Question Anything Grooves & Humanoid Displacement Maps

Rhian-SkybladeRhian-Skyblade Posts: 223
edited March 2013 in Carrara Discussion

I know Carrara can't handle micro Displacement - so using the M4 Displacement Maps in Carrara in the DP Channel is pointless...

Though the Bump-Map doesn't really yield the result I am looking for - Muscles and Veins don't really show (too smooth still), plus, depending on what skin I am using I depend on the original bump map - and mixer or multiply don't do it either :-/

I also got myself Anything Grooves - but so far I have been using and understanding it - it only works on primitives and not on M4 and V4 models (at least I haven't found a way to use it on anything else than primitives - the Tut also only deals with Primitives.)

So what to do?
Is there a way I can torture the displacement map through Photoshop and extract only the veins? I have hopes that when I turn the grey part into pitch black and leave the veins in white, it might work as DP map?

Or are there any good PS brushes for veins? I tried drawing them by hand... but that doesn't come as good as if rendered or brushed ^^

I forgot to mention. I got myself Zbrush a while ago and finally, today, my new Wacom to test it.

Is it possible to do such micro details such as veins in Zbrush and exporting those as "morph" to Carrara? I also have GoZ.
Is there anything I need to keep in mind?

Post edited by Rhian-Skyblade on


  • wetcircuitwetcircuit Posts: 0
    edited March 2013

    Ok, what I am going to say is what *I* do, and *my* observations.... What you are already saying is there is no *simple* route to reproduce what DS is doing with these maps... That's really important to remember and I think it is true, because sometimes when I try to give advice that is not a direct "yes" "no" to the question asked, well, sometimes people get mad.... I just want to start off saying I HEAR YOU and yes I have been there and am STILL there figuring out ways to use these awesome poser maps in Carrara.

    I don't think you want Anything Grooves.... I am the plugin queen and even I can not figure out a use for AGrooves. Maybe I just never looked deep, but I think this is one of the oldest plugins, made long before the DISPLACEMENT tab was added to the shader tree. I think it no longer has a use in Carrara (correct me please if someone has a great use for it).

    In 8.5 we have been hearing about improved displacement. To my knowledge no one has said exactly what the improvement is, or shown a render of before/after... It does NOT appear to be anything like the "micro-displacement" that DS has so we can use these maps...

    BUT I used displacement on a skullcap to get short "African" hair and was really surprised that it looked so good... It was not a bunch of triangles like I expected... The "secret" or "accident" that got me these good results was that the skullcap was very low poly and I had added 3 or 4 levels of smoothing in the vertice room. The downside was even though the cap was low poly I could immediately feel the hit on the interface. Carrara just halts before responding. I don't have a powerful video card, and I'm on a mac. YMMV... It didn't seem to take too much longer to render, again it was low poly. I haven't tried putting a very high res map on a high poly figure and add 4 levels of smoothing....

    Another thing that is important is the CONTRAST of the map. In Carrara we don't get a lot of control over image maps. I use a plugin called VELOUTE2 (Filter) to control my imagemaps, but you could also try reworking the contrast in Photoshop or similar and save out several copies and different values...(Fenric also sells an image plugin, I don't know if it has contrast, so check his site for details....). To me it seems all "control" maps have different ideas of what should be light/dark and subtle or sharp... And under Carrara's lights, depending on your scene, this will look inconsistent.

    Speaking real quick about lighting, soft shadows will smooth out most of your bumpmaps, so to make bumps look clearer try making your lights a bit more dramatic and from the side.... When your lighting is very smooth, or flat from the front, the bumps don't show their shadows and highlights....

    You can also BLEND the BUMP and DISPLACEMENT maps in the bump channel... usually with the ADD operator in the mixer. Again since all maps have different ideas of how they should look, this might require a trip to PS or a plugin that allows you to control each image better. Essentially you want the displacement map to have stronger contrast (deeper) than the bump map (subtler).

    Here is how I am blending 2 maps and using Filter (from Veloute2) to control the maps' white and black levels...

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    Post edited by wetcircuit on
  • wetcircuitwetcircuit Posts: 0
    edited March 2013

    Well, to test I pulled up an M4 scene that uses his displacement maps.... And I wanted to try moving the maps from bump to displacement and try 4x smoothing at render (0x smoothing in 3Dpreview) and The interface did not blink ... however I went to the shader room and have a spinning ball of death for several minutes now, even though I have Auto Preview turned off.

    Try at your own risk... Or only attempt the smoothing after all your shaders are set up, which seems not very possible... or try lower levels of smoothing than 4...

    **edit, WHEW ok, I am finally out of the shader room and I turned off smoothing. Set the shaders as close to default as I can, went back to the vertic and set 2x smoothing.... Hitting render. There's a tailspin at the beginning but not as bad... I forgot to write down the render times when the maps were blended in the bump channel....

    Here is BEFORE/AFTER

    One with the maps blended in the BUMP CHANNEL, the other with displacement at default settings...

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    Post edited by wetcircuit on
  • wetcircuitwetcircuit Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    I don't know... I think this looks ok. I am not seeing anything horrible with these displacement settings... The only annoying thing is remembering to detour to the vertice modeller to toggle smoothing before going to the shader room or rendering....

    There is a stall before it renders, but not long with only 2x smoothing.

    I adjusted the offset so there would be no poke-through on the clothes...

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  • wetcircuitwetcircuit Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    And trying to get more detail I turned smoothing angle to 0 (with such high-res maps it doesn't seem like andle smoothing is needed.

    There is poke through, but I didn't bother to adjust the clothing.

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  • wetcircuitwetcircuit Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    From the manual page 577

    Using Subdivision with Displacement Shaders
    To achieve good precision on the displacement, it is often useful to subdivide the mesh as discussed in "Working With Subdivision Surfaces." However, it is often better to use the native subdivision of the object. For instance, if you are displacing an object created with subdivision surface, it is recommended to increase the subdivision count instead of using the displacement shader subdivision scheme. (Standard, Pro)

    In other words: Use the smoothing settings in the Vertice Room, as I said above.

    I don't know..., this looks ok to me. Does DS really do this better? Has Carrara's displacement been "fixed"? Anyone else care to chime in here?

  • 3drendero3drendero Posts: 1,997
    edited March 2013

    Tried other displacement maps on V4, some greyscale 4000x4000 maps, results:

    -Lots of problems when trying displacements maps at any settings, found an old post that said to subdivide the mesh first and I gave up
    -Converted the greyscale displacement maps to blue/purple normal maps with xNormal for use as Bumpmap, regular greyscale bumpmap maps are used with mixer/blend, worked better.

    The old forum post stated that the Displacement channel in Carrara worked better for large displacements, showing a render of a rock with 10x larger displacement than what you would use with human renders.

    So my conclusion is:
    -Use normal maps for small displacements, also renders fast
    -Use real Displacement channel for large geometry changes

    /EDIT: ZBrush also exports blue/purple normal maps, I have heard (for use in the Bump channel in Carrara)

    Post edited by 3drendero on
  • wetcircuitwetcircuit Posts: 0
    edited March 2013

    Well. Up close with 2x smoothing the displacement showed triangles. I cranked it to 3x smoothing and after waiting something like 20min it finally started to render. Looks good enough I guess but not worth waiting THAT long... I have no idea how that compares to DS render times, (and I don't use the fastest computer , in fact this is my old one, it's all relative) but I think I'll try 3Drendero's suggestion and convert to normal maps.

    you can compare the 2x and 3x smoothing here. In my opinion the 2x smoothing is fine for medium shots, but up close it needed 3x... That kind of time It's probably not too bad for most illustration work...

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    Post edited by wetcircuit on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,786
    edited December 1969

    Cool advice, Holly! Dog Gone!

    Okay, PhilW uses the displacement tab in Carrara 8 to great affect in his tutorials. Not sure if you've tried that route too. But I know peeps have used it to great results in 8.5b as well. Might be worth a look. Personally, I like Holly's method.
    Rock on, you!

  • GarstorGarstor Posts: 1,411
    edited December 1969

    I'm suddenly feeling quite inadequate... :-P

    Seriously though, I've never really played with displacement maps. I've wondered about getting Anything Grooves but have not thought of where I'd use it.

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