Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Carrara 8 test

I finally took advantage of the deep-discount offer on Carrara 8 Pro provided by 3D World magazine issue 133, which shipped with a copy of Carrara 7 Pro on the enclosed DVD plus an upgrade-to-8 offer. This animation is a variant of previous work, however here the rendering is done in Carrara, which also provides the sky and ground plane. Daz Studio could also of course provide the ground and the drop shadows, though it doesn't do skies. The embedded video below isn't high-def, so for the better (720p) version, go view it directly on Vimeo and click the player's expand-to-fullscreen button.

The workflow here was fairly simple:
- Save the previously-created (and animated) Daz Studio version using the "Daz Collada" format, the Daz variant of Collada designed for moving scenes from one Daz program to another.
- Load into Carrara.
- Fix the hair.
- Create ground plane, sky, lights. Animate the camera a bit at the end.
- Render to TIFF
- Assemble and add music in Premiere Elements 4.

Problems noted:
- The hair element didn't import properly into Carrara - it came in with no texturing as a solid grey mass. I had to remove the hair and reload a copy of the asset from directly within Carrara, reparenting to the Aiko3 figure. This problem suggests a bug in either the Daz Studio method of exporting parented hair assets, or Carrara's method of importing them.

- Daz Studio uses z-axis forward, the standard for most 3D programs, including every single Autodesk tool that I'm aware of. Carrara, however, uses z-axis up, which is much less common. The result is that any attempt to load my Daz-friendly BVH files directly onto a figure in Carrara results in what are essentially garbage keyframes on the hips, for both rotation and translation. This is a major failing on the part of Daz, which simply should not be shipping two separate 3D products that use an inconsistent xyz view of the world. Different xyz axis orientations is a classic situation that often makes it nearly impossible to move assets and scenes smoothly from one 3D application to another.

I could understand this difference in axis orientations if Carrara were a new acquisition for Daz, however Daz purchased Carrara several years ago and has now had at least 2 release iterations (versions 7 and 8) to standardize on the industry-standard z-axis-forward orientation.

However, in general the process of shifting a scene (with keyframes) from Daz Studio to Carrara was cleaner than most export-import processes I've seen, including Autodesk fbx, which has traditionally been a mess even when you're moving from one Autodesk product to another.


Unknown said...

Hi, I have a bunch of asf/amc motion data. Would you please realse your script to convert asf/amc file to MB friendly bvh files? I would really appreciate it. :) I think it will also help a lot other people who has their own data, but want to do the same conversion as you did.

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