Learning Carrara and Need some Help?

DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,341
edited April 2017 in Carrara Discussion

I have a few "Babble-sessions" recorded on my YouTube channel about various things Carrara-related. In this endeavor I have received quite a few requests for more - some for specific things - which is actually why some of those were made in the first place.

I have to say... I don't really care for my tutorials that I've put up so far and am endeavoring to make new improved ones. Much more on-topic and to-the-point and no more distracting background music/sounds, etc.,

I also have a few (as do others) articles written at Carrara Cafe - a Daz3D supported webspace specifically for Carrara users to hang out... Sweet, eh?!!!

However, those things are just tips and tricks. Yes, I find that it's important stuff - that's why I record them. But if you really want to get into "Learning Carrara", digging into a plethora of the different tools and features that you now have at your disposal, I have to suggest that you grab the Infinite Skills (bought out by a different publisher - now available at Amazon) instructional courses, hosted by our very own Phil Wilkes.

I have his complete works and, even though I consider myself an advanced user, I still really enjoy running through his courses - either start-to-finish or by selecting just a few - and get into some good ol' Carrara know-how. Here's the thing:

Carrara has a Massive amount of features and tools. Funny how it's specific combination of functions is unique to itself, isn't it? I'd think that more software companies would want to have all of these wonderful benefits under one roof... don't you? Hmmm. 

All of this stuff can be really daunting if we try to just dig in and try and figure how it all works all at once. Like anything else, each of these things takes a measure of practice and experience to truly gain those skills and have them sunk into our muscle-memory.

So while it's really fun and beneficial to go through each lesson in turn, I find that the stuff that I need to know 'right now' sinks in really well at the time, while some of the other things might be wonderfully understandable at that time, but when I finally get around to trying out those features, a good recap from my personal instructor is just what I need to succeed. 

I also often put him on just for the entertainment value of it - while everybody else in the house is watching crap on the TV! LOL

*Note that you don't need both "Learning Carrara 8" and "Learning Carrara 8.5" - as the latter is the same but with updates regarding new features of version 8.5, so if you already have the former, you may get just the 8.5 updates via the "Learning Carrara 8.5 - New Features Supplement". Very nice of Phil to suggest the upgrade option to Infinite Skills... and it was really nice of them to comply ;)

Learning Carrara 8.5 - If you're buying this for the first time, just get this one, even if you have 8.1 and not the 8.5 upgrade. The price is the same and, who knows? After seeing the new stuff, you may see that 8.5 is better for you. Otherwise, it still covers the same material. 

Check the link (click the image) and scroll down the page to see the Table of Contents. This course is INCREDIBLY useful to any Carraraist, new, used or old. It covers a wonderfully detailed look at Carrara as a whole - with perfect demonstrations to drive the topics home.

The working files are also a wonderful addition to the Carrara browser! I download the working files and add them to my own special "PhilW" category in my My Objects browser, and I'm often glad to have those examples there - not just to see what he did, but quite often just to save some time and load in a project which helps my specific needs!

If you don't already know how to create your own custom browser in Carrara, I've written the following article for you:

Your Carrara Browser
Making great stuff isn't as cool if you can't remember where you put it. Let's get some good habits going right from the start

Advanced Carrara Techniques - puts us in the drives seat of Carrara's modelers with brilliant detail. There are times where the course takes us to a point where he could either repeat a technique or skip past it. Instead, he demonstrates a different method using a different modeler or a different method within the same modeler! Really cool. 

Right from the start he gets us into the processes of UV Mapping, including UV unwrapping with seams and pins. This is essential for any model maker to learn and fully understand. What good are models if they can't look right in the end, right? When it's a good opportunity within the course to revisit UV Mapping... he does. Very well executed.

The models that he shows us how to build are very nicely done, with full explanations and details along the way - and he provides them in the working files which, again, work great as working examples, but also as valuable content! The Sopwith Camel airplane (shown on the Cover art) he makes within the course is absolutely stunning!!!

He also covers many other techniques and tips that really help take us to those next levels in our projects. We could be satisfied with the wonderful country cottage scene he teaches us to build. But Phil continues on and builds some beautiful field grass, forms it into clumps and replicates it to specific parts of the terrain! He leaves no stone unturned - even the ones that he makes in Carrara! ;)

Particles examples, making clothing three different ways for V4 (applicable to any figure), taking us into PhotoShop or Daz Studio when appropriate to complete the instruction... and a Lot Lot More! I'm sure you'll agree that any and all of these course are worth a LOT more than what they cost. It was the cost that kept me away at first. I was embarrassed that I waited so long once I finally took the plunge. He even teaches us how to create HDR images!!! Highly recommended!

Again, the working files are also a wonderful addition to the Carrara browser!

Realism Rendering - is a journey through Phil's extensive research on getting realistic results with Carrara's native render engine. He does a wonderful comparison between images rendered via LuxRender's PBR via Luxor and those rendered in Carrara's native Photo-Realistic engine using knowledge gained from his research into "Linear Workflow" practices.

My rendering habits have forever changed after taking this course. 

Like all of his courses, this one doesn't skimp on education or entertainment. Phil is perfect at delivering a good solid foundation of skills needed to really understand Carrara, which gives each of us something special according to how we use it.

He covers the intricacies of indoor lighting and rendering, along with a bonus tip of a very ingenious method of making quick models to fill the scene - even if you don't model! I don't want to ruin the surprise, so I can't tell you what it is... It's cool, though and it works great!

Building shaders for realism, setting good default rendering and scene settings, exterior scenes, human portrait rendering, and a wealth of information about all of the various light types available to us. He takes us through shading a model of a car to stunning results, he takes a simple scene from Carrara's native browser and, by creating all new shaders, lighting and environment elements, turns the thing into a masterpiece - with added post work examples in PhotoShop! A real treat, this course is!

Yes... everybody runs Carrara in different ways. We have our favored methods, we have our own agendas and workloads and workflows... 

Phil's lessons aren't so much: "This is what you do", but more "Do this and this will happen", which adds to our overall knowledge, which makes us all better at whatever we do when we sit behind Carrara.

So I'd like to take this time to very respectfully thank my instructor for immensely increasing the rush that I feel when I do what I do in Carrara...

Thank you, Phil Wilkes

You Totally ROCK!!!

Love ya, my friend and mentor!

Post edited by Dartanbeck on


  • PhilWPhilW Posts: 5,123

    Gosh, just seen this and I humbly thank you for being my (unpaid!) publicist!  Now that I appear to have a stable machine to work on, maybe I can get around to finishing the series on Animation, which is about half complete.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,341


    Oh... you've paid me alright. All I ever did to get those courses was to take the plunge and buy them.

    They (you) have been paying me ever since ;)

    Looking forward to the next experience!

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,341
    edited July 2016

    There's also my highly unkept work:

    ►►► Carrara Information Manual ◄◄◄

    Just click to Page 1 to get to the Table of Contents

    I've reconnected all of the major links but there might still be some that are within individual posts that are broken due to the new forum - whatever it is that broke stuff. I think that the broken ones do lead to the correct page, just not to the correct post. I'm working on a more efficient method of helping people - it just takes time... and lots of it :/

    Post edited by Dartanbeck on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,341

    Into modeling?

    Our very own Mike Moir has a really nice set of Vertex Modeling tutorials bundled into his "Carrara Modeling Tutorials"

    This is a really good opportunity to progress your skills and learn some good habits from a real Master Modeler.

    But there's more. He doesn't like to leave the story unfinished, so he finishes the scene with shaders, often built from the ground up, otherwise a blend of those found within the browser, then gives the model something to sit upon, shades that, adds lights and adjusts to taste - finally showing you his finished product!

    Seriously... a real value here!

    Wanna learn some animation?

    Mike (mmoir) continues his tutorial lineup with this excellent course: "Create a Walk Cycle in Carrara"

    This is a truly wonderful experience as Mike shows us how to start from the ground up building our own walk cycles - taking extra measures to keep those feet from slipping along the floor. I'm sure we've all experienced that horrifying effect!

    Get familiar with Carrara's Graph editor. This is essential to all manner of animations to get them behaving exactly how you need them to.

    Create Carrara NonLinear Animation (NLA) clips to save your work for future use.

    Much, much more... click the link (product image) to learn more!


    Speaking of Mike, have a look at his store for other incredible Carrara products. When you do - or if you already have - be sure to look in the Carrara installation directory for a folder called "Tutorials", where you'll find excellent words of wisdom from the master himself. I've been a mmoir fan as long as I've owned Carrara!

    Mike, my collection of your Carrara products is nearly complete. I really appreciate the care and the passion you've included in each one - they're everything I hoped they would be and much more!

    While you didn't really need to take the time to write out your tutorials pages, you did anyways and it's helped me become a better Carraraist...

    Thank You!!!

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,341
    edited August 2016

    Special Dedication and Thanks to our very own: CRIPEMAN!!!

    from the <<<Carrara Infromation Manual>>>

    ► Cripeman's Carrara Video Tutorials Index
    Carrara Community's very own Super Hero takes plenty of time from his busy life to
    explore many exciting features of this amazing 3d content manipulation, modeling and animation suite

    Full of inspiration, Cripeman has shown us tools and techniques for all kinds of fun ways to learn this invaluable tool. He's made some really cool dedications and has, himself, been a truly dedicated super hero!

    Check out the above index. There's everything from dedications to greats, like Frank Frazetta and Eadward Muybridge, the Grandfather of Animation, to detailed information on Carrara's unique features, Dynamic Hair, Plant Editor, Lighting, Rendering, Particles, Physics, Modeling, Shaders, Replicators, Animating... he covers all kinds of stuff... and he's really, really entertaining!


    Thank you So much for all you've done with/for us over all these years!

    I truly love your material!

    100 x 100 - 8K
    Post edited by Dartanbeck on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,341
    edited July 2016

    Special Dedication and Thanks to our very own: GKDANTAS (Marcello Teixeira)

    from the <<<Carrara Infromation Manual>>>

    This is intended to be a simple index to the wonderful and helpful video tutorials by GKDantas
    Though silent, these videos hit the point of the topic in a clear, visual manner and are useful for learning where on the interface to go to perform the given task, but also to use as a provided link to show other how these tasks can be fulfilled. This brings us to my reasoning for creating this index:
    Yes, they are all easily accessible from Carrara Cafe, but I wanted an easy reference to each of them on a single page for my own ease in linking to them to help answer questions that others may have. To grab the link, all we have to do is to right-click on the topic needed, and choose: Copy Link Location (different browser commands may differ from one another, but the gist is the same), and then paste the link into the appropriate post. Enough of my babble, though... on with the index!

    ► GK Dantas' Video Manual Index
    Carrara Cafe's Die-Hard Instructor - now with an easy-to-use index of links

    Also visit the GKDANTAS Store at DAZ 3D for helpful products to assist in shaders, lighting, scene effects, Carrara paint brushes, and more. 
    Marcelo Teixeira (GKDANTAS) has been a driving force in helping artists to become acquainted with Carrara and how it works at the Carrara Cafe, here at DAZ 3D, and via his YouTube channel, which contains all of the above video sessions and more. When I purchased the p3DO Explorer Pro and asked about using it to create Carrara thumbnails, the owner hooked me up with Marcelo, who has taught me how to do it. Now I see that he has a YouTube video, linked to above!

    Anyways, Thank You to GKDANTAS for being so helpful in our cause!
    Thanks Marcelo!

    Post edited by Dartanbeck on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,341

    Speaking of Carrara Cafe...

    A very special warm thank you to Jetbird and all involved in the Carrara Cafe... and Thanks to Daz3D for providing such a wonderful hangout for us!

    I haven't seen her around in a LONG time now, but a very special thank you to Holly Wetcircuit, who has been a good friend and a dire hard at contributing over more years than I know. I really miss her.

    Warm Thank you to 3drendero for busting his ass arse to keep us all up to date and in the loop... doing a great job, my friend!

    Okay... Anyways...  

    Have you been to Carrara Cafe? It's a very special place dedicated to us... Carrara enthusiasts!!!

    Several of us have been contributing art, stories, tutorials, articles, content to download. I don't even know the true history of Carrara Cafe, but I'd love to learn it! There are many things to download from the ever-so-wonderful C3DE magazine to GKDANTS' free sample of his Daz3D product: GI Dome Ultimate to Fenric's free vine growing Ivy Generator, to Shaders, Scenes, Models... it's really cool... check it out!

    The Gallery has all kinds of wonders to behold. Carrara truly is capable of helping us to create stunningly breathtaking art!

    Come on over, have a cup of Carrara and have some fun! Great place to learn, hang out, socialize, download stuff, view and/or upload art... it's a Carrara Haven! :)

    (images artists: top - Kixum, left - jayoes, right - evilproducer)

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,341

    Carrara 3D Expo Magazine

    brought to you by Carrara Cafe

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,341

    A special Thank You to my dear friend, Mr. Ringo Monfort

    Always willing to share some incredible Carrara knowledge, insight, memories, art

    ► History of Carrara by Ringo Monfort

    ► Classic Carrara - Render Images by Ringo Monfort

    His products teach as we use them, Ringo is Digital Painters Shaders. You see some free samples of them in your Shaders browser, if you've installed them. Examining his shaders is an excellent way to learn how to do various things.

    Check out his store here at Daz3D: Ringo Monfort

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,341
    edited October 2016

    I should also mention that at the top area of the Table of Contents we can find the latest Official User Guide as well as the Beta version, the Online guide along with countless other resources as you peruse the system in:

    ►►► Carrara Information Manual ◄◄◄

    You'll also find some cool topics, like:

    ► First Steps - Setting up a sample scene in Carrara with plant, terrain, sky and hair
    Diomede's wonderful "Starter Thread" for those new to Carrara! "Where do we go now, what do we do next?"  Find answers here!

    ► Building Carrara Terrains Intro

    ► Carrara Walkthrough
    Join Carrara enthusiast, Dartanbeck, for a stroll through some of the basic concepts
    that all Carraraists should get to know early on in their experience to help for a smooth working experience.

    A community Project webspace for Carrara Animators!!!

    ...and much, Much More!!!

    Post edited by Dartanbeck on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,341
    edited July 2016

    Special Thanks to Mark Bremmer and his wonderful Mark Bremmer Creative site, where we can get access to some cool tutorials on a lot of things.

    Then, if we like the way the lessons are going, we can go further and buy full program courses.

    Mark is an excellent instructor whom gets really deep into the subjects of whichever software he's discussing. Very highly recommended!

    For a bunch of other free tutorials by Mark, don't miss his link to his Carrara Dark Arts page!

    Some More Videos from Mark Bremmer

    Thank Mark! You ROCK!!!

    Post edited by Dartanbeck on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,341

    Special Thanks to my good friend, Mr. Sci-Fi Funk!

    Sci-Fi Funk has been progressing through a tight production schedule animating, editing and producing his wonderful dose of Carrara-made episodes.

    I have a smapling of his Carrara Discussion Forum posts here:

    ► Carrara Animation and Optimization Tutorials - Sci Fi Funk

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,341
    edited July 2016

    Evil Producer Thread Posts - Useful information provided by one of our very own Carrara 3d Artists
    Pros and Cons of Carrara DOF Vs. Postworked DOF I was mentioning how long I was waiting for a DOF (depth of field) calculation, which happens after the image is rendered. The image in question was a giant image designed to wrap around a scene as a background image - and was taking a L O N G time, indeed! Thanks again EP!

    Pete Gregorio has a wonderful online video tutorial that demonstrates some
    wonderful features within Carrara's Vertex Modeler:
     Carrara 8 Gears Tutorial

    Jonstark  Creating realistic Carrara hair for animations and still renders (video tutorials!)

    Thanks Guys!!!

    Post edited by Dartanbeck on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,341
    edited August 2016

    Your Carrara Browser
    Making great stuff isn't as cool if you can't remember where you put it. Let's get some good habits going right from the start

    Daz Install Manager - Installing Custom Poser Runtimes
    Basic walkthrough of designing your own custom runtime structure

    Navigating in Carrara
    some good tips on how to get around the work space, go to where you want to be at specific times, and how to send stuff to specific locations within your scene

    Shaders - A Basic Walthrough
    Make you content look as it should. I’ll begin with the quick and easy methods of correcting the appearance of your models. For those so inclined, I then continue on with a few levels of better understanding within the texture room.

    Learning tips and tricks from prior Carrara Challenge WIP threads
    We have monthly render challenges and since the very first one it's become customary and often required that the contestants post at least WIP message in the WIP discussion thread. These WIP threads contain many workflow ideas and inspiration - often a lot of friendly banter and humor as well! We keep an index of them here ;)

    Post edited by Dartanbeck on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,341

    Some of my endeavors to help others via video "Babble Sessions" LOL

    Some were done by request - me answering question by video, others just because

    Babble Session Tutorials

    - click images below to watch video -

    Carrara Walk Through: Shaders - Pt1 (a basic optimization of V4's shaders)

    Carrara 8.5 Pro - FirstLook (Playing with Genesis)

    Carrara 8.5 First Look Part 2 - Edited 

    DAZ 3D Installation Manager 101a (Me starting fresh using DIM)

    Painting with Shadows for Carrara (Playing with Global Illumination/Indirect Lighting)

    2 part series - Steam Dragon Animation first in Carrara, then post in Howler - for a 10 second animation challenge here

    Part 1 - Steam Dragon 1A Carrara Setup 

    Part 2 - Steam Dragon Post Work in Howler 

    Workflow for Genesis 2 Conformed Clothing 

    More to come soon... hopefully a lot better than what I've already done... I guess we'll see, right?  ;)

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,341

    Some Articles I've written for the Carrara Cafe


    ► Fenric’s Change Bone Visibilty Plugin

       by Dartanbeck | May 12, 2014 |

    ► Carranimation Part 1 – Rotation of the Hip

       by Dartanbeck | Mar 8, 2014 |

    ► Major Production – My Production

    by Dartanbeck | Mar 6, 2014 |

    ► Optimizing Your Content – Shader Basics

       by Dartanbeck | Mar 6, 2014 |


    ►►► Carrara Information Manual ◄◄◄

                Visit the Table of Contents              

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,341
    edited October 2018

    3DXTRACT E-Zine thread, here in the forums (with link to download the complete collection)

        Includes tutorials, tips, articles from some of Carrara's Greats!!!    

    Post edited by Dartanbeck on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,341
    edited July 2016

    Carrara Cafe and C3DE E-zine thread, here in the forums (with links to download the complete collection)

    Post edited by Dartanbeck on
  • DiomedeDiomede Posts: 13,818
    edited July 2016

    Great thread, Dartanbeck.  So much great information Maybe it should be stickied.

    Post edited by Diomede on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,341
    diomede said:

    Great thread, Dartanbeck.  So much great information Maybe it should be stickied.

    Thanks mate! I keep seeing more and more new Carrara users and people coming back to Carrara after realizing that there really isn't anything quite like it anywhere else, so.... ;)

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,341
    edited August 2016

    In ►►► Carrara Information Manual ◄◄◄ thread, which is stickied, you may have noticed this odd little thing: 

    ► Forum Help Links

    What that list attempts to do is to connect us to threads which are already underway, but may have been quite long enough to disappear from the forefront pages of the forum. The useful thing about revisiting a topic already well underway is that, if it doesn't completely answer your question you can ask within that same thread, and anyone who was following that discussion will get an e-mail notification and may have useful information to add to your new query.

    I'm certainly not trying to deter anyone from creating new threads... heavens no. Just trying to help folks find answers and make friends ;)

    Carrara has a lot of artists using it and doing AMAZING things with it. This new forum, as new as it is, has immense depth and a wealth of great information. When we revitalize great old posts from the past, we can often inspire greatness!

    < images from the Post Your Renders - A New Hope thread >< left - Chris Poole, right - de3an, below - evilproducer >

    Post edited by Dartanbeck on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,341
    edited August 2016

    Some more cool Carrara renders. To get to their post, just click the image.

    These "Post your Renders" posts can offer some excellent tips and tricks and techniques. These (and those in the above post) are from the first thread of that sort in this new forum, called

    "Post Your Renders #4 - A New Hope

    I'll be going through it and then the next one is

    "Post You Renders - Yet More Hope", before we get to the one we're currently using:

    "Post Your Renders #6 - Let It Rip"

    Perusing through these threads can be an excellent source of inspiration and somtimes some banter fills in between the images with questions and answers... so it can be a great way to pick up on new ideas and techniques as well!

    Of course, I'm not showing all of them - there's simply too many for that - though it would be fun to do a separate Gallery with all posted renders within!

    < images from the Post Your Renders - A New Hope thread >< left - 3dage, right - Chris Poole, below - Namrettek >

    Post edited by Dartanbeck on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,341
    edited August 2016

    < images from the Post Your Renders - A New Hope thread >< left - Holly Wetcircuit, right - de3an, below - 3dage>

    Post edited by Dartanbeck on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,341

    Cool eh? I'll get more in here soon, along with some more learning material ;)

  • magaremotomagaremoto Posts: 1,182

    more animation video tuts please, with a focus on camera motion and facial animation mainly. Totally noob

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,341

    more animation video tuts please, with a focus on camera motion and facial animation mainly. Totally noob

    Very cool. I'm happy to help, and I just happen to feel Incredibly comfortable at both requests.

    Not having any air conditioning, it's pretty loud around here, so recording video tutorials can be tough right now - but that's what I'm gearing myself up to do... making new (and vastly improved) video tutorials for my YouTube channel.

    I don't have any actual animation-creation tutorials there yet, but I do have a helpful (I think?) written tutorial for beginning tips at Carrara Cafe:

    Carranimation Part 1 - Rotation of the Hip, which has some useful tips towards getting started, but there's a lot more to discuss - especially when we consider those things your asking about.

    Both subjects, facial animations, from movements of the head/neck to expressions including blinking and twitching of the corners of the mouth, etc.; and then applying motions to the camera; are really easy to set up in Carrara, and even easier to get icky results! It takes practice to get the techniques down - because we need to treat all of these things differently. If we use the same techniques we use for the face on the camera, the shot just won't look right - and the opposite also applies.

    In both cases, what "I" shoot for is a look that resembles 'Live Action' filmed footage. It's not as easy as one might think - nor is it really difficult. It just takes a lot of practice, which also includes a lot of time-consuming test rendering.

    Those "Test" renders are what I've used to make my fun little (and old, now) homework project in film editing, Just for Fun - a mix of many junk tests that I had on my drive, which were very handy for learning how to cut clips together into a finished film. Yes... it's a silly thing to watch, but I still love watching it from time to time! ;)

  • wgdjohnwgdjohn Posts: 2,634

    Kewl  Watched everything currently on YouTube... waiting paintiently for your future vids. In the meantime I'll have to check to see if I missed any on CarraraCafe.

  • magaremotomagaremoto Posts: 1,182

    cool, thanks DB really appreciated and keep on going yes

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,341

    wgdjohn just reminded me (in his modeling thread, which I'll get to in a second) about the fine tutorials by Dimension Theory, whom used to be VERY active among the Carrara user group. 

    Dimension Theory Video Tutorials on YouTube       <<<< Click here to go to his Tutorials Playlist

    For your entertainment, however, have a look at some of the non-tutorial eye candy he's done for us: (these are all very short, and very worth watching!!! So Cool!)

    Essence of Irradiance

    Carrara Volumetric Smoke 




    Rainbow Balls of Death HD


    Player Piano made with Displacement Maps

    Light as Substance

    All we are is Dust


  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,341

    A little Carrara Promotion

    DAZ 3D 2007 Promotional Video

    Amazing! D|S 1.7, Bryce 6, Hexagon, Carrara 6 Pro

    2008 Carrara 7 Preview Promo

    Carrara 8 Promo Reel 2010

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