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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

How are you rigging for Second Life?!?

If anyone (especially Carrara users =P) want to jump in and throw any advice, please don't hesitate. By sharing your knowledge and your experience, you greatly benefit the Carrara Community =)

All in all, I have to admit, rigging, no matter what the reason, is a pretty sweet ride in C8Pro =) I've had this mesh for quite some time, and still find pretty good uses for him.

I'm going to try to get some Make Human Figures into C8Pro to have some fun...

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Second Life Rig In Carrara...

It took a lot of time, patience and Windows Task Manager clicks to get the Second Life Avatar Rig in Carrara..... Crash after Crash after hopeless crash, only to crash again. I tried file format after file format, exporting from Blender to this, to that and back again, but nonetheless, here it is...

With this rig, we can begin exploring exporting full weight rigged avatars, direct in Carrara...

Sounds too good and easy to be true, and yeah, it is =/

I have since attached a mesh to the rig, but I am having 2 problems, maybe someone else can help join in on the experimenting fun. One problem is the size of the avatar. Seems like no matter what I do, the avatar loads in Second Life way too big. I tried all scene size options, but nothing works. Another issue (I believe this to be VERY minor) is that once loaded, the avatar comes in at a very reduced resolution. I fault that to my inexperience w/ the upload UI.

Trying to gather the proper information on the process is dreadful. The SL Wiki is a "Mesh", LOL. not to mention very few are even trying to develop a workflow using Carrara. To make that worse, those who are are NOT communicating or collaborating their efforts. This Blog is my attempt to remedy that.....

I found 2 very useful links. One elaborates the process as needed for the 3D Studio Max Community, and one just points out some do's and dont's  w/ regards to SL Avatar Mesh creation in general.

One thing I did notice is the size/units reference in the exported Collada file. Something needs fixing in there, but I think that can be edited in a text editor after export from Carrara. Another thing is that I haven't found a way to keep the figure/avatar from rezzing with the figure 1/2 way embedded in the ground at the wait level. I believe that is because I haven't found a way to set neither the actual Mesh or the Avatar rig in Carrara to an exact 0,0,0 coodinate. By default, objects hot point is their center. I can "edit" the hot point, but it doesn't seem to be recognized in Second Life. This is the mesh "reset" that is done in Max which is referred to early on in their process.

Maybe what the Carrara Community needs is a Second Life specific Collada file exporter (Uh oh, I smell a poll, LOL =). Between the sizing issue, the LOD's (but again, thats most likely my fault =P), and the coodinates needing to be set to 0,0,0, we really are "almost" there... The rig works quite nice in Carrara actually (it's rigging system is simple, sweet and VERY powerful =), as shown by the render, but I'd really like for the export to work "flawlessly" in Second Life...

Not much longer now, keep your fingers crossed =D

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Character Creation Fanatic...

I think I'm just somewhat infatuated w/ getting closure of modeling, rigging/weight-painting and exporting a figure from Carrara into Second Life via the Collada export option...

I've been absent for a while (see other blog), and immediately as I return I set out to finish that mission: "Go from Carrara to Second Life w/o any other program"... Am I a glutton for punishment?!?

I still don't know if it's a Carrara or Collada or SL issue, and I guess I never will... At least Blender has been given new life in the form of a major upgrade, and they are even embedding export features specific to the SL community... I will doing some "tests", nothing new, lol... Things move to fast in this arena to obtain nay sense of stability, I can't lock down a workflow when the programs change every few weeks, Blender is great, but you really have to stay on top of it, for some it's a wonderful thing, but for me, I need some level of routine to increase productivity and creativity.

I'm going to be poking abouts investigating the new Poser Pro 2012 release, from what I've seen the weight-painting looks great, but I really only need it for SL content creation, a way to NOT use blender and stick w/ programs and toolsets I know and am comfortable with... I guess that's going through a lot of trouble to avoid Blender, LOL, but it just has not clicked w/ me yet. I'd have to devote a lot of time to it, it's too complex a program to just exploit for SL purposes... I mean, that's where I am starting, but I'd rather be doing it all in Carrara =)

Im pretty sold on getting Quidam and Creature Creator, I've always been fond of character creation, would be nice to finally take it all the way. Between getting a nice T-Posed Model to distort, morph and paint w/ ZBrush and 3D Coat and my creativity, I can have some real fun =P

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Carrara Communities...

Would be good to take a moment to mention some of the various Carrara Community sites, I am sure more info and resources can be extracted from these great sites =)

Daz3D - Current owners of Carrara, they also have a member forum dedicated to Carrara.
Renderosity - Awesome Graphics community.
PolyLoop - Another great Carrara community.
Carrara Lounge - The owner of this site is very talented, also sells Content at Daz3D.

If you should come across any other link, please do not hesitate to pass it around, send it to me, and I will surely add it to the Blog =)

Also, if you do Carrara animation, I would love to add your video feed to the Blog, please submit links to be posted and made public for extra exposure of your skills and talents for the Carrara community.

Friday, July 1, 2011

A list of resources...

As this is the "Carrara" Figure project, I am going to assume you all have Carrara...

Carrara is considered a "full" 3D application, meaning it does modeling, rendering and animation. In theory, one should be able to do their modeling, rigging, texturing, animation and rendering all within Carrara, but I have found few who exploit these features. I am one of the many, I do my modeling in Hex, 3D Coat or ZBrush, and I only render stills, even though I incorporate posed figures in almost every image/scene I render.

Maybe Carrara is only part of your main work, and while the "main focus" of this project is to be able to do everything within Carrara, it would be irrational and prejudiced to withhold information regarding other tools, programs, utilities and workflows...

Hexagon 2.5 - I have become very fond of this program, it's a great modeler, simple and easy to use.
3D Coat - I grabbed this when I couldn't afford ZBrush, and only played with it. After realizing the power of Voxels, this program has "replaced" ZBrush for me. Not saying it's better, but for me, it is just too awesome...
ZBrush - Let's face it, ZBrush is as awesome as it gets. High resolution morphing and modeling
Sculptris - Voxel freeware offered by Pixologic.
Wings3D - Great modeling application, and best of all, it's FREE =D
UVMapper Classic/Pro - Awesome for mapping. Carrara has it's own set of mapping tools, but always nice to have options.
Gimp - 2D program. Free, with Photoshop like features.
Pixia - Another 2D freeware program.
Adobe Photoshop Elements - Of course the Elements line. Very affordable and reliable.
MapZone - A node based freeware texture generator...
Genetica - Another texture generator...
MakeHuman - This program "makes" humans =/ Some versions can pose them as well. From personal experience, I can say you can import a rigged MH figure into C8Pro WITH bones intact... Interesting to say the least...

I'm not mentioning other programs, Poser, Daz Studio, Blender, Vue... Those are somewhat "off topic", and arbitrary... Why'd MakeHuman make it to the list?!? The point is to make a figure for Carrara by importing "any" mesh and apply/attaching a joint system to it while embedding other Carrara features to it. Once imported into Carrara, it's bone system is "converted" to a Carrara system and is no longer a MH joint set up... This is not the case w/ Poser or Daz Studio figures, they are still using a MetaCreations system, for lack of a better term...

Bottom image: mmoir modeled in Carrara
Top image: 3DAge modeled in Sculptris

Characters for Carrara: An Open Group Project

Many eons ago, when the internet was starting to trickle down so that most of America was opening up to AOL, I caught wind of an image, and was totally blown... On hearing that some guy did that at home on his computer, I became infatuated with learning more and how he was able to produce such an image. When I heard of "Bryce3d", I immediately began a hunt like a ravenous beast after the last piece of meat in a frenzy... I started playing around with it, and soon after picked up Poser. It wasn't long after I began doing those awesome metallic and crystalline figures over water in deep, rich and colorful skies...

Having since moved on from Bryce, I still remain in the original Metacreations "family", and some 5 years ago started to slowly but surely incorporate Carrara into my workflow.

Carrara is, without a doubt, the next level of Bryce. I truly believe that that was MetaCreations intent, the overall user interface is still pretty much the same, and so much of what I have come to love from Bryce is still present in Carrara. Only advanced exponentially =)

Having become exteremely comfortable in it and in wanting to get more out of my core rendering application, I started to think about how great it would be to have and use custom designed characters for use in Carrara... Sure we have a plethora of Daz Studio and Poser ready figures, but why not take serious advantage of Carraras awesome animation features and rigging features, especially with regards to custom figure design...

When I start a scene, the very first thing added is "a character"... Admittedly, Carrara users are somewhat spoiled in that we have direct access to our Poser/Studio Library presets should we need them. Having a collection of presets to call upon during the creative process is essential to good design, any artist, graphic, 2D, 3D or otherwise can tell you that... I can imagine painting a sky, and running out of blue =/

Wanting to increase creative flow and production time, I got to wondering what it would be like to use Carrara figures..... Poser and Daz Studio both offer a "complete" array of humans. Morph them, clothe them, pose them, you can really do a lot w/ your general Poser Figure... But surely Carrara, admittedly a more advanced program, could offer the community something in the way an Adam and Eve?!?

This Blog, "Our Blog", The Carrara Figure Project, will try to keep track of the communities efforts, progress and shared resources. Already some outstanding members of the graphics community have shown great interest in the project, and with your help, knowledge, experience and willingness to share, grow and develop as a Carrara community, this project is sure to yield some awesome output =)

Please feel free to comment direct to this blog, or email me personally. Don't hesiate to share any knowledge, news or resources, it's a group effort, and by helping each other and the cause, we all benefit. Carrara is a truly awesome program, seriously underrated by the 3D graphics community. This effort, could have dramatic impact on it's acceptance and popularity, which, in turn ensures better development and longevity of the application.

3D animation created by "3DAge"
Male Figure model created by "mmoir"

You can read the thread that started it all >> HERE << =D