No send to Carrara or vice versa?

TheGreatESCapeTheGreatESCape Posts: 10
edited December 1969 in Carrara Discussion

I like that DS can communicate with PS via a plugin, although I wish the plugin took advantage of the 3D capabilities in CS6 Ext. Working with texture maps in 2D just simply isn't as intuitive, although useful for some quick types of operations. I like that it can communicate with Zbrush via a plugin... though I wish it supported textures as well. I know that you can work around that for the visual feedback, but it can be tedious. It's also fun to then send from ZB to 3D coat once in a while and back. It's even cool that you can send to hexagon and Bryce. I wonder why then with the wonderful newish content support and nice rendering in Carrara. Why don't Carrara and DS communicate with one another? With the compatibility and development controlled by the same company, I would have thought that would be a no brainer. I like to create and/or tweak things to make them unique, plus I just plain enjoy sculpting and painting. Not much of an animator, but I needed a basic modeller, and it's nice that Carrara works with content libraries. I like Google Sketchup for modeling buildings and furniture, but I wouldn't want to try character creation in it. I plan on adding Vue and possibly Marvelous designer (nice drapery) to my toolbox eventually.

Anyhow, a nice send back and fourth between Carrara and DS would be nice because frankly I like the interface in DS better for some things and the Smart content feature I have found works with less errors making it easier to find content in DS... not to mention I have useful plugins I already know how to use in DS, Like LAMH and Garibaldi Express... redundant I know. It's simple enough to save from one and then open in the other, but I really do like the enhanced workflows that occurs when complimentary applications communicate well. Or am I missing this feature somehow as a new Carrara user?

I have some experience with blender, but I find the UI to be a bit awkward although a pretty capable bit of programming, especially for free. I like Modo, but it's kinda overkill for what I do which is generally setting up scenes and imagery to use for reference for paintings. I just love that in the 3D world that it's relatively simple to re-use and re-pose custom characters/props for themed pieces or a series. rather than working from scratch every single time. which is why I ended up with Carrara, at least for now. Oh, btw does anyone know why the cloth simulator doesn't seem to work with anything that has a thickness to it? Or is it jut not working for me? Was trying to get some drapery going on.


  • wetcircuitwetcircuit Posts: 0
    edited April 2014

    Hi there! :)

    The issue is that Carrara and DAZ Studio have completely different histories, and are based on completely different render engines. For many years DAZ3D has attempted to explore ways to get the two programs to be more "compatible" with one another - but some things will never translate across such as render engine- specific effects like hair and complex shaders, and light FX.... At one time Carrara was more compatible with POSER than STUDIO, and up through Poser7 (I think) figures and scene files are easily opened and useable in Carrara (again with shader tweaking and engine specific effects like hair omitted).... Poser and Carrara were once owned by the same company a long long time ago, but I am not sure that is the reason....

    Studio's primary purpose is to run the current family of DAZ3D figures. Most everything else is an add on. Carrara is a 3D suite that includes most functions of a "regular" 3D studio like text, modelers, tree/plant/ skies and clouds, rigging, surface replicator, hair/fur, animation "blocks" and a few alternate renderers all built in - the sort of features you'd expect in any "big" 3D suite like Maya, Cinema4D, Blender, etc.... The big advantage is that Carrara can also do the Poser/DAZ figures.

    Since DAZ Studio is tuned very closely with the DAZ figures, and it's base version is free (?) it's current feature set revolves around the new features of the latest figures - the figures and Studio are developed together, as "content" and "player". This gives Studio a faster development cycle that also (in the past at least) sometimes breaks old compatibilities.... Carrara is usually updated to handle the newest DAZ figures once the features and bugs have been worked out with the new figures (often a development cycle of up to a year, depending on how radicle the new figure is). Carrara also comes with a lot of that premium figure content included with your purchase, so with Carrara you are usually getting the end results of the figure, while in studio you may get the "bleeding" edge of the next figures, along with the casualties of being on the "bleeding edge" where some features are suddenly abandoned - in the past, paid plugins for Studio have been rendered incompatible with newer versions of Studio.... In contrast, Carrara plugins even by 3rd parties are traditionally free upgrades, even when a new version of the plugin is required by a new version of Carrara.

    Carrara and Studio will occasionally be able to transfer files (one time there was a bridge, but it stopped working because of Studio...; then there was a common interchange format in DAZ Collada, don't remember why that was abandoned..., and currently Studio uses a whole new file format called DUF (?) that Carrara8.5 can read but not write (?).... As you can see, I have lost the patience to follow Studio's development, as it occasionally takes radical turns according to the needs of the latest figures. Basically, if judged by the past, Studio is only current with the latest figure's features and DAZ3D is willing to completely shift Studio to give the ultimate experience with its figures (which are also under constant development).... That's not a knock against Studio, it just help explains what is going on there with compatibility.

    Around Poser8 (?) Studio and Poser began to become LESS compatible with each other, as each pursued their own method for weightmaps in their figures. I believe there is a free(?) script on FENRIC's website that will convert the new Poser weightmapping to Carrara (I believe it is used in Poser).... So ironically, Carrara is still somewhat more compatible with Poser files. Although I am not up-to-date with Poser development and their latest methods...

    So in a perfect world, all these programs would be awesomely 100% compatible, but that would mean that development of new figures would stagnate as they would be "locked" at a certain level of technology (which for a long time they were with Poser7 compatibility).... It can be frustrating trying to follow the figure development - especially as a Carrara user where the figures are just one component of the whole, but DAZ and Poser are occasionally friendly and occasionally more competitive, but the thing to remember is that none of these programs are standing still, so what works today may not work in a few years, OR older figures will be more universally compatible with all three.... For my use in Carrara I usually look for Poser compatibility, as Studio's development is somewhat too radical for my comfort, and I don't like rebuying all the same old-new figures and all the same old-new clothes every 2 years.

    Post edited by wetcircuit on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 20,417
    edited December 1969

    The way DAZ Studio is becoming though... I truly think that the world would be a better place with the Send To buttons! ;)
    But from learning the back and forth method from Phil, in his Advanced Training course, it really is nice to use that extra export step to get your data file folder all set up, and have the needed obj file there where it belongs. Personally, I've adopted the category system used by products that I buy and install. So there's a Data > Dartanbeck, Runtime > Textures > Dartanbeck, People > Genesis 2 > Clothing > Dartanbeck, etc., etc., system in my library for all of my Carrara > DAZ Studio > Carrara stuff. But once it's done, it can go into Carrara or DS. Not sure how Poser DSON works yet.

    The big difference that 'Send to Hexagon' has, is that it automatically launches morph loader sending back to DS, which is cool. But once you get the hand of how this system works, between DAZ Studo and any modeler, it really is an easy workflow.

    I like DAZ Studio, but only as a tool to use for prep, not animating and rendering. Though I've not picked up GoFigure's timeline/graph editor tools for it yet, which I'm sure makes animating a blast. So I'm slowly starting to send work over to Carrara's little sister. With the ease of use with the aniBlock importer, and the versatile and powerful tools of aniMate 2, I am planning to get those plugins for making my cycle-style animations directly in DS and aniMating them into aniBlocks.

    Anyways, if I poll was ever put up, I would be one to vote for Carrara and DAZ Studio compatibility. As long as we wouldn't have to sacrifice Carrara's renderer/shader tools (amongst many other features) in the process.

  • TheGreatESCapeTheGreatESCape Posts: 10
    edited December 1969

    I wouldn't think too much would have to be given up. The slower developed project simply wouldn't support the bleeding edge of the more frequently updated one. It's not as if old content is constantly updated (excluding transitioning to smart content). Which is fine, just have to code in a little error handling in to notify the user of an incompatibility. With the next update it catches up as best it can. Being able to use a Send To feature MOST of the time would be better than no Send To feature at all. Shaders and such can be approximated... the same type of thing is done when using Lux Render for example, so I don't see a huge problem them using different renderers. Sure maybe not every map type will be cross compatible, but again approximate conversions could be made. I can see it not supporting say Genesis Trinity (three) should it arrive before Carrara's next update. But tight integration and workflow's that save time are all the rage in higher end (more expensive) packages which is why I assume Daz is starting to go in that direction at least with Studio. I for one am all for saving steps. I'm not really into creating animation, but I do like to create, pose, re-purpose and modify 3d assets to set up scenes for reference for artwork I often end up painting from scratch. I'm odd like that. The history of the separate paths the software took previously explains the former lack of integration. Hopefully, Daz continues to narrow the gap moving forward . Studio has a more polished if unconventional interface, but it is effective for the purpose for which it was designed (playing with and showcasing what I assume is their real bread and butter.... 3d assets).

    For now I am going to have fun trying to get the cloth simulator in Carrara to work for clothing and such. Maybe some set design curtains. Natural looking drapery is not a "fun" thing to sculpt speaking for myself that is. One reason I have my eye on Marvelous Designer. It allows importing of obj's... So I assume you can do all sorts of fabric related modelling not just clothes, but I do like making characters. So, I could get a lot of mileage out of clothing alone. Too bad it can't export out dynamic clothing for use with DS. Optitex is more than I want to get into. It's not like I run a studio or anything, just an independent artist ever trying to explore and learn more.

    I'm more at home in ZB, 3DC, Sketchup, PS CS6 Ext and the like than Carrara, but I'm sure I'll get the hang of it. It's nice that there are people to talk to if I ever feel the urge to knock my head against the nearest wall in frustration, but I generally don't get that impatient. May as well ask for any pointers to decent Tuts (while I'm typing here)? Might cut down on my learning curve.

    Thank you for the replies to you both :)

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 20,417
    edited December 1969

    This forum is quite a bit of a learning source. Some really informative people here about Carrara user's needs. So I started the information thread as a place that I can mess with to help folks that just want to browse around, read, watch, and learn. I was hoping to learn as I proceed with the project, and it worked miraculously. The more involved I became with the forum and Carrara Cafe, the more I found myself learning new stuff.

    I just spent the day yesterday adding new links to the Forum Help Links part of it, when I found that I've tapped the maximum size that a post can be, so I'll be splitting that post into three for now so that I can keep adding links to where I stopped in my last update. But then I plan to do something a little different - I'd still like to catalog all of those links, but some of them relate to very similar subjects. So I think I'll link to a main one of the type, and link to the others from that thread, by submitting a post into that, with the links in it leading to the others. It'll keep better organization without losing anything.

    ►►► Carrara Information Manual ◄◄◄
    is a bit of a disaster right now. But I love it. I use it to learn more than I've spent time making it. But it took a long time to get to where it is today. Cripeman's videos were the inspiration. I asked him if I could make an online index that would help me to sort out the videos under categories for easier learning. Before he agreed, which he did right away, I had already decided to do a lot more with it. His videos are really good. He just takes you in to explore a specific subject and it's done. Very fun.

    Since the thread is a bit nuts right now, the best way to use it is to browse the table of contents - the first post. Don't expect any sort of order to the table, so you really have to browse sometimes. But it leads to some pretty cool stuff and tutorials galore.

    When you're really new to Carrara, and things just seem really different, these might be really helpful to know:
    Miscellaneous Tips
    Navigating in Carrara
    Your Content Browser
    Daz Install Manager - Installing Custom Poser Runtimes

    Otherwise, just browse around, ask questions and enjoy being a Carraraist!
    Oh, and there's a really cool Carrara magazine, C3DE!

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  • TheGreatESCapeTheGreatESCape Posts: 10
    edited December 1969

    Thank you for the links. I'll have to poke around and see what I can find that pertains to my interests. Hopefully, I can get some good use out of the tutorials and Carrara.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 20,417
    edited December 1969

    My pleasure. Say, in your earlier post, does 3DC mean 3D Coat? If so, how do you like that in comparison to zb?

  • TheGreatESCapeTheGreatESCape Posts: 10
    edited April 2014

    Yes, I use 3D Coat. It has a lot of overlaping functionality with Zbrush. I find the feel of sculpting in ZB to "feel" a little better most of the time, but especially with newer releases, 3DC has been catching up there. I do like the freedom that voxels give you when building a character base. Voxels give even more freedom than Dynamesh. It performs better boolean operations as well. They also have added in self healing dynamic tesselation with live clay at version 4 to play with. It also supports more options for texturing though some aspects are not quite as polished. Then again there is really only one developer and it's amazing the number of features Andrew has managed to include. The Retopo tools are easier in 3DC when it comes to manual retopology. Zremesher is really pretty good in ZB though if you know how to finess it.

    Honestly, they both really shine, but in different ways. The main advantages of 3DC are that there is litterally NO topology to worry about until you are ready to, and it's intuitive layered texturing support either directly on the model or on the maps.. There are also applinks to communicate with several apps... something like GOZ for ZB, but they aren't as polished or full featured as ZB's GOZ IMO. I also prefer the curve tools in 3DC in so much as it is easier to smoothly finesse them. Those things being said though... there are just so many unique bells and whistles in ZB and I love the panel loops feature... things like that make certain types of hard surface modelling better in ZB. In my opinion, if you can get both, it is worth learning them both and using them to compliment one another. Given the price point you probably get more bang for our buck with 3DC although that's arguable if ZB continues it's free updates into version 5. There is also a larger user base for ZB and more thurough documentation and training, but 3DC is improving there as well.

    3DC IMO is the closest second to ZB, and is actually better in some areas. If I had to use only one of them, I would probably choose ZB. You really do have to use them both for a while and get used to their differences to know when using one is better than the other. If I could I would simply sculpt and retopo all my models, but for buildings and props, that doesn't always make sense.

    Some people think that ZB is really scattered, but when you think that it was initially only intended for 2.5D illustration purposes for essentially 2d artists... the uniqueness of it's UI and feature set makes a little bit more sense. I tried out mudbox, but it didn't exactly ever wow me.

    Anyhow, there is my scattered 2 bits unless you'd like to know something more specific.

    Post edited by TheGreatESCape on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 20,417
    edited December 1969

    That's perfect. I was just about to ask about MudBox, but... there you go! ;)
    We have a frequenting 3DC user here, Stu, who does some really cool art. He often posts in our Post Your Renders threads. His Classic Monsters of the films of yesteryear are simply amazing! He seems to have very nice things to say about 3DC as well.

    I tried Sculptris and, while it was very fun, I am currently much more 'at home' polygon modeling. Retopo is definitely something that must take some practice to appreciate. But I really didn't spend enough time to give it a really fair chance... so it wasn't until the end when I started asking it not to keep creating more polys as I sculpt - that made a big difference. ;)

    Perhaps once I get into making creatures and the like. I have currently been a fan of using what I can buy around here. Saves a lot of time and always has a predictable animation method. But I can see that sculpting people and creatures would be a real blast! Environmental stuff too, I'd imagine. Hmmmm... maybe I should take another look?!

  • TheGreatESCapeTheGreatESCape Posts: 10
    edited December 1969

    Don't get me wrong, Mudbox is certainly capable, and of the three it has the most standardized UI, so Maya people like it better frequently. The brushes don't feel as polished as ZB though and there's a certain lack of innovation in it's development. If all you want to do is sculpt and texture and the UI is a big deal... then it might make the favored choice. ZB and 3DC are more like swiss army knives, and sometimes you just wonder what they will come up with next.

    Sculpting is the more fun and natural approach especially for things you don't have to animate. Just sculpt texture and decimate. When you need to animate the mesh is more of a concern. The transfer utility is a god send for humanoids though. You can just get genesis as close to your figure's dimentions as possible and transfer the bones and weiht mapping. If you're topoloogy is good, that takes care of one of the more tedious/ less enjoyable aspects for the most part. There can be a bit more work if the head has non-standard teeth and such. Merchant resource kits can be useful and time saving if you are pretty much making standard characters though.

    Again though, I am not an animation guy really, so there may be other specific reason's that maya users often prefer mudbox.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 20,417
    edited December 1969

    It's also the highest in price ;)
    Well, wow! So are there any that you haven't tried yet, like the free Sculptris or Blender?

  • TheGreatESCapeTheGreatESCape Posts: 10
    edited May 2014

    Attached is a single mesh sketch I made and half way textured in 3D-coat. it's just a screenshot. I probably won't finish it since it was just for practice, but it gives the idea of a basic sculpt with 3D-coat. As you can imagine.., If I had bothered going in and refined and textured everything.... added a light or two... it's capable of quite good results all on its own. Maybe I will do a creature sculpt for fun next

    As for software I have tried. I have tried almost any software I can get my hands on either through trial purchase or free. So, not a lot that I haven't tried. Sculptris has pretty much become the dynamic tessellation add-on for Zbrush with the use of GoZ. Although, I don't find myself using it much since Zbrush added Dynamesh to it's arsenal. Blender is amazingly capable for a free application, but it's UI just doesn't make me happy. It is not the most intuitive for me, though I have modeled a building or two in it including some ornate additions. I'd just as soon use Zbrush even for buildings most of the time. When I need to be terribly accurate Google sketchup is actually easy and not bad for building simple to moderate complexity base meshes. I don't create for games or animations though so my 3D-assets can get overly complex for most "professional" uses. If I had my druthers, I would probably add Modo (wih Mesh Fusion), Formz, Vue Complete 2014, and Marvelous designer to my existing set of tools. Maybe Optitex if I was swimming in extra money.

    I've invested much more heavily into 2D image manipulation and art software. I come from a traditional art background of painting, drawing and sculpting with anything that crossed my path. So not much has changed now that I have mostly transitioned into the realms of digital art. 3D was insanely intimidating to me at first. Even Zbrush took me a while to wrap my head around. I'd never learned any kind of C.A.D. So, diving in I floundered around for quite a while and dabbled for years until I started seeing some of the amazing examples out there. Eventually, I just knew I had to learn, and while by no means a master I have gotten most of the basics, even some of the esoteric. It is rather painful the lack of standards from app to app... the need to flip textures and what not which is why I love things like GoZ when they work properly. I prefer to spend my time creating rather than worrying about the technical details.

    There are a lot of capable apps out there, but there are few intuitive pieces of software for 3D. A lot of it likely depends on personal preference and background, but sculpting apps are just more of a pleasure for me to use most of the time. Blender is an okay tool for sculpting. They have added dynamic tessellation to it. It's possible to do good sculpts with it, but I would not say that it excels in that area. Blender is more like a swiss army knife... the Gimp of 3D. While you can accomplish many of the same things in Gimp as PS. it is not as refined or focused. Given the price tag, both Gimp an Blender are incredible. They are not however my absolute favorites. There are however a few aspects of each that I like better than pay for counterparts. Just not enough to make me want to stick with them.

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    Post edited by TheGreatESCape on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 20,417
    edited December 1969

    Sweet sculpt! Bravo!
    Cool, thanks for your insights... I love to here how people feel about this and that, and it can be hard to find folks that have tries so many different ones. Maybe not that hard if I looked outside this forum! LOL

    Never tried Sketchup. Heck I've never even tried Blender! I was meaning to, but when I started modeling my stuff that I needed in Carrara, there was no real need to look elsewhere... yet. Same here, 3d polygon modeling didn't seem like something that interested me at all. Although I Loved modifying textures for the models, the though of messing around, making that stuff with dots (LOL - that's how I thought they were made back then) just sounded like a headache. The guy I was doing textures for taught me. When he said "Insert Cube" I felt like saying, okay... enough of this for me... but I didn't. He instructed me to make a simple shape given the few instructions that he had given me... and I made a human head. He was awed... which I didn't get. He's a professional 3d designer, but not in the realms of organic modeling. I always had a knack for females. I just like the way they look :) But I could draw and sculpt guys too, just never did, unless it was needed. But I usually did ladies and dragons, mermaids, fantasy landscapes and stuff like that.

    I build things with stone - just starting to retire from that before I break my body too much more. I do have a small diamond saw, but I love my chisels. I have made most of the waterfalls in this area, and quite a few cool custom stone works. So going digital is nice for me, yet a curse. I'll never lose that yearning to grab a nice big sheet of flagstone and get to chiseling!

  • TheGreatESCapeTheGreatESCape Posts: 10
    edited May 2014

    I can understand that. There's just something about the tangible materials in the traditional arts that pulls at you once you've really become accustomed. I have however become intrigued with the advent of 3D Printing, and have somewhat of an itch to try it. So far the decent ones are a bit pricey. I can see a lot of potential for building large artforms just by printing out custom connectors for cheap materials like all sorts of pipes or dowels... It would be an inexpensive way to assemble armatures to lay other materials over. Get's my mind wanting to experiment. Since you do polygonal modelling, you could make a larger real life version of the actual points and line segments like that... with light materials like PVC pipe. Connecting to other material pipes for flare here and there... that's where the 3d printing comes in. I can see all sorts of possibilities. There's a university putting together a rather large prototype 3D printer that is supposed to be able to print a concrete house in about 24 hours. There's a whole world of ideas out there... some of which used to be sci-fi.

    Then again there is an old Chinese curse I believe that roughly translates to "May you live in interesting times.". I suppose same ol' same ol' is a little more safe and predictable.

    Post edited by TheGreatESCape on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 20,417
    edited December 1969

    Absolutely! I kind of had the longing to try 3d printing from the very first time I heard of it. Now that it's come so far, I'm really looking forward to the day I finally end up trying it. Like you say... possibilities are endless!
    I'm fairly certain that I will one day own one of some sort.

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