Skip to content

Back, forth, and sideways in Carrara

Back, forth, and sideways in Carrara published on No Comments on Back, forth, and sideways in Carrara

I dropped the idea of V4 bodies with G2F prop heads because I couldn’t figure out how to apply materials. Plus they looked like crap.

So I took a different tack. My main complaint is that Daz Studio native files take 500 million billion gazillion years to load and save, particularly G2F. The greater the number of morphs in a file, the longer Carrara takes to import the file.

I stripped down my files in the following way. First I created a lightweight version of G2F base by removing hundreds of morphs/pose controls unrelated to me, Jareth, Jennifer, and the faces I want us to make. Then I simplified the hair figures by turning them into character-specific props, thus dispensing with all the extraneous rigging and morphs. Finally I returned to those second-skin outfits that I spent so long on, using them instead of more Daz native clothing mesh files. In fact, the only Daz native clothing items I’m using are shoes. I’ve tested the results on me and Jareth, and the likenesses definitely save and load much more quickly than regular G2F + Daz native hair + Daz native clothing.

Tonight I need to whip up a second skin outfit for Jennifer. I’m thinking a dark blue T-shirt, arm warmers with black and white checks, and white and blue pinstripe pants. Need to add rear pockets and some sort of fly on the pants.

Hitting a wall in Carrara

Hitting a wall in Carrara published on No Comments on Hitting a wall in Carrara

As posted to Carrara board:

Last night I set up a V4-based character in Daz Studio. I dialed in the shape, added materials, then also hid the model’s head, substituting a prop head, which I parented to V4’s invisible head. I saved as a duf. Everything was behaving nicely in Daz Studio.

Then I opened the duf in C8.5. V4 + prop head loaded, but with some problems. The FBM that looked fine in Daz Studio came through, but seemed to distort and break the mesh in C8.5. Also the prop head moved from the precise location where I had parented it so there was a noticeable gap between neck and head. [AND none of the materials came through on the prop head, but that’s easy enough to fix.]

Does anyone have any ideas on what’s happening? I thought for sure that V4-based figures would load faster and work better in C8.5, so this obstacle is very disappointing.

On the plus side, I used default lighting and cameras to render a beautiful shot, just like the main promo, of HowieFarkes’ World Gardens Maze, which reminded me why I’m trying so doggedly to learn this software in the first place. ^_^

Someone told me that I had to remove all the magnets from V4, so I’ll try that this evening.

Very disappointing is an understatement. I’m really pissed off by the amount of time this back-end prep is taking. First there was the likeness problem, which required down-porting morphs, adjusting rigging, and making the G2F bases look as much like the G3Fs as possible. Then there was the texture problem — making sure that the G2F textures roughly matched the G3F ones in tone. Then there was the pokethrough problem, which required a dead-end detour into second skin clothing and was eventually solved with fitting clothes to a bodysuit. Then there was the excursus into texturing a standard outfit for everyone. Then there was the business of consolidating duplicate shaders, followed by getting fed up with how long it takes Carrara to save any changes to a G2F-based character. This was followed by an attempt to do V4-based bodies and prop heads, which required creating a G2F prop head with all requisite morphs, approximating characters’ body shapes with V4 morphs, making morphs for upper arm fat and for bulge in pants, converting characters’ G2F materials to V4 UVs, then adding custom character shapes to clothing with the help of Wardrobe Wizard. Just when I thought I had finally found a way to load my people easily and quickly into Carrara, this goddamn mesh distortion happens. ARGH, ALL I WANT TO DO IS PLAY WITH DIGITAL MODELS!!!!!!!!!
I feel like I’m never going to have my characters satisfactorily up and running in Carrara at this rate. -_-

This weekend’s back-end Carrara work: splicing figures

This weekend’s back-end Carrara work: splicing figures published on No Comments on This weekend’s back-end Carrara work: splicing figures

I successfully got my G2F digime and materials into Carrara, but G2F takes an incredibly long time to save — time that I could be playing with models, but in which I have to wait for the program to quit thinking. This is very annoying.

The Carraravangelists on the Daz boards say that duf-based figures like G2F take much longer to load than cr2-based figures like V4. Thus I got the idea this weekend to hybridize figures with V4 bodies and G2F heads.

Actually, it’s a modified hybridization because I’m not loading a G2F and a V4 into the same scene. Instead I made a prop out of the G2F head and added to it all the necessary expression morphs, as well as morphs for me, Jareth, and Jennifer. Then I morphed a V4 to approximate each of my character’s body shapes, hid its head, and parented my G2F head prop, appropriately morphed, into place. Look — all of the expression and accuracy of G2F combined with all of the quick loading of V4!

I would like to take this opportunity to state how much I hate V4. There seems to be no realistic way to smoothly distribute fats across the model. There always seem to be noticeable lumps with borders corresponding to the borders between body parts. Major morph packages also neglect key areas of fat, such as upper rib cage [between sides of breasts and armpits], elbows, wrists, ankles, and feet. There’s also something very, very wrong with the shape of her weirdly conical front upper thighs, which prevents the formation of a broad, columnar thigh with consistent girth. It’s just ugly and hard to work with.

On the plus side, though, I have scads of V4 textures, clothing, and poses, as well as utilities to make clothing fit my custom body morphs, so I don’t have to buy anything more. V4 also has two advantages over later figures: 1) Clothing hangs much more realistically around, between, and below breasts. 2) Fetish wear! Most of the fetishy digital assets I have are for V4, and they require lengthy, tedious conversion up the generations. Even then, the extreme shapes of some items don’t convert really well. [Ballet heels? AH HAH HAH HAH HAH!] But now I can use this stuff on the figure it was made for — a novel concept.

I should note that I have not yet tested my V4-based figures in Carrara yet. I should probably do that, huh? They should work fine, the only problem being the gap between G2F prop head and V4 neck.

It can only get better from here: pathetic first Carrara renders

It can only get better from here: pathetic first Carrara renders published on No Comments on It can only get better from here: pathetic first Carrara renders

Yay! I finally got something out of Carrara. I can only improve from here. Continue reading It can only get better from here: pathetic first Carrara renders

Oh great — NOW I find out about an anti-pokethrough product.

Oh great — NOW I find out about an anti-pokethrough product. published on No Comments on Oh great — NOW I find out about an anti-pokethrough product.

After toiling away for hours on second skin outfits and thus postponing my escapist adventures into the bucolic Carrara scenes I have waiting for me, today I discovered a product that should obviate almost all pokethrough: the3dwizard’s G2F Ultra Bodysuit. It’s a full-body leotard with lots of morphs and material zones to make it look like everything from armor to underwear to casual clothes. Thus I could use it as an easy source of clothing.

But the most helpful trait of this bodysuit is the sheer volume of adjustment morphs it contains. I can fit the suit to my G2F-based characters, then make it invisible, then fit all other clothing directly to the bodysuit. After that, I can use the suit’s adjustment morphs to selectively move the clothing mesh so that it doesn’t intersect with the characters’ mesh. This process seems like it will address Carrara’s woeful lack of smoothing modifiers.

I’m very annoyed that I spent hours on second skin manufacturing, when I could have been playing in Carrara now, if I had just employed the Ultra Bodysuit instead. However, during the course of my second skin project, I did learn a lot about constructing textures. The information will serve me well in the future, and I actually quite like texturing, which I suppose I should have gathered from my enjoyment in creating shaders of loud, tacky patterns.

Well, now that my urgent drive to get my characters Carrara-ready has died down, I can relax and focus on other creative projects, like preparing for next month’s VTDL feast-themed meetup, working more on Delmar and Fritillaria, playing around with some of the hordes of new digital assets I picked up in the recent sales, reading books, etc.

Second skin outfits in progress

Second skin outfits in progress published on No Comments on Second skin outfits in progress

I can’t wait to use Carrara, but even the luscious digital scenes of HowieFarkes cannot tempt me to go into the program without properly prepared digital people to inhabit the imaginary landscapes. Thus I have, indeed, been forced to wait, as I go through the laborious process of preparing digital me, digital Jareth, and digital Jennifer.

As I previously mentioned, my prep has taken a sharp detour into second skin clothing as a means of avoiding pokethrough. Second skin refers to clothing textures applied directly on the figure’s body that, with clever use of bump, displacement, and normal maps, as well as some morphs, can pass as semi-realistic outfits.

With no free or commercially available second skins out there for the V5 UVs, I started my own from scratch. Scanning my jeans and reconstructing them on the V5 UV seam guidelines bored the hell out of me, though, so I switched to working on the shirts. Once I found that approximating clothing is much more fun than faithfully reproducing, I abandoned my real-life jeans and headed into more improvisational realms.

I worked on Jareth’s outfit first. I began by matching as many clothing seams as possible to actual UV seams on the V5 textures. For example, the collar of his shirt matches the UV seam line between neck and shoulders, while the cuffs of his shorts match the UV seam line between thighs and legs. However, since the waist/hips UV seam is rather high on V5, I purposely dropped the waistline of the shirt. Displacement makes all these hems have depth in renders.

While I worked with some seams, I avoided, camouflaged, and/or omitted others. I didn’t add seams along the undersides of the sleeves and the inner and outer edges of the pants, as those digital seams would have crossed actual seam lines in the V5 UVs. While programs do exist that allow easy texturing across UV seams, I don’t have one, and I sure don’t want to make designs match across UV seams manually. Thus I decided to suggest clothing, rather than accurately replicate it.

Progress shots of Jareth’s and my second skin clothes are below. Continue reading Second skin outfits in progress

Scanning my pants and other back-end Carrara prep

Scanning my pants and other back-end Carrara prep published on No Comments on Scanning my pants and other back-end Carrara prep

Posted to the Carrara forum on the Daz boards, though I doubt anyone finds the vicissitudes of my creative process that riveting:
After initial excitement and installation of Carrara 8.5, I hit a wall last month when it seemed like someone’s materials weren’t applying correctly. Well, the materials were actually fine, though there were duplicate shaders. I was just looking at the scene in a view that was NOT texture shaded. Once I figured that out, everything looked much better!

I haven’t been in Carrara much these days because I’ve been doing lots of back-end preparations.

1) I reduced the size of the G2F file by removing unused morphs. It definitely loads faster now.

2) I’m in the midst of modifying textures for my G2F versions of my characters so that they match the G3F base textures in tone and detail.

3) I made some custom textures for Ravenhair’s G2F Casual Jeans and T-Shirt for everyone to wear.

4) I encountered poke-through and Carrara’s lack of smoothing modifiers.

5) I added the ExpandAll morph to Casual Jeans and T-Shirts to override pokethrough.

6) I decided to forego morph-based or plugin-based solutions to pokethrough in favor of a 100% reliable solution: second skin clothing. That’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while anyway.

7) I discovered all of zero paid or freebie options for second skin clothing based on the V5 UVs [which all my characters are using], so, after a frustration digression with my V3[!]-based Clother by Zew, Texture Converter 2 by 3DUniverse, and Daz Studio’s Map Transfer function, I realized that I wouldn’t get satisfactory results from either V3- or V4-based second skins. I had to make my own.

8) I scanned my jeans, as well as my shirt, last night, downloaded SnowSultan’s V5 seam guides, and began filling in the maps with cut and pasted elements from the scans. I now have a waistline, fly, front and back pockets, and belt loops for the jeans, as well as a hemline for the shirt. The neckline is in progress.

Taking the Carrara plunge

Taking the Carrara plunge published on No Comments on Taking the Carrara plunge

Excerpted from an intro post on the Carrara section of the Daz boards:

I’m a longtime Daz Studio user who just took the Carrara plunge last night. PC+ brought 8.5 Pro < $30.00, and the PA sale send-off allowed me to get Maple Meadows and World Gardens Maze very affordably. With all the included content in 8.5, plus its varied capabilities, I figured that was a deal too good to pass up.

I blame Howie Farkes for bringing me to Carrara. :p Maple Meadows, for example, is the only digital set I’ve ever seen that accurately replicates the area where I live [the Champlain Valley of Vermont], with its gentle, rolling, rounded hills. I am also a huge labyrinth [and Labyrinth] fan, so I just had to get World Gardens Maze. I haven’t seen any landscapes like these two matched anywhere else by any other software, so you might ultimately say that it was Maple Meadows that did me in. 😀

After using Daz Studio for several years, I have great familiarity with it. I basically use it as a way to play with digital dolls that I dress up to my liking, then place in various settings to act out multi-panel sequential stories [oh okay, comics!]. I’d love to use my Daz [and Poser] content in Carrara for the same effects. And here I come to my questions…

I read the Carrara 7 manual [except for the parts about animation, which does not interest me], but note that it does not cover using Gen1 and G2F content in Carrara. Are there tutorials specifically about using these new figures in Carrara? Do duf files even work in Carrara, or would I have to set up my characters from scratch in Carrara? Are there Gen1 and G2F things that DON’T work in Carrara?

I have to say that I’m really excited about using Carrara. After reading the manual, I think that the program seems clear and logical and maybe even intuitive in a way that Daz Studio isn’t. Daz Studio does so much, but its lack of documentation makes getting beyond a beginner level challenging. It also hides things in illogical places. Carrara’s rooms, plus its wizards to help you make terrains, for example, just make the software more approachable. Of course, a manual helps too, even if it is for 7. After reading that thing, I want to run my characters through World Gardens Maze and design some fantastical trees with heart-shaped leaves and do some spline modeling of jewelry and make some snowy terrain and import 3ds files… You get the idea. 😀

Primary Sidebar