Need help in Carrara? Ask Dr. PhilW!!!

DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 6,942
edited December 1969 in Carrara Discussion

I haven't much for Carrara questions until I'm in the middle of trying something new, I know there's an easier way, ans so I ask. Well... the thing is that I haven't really been pushing myself into many of Carrara's more advanced features, either. That being said, I figured that a great way to get an idea about more of what Carrara has to offer would be to finally buy Phil W's "Advanced Carrara Techniques" video series by Infinite Skills(teacher: Phil Wilkes), from right here, at Daz3d.

Phil Wilkes, I have to thank you for all of the time and effort you are saving me. I have felt that "Basic Techniques", offered in "Carrara 8 Training" wouldn't be needed at this point - as I've achieved quite a lot in Carrara - but I'm buying that one, too! You really have a great method of teaching, and seem to have a knack for covering topics that are easily overlooked and features that Carrara comes with, which can help the casual user achieve professional results in little time. Sure, I truly hope that they (Daz) take the need for a real, updated and complete, manual very seriously and release such a thing along with the actual official release of C8.5 - but this series will still be invaluable to spark the imagination, remind us of hidden powers, and to teach us all how to work more efficiently and professionally.

Very well done!

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Comments

  • DAZ_bfurnerDAZ_bfurner Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    There are a lot of tutorials available at CarraraCafe

    Look at the different contributors under the Tutorial section.


    Good Luck.

  • PhilWPhilW Posts: 1,659
    edited December 1969

    Hi Dartanbeck, Aww, shucks, you'll make me blush! But seriously, thank you so much for your kind words, I am delighted that this series of videos is helping you (and others) to get the best out of Carrara. If it provides the skills for people to realise their own vision, and hopefully a little inspiration along the way, then I have met what I set out to do with them.

  • JoeMamma2000JoeMamma2000 Posts: 2,419
    edited December 1969

    Figuring out the right way to go for training can be a challenge, especially for someone starting out or relatively inexperienced. You see all kinds of training options from many different instructors, and it can be real confusing trying to decide which one. I know, we see lots of questions in this forum on that exact topic...which training is the best? And what is useless for one person might be wonderful for another, since everyone learns in their own way, and not everyone is at the same stage in their development. And when many of the options require that you lay down some serious cash, figuring out the best way to go is even that much more important.

    What I tend to do as a first step is find out something about the instructor and his/her background. Anyone can put together a training class and charge money, but that doesn't mean it will be useful. And it's pretty much guaranteed the people trying to sell you the class will hype the instructor with big words like "professional" and "expert". But you not only have to know what you're talking about, but also be really good at explaining it. All you have to do is look at the free youtube tutorials and you'll find bazillions put together by people who are either terrible instructors or have no clue what they're talking about, or both.

    Anyway, to help folks choose, maybe Phil would want to describe a little bit of his background and expertise (both as a professional and an instructor), and maybe some more info on the course(s), and what type of student they are targeted for (ie, what level, background, experience, etc.).

  • cal_7ed8fd714dcal_7ed8fd714d Posts: 147
    edited December 1969

    Not to take anything away from Phil......he is a great teacher, and I have his excellent Learn Carrara 8 CD set.

    But also highly recommend Mark Bremmer's Carrara 7Pro set in addition. He's also a very good communicator/instructor.

    They cover different material and even on the same topic, you will get the benefit of 2 points of view, and
    Mark's set is still very relevant for C8, and probably C6.

    If anything, the 2 sets compliment each other, and make it even more clear.....little redundancy.

    BTW, Phil, do you and Mark flip a coin to see who's going to do C9? :cheese:

  • PhilWPhilW Posts: 1,659
    edited December 1969

    "BTW, Phil, do you and Mark flip a coin to see who’s going to do C9?"

    LOL! Yes I like Mark's style (although I don't have his full training package, but have seen some of his free tutorials). I can't speak for him but I am planning to do an update when C9 is available.

    To answer Joe's questions, I have a long history with 3D dating back to the 80's, but am not a full-time 3D professional. After writing and publishing a couple of games for the BBC Micro (was it called that in the US? made by Acorn), I got into freelance writing for a couple of UK magazines on computers (Acorn User and then Amiga User International). It was on the Amiga that I first used 3D software, firstly Imagine 3D, then Inspire 3D (a cut down version of Lightwave) and then Lightwave itself. During this period I produced an animated "Mini-Movie" which was included on a magazine cover disk, and can be seen on my YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIxhTCVQFFo&feature=plcp

    Over the years I have also used Poser, Vue, Daz Studio, Bryce, before trying out Carrara a few years ago and finding that it provided most of what I wanted all under one roof. I uploaded to Daz and Renderosity galleries but wasn't doing much professionally in 3D when I was approached by Infinite Skills who liked what they had seen and asked if I would be interested in doing a video training package. After a test, I was taken on to produce the training. That has been very well received and has sold well, and so they asked me to do the follow-up Advanced training which allowed me to cover aspects which were not fully covered the first time around.

    The first training was aimed at users who are new to 3D and Carrara, and also those who may have used Poser or Daz Studio and were looking for a more all-round package - I think a lot of Carrara users fall into this camp. The second "Advanced" package assumes that you know what was in the first training package and is more built around projects.

    You can see the full content lists over at the Infinite Skills site http://www.infiniteskills.com/files/search.html?keywordsearch=Carrara&imageField;.x=0&imageField;.y=0

    I now do freelance 3D work (part-time) and am also a Published Artist on the Daz Store (and one product at the Renderosity Marketplace). I have more recent experience of using Zbrush, Sculptris, Marvelous Designer, 3DCoat, etc. but Carrara is still at the heart of what I do.

    I hope that gives people an idea of my background.

  • JoeMamma2000JoeMamma2000 Posts: 2,419
    edited December 1969

    Well, the Amiga part was enough to sell me on your uber-coolness, but you forgot to tell everyone about the Yes and Pink Floyd part. I think that qualifies you for "insanely cool".

  • cal_7ed8fd714dcal_7ed8fd714d Posts: 147
    edited August 2012

    Hi Phil,

    Good job on that '99 video! Great soundtrack, too. I was on the edge of my chair......glad the lizards were such bad shots!
    Couldn't hit the broad side of a Death Star! Nasty lot (smell bad, too, no doubt)

    Amazed you've only been using Carrara a "few" years. Keep it up mate! i.e. the good work. ;-)

    Post edited by cal_7ed8fd714d on
  • PhilWPhilW Posts: 1,659
    edited December 1969

    Well, the Amiga part was enough to sell me on your uber-coolness, but you forgot to tell everyone about the Yes and Pink Floyd part. I think that qualifies you for "insanely cool".

    Oh yeah, I'm a progressive rock keyboard player too! The only recorded evidence of this is as part of the band Manning - I contributed to their "Number Ten" album (and did most of the images for the CD cover and booklet too!).

    Joe - I've sometimes wondered what your background is?

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 6,942
    edited August 2012

    JM2000, Big YES fan = me!

    Man, Phil gets into some really cool training tips in this "Advanced" set. For a bit of extra shader room knowledge, he has you create a whole city from a simple plane, using nothing but the shader to model and texture everything... really fun!!! The completeness of explanations, then emphasized by coming back to it briefly as you build entire scenes using what you've learned - without a complete re-explanation (saving time and redundancy) really helps to remind us when we should (if so desired) revisit previous lessons. From modeling using several methods along with the various ways to UV Map, to various replication methods, to shader room techniques, some Bullet Physics, Dynamic Hair, 3D Painting, Displacement Painting, creating scenes - building as you go, making conforming clothing, creating and rigging your own figures, and more... Phil never ceases to show me something new to my workflow all along the way - even on many things that I'm already really comfortable with... which is refreshing.

    Although there's hours of material in one of these sets, Phil entertains the whole way through in a comfortable, hands-on style approach. I find myself building his projects myself, as opposed to using the included sample material - but it's there for those who would rather pick up the lesson mid-way through, or just use his for comparison, etc.,

    Phil, with that list of experience, it's really awesome how you don't skip over the stuff that is truly second nature to you. The problem I've always had with everything I could ever find on YouTube, is that some sort of step goes untouched by any form of communication skill. I never feel that experience in this set. Like I said above, I really feel comfortable with anything a Carrara user would consider "Basic" skills - but I want to get that set too... just to enjoy what you have to say. I already know that you'll have something for me to glean. For things that we do the same way, I know that you'll still catch my interest and make for an entertaining experience.

    Neat Stuff!

    Post edited by Dartanbeck on
  • PhilWPhilW Posts: 1,659
    edited December 1969

    Dartanbeck, Thanks again for your kind words.

    Just to cement my Yes-Fan-dom, here's a photo of me with Rick Wakeman backstage after one of his gigs around 2002 - I'm the one on the right about to explode with excitement!

    Rick_Wakeman_Phil_Wilkes_2002.jpg
    600 x 450 - 96K
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 6,942
    edited December 1969

    Right. Since it's a pic of you and the Wizard of Keys, I drew that conclusion, myself! What an honor THAT must have been!!!
    I had the pleasure of selling a drum kit to Allen White (drummer) - but I never got to met him. Paid over the phone and handed the case off to his security guard outside his hotel room. Still a happy moment for me, nonetheless.

  • JaguarEllaJaguarElla Posts: 10,392
    edited December 1969

    I was (and I suppose still am) a Yes, Asia, EL&P and even loved the Buggles one hit fan!
    I have the music score book of Asia's self titled album and one of a Yes's song "owner of a lonely heart" somewhere I have tried to play sometimes on my keyboard too.
    not lately though, I mostly just play church music in church to stop the congreagation falling asleep I add a few wrong notes!!
    do not have Phil's Carrara training videos though, so not one of the cool kids :red:
    (if I knew I would actually watch them, I would buy them but I have already got quite a vast software tutorial collection I have never watched for many programs inc Carrara!)

  • Kevin SandersonKevin Sanderson Posts: 637
    edited December 1969

    I think the free ones I've seen of Phil's are very good! I'm always hoping to buy the DVDs or the downloads, but the past four years have been crappy money wise.

    Fragile by Yes was the first record album I ever bought and it's still my favorite by them.

  • PhilWPhilW Posts: 1,659
    edited December 1969

    Dartanbeck - nice story!

    Wendy, all great bands! You will see that I'm wearing a "John Wetton" t-shirt in the photo, the lead singer from Asia. I was once wearing it at a gig (by the band IQ), and at the end as I was leaving, someone tapped my shoulder and said "Nice t-shirt!". I turned round to see it was the man himself! Had a great chat about music etc. Down the years, I've also met people like Carl Palmer (who gave my son a drumstick!), Geoff Downes, Rod Argent and Steve Hackett (the nicest bloke you could meet). Many of these through the Classic Rock Society in the UK - I've been a member for over ten years.

  • JaguarEllaJaguarElla Posts: 10,392
    edited December 1969

    lucky Phil!
    I would just be gobsmacked and say something dumb if I did open my mouth :red:

  • JaguarEllaJaguarElla Posts: 10,392
    edited December 1969

    and yes I noticed the tshirt hence the Asia mention and EL&P is the quintessential "stadium rock" band everyone likes!

  • PhilWPhilW Posts: 1,659
    edited December 1969

    lucky Phil!
    I would just be gobsmacked and say something dumb if I did open my mouth :red:

    Who said I wasn't just like that myself!

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 6,942
    edited December 1969

    Wow. After watching the bits about dynamic hair (in celebration to Phil W's great, new release) I made my first foray into making my own aside from adding some full-body fur to a monster way back when. This two foot plus long, curly hair is exactly what I've been asking of the PA community for Genesis - while they were wondering what folks wanted. Many others joined in on the request - so perhaps it's just hard to do for Genesis? Maybe make that one myself, too. But this one is on my favorite V4 character - and it looks great. Doing a test render now of a short (just over two seconds) animation stepping into and completing one little walk cycle - just to see how well it behaves in an animation (I just don't do stills except for test renders).

    When I posted my displeasure with Carrara's dynamic hair, back when I made the furry monster, NASSOS corrected me; informing me that it was my settings that were to blame - and that it takes some tweaking to get the exact result depending upon the hair and the motions involved. This time there was no apparent dis-pleasurable 'bouncing' and seems to be behaving very nicely in the assembly room. we'll see how the render turns out :coolhmm:

  • PhilWPhilW Posts: 1,659
    edited August 2012

    Hair for Genesis is no more difficult than for any other character - and I just released my first one for Genesis. Although in some ways it seems a little premature, given that C8.5 is still in Beta and not fully released yet.

    I'll be interested to see your animation - the notorious "wind tunnel" effect is (I believe) a function of having too many polygons to calculate collisions with, and I have only really had success when using a lower polygon proxy figure as the collision object, and not the main figure. Although the Genesis base is lower poly (it then uses sub-division to smooth the mesh), it was still too high in my tests to give a good animated result directly.

    Post edited by PhilW on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 6,942
    edited December 1969

    Drats! and you just told me about using a proxy as well (watched your videos on the subject on You Tube for long, draping hair)... Oh well... we'll see how it turns out.

  • PhilWPhilW Posts: 1,659
    edited December 1969

    Drats! and you just told me about using a proxy as well (watched your videos on the subject on You Tube for long, draping hair)... Oh well... we'll see how it turns out.

    Hey, who knows, you may have more success! And if you do, you can share the secret...

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 6,942
    edited August 2012

    Gonna have to do a proxy on this one - which isn't even worth the time to upload! LOL

    Love the Hair... now I just need to calm it down.

    DynHair1a.jpg
    800 x 720 - 104K
    Post edited by Dartanbeck on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 6,942
    edited December 1969

    The hair itself renders much faster than the conforming solution currently used - which, like most conforming hair, uses a lot of alpha. Plus the fact that I have to use three separate figures of the hair to achieve the length, fullness and shape while maintaining good custom morph capabilities - which may end up being more valuable to me in the long run, but I really like the look of the dynamic hair above!

    below - Three figures of Angelica Hair, each custom shaped and morphed for many motion situations.

    ConHair.jpg
    800 x 720 - 89K
  • PhilWPhilW Posts: 1,659
    edited December 1969

    The dynamic hair version looks pretty wild - I love it! I hope you can get it animated OK, it will look very cool.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 6,942
    edited December 1969

    In the middle of another simulation test render and I'm wondering if one should be applying some subtle directional (or other) forces in the scene to act as a mock gravity, with one or two behaving as a slight breeze, or even a motion breeze? Anyone play with hair in animations enough to know?

  • PhilWPhilW Posts: 1,659
    edited December 1969

    You can set gravity under the Scene/Physics tab - it is set to normal gravity by default, and this applies in the hair room so there is no need to add a force for gravity. Up to you whether to add wind. If your character is moving, there should be natural air resistence which can be set in the hair/dynamics parameters.

  • GarstorGarstor Posts: 1,411
    edited December 1969

    I figured that a great way to get an idea about more of what Carrara has to offer would be to finally buy Phil W's "Advanced Carrara Techniques" video series by Infinite Skills(teacher: Phil Wilkes), from right here, at Daz3d.

    I will second and triple that thought! Phil's training is extremely helpful.

  • GarstorGarstor Posts: 1,411
    edited December 1969

    PhilW said:
    ...I am planning to do an update when C9 is available.

    YES! My day has just been made!

    Of course, waiting in Daz-Time will be the kicker.

  • UVDanUVDan Posts: 98
    edited December 1969

    There are a lot of tutorials available at CarraraCafe

    Look at the different contributors under the Tutorial section.


    Good Luck.

    Looks OK except for the annoying overlay on the left side of the page that never goes away.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 6,942
    edited December 1969

    Yo Phil,
    I just finished the Advanced Training series and was left in awe, especially with the final "Hello, I'm Phil Wilkes..." video. Love it!
    You certainly got your wish regarding passing along enthusiasm and inspiration in this artist, as well as giving me some extremely useful skills to help me in my Carrara endeavors for the rest of my life. Thanks!

    You say in that final video that Carrara is currently your favorite program. Is that still the case? Have you tried the 8.5 beta?

    Personally, I don't feel as if there even is another program like Carrara. It seems to stand alone and is yet surprisingly under-sold. This totally flabbergasts me! One little tour of Carrara's interface containing its true wealth of tools and I've been hooked ever since. Well, my band is all the way in northeast Wisconsin, but I'd welcome you and your keys on our stage anytime! If your ever near Door County, contact me and I'll hook you up - I know that you know many of our tunes! :) We're just a 'Get-up-and-dance' pop rock band playing across many years and styles.

    Cheers Phil!

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