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Is is time to start an almost futile wishlist for Carrara 9?
Posted: 30 August 2012 07:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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circular05 - 29 August 2012 11:13 PM

I think it’s pretty clear that DAZ artists have a fairly common “look” at which they arrive.

My suggestion to DAZ would be to begin new feature planning by dissecting the current look, figuring out what makes it look outdated, and finding a new look that DAZ artists would LOVE to create, and adding new features that help achieve that.

Let me suggest that the “fairly common look” has nothing to do with the software or its features. It’s partly/mostly a function of people relying on software to make their images for them, as opposed to injecting creativity and emotion and story into their images. When every solution is a prepackaged, drag ‘n drop solution, there ain’t much left to distinguish one image from the other. We now live in a world where the most important question is…“Is there an app for that?”

As far as features for C9, just make the Bullet (or whatever they decide upon for cloth) really good. Otherwise all the rest are just simple tweaks to make using Carrara less frustrating. Filtering out morph parameter dials to show only non-zero ones, including default file locations for textures and rendered images and other stuff (per scene), improving the import/export from Hex to Carrara (heck, realtime updates in Carrara as you make changes in Hex would be wonderful), much better animation/keyframe management features, etc.

Honestly, most of the cool features that Carrara has right now (fire, smoke, hair, DOF, etc.) are so bad that you’re better off just accepting that you’re gonna have to use something else for all that. No sense trying to put lipstick on a pig.

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Posted: 31 August 2012 01:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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I wish Carrara had a bigger team. To me it seems that Carrara, as one of the cheapest software packages of its type, is placed very well to scoop up a large following if only it were as reliable and as polished as a budget product could be. It seems a great shame that it sits in the background (at least that is how it seems). From what I get from around the various CG hubs is that Carrara is not greatly respected, and part of that is because it is somewhat dated. Honestly, I don’t greatly care about the dated aspect as long as it remains a productive tool, and judging by the quality of artwork I’ve seen created with it I would say it is still pretty damn good. As a newb I’m really glad Genesis compatibility is being worked in, and as the figure is the companies new centrepiece it makes business sense, and one possible way to secure its future (assuming Genesis becomes the next big thing (and not just within the DAZ community). So, for my own personal self-serving reason I’d like to see Genesis support fully implemented.

I’d certainly second most, if not all, the other features mentioned by others, but with the state of Hexagon (crash happy), I’d be very wary about upgrading to a new version if the two software products were merged (as much as I really enjoy Hexagon).

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Posted: 31 August 2012 04:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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jimzombie - 31 August 2012 01:48 AM

From what I get from around the various CG hubs is that Carrara is not greatly respected, and part of that is because it is somewhat dated..

Be careful what you hear and believe around “the various CG hubs”, especially in the hobbyist community. Hobbyists value fancy whiz-bang features because they’re fun to play with. And they don’t value having to pay for software, because there are a number of free alternatives. So when Blender is free, and has cool smoke effects and fire and physics that you can make those all-important cool explosions with, and has a really cool whiz bang Cycles renderer that makes cool and realistic images just by clicking a button, and you can get other free renderers that are equally cool and new, anything else looks old and dated. It doesn’t matter that with Carrara, or most any other CG app on the market now, you can produce some spectacular images if you know what you’re doing. Because that’s not what it’s about, it’s about playing with cool software. And also playing the “my software is better than your software” game with their friends. Not unlike the “my computer is faster than your computer” game. IMO, it’s all just another way for people to play video games.

But anyone who knows what they’re doing would respect Carrara as much as any other software, because they realize they can generate great images with it, as long as they are skilled and talented. It’s just another tool, and a very, very useful one if it’s important to you to generate images of humans and other creatures. Because to do that with most other software out there today, even most professional software, is exceedingly difficult and expensive. 

IMO, DAZ doesn’t have a chance in hell of picking up the vast majority of the hobbyist community with Carrara. It is far too dated in the whiz-bang arena, and it costs money to buy. So at best it will be a small, niche market, at least until there is a way to use content in Blender, then it’ll probably fade away.

But yeah, you’re absolutely right, it’s not respected, and very dated, but that’s not an excuse for not producing great images. What’s more important to many hobbyists is that it’s not as fun to play with as the other software out there.

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Posted: 31 August 2012 04:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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I have fun playing with it tongue rolleye
tongue wink actually that is ALL I do with 3D software rolleyes

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Posted: 31 August 2012 05:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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JoeMamma2000 - 31 August 2012 04:42 AM

Be careful what you hear and believe around “the various CG hubs”, especially in the hobbyist community. Hobbyists value fancy whiz-bang features because they’re fun to play with.

IMO, DAZ doesn’t have a chance in hell of picking up the vast majority of the hobbyist community with Carrara. It is far too dated in the whiz-bang arena, and it costs money to buy. So at best it will be a small, niche market, at least until there is a way to use content in Blender, then it’ll probably fade away.

 

Well obviously I don’t believe those clowns, I bought the program wink

I don’t see why DAZ couldn’t update it in the wiz-bang department (better to work out any current kinks first though). Look at the current Windows op systems - eyecandy galore with lots of nice little trinkets, and all built on some ancient program. I think if there was the will it could be a serious contender. Seriously, I don’t want to and can’t afford to spend thousands of dollars on 3DS Max or similar, even Lightwave is more than I can afford in the short term, and I’m sure I’m not the only one in this position. The fact is that Carrara is many times easier to use than Blender (and it is the only free full featured production product), and thus more accessible (and desirable) to newbs like me. It seems to me Carrara is a shunned gold mine.

 

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Posted: 31 August 2012 05:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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jimzombie - 31 August 2012 05:22 AM

I don’t see why DAZ couldn’t update it in the wiz-bang department (better to work out any current kinks first though).

Of course they COULD, but wow, that’s a tall order. Developing these wiz-bang features from scratch is a HUGE task. Zillions of manhours of developer time. Heck, with Bullet they started with a free, already developed bit of code, and here it is almost a year later and they’ve barely made a scratch on it. It’ll be years before they get it up to a point where other apps (like Poser cloth) were at decades ago. And that’s just cloth. Developing fluids is incredibly difficult, and there are only a few really good ones available anywhere on the market. Same thing with smoke, hair, renderers, etc. Each one takes years of development. Even adding an already developed code can be a huge undertaking. 

And that means having to pay programmers. And that means having to bring in money to pay the programmers. Assuming you can even find programmers who can (or care to) learn Carrara’s innards. And where does that money come from? Well, since Carrara is such a small, niche program, they sure as heck aren’t going to make enough money by selling new copies of Carrara. So they have to sell content. And when you’re talking millions of $$ on programmers over many years, that’s a lot of sets of V4 clothes at $19.95 a piece.

Personally, I think it’s pretty much impossible to even consider it. Ain’t gonna happen. But there will always be people here praying that Carrara becomes as good as the “professional” software.

BTW, there’s a reason why you can’t afford to pay for Lightwave or 3DS, because they charge high prices for the software so they can pay those many, many programmers to do all that programming over many years. If DAZ charged what they needed to so that Carrara could have all those wiz-bang features, very few people here could (or would want to) afford it.

And that’s one reason why I never ask for, or expect, most of those features in new versions. I don’t want to pay for it when there’s other software out there that can do a better job, plus I know it’s unreasonable to expect it will ever happen.

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Posted: 31 August 2012 06:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Great stuff and I agree with most of these suggestions.

My suggestion is of a little more practical nature for all users. Build a proper error-handling system into the code base. The dialog box “An error has occurred” is the single-most useless “feature” in Carrara. Write a log file somewhere. Generate a user-mode dump of the process. I don’t care; but do SOMETHING that at least attempts to be helpful for troubleshooting.

I’ve tried my best to be supportive of Daz’s geologic-ages-long development cycle. I know they are a small team. I suspect that another big delay factor is work done for the PC version needs to also be done for the Mac version.

Now to sit here and dream of what Carrara 9 might be like…

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Posted: 31 August 2012 06:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Steve athome - 30 August 2012 07:33 PM

I use L3DT for terrain creation and it exports 16bit .raw, which carrara will import into the terrain editor correctly.

I use Daylon Graphic’s Leveller to create heightfields for terrains. It works very well for the most part—it offers a Carrara MSH file export but I always export the file as a JPG and import that into the terrain editor. Having decent editing controls inside Carrara itself would be nice…but I’d leave it low on the wish list since there are many other ways to get heightfields created.

 

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Posted: 31 August 2012 06:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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@Joe: All very good points. I don’t want and wouldn’t expect Carrara to ever be as good as the “big boys” in all respects (I’d like the price to stay around what it is now), but that isn’t to say that the wiz-bang features already in Carrara (but aren’t doing a lot of wiz or bang) couldn’t be improved drastically. Carrara, by all rights, should be appealing to more than a small niche. It should be picking up all the people that can’t afford, or simply don’t wan’t to hand over the cash for Max and such, but still want to purchase a professional program. Pickings are more than slim down this end of the cost scale. Does this not seem like a good market position? It seems to me like making a high quality (“Pro”) polished product for less than $1000 (and indeed for less than $600) would be a good investment. Shade 12 looks pretty damn good and it’s “Standard” version ($349) has some pretty slick features and scored good reviews.

I could be entirely wrong, but to me it seems being on the cheaper side of the market doesn’t necessarily have to mean a slow slide into oblivion.

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Posted: 31 August 2012 07:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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jimzombie - 31 August 2012 06:30 AM

@Joe: All very good points. I don’t want and wouldn’t expect Carrara to ever be as good as the “big boys” in all respects (I’d like the price to stay around what it is now)...

We’re in the same ballpark JimZombie.

I think Joe’s post shines a bright light on the key issue. People (well, most…) are not willing to pay premium prices for software. The alternate side of that equation is free software—which is either next to useless or ends up being abandon-ware.

Now there are some shining examples of free software done right—the last thing I want this thread to devolve to is another pointless skirmish in the OSS wars. Blender is free and it does do a lot. Perhaps it does too much, based on what I have seen. If Blender ever allows for importing M4/V4 and the rest of my runtimes and Daz continues to lag on development, I think there will be a mass exodus from Carrara.

Sad.

I hope Daz gets C8.5 mostly right…and then knocks C9 out of the park.

(OK, I’ll pinch myself and wake up now)

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Posted: 31 August 2012 08:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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I don’t expect Blender will import V4/M4 as well as Carrara can anytime soon. It would require the folks who love it to love V4 and M4 and paid content in general, and I don’t get that feeling. They seem at random perusal more like many in the CGSociety crowd who don’t like anything Poser or DAZ related. The grass is always greener in other programs but there are still lots of things you can do in Carrara. I like the approach of finding out what something can do before I start thinking of things it may not do. Goes back to my radio production director days… check the sound fx and music library first to see what you have on hand before you write the commercial copy so all day isn’t spent re-inventing the wheel.

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Posted: 31 August 2012 02:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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jimzombie - 31 August 2012 06:30 AM

...but that isn’t to say that the wiz-bang features already in Carrara (but aren’t doing a lot of wiz or bang) couldn’t be improved drastically. Carrara, by all rights, should be appealing to more than a small niche. It should be picking up all the people that can’t afford, or simply don’t wan’t to hand over the cash for Max and such, but still want to purchase a professional program.

I know, I’ve heard that from folks here over and over and over. Carrara SHOULD be awesome, with all the cool features, but we don’t want to pay for it. And when DAZ dares to charge for a new release, there’s complaints if it’s more than $20. And there’s complaints if it’s more than $0.

Frankly, it’s irrational. It’s physically impossible to hire people to do work and not pay them. They don’t like that. Would you?

And like I said, to make cool features takes a LOT of time. And it takes people who understand the software they’re modifying. And all of that is VERY difficult and very expensive. But some people believe what they want to believe, in spite of the facts (I’m not saying you, just people in general who know what they want, but don’t understand, or care to understand what it takes to get there).

I could be wrong, and maybe DAZ received a huge hunk of money from investors just to make Carrara into a flagship product that has all the features of the big boys at a tiny fraction of the price, and they don’t care whether they sell enough copies to get their money back. But I really doubt it.  smile

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Posted: 31 August 2012 06:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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                  This is off the wishlist topic a bit but you can skip if you want.
                 
                  I think a lot of what has been said about Cararra here is probably very valid. But I would argue Carrara can be improved to compete for market space and stay alive as it were with a little focus and care. Obviously, its never going to compete feature for feature with the “Big Boys” . Never did . Never will. And should not even try. It just not possible given resources.

                  However some of what makes Carrara a viable product is it relatively ease of use. Its easier to use then blender for instance . That can sells units.

                  With a little more work on the environmental front for instance it could take some customers from Vue. It does a lot of what Vue does (Maybe not as well but in many cases not far from it and does many more other thingsaswell.) With some focused development you could make Carrara an option over the ever more costly Vue. Not trying to be Vue -just an alternative for some folks who need maybe a little less. One simple improvement is take the terrain editor from Bryce—ramp it up a little more and port it into Carrara whose terrain editor is less good. another angle here is ramp up Carrara’s plant editor. Its pretty decent now but work on it more. Make more presets. Sell some presets. A little work and you could surpass and provide a nice alternative to what you have in Vue with plants for instance.  Just some ideas.  Would also need to improve clouds etc but in time make things better. but you get the idea.

                  Carrara’s renderer is very capable. Its not going to compete with any of the Maxwells, Vrays, etc but for speed of setup and speed of rendering for many things. Its competitive.

                  Carrara’s content workflow will always be good as we all know content feeds the development costs.  In Daz’s world content is the primary focus. It will always be outstanding at importing and using Daz products.

                  Carrara’s hard body physics are decent and soft not so much but cloth for instance is not so easy even for the “Big Boys”

                  Carrara’s shading system does compete with the “Big Boys” very well. Its powerful , and easy to understand and use.

                    Carrara’s character tools are simple and some of the most easiest in the 3d world to get started with. Its ease of use in this category is pretty heads and tales above everyone. It obviously is simple and not so powerful but often——with power comes confusion and difficulties to get things done.  Which is C’s greatest attribute. You can get things done because of its ease of use.

                    So sure you look at Blender and its powerful but even after 2.6 version—it still is not so user friendly to me. Maybe I am weird but I just have troubles getting comfy with it. So Blender will always be there and free .It has great development and will someday do it all . But its not for me yet anyhow. (And I have tried many times to wrap my head to do the blender way ..but not happening yet.)

                    Development does take money and great effort. Can Daz develop Carrara further ? Sure. But it will have to be focused on building on what Carrara does well. It will always need to be content conduit as long as Daz has it. But there are opportunities to chip off some of the other guys customers who get tired of the high costs of upgrading etc. and who maybe can use a little less power. Make Carrara improved and this becomes more a reality.

                    Will the Carrara community support DAZ to the cost level of Modo , lightwave, cinema 4d etc ? No. But I think if you showed it some more love .....fixed and improved here and there——Carrara could survive well and be accepted by more small studios and professionals.  But—I would suggest it would need a seperation of sorts from Daz way of doing things.

                      One is stop given Carrara away after you make a new version. I know you want to get more folks to have the product to buy content but that’s where you do the Pro and non-pro version. Giving away your software makes anyone who paid for it feel a little “cheated”—- I know its a year later or so but still. Its a bad policy. It cheapens your product. Its image.
                     
                      Another thing to do different—put a face on your product.  A real Person who is in charge. Who keeps the Carrara community in touch and in focus. I would not expect to see Daz roll out their version of Brad Pebbler of Luxology for Modo who does a weekly “modcast” for their community . (If you want to emulate one 3d company——look no further than Luxology.)  But—something like this would be oh so helpful. Communciation at Daz has been improving but more is needed.
There is nothing better for sales then to make your customers feel they are a part of the whole process ...a better sense of community means more sales. More content sold.

                      I have a version 1 carrara—and when Eovia started Carrara back then——you just thought wow—these guys are pretty cool. Over the years it has survived , changed hands and now sits with Daz———unfortunately with Daz -I have not once thought “hey these guys are cool” but here we are.
         
                      We all want Daz to make Carrara better. I just hope one way or another they do.

                     

                       

                     
                   

                 

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Posted: 01 September 2012 12:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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JoeMamma2000 - 31 August 2012 02:09 PM

I know, I’ve heard that from folks here over and over and over. Carrara SHOULD be awesome, with all the cool features, but we don’t want to pay for it. And when DAZ dares to charge for a new release, there’s complaints if it’s more than $20. And there’s complaints if it’s more than $0.

Frankly, it’s irrational. It’s physically impossible to hire people to do work and not pay them. They don’t like that. Would you?

And like I said, to make cool features takes a LOT of time. And it takes people who understand the software they’re modifying. And all of that is VERY difficult and very expensive. But some people believe what they want to believe, in spite of the facts (I’m not saying you, just people in general who know what they want, but don’t understand, or care to understand what it takes to get there).

I could be wrong, and maybe DAZ received a huge hunk of money from investors just to make Carrara into a flagship product that has all the features of the big boys at a tiny fraction of the price, and they don’t care whether they sell enough copies to get their money back. But I really doubt it.  smile

Joe, you are infuriating (in a sort of slightly quirky and amusing fassion). I never said Carrara should compete with the big boys. I never said it should have all their wiz-bangery. Believe it or not I do understand elementary software design principles and market economics. In fact, if you read the post you quote from, you will find I’m stating the opposite. All I was saying was that Carrara should aim to be the best budget product it can. I’m sure DAZ isn’t sitting around waiting for investors to drop money on their head. If they want to spend on Carr I’m sure they would be setting about securing the funds they need.

I’m not intending on nurturing any ill feeling here, but frankly I am puzzled as to how most of your response is in any way related to what I was saying with my post.

DAZ should be very active in promoting Carrara. A lot of people can’t afford the big toys, and can’t wrap their heads around Blender (this is me), but want an “all-in-one” package. Now, some people’s expectations might be unreasonable, but I think the majority of people understand you get what you pay for. Why can’t Carr have the cool terrains of Bryce (as mentioned by someone else), the slick modelling interface of Hex (along with the few cool features absent in Carr), the neat figure posing tools of Studio, and a modern GUI? I could be wrong but it seems to me that all these additions would be relatively cheap, and would go a long way (in my opinion) to revitalise some of its aging elements and giving it a more polished feel. All these things are already in the DAZ library.

 

3dView: ”  I think a lot of what has been said about Cararra here is probably very valid. But I would argue Carrara can be improved to compete for market space and stay alive as it were with a little focus and care. Obviously, its never going to compete feature for feature with the “Big Boys” . Never did . Never will. And should not even try. It just not possible given resources.

            However some of what makes Carrara a viable product is it relatively ease of use. Its easier to use then blender for instance . That can sells units. “

Couldn’t agree more.

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Posted: 01 September 2012 01:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Personally I have never identified DAZ as a software development company, content yes most definately, but software development no, and indeed, during the course of the last year, even less so.


I hate to say this but they have bodged their own software, in my opinion Studio 4 was released WAY to early, almost a full year to early.  I think the only reason Carrara has lasted this long is that the original package was so damn good in the 1st place.


I think DAZ should either spin off the software side of the business, and give it its own identity, or selloff the software side altogether, but maintain a development liason that could enable whomever purchased it, to maintain the softwares ability to use and host DAZ content.


I suspect that most of Daz’s current development is feverishly trying to repair the Genesis/Poser rift, to try and make Genesis more usable in Poser.


I would LOVE to see a good polished Carrara 9..but I doubt I will..

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