. The C7 User Guide is almost a duplicate of C6, but is single column verses two column reading per page. It did have some better and more update images though(like some vertex modeler features). If I recall correctly, the community voted for the C7 PDF format.

Both C6/7 manuals had various errors or out of date information such as, Carrara Express is discontinued, a CD is no longer supplied for installation, Pro verses Standard available feature errors(as does the current Carrara feature site pages), and possible broken PDF links etc. Some things are covered in in a slightly different way and the C6 PDF covers vertex displacement modeling, C7’s doesn’t.

  I agree, there appears to be more than enough information to learn Carrara, using both current manuals and other sources. I just think completed and updated manuals(or documentation) go a long way to show support and what Carrara can do. Having some important features undocumented could mean someone looks to another program, because the info wasn’t available.

Below is what I found to be undocumented for Carrara 8.1 and the 8.5 beta.  There are alot of things I probably missed and some seem trivial, but was thinking of what a new user might need. If I missed anything major or somethings incorrect, I can edit the listing for reference.
...

I remember the C6 Guide when I first got C8. Interestingly, I now note that the C7 guide pops up in the Help option for C8.5, instead of the C6 guide. I then did a search on the internet and the links on the DAZ3D Doc Center pointing to the C6.1 guide are now broken. Apparently, the document no longer exists there. And I can’t find a link anywhere for the C6.1 guide. It seems to have vanished off the internet.

=’(

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Posted: 10 September 2013 09:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 105 ]
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Hi FractalDimensia.

The C6 PDF that installs with older C8 builds is the one I used for comparing. On my installs it was in the main folder under Carrara Help\CarraraOnlineHelp\CarraraOnlineHelp.pdf.

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