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Carrara F.A.Q (Last Updated: 2022 Oct 28 3:24 pm)


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Spline Modeller

Q1: What can one make more and better in the spline modeler than in the vertex modeler ? 

A1: The Spline Modeler is a mathematical formula modeler as opposed to the polygonal modeler which is what the Vertex Modeler is. The shapes made with the Spline Modeler are controlled by paths which are always editable and produce very small file sizes. Paths can be drawn in Carrara or can also be imported from programs like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. There are also presets for cross section extrusion such as Spirals which the Vertex Modeler does not have. Features like Pipeline Extrusion mean that complex shapes such as pipes with multiple changes in direction can be made - and edited easily.

There are five hallmarks of the Spline Modeler, 1) Created geometry is automatically UV mapped correctly, even for twisty turning shapes, 2) Shapes are always editable with simple click/drag changes to the extrusion path or extrusion envelope [no complex polygon selecting], 3) Spline shapes can have their fidelity changed at any time with not change in file size, 4) Symmetrical Compound Curves - items like boat hulls or cockpit canopies can be made and edited easily, 5) Precision paths drawn in illustrator can be used to create complex shapes such as gears. Multiple, detailed cross-sections can be created and then used for very complex shapes and typography.   

Vertex Modeler




Q1: What does the Filtering option do for Textures?

A1: There are four options in this drop down and they all have different impacts on render speed and visual quality. The non-mathematical descriptions are:

1) Sampling – Highest quality (no blurring) for still renders - especially when antialiasing in the Render Room is set to Best. Generally speaking, not good for animation. 

2) Gaussian – Blurred generically, used with lower resolution texture maps to disguise pixelation or during animations where texture detail is not wanted, renders faster than Sampling.

3) Fast Mip-mapping – Strategic blurring, high resolution textures close to the camera with blurring/degeneration allowed in greater degrees the further away from the camera the textured object is. (Used extensively in console/PC gaming) Optimized render time for detail close-up. Prevents flickering of high texture details in distance when animating. Reduces render-time analysis of textures at a distance. Faster render time than Sampling. 

4) Summed Area Table – Similar to Fast Mip-mapping but globally analyzes the texture 'intelligently' and creates probabilities of resolution required based upon contrast, color differences etcetera. Faster render than Sampling.

Q2: How do I change a texture map input in the Shader tree to a mixer with the same texture as the first input?

A2: Any input in the Shader tree can simply be copied.

So, in this example, select and copy the texture node/channel => then change the node to Mixer => Select the first input and paste. Done. 

Also, depending on your platform, you can Option/Alt click-drag any node, such as a texture node, and it will duplicate to where you drag it. This is useful when copying a Color texture to the Highlight node or to the Bump node.

Q3: What is a Reference Shader?

A3: A Reference Shader is a function that allows you to 'subscribe' a node/channel to a pre-existing Shader.

This is a huge time saving feature that not many people use. The Reference Shader function is invoked at the Top Shader level, usually by converting the Multi Channel into a Complex Shader => Multi Channel Mixer Shader (MCM). The MCM has two channels and a blender, just like regular mixer. The difference is, that you can use the Reference Shader to subscribe to two unique Multi Channel shaders and blend them.

For example, if you were making Zombies, you could have a healthy skin shader blend with a diseased skin shader with a noise function. This means you could have different Zombie shaders for multiple characters, yet use same base good and bad skin and blend it differently for each Zombie shader. Here is the beauty of the set-up: if you wanted the bad skin to be more green, just change the single, bad skin shader. All the different Zombie shaders that are subscribed to the bad skin with a Reference Shader will automatically be updated.  

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