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Completely new to Carrara and 3D, Badly Need “Where To Start” Advice
Posted: 06 August 2012 04:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
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bobh - 06 August 2012 04:04 PM
Kevin Sanderson - 02 August 2012 02:58 PM

Negativity has reigned supreme here for years. v9 was being developed when the cries for bug fixes and the introduction of Genesis was folded into v8.5. It should be noted that Carrara is not free like DAZ Studio, Bryce and Hexagon and as long as they get more stuff right then wrong with 8.5, Carrara may be around a bit longer. It could’ve disappeared many years ago through the different ownership changes but hasn’t. Many are negative because they see Studio get a bunch of nice new shiny features, but they apparently ignored the furor when Carrara 8 was released and Studio followers were concerned. It’s the way it rolls around here. And with DAZ’s small development staff, they can only work so much on each program and seem to devote most of their efforts on each program one at a time. Studio is still being fixed up for 4.5.

More good info. 

Please fill me in on something here, as this definitely has me confused:  If Carrara dies, what does the DAZ world use in its place?  This really has me scratching my head.  It seems like insanity to me for DAZ to be ignoring what I am seeing as the MAIN APP of the entire DAZ suite of apps, and putting the cart before the horse with focusing on the “lesser” apps instead of the “Big Cahuna”.  Do I have this right?  Or am I getting this totally wrong?

Also:  THANK YOU for the links on all the content for Carrara.  Whew!  Yes, that will keep me busy - and completely devoid of pocket change for a good long time.  Heh

 

You’re welcome! smile

I’m going to guess that Carrara will not die for the short term as they have put a lot of work into 8.5 and if it does well and folks start using C again in bigger numbers then there’s hope for the long term.

The main app of DAZ for a few years was Poser (even though they didn’t own it) since that was the program they created models for. Then when Poser was on shaky ground years ago and going to be sold again or disappear, DAZ decided to create their own program that could use their models and Studio was born. Studio is all DAZ except for the render engine which is 3Delight. Studio was and pretty much still is their flagship program (Vicky, and Michael to a lesser degree, are their true flagship) as beginners can easily use it and it’s been mostly free for a long time (except the Pro version for a couple years before the recent free offer). Its main purpose is to help sell content which is DAZ’s main business.

Carrara was developed by other companies and originally started as RayDream… I have an old disc around here someplace. Most of the folks who developed Carrara years ago are long gone so we have legacy code which works very well, but it has taken a few years to add some new features and updates to it. DAZ saved Carrara and Hexagon from the trash heap when eovia pulled out of the U.S. They also saved Bryce around the same time. The attraction those programs all had was they could work with DAZ content as Carrara and Bryce were related to Poser under one of the later companies that owned Poser after it was first developed, and Hexagon was developed by eovia when Carrara was easily able to import Poser and DAZ content. If I recall correctly, though, DAZ Studio Pro was already under development. And there are the users who can’t fathom the Carrara interface but get DAZ Studio and vice versa.

Carrara supporters have long been very vocal about wanting progress in advancing Carrara and its features. Lately, the push though has been to get what we have to work and DAZ has been working on squashing lots of bugs, tweaking things like physics, adding some lighting features and mainly getting the bridge for Genesis and the new DAZ Studio code to work with Carrara. That way, folks who cut their teeth on DAZ Studio have a more professional option to use that will work with DAZ content painlessly. It’s great for DAZ as the content will sell, it’s great for the users since they can use all the content they bought and yet build more professional skills if they advance to Carrara and what it can do over what DAZ Studio Pro can do. Carrara Pro also has a render farm option which DAZ Studio will never have due to the licensing restrictions for use of 3Delight.

Sadly, though, we get a lot of negativity around here and I know it has turned off potential users of Carrara. Sometimes it sounds like nothing works when in reality it’s some little feature that wasn’t ready for prime time or the user is an idiot, or sometimes both! But the casual observer will think everything is broken when in reality it’s just a bunch of drama and most of the program works fine. I’m hoping that 8.5 is really solid so the complaints of stability (though that mostly seems to be a Mac thing - PC versions are usually pretty stable) will show that it’s a solid app to use. There’s a lot of potential that finally is being revealed by the video tutorials and what some users have been able to do. It just needs that real killer use in a great short or some real pro use that highlights its capabilities and get some buzz going. HowieFarkes’ scenes helped kick start some interest a few years back as they showed you could get some really nice landscape renders without having to pay Vue prices. It’s best hope is in the hands of small shops and users as it will never be in a studio pipeline… they use proprietary stuff. But it can be a great springboard for someone learning VFX and animation, or a great time and money saver for a small advertising/video shop. It’s the most affordable and easiest to learn program out of all the swiss knife programs like Lightwave, C4D, 3ds Max, XSI, Maya, Houdini, etc.

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Posted: 06 August 2012 04:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
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bobh, here’s my 2 cents for what little it’s worth…

I would suggest that you first make a decision. Decide whether:

A. You have just a passing interest in 3D, and really just want to play with some software and make some cool pictures to amuse yourself until you find a different hobby, or,

B. You really want to learn about it, and could see yourself making this a serious pastime or maybe even a profession, and look forward to becoming really skilled at this so you can make incredible images for others to enjoy.

If the answer is A, then I agree with everyone, learn how to play with the software as best you can, and figure stuff out as it comes up.

If the answer is B, then I suggest you don’t focus on learning the software, you first learn about the craft. Software will come and go, and it is nothing more than a tool to allow you to implement the craft of generating 3D images. If you want to be skilled at this stuff, you’ll be using lots of different software based on what you want to accomplish at the time. But you don’t learn how to be a carpenter by learning how to operate a table saw.

There is a TON of stuff to learn if you want to be skilled at this. I’ve been doing this professionally for over 30 years, and I feel like I’m still a newbie. People spend their entire lives learning how to be a good modeller. And that is just one tiny aspect of the whole process. There is editing, there is lighting, there is materials and texturing, there is animating, there is viewer perceptions, there is compositing, etc., etc. There is an extremely long list of things you can learn. Some people don’t like the thought of having to learn stuff, others love to learn stuff. And if you love to learn stuff, you can spend your life learning this stuff.

So if you really want to start learning it like you suggest, select Exit on all your 3D software, and instead get a general book on basic 3D concepts. And read it. Cover to cover. At least twice. Then decide what you want to focus on, what you enjoy. And start reading about the general concepts associated with that. You may decide you want to focus on modelling, so choose a really good modelling software. IMO, Carrara absolutely sucks for modellers, and trying to use it might just cause you to give up on something that you might otherwise actually enjoy immensely.

And use whatever software you want as a tool to do what you want. But understand the concepts first. It will save you an incredible amount of time and frustration.

Spend a month learning the basic concepts instead of just jumping in and banging your head against the wall trying for a year (or six) to figure out the software. Don’t do like so many others and open up the UV Editing tab in Carrara, and then trying unsuccessfully to figure out what “uv editing” means. Instead of daring to find a book that explains the general concept (which applies in ALL 3D software), they’ll spend years banging around Carrara’s UV editor without having a clue what they’re actually doing.

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Posted: 06 August 2012 05:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
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bobh, Joe’s one of the good guys here who really knows what he’s talking about. Give his advice some consideration. I’ll repeat I know nothing about Carrara’s modeler so you can ride with Joe’s opinion on it. You will find out that you will be using more apps than Carrara eventually and if Carrara ever does drop by the wayside, you can still use it, too, as part of your tool kit. I have old programs and the computers that can run them right here.

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Posted: 06 August 2012 06:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
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This is really good advice from both of you, I thank you tremendously.  LOTS of thigns to ponder.

My goals;  I am a software developer, and I make cell phone apps.  I’m a great programmer, but frankly, cell phone apps dont sell without great graphics - they don’t even get looked at no matter what the app does, unless the “eye candy” attracts the attention first.  And I SUCK at graphics. 

I want the computer to do the graphics for me in ways I cann’t (lighting, shading, realism, motion, etc).  Animation is critical to my apps.  Products like 3DS, Maya, Carrara, etc, are obviously the answer to fill in the areas where I’m weak as long as I don’t mind learning the tools and the “art” of using them.  I am a great sketch artist, actually, have been my whole life.  I can use these sketches as blueprints to model things.  At least this is what I dream of doing.  I then want to add those things to scenes I make in Carrara or Bryce and add them to my apps for huge visual “wow factor”.

I want to learn scenery and manipulation of 3D objects to fit whatever theme I want to incorporate into my apps, which are mostly personalization/entertainment apps that do not require any hardcore game engines (yet).

I have been going through the VTC tutorials for Carrara 7, and after I’m done will go through the Infinite Skills tutorials for Carrara 8 (PhillW I believe).  I cannot believe how much I’ve learned so far in onyl a few days, so I really do believe I’m on the right track to learning this stuff about as fast as one can take it in (the only proper way to go “crash course”, if you will).  This includes all the advice and tips/tricks the instructors have to offer in the videos.  Quite honestly, because of job, school, family, etc, this is really the only possible way I CAN dive into this - witht the best “educational parachutes” I can find.  grin

I consider all the advice I’m reading in here as invaluable, and adding that to the amount of information I’m taking in through the tutorials.  But one thing I’m NOT doing is simply firing up the software and blindly going into spasms of “spastic clicking syndrome”.  I’m actually proceeding very methodical.  As best I can, anyway.

I see Carrara as the perfect “do it all to my level of requirements” package, and when you add the rest of the DAZ world to it, then I really do have most all I need, and it’s actualyl quite exciting when i think about hwo much of the work ahs already been done for me - I’m literally standing on the head sof giants, and there’s not many wheels I’d need to reinvent at all.  This is a HUGE lifesaver. 

I also plan on learning Hexagon and Wings 3D for modeling, as I have had practically everyone tell me to learn them and that Carrara’s modeling tools are not exactly the best of breed.  I’m taking that as gospel, though I I have had nothing but success in modeling with Carrara so far (due to what few of the tutorials I’ve been through on the subject - mostly still learning general concepts on shaders, texture mapping, scenes, etc - first things first, right?).

Also, for what it’s worth:  using Carrara 8.1 Pro x64, Windows 7 x64, 3.4GHz AMD quad with 8GB ram - not a single problem, hiccup, crash, lockup, etc.  So far, stable as a rock and probably the funnest little piece of software on my entire system.  I don’t wait on my test renders much, and when I upgrade to the octocore AMD next month, I won’t be waiting much at all anymore on anything.


So I’ll ask this question again in case I flubbed it somehow:


“If Carrara dies, what does the DAZ world use as a replacement to fill the void?  Is DAZ Studio a full rendering solution that can incorporate thigns like Bryce scenes and things like that?  For those who DON’T use Carrara, what are they using to do all their integration and rendering work?

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Posted: 06 August 2012 06:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
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Wow.

All I can say is “best of luck to you”.....

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Posted: 07 August 2012 01:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]
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bobh wrote:

“If Carrara dies, what does the DAZ world use as a replacement to fill the void?  Is DAZ Studio a full rendering solution that can incorporate thigns like Bryce scenes and things like that?  For those who DON’T use Carrara, what are they using to do all their integration and rendering work?


Hi BobH smile

I don’t see anyone dropping Carrara, so don;t worry about it too much ..but you will find lot’s of speculation and rumours in these forums, mostly from people who believe they know more about Daz3D’s business strategy, than Daz3D do.
Carrara is in a state of active development..

Even if Daz3D Dropped Carrara as a product,.. the software will still work for you. smile

Daz Studio is a full renderer, but has no modelling, and only basic animation capabilities.

Daz Studio figures/props can be “Sent To” Bryce via a software bridge, and rendered , but not the reverse.

Models can also be sent to Hexagon from DS, and back again to allow modifications and morph creation.

For those who DON’T use Carrara, what are they using to do all their integration and rendering work?


Many people use Poser, or Daz Studio to do all that they want, and have little need for modelling from scratch, preferring to use pre-made content , plus compositing, or post processing software, to create animations, or still image artwork.

Very few people use only one “tool” ,

Hope it helps smile

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/7907045/Carrara_first_steps.zip

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Posted: 07 August 2012 02:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]
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JoeMamma2000 - 06 August 2012 06:22 PM

Wow.

All I can say is “best of luck to you”.....

Uh oh. 

Is that “Wow” translated as:  “Very cool!  Go get ‘em!”

Or

“You are a complete idiot and have absolutely NO idea of the can of whoopass you have opened up on yourself…”

...?

What makes it so easy to by motivated with the Carrara products is that so much of the work really is already done, and how all these products seemingly work together.  That’s exciting, really, especailly for a noob like me.  And Carrara has stuff like soft body dynamics to some degree, which the new versions of 3DS don’t even have (which I’m still scratching my head about - what the heck happened there?).

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Posted: 07 August 2012 02:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]
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3DAGE - 07 August 2012 01:52 AM

I don’t see anyone dropping Carrara, so don;t worry about it too much ..

But isn’t that speculation and rumor? Or do you know something about DAZ’s business strategy that we don’t?

At least I had some rational discussion and reasoning behind my speculation. Just saying “I don’t see anyone dropping Carrara” seems to be far more speculative than at least providing some reasoning behind it.

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Posted: 07 August 2012 02:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]
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3DAGE,


Thanks for that info.  It seems DAZ is making products that have some “relatively capable” features that don’t quite truly fill the void if Carrara was to be dumped for any reason.  If I’m reading this right, then I certainly hope Carrara remains in active development.  If I do indeed wind up learning all fo this stuff to some acceptable level, the abandonment of Carrara would probably be enough to push me in the direction of 3DS or Maya.


I know what you’re probably thinking - “Holy cow, that noob just talked about diving into Maya like it’s a cakewalk!  Does that idiot even know what he’s talking about?”  Actualy, yes - I do.  My brother in law uses Maya and is employed in Hollywood, and my next door neighbor uses Maya for his video game work for Disney.  Plus I have all the VTC and Infinite Skills tutorials, etc.  I played around with Maya and 3DS a bit during my decision-making process on which product to start out with.  Avoided C4D becasue of limitations I didn’t like. 


“Starting easer” and learning the basics right to see if I can truly get into this to see if I am really up to it is where Carrara shines.  If so, I have all the help I need with 3DS or Maya waiting for me when (ok, “if”) the time ever comes.  But until then, I really do think that Carrara and associated DAZ content and tools is a fantastic world to learn the ropes.  Even good neough to stay if I ever come to get really good with it.  Whatever the case, I’m very thankful for it, I really think it’s a lifesaver.  After all, look at all the fantastic things on YouTube that people are making with the DAZ products, and that’s without any modeling - something I really didn’t even consider (I honestly thought everybody modeled their butts off, were total gurus, and did everything from scratch).

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Posted: 07 August 2012 02:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]
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bobh, the recommendations I gave were about as complete and comprehensive as I could make them. It’s pretty much up to you to decide how to proceed. Sounds like you’re jumping in to the software/hardware approach with both feet, which is a pretty common approach in the hobbyist community. Like I said, depending on your goals, my view is that approach might not be the best. But it’s up to you what you want to do.

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Posted: 07 August 2012 02:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]
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JoeMamma2000 - 07 August 2012 02:25 AM

bobh, the recommendations I gave were about as complete and comprehensive as I could make them. It’s pretty much up to you to decide how to proceed. Sounds like you’re jumping in to the software/hardware approach with both feet, which is a pretty common approach in the hobbyist community. Like I said, depending on your goals, my view is that approach might not be the best. But it’s up to you what you want to do.

I completely respect that advice, and I do know that it’s FANTASTIC advice.  As a systems guy and programmer, quite honestly, it’s the only way I’ve ever really learned how to do anything (diving in, trial by fire, get it figured out and fixed by tomorrow or huge consequences, etc).  Quite honestly, I usually don’t have much time to learn something, results are usually expected of me fast fast fast at work and I’ve got big family obligations at home.  I’m probabl;y insane for even considering this as a hobby, but I really do need it for my software as much as I have always wanted to learn this in general as a hobby.  My heart’s behind it this time, thus all the question asking.

But I also understand the other side of this fence:  totally experienced gurus who actually know what they’re doing, witnessing yet another noob showing up who sounds like he doesn’t want to pay any dues.  I’m hoping my desire to dive right in, even if rather naive, doesn’t come off as some kind of arrogant buffoonery, as that is certainly not my intent.  To the contrary, I’m in here groveling to the gurus because I need all the help I can get.

 

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Posted: 07 August 2012 10:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]
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HI Joe smile

But isn’t that speculation and rumor?


I’d say,.. personal opinion based on the fact that Carrara is currently being developed to integrate it further into the Daz 3D pipeline by adding the new DUF (Daz User Format) which will allow transfer of assets between those apps

Not many developers are prepared to spend so much time and effort in a product, ...and then abandon it. to leave a void in their market.

... and,.. honest advice,.. not to listen to the rumours, such as ...Daz have abandoned Hexagon, ...Daz have dropped Bryce and it won’t support Lion, Carrara 9 will be this, or that.. etc..smile


I wasn’t pointing at you personally as a merchant of rumours,. just pointing generally.

 

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Posted: 07 August 2012 10:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]
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Total speculation on my part, but if DAZ ever did drop Carrara (again not highly likely in the short term - meaning next few years based on their active development and the fact it’s not being given away for free at the present time) some users would use DAZ Studio though they’d have to get all the plug-ins to get the functionality already in Carrara. Age of Armour has been working on an animated ocean plug-in. There’s a plug-in for hair under development and one that can do some landscape work, you can expand on Studio’s limited animation abilities with the full aniMate plug-in, there’s a plug-in coming for OctaneRender which now will probably have a version for DAZ Studio 3 since so many are still using it (and Carrara is in plans for a similar plug-in after the DAZ plug-in hits the market), there’s the Reality plug-in for LuxRender, there’s the OptiTex cloth plug-in and folks are working with Marvelous Designer as well. As 3Dage said, there’s a bridge from DAZ Studio to Bryce, but there are the folks who use Vue to render their DAZ and Poser characters with landscapes and much better clouds (than Carrara - Bryce has some nice clouds). It would be a broad selection of tools to fill-in the holes if Carrara was dropped, but you could still use Carrara as is, so not really a big deal there.

If someone ever develops an easy working way of getting DAZ/Poser characters into Blender, then that would change things somewhat.

There are ways of getting DAZ and Poser stuff into Lightwave, but they are not flawless and I think a couple of the better plug-ins have been abandoned. DAZ has been trying to get Genesis to work in Autodesk programs, but I don’t know what the progress is there. There have been improvements in the FBX exporter (and now importer) for DAZ Studio 4.5 but more work is needed. Wendy uses the free FBX tool to clean up exported FBX 6.0 files from Carrara if I recall correctly.

At least you have taken the time and investment of buying some of the best tutorials available, so you’ll be able to figure out some stuff more easily than many.

But Joe is correct. You should learn as much about 3D so you can more easily make heads or tails out of what a program can do and the potentials. I’ve been going at this stuff since 1994 in what little spare time I have and it’s always been a challenge but it’s always easier, and saves loads of time if you get the underlying principles. There are good books that explain textures, lighting, animation, proper ways to set up your shots, color theory and more. You will always be learning!

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Posted: 07 August 2012 11:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]
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BobH wink

I used 3D studio, and then Max,  for a long time before I found Carrara, and I still use Max occasionally, but I prefer the ease of use of Carrara both for simply making a quick scene using pre-made content, and for general modelling and animation.

The vertex modeller in Carrara is a decent place to start learning Box modelling, and the tools and skills you’ll learn in the process will transfer to any other program

As far a bringing in 2D drawings and making them into 3D models,
you can use the vertex modeller to view front/back, top/bottom and side elevations of your sketches and use those as a template to layout your basic shape.
You can also use the Spline modeller to import (AI) Illustrator line artwork.

Carrara has many good tools, but as JoeMamma 2000 points out, there is a learning curve, and it’s a big task to try to learn everything at the same time., some thing may seem easy and others will leave you dazed and bewildered, but there are a bunch of very helpful people here who are glad to help.

smile

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Posted: 07 August 2012 12:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 60 ]
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3DAGE - 07 August 2012 10:23 AM

...... and,.. honest advice,.. not to listen to the rumours, such as ...Daz have abandoned Hexagon, ...Daz have dropped Bryce and it won’t support Lion, Carrara 9 will be this, or that.. etc..smile


Darn.  ‘Cause I heard that Elvis was gonna come out of hiding to personally assist in the writing of Carrara 9, and that it was going to be a ground-up re-write in the new C#++&^$% programming language….

Heh

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