Carrara Archives

Creating Animated Fog with Carrara – 3D Shenanigans #14

In this live event I’ll create animated volumetric fog with the highly underrated Carrara. I’ll show you around the app and explain how the programme works, introduce you to some of its features, and then I’ll animate good looking fog. Once exported as a transparent image sequence, I’ll try to animate it live over my …

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What is a Shader Browser

In this episode I’ll show you what a Shader Browser is in Carrara and DAZ Studio. I wish Blender had one – perhaps there’s one in the works? We’ll talk about how it could be integrated as part of the Blender Cloud Add-On too. This video was inspired by a discussion we had over on …

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My new HP Z600 Workstation

photo-sep-24-16-22-52I’m as excited as a kid in a candy store – because last Monday my new (old) HP Z600 Workstation has arrived! Built and sold to the government in the summer of 2009 for roughly $5000 (give or take a grand), it came to me via an eBay auction for $171 plus postage some seven years later.

Equipped with two Intel Xeon 5560 processors, no hard drive, 4GB of RAM and only a COA sticker for Windows Vista, I had a little bit of work to do to get it all going:

  • get a USB keyboard
  • get a power cord
  • get a graphics card
  • perhaps grab some more RAM
  • find a network cable
  • download a copy of Windows Vista (not easy to find in 2016)

I wanted to use this machine for 3D rendering in both Carrara and DAZ Studio, so for the latter I decided to buy an NVIDIA GTX 970 graphics card. I had to do a few internal modifications to the machine to make it work – but work it does, and it was a lot of fun to get this rig going.

Without further ado, here’s my Z600 story.

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How to suppress the “Incoming Network Connections” Dialogue for DAZ Apps on your Mac


Mac Users will be familiar with the above dialogue. If you have DAZ Studio, Install Manager and/or Carrara installed, this thing shows up several times during your working day:

  • when you start your computer
  • when you launch Install Manager
  • when you launch DAZ Studio
  • when you launch Carrara

Should this drive you crazy, then read on – because there is indeed a solution to this! It has to do with a bit of command line hacking and location scouting. But if you’re clever enough to figure out such complex 3D applications, the following steps will seem like a walk in the park to you.

The following steps worked for me on OS X El Capitan 10.11.6, DAZ Studio 4.9 and Carrara 8.5 Pro.

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How to use sunlight and moonlight in Carrara

Carrara can provide realistic sunlight and moonlight as ambient light sources. To use either of them we need to set the scene’s atmosphere for those to come to life. Here’s how to do that. From a default scene that comes with a distant light, select the scene itself, and under the Atmosphere properties, choose either Sky or …

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Skeleton at the Graveyard

Yesterday I’ve animated this skeleton. The steps involved were rather complex, so I thought I’d better write down how I did it.

In principle, there are four parts to this animation:

  • the animation of the skeleton (using DAZ Studio and aniMate)
  • the cloth draping (using Marvelous Designer)
  • a moving fog layer (using Carrara)
  • a graveyard picture (from Graphic Stock)
  • and finally, blending it all together (in Premiere Pro)

Here’s how I did it step by step.

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How to install Carrara 8.5 in Mac OS X Yosemite

I’m configuring a new Mac Mini 2012 specifically for all my 3D ventures this year. As such I’m installing all my favourite (and annoying) 3D apps fresh from scratch. Being a futuristic kind of guy I’m using “the best operating system ever” (yeah, right!) OS X Yosemite.

Over the last 7 years I’ve installed Carrara more times than I can count and in every version of OS X and Windows that I can remember, and it’s never given me any trouble – neither when installed manually or via the DAZ Install Manager.

Until today, when I’ve received the following message in OS X Yosemite: “The application cannot get the administrator access right”. Thank you, Yosemite!

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 11.04.18 PM

What does that even mean? I thought my user account HAS admin privileges.

Turns out they’re just not administrative enough. The solution to this awkward puzzle is to login as root for the initial launch of Carrara. Which leads us to the next adventure:

How do we enable the root user in OS X?

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How to edit 3rd Party Vertex Objects in Carrara

You want to make a quick change to a 3rd party vertex object in Carrara, head over to the Modelling Room, but all your favourite tools are greyed out. What’s going on? Carrara has a feature called Protect Topology, and there’s a good chance it’s switched on for items you bought from a marketplace. It’s …

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Creating a waving flag in Carrara using Soft Body Modifiers

Carrara lets you turn any object in your scene into a Soft Body object with the help of a Soft Body Modifier. To create a waving flag we need to use a combination of two modifiers: one that makes the object a “soft body”, and one that attaches it to something else, such as a …

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How to use Replicators and Surface Replicators in Carrara


Replicators and Surface Replicators allow you to duplicate single objects and make it look like you have an armada of “stuff” in your scene. For example, you could replicate trees on a landscape or a group of people, but only load a single object into your scene.

The difference between a Replicator and a Surface Replicator is this: Replicators duplicate (replicate) your objects along all 3 axis and only need a single source object. In fact they can accommodate several source objects, but they don’t replicate along anything.

Surface Replicators on the other hand only replicate along a given surface, like a terrain or another object. Surface Replicators only obey a twi dimensional plane along whose normals your replicated objects will be aligned.

To use them, simply drag an object onto the replicator in the Assemble Room. This can be tricky: make sure the source object turns green rather than yellow – which seems to happen when you drag it too far towards the right. Click and drag it further to the left, as shown below.

As soon as you do, you’ll see your object outlined many times over in the scene as bounding boxes.


To adjust the replicator, select it and click the Wrench Icon to enter the Modelling Room. Here you can tweak the behaviour of your Replicator: along which axis you’d like to replicate how many objects, if you’d like to add some distance or rotational changes to it, that sort of thing.

You can also add other source objects here if you would like them to have the same behaviour (in case you don’t like the drag and drop action described earlier).

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 01.48.54

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Hexagon Features in Carrara

Many features from Hexagon have been ported over to Carrara, but not all of them are obvious and easy to find for Hexagon users. Here are my favourite features from Hexagon, and how to access them in Carrara:   Tweak / Stretch Tool The one Hexagon tool I was missing most was Vertex Modelling – …

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How to close a Vertex Object in Carrara

To close a Vertex Object, first select the edges around the opening. In this example it’s a sphere with its top sliced off. Now head over to Model – Fill Polygon. It’s equivalent to the Close function in Hexagon. Empty Polygon on the other hand will remove the polygon, much like pressing the Delete key …

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Navigating 3D Space on Microsoft Surface Pro

Since I bought the Microsoft Touch Keyboard for my 1st Generation Surface Pro, 3D usage has become even better than before (I went for the purple one). Many functions have keyboard shortcuts that make life quicker and easier when it comes to navigating a scene in 3D Space. Before I forget how this works, I …

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Using the Physics Engine in Carrara

Carrara has a built-in physics engine which is very capable of calculating dynamic animations. Here’s how to setup a basic scene with physics. Physics are already setup in every new scene with a default gravity. Feel free to change the Simulation Accuracy and Geometric Fidelity different results before messing with each single object. You can find …

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Using Image Based Lighting (IBL) in Carrara

To use Image Based Lighting in Carrara (IBL for short), we need a HDRI map (High Dynamic Rage Image). Using this technique your scene is not illuminated by light sources but rather by a weird looking image. This concept is known as Global Illumination and the results can be stunning (see above). In principle, a spherical …

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How to navigate 3D space in Hexagon and Carrara

  Once every year I pick up my 3D hobby and find that I’ve forgotten most of what I used to know. That’s because I hardly take notes. With all my coding endeavours this really isn’t an option – so I’ve promised myself to learn from past mistakes and take notes on the 3D stuff …

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Business Cards

Today’s creative project was a Business Card Layout for Oliver Spanuth. I’ve made sure to keep in line with his website layout, again using Carrara Pro to create the 3D caustic glass letters. The backside is a picture of Oliver’s set, which he took on his Nokia mobile phone while shooting a video for San Glaser …

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New Logo for

I’ve created a new Logo for Oliver Spanuth’s Website today. We’re currently busy putting the site up, and what was needed to stand out from the crowd was a good corporate identity. Oliver is a drummer, so we’re also putting a Myspace site together for him. The Logo is made up of glass letters, so …

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