Escaping Gravity – 10 Tips for Photoreal Planets

Escaping Gravity – 10 Tips for Photoreal Planets

Enhance:C Space3D Shaders and Primivol

Enhance:C Space3D Shaders and Primivol help create this original planet

Realistic Earth-like planets in Carrara!

Need a high resolution Earth model as a backdrop for your blockbuster disaster movie? How about a newly discovered “terranova” for your space opera? According to news just this week, one in five sunlike stars observed by NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft has an Earth-size planet in the so-called habitable zone, where liquid water — and, potentially life — could exist….

Kepler can’t *see* those planets directly. It actually recorded dips in the brightness of their suns, indicating a planetary transit. Since no one has actually seen them, it’s anyone’s guess how they will look…. I predict a bull run on Terra artwork, and we’re going to need a lot more planets!

To celebrate I’ve put together 10 Tips to launch your planet scenes into orbit!


Carrara comes with a complete Solar System of planets organized under the Scenes Tab in the Browser. An Earth model is included with a separate cloud layer. It’s part of the Native Content download that is free with purchase. These planets are great except for one thing, they use low-res maps only 1000 x 500 pixels.

Low res models of the planets are included with Carrara

Low res models of the planets are included with Carrara

Serious players will spend $8 to download the fullsize 10k Earth maps from JHT’s Planetary Pixel Emporium, which are prepped to be used in 3D models with color, bump, and a specularity map for the ocean. While you are there, grab the free 4k maps of the Moon!



Perfectionists will find the high res maps from NASA’s Blue Marble Collection to be the definitive reference, courtesy the US Geological Service at Visible Earth. Using a collection of satellite-based observations, scientists and visualizers stitched together months of observations of the land surface, oceans, sea ice, and clouds into a seamless, true-color mosaic of every square kilometer of our planet.

This remarkable collection includes different color maps for each month of the year so you can show annual vegetation and ice cycles, an extremely high res cloud map, and this stunning night-side map of city lights. These images are freely available to educators, scientists, museums, and the public.

rendered in Carrara with NASA's Blue Marble maps

rendered in Carrara with NASA’s Blue Marble maps


Luxus the Luxrender plugin for Carrara – Development/documentation blog 20130601

Luxus the Luxrender plugin for Carrara – Development/documentation blog 20130601

The new Luxus the Luxrender plugin for Carrara is being developed by Spheric Labs at a very rapid rate. This blog is supposed to collect the most important information in one place.
The latest support additions are manual changes, free shaders and a FAQ, thanks to rk66, 3DAGE and Jay NOLA.
Luxus has been released and can now be bought from:

1. Release list/Change log

– CarraraCafe ->

2. Downloads (Updated December, 07, 2013)
– Official release of Luxus (updated to for Win/Mac 32/64bit is now available at ->
– Luxrender ->

3. Documentation (Updated October, 17, 2013):
– Unofficial Manual by rk66 ->
– Official Manual ->
– FAQ (scroll down to Spheric Labs) ->

4. Other related downloads/links:
– Some Sample Shaders ->
– M4/V4 Lux base shaders by 3DAGE ->
– Luxus for Carrara Resource Pack by PhilW ->
– Luxrender Manual ->

Unofficial Manual as PDF by Holly and rk – >

5. Forum threads:
– CarraraCafe ->,tid=30
– Daz3D ->
– Daz3D ->

6. FAQ (Updated 2016-04-24):
Q1: How do I create an animation with Luxus?
A1: Luxus only saves one file per frame of the animation (does not launch Luxrender), then you need to manually open the files in the Queue page of Luxrender, which renders an image of each file in the same folder. Detailed steps:
1. First you MUST set ONE of these settings, otherwise the first frame will render forever: Render Room/Rendering/Film Options:
-Halttime: 60 (means 60 seconds of rendering per frame)
-Halt SPP: 100 (means 100 samples per pixel, maybe overkill for an animation)
2. Setup Carrara for animation rendering (Movie, frame rate… assume you know this)
3. Check “Choose path” in the Rendering page in Carrara/Render room/Render/Rendering/LuxRender, to make sure that you know where the *.lxs files get saved.
4. Press Render. Done. Super quick since only files are saved, no rendering job has been done.
5. Load Luxrender and go to the Queue page and press “+” to load all the *.lxs files.
6. Watch Luxrender do its thing, all images should be saved in the same folder.
7. Enjoy!



New DAZ Install Manager and Carrara 8.5 benefits *UPDATED*

New DAZ Install Manager and Carrara 8.5 benefits *UPDATED*

The new DAZ Install Manager (DIM) has been announced in the Platinum Club newsletter and the Daz3D forums as well. While it seems to have no meaning or impact for Carrara users, other than smoother content installation, it actually shows the way forward for Carrara.
With the DIM, the new SmartContent tab in Carrara 8.5 becomes independent of Daz Studio 4.5, which currently is needed to initialize all newly installed content by first running Daz Studio and then Carrara.
When the DIM has been released, Daz Studio will only be needed to install the Content Management Service (CMS), then you can choose to un-install Daz Studio and never look back. The CMS stays behind since it has its own uninstaller.

Daz has confirmed that there are plans to fix the final issue of having to install Daz Studio to access the CMS, which can be interpreted as a confirmation of the plan to move forward to a future of a stand-alone Carrara 8.5 release.

A quote from Daz_Spooky in the Carrara forums at

A while back I stated 8.5 couldn’t really be considered ready until you didn’t need DAZ Studio to populate the database.
If you use Poser/DAZ Studio Content in Carrara, then Install manager will populate the database, and therefore your smart content tab, for new content installed without opening DAZ Studio.
You will still need to install DAZ Studio to install the Content Management Service but that is also on the list. Once you have and are using Install manager, if you don’t want DAZ Studio on your machine, you can install it, it will install the Content Management Service, then promptly uninstall DS, and it will leave the Content Management Service installed (by design, you have to specifically run the separate uninstaller for the Content Management Service to remove it).
More coming, that I can’t yet talk about.

Here is a video that shows the DIM in action:

DAZ Install Manager – New to 3D Content (for Windows users)

DAZ Install Manager – Add to Current System (for Windows users)

There are also videos for mac users posted on the channel:

Some more info in this Forum thread:

Also, DAZ has plans for an announcement about Carrara in February, stay tuned for more info…

UPDATE 2013-02-05: The DAZ Install Manager has just been released as a beta for Platinum Club members, got a newsletter with a 25% rebate coupon too.
Over 10 000 products are supported, but Carrara is not included in the first beta release

Creating cloths for Poser

Creating cloths for Poser

Carrara now will talk to Daz Studio with a new file format that DAZ 3D is testing, so its time to add Daz Studio to our new arsenal of tools. You can use it as more then a simple pose and render tools, but as a content creator tool!

Here is a collection of Daz Studio 4 PRO videos that can help you to start creating cloths for you own models.
Note that they dont show how to model the mesh, if you want to learn more about modeling get the basic video tutorials Genesis Start Kit from Fugazi1968 at DAZ 3D store:

The first video will show you how to import and copy the RIG from a character to you new piece of cloth, using the Transfer Utility:

Now that you have your cloth in place we need to setup so we dont get pokes in the objetcs and morphs with Mesh Smoothing Modifier:

Note that all morphs dynamically added to the cloth will not show in the Parameters tabs, unless you tick the Show Hidden Properties.
Other point is that you need to dial all morphs that you want create, so they will be part of your cloth to work in Carrara or Poser.

Essential Plugins for Carrara

Essential Plugins for Carrara

Essential Plugins for Carrara
There are quite a few plugins available for Carrara. Which ones do you need? Which will add major features, and which are the most useful? This is not an in-depth review of individual plugins (that will come later), but this overview might get you started.

Modeling and Assembly Room Plugins

Castle crenels are new in ArchiTools 1.3
(image from

ArchiTools allows you to create multi-story buildings with gabled roofs and curved walls. Cut doorways and windows. Create interior walls, cubicles, stairways, crenels and towers for castles too! Architecture remains editable inside a separate modeling room.
ArchiTools from Inagoni

Carrara Enhanced Remote Control (ERC) is easily Carrara’s most powerful plugin. It allows you to link any function to another with an ERC modifier and a property inspector. Link a shader to a light, link a morph to a bone. Use remote control proxies to control movement on multiple objects, or define an ERC Chain with Delay and Decay to animate ropes, tentacles, and tails. Additional features include a Pin Modifier, and Keyframe Actions to delete all, remove duplicates, and jitter the timing of keyframes across an object or its children.
Carrara Enhanced Remote Control at DAZ3D

Ground Control is terrains on steroids. Import U.S. Geological Survey DEMs or Space Shuttle Radar Topography data to create real world terrains. Use Terragen and World Machine 32bit RAW with Carrara. Elevation data can be applied to a mesh, an AnythingGrooves object, to a Carrara terrain model, or it’s own Ground Control primitive. You can even import an animated image sequence for ocean waves or a boat’s wake!
Ground Control from Digital Carver’s Guild

Shader Utilities

Fake Fresnel adds edge
falloff to glass shaders

Shader Ops is a must-have toolkit for the shader room which adds crucial functions to the shader tree: Fake Fresnel adds fall-off where geometry curves away from the camera to create stunning glass and velvet effects. Invert, Clip, Compress, Stretch, and Brightness control color values. Shaders can be limited with Minimum/Maximum values and Threshholds. Scale and Translate manipulate 3D shaders in local or global space. Three UV tools are essential for scaling and positioning images as tileable textures. In all Shader Ops adds 19 new functions, including Note for when your shaders become so complex you need to remind yourself what they are doing!
Shader Ops from Digital Carver’s Guild

Shaders Plus is a grab bag of “lighting-models” which are added to the top of a shader tree, and change how they render under Carrara’s lights. Bevel smooths the appearance of sharp edges, Anisotropic and Alternative Luster are used to simulate brushed metal and silk. Several shaders are provided to exclude individual lights or just certain aspects of lighting, or can remove the shader from the light interactions altogether. GI Shadow Catcher is easier to set up than Carrara’s built-in shadow catcher for compositing in post, while Shadow Glow creates a dynamic glow channel that dims with light/shade sensitivity. GI Brightness controls how much light is emitted under global illumination. Procedural Lock allows procedural shaders to be used on Carrara-rigged figures without “shader crawl”.
Shaders Plus by Digital Carver’s Guild

Baker allows texture baking of Carrara’s procedural shaders. Lighting and shadows can also be baked onto textures, even global illumination. Baker exports image maps in a variety of sizes and file types to be doctored in a paint program or used in other 3D renderers and game engines, and can replace complex procedural and geometry-aware shaders in your scene that are slow to calculate. Baker added normal maps to Carrara before C8, and it offers a render option to create basic normal maps that can be used on a low-poly plane or tiled as a surface texture.
Baker from Inagoni

2D/3D Procedural Shaders

Procedural Shaders

Go wild with sharp, scalable,
seamless procedural shaders.

Velouté 2 adds 3D (global) procedural shaders for truly seamless patterns, cell and vein structures, grids and tiles, gradients and noise. 3D shaders are not distorted when UV maps are stretched or bent. They float in space, invisible without a surface to reveal their pattern. Velouté can drive volumetric fog and smoke effects like Primivol clouds. For each 3D pattern and gradient there is a corresponding 2D shader with UV controls for positioning and scaling. Velouté specializes in architectural patterns with a top-level shader tree for bricks and tiles that contains a second complete texture for grout, and provides color variation across individual bricks and tiles. A Roof shader has options for clay tiles or shingles, and a Weave shader makes cloth easy. Velouté has an elegant graphic interface and introduces a handy control for Brightness/Contrast/Limits that should be the standard across Carrara.
Veloute 2 from inagoni

Enhance:C tops all other Carrara plugins with a staggering 200+ shader functions. Everything from fish scales to riveted panels, cloth, wood, and water. Organic noise options include dirt, concrete, and stucco as will as “Minky” and “Bozo”. Frog, Dino, and Monster are ready to create your most complicated alien lizard skins. Tile alone features 39 different patterns, but a dropdown menu and obscure names can leave you scratching your head. Oddly-specific shaders include CD Gradient to get the rainbow on 5″ discs, and digital counters that use binary, octal, and hexadecimal numbering systems. Enhance:C specializes in sci-fi with a suite of 3D shaders for planetary bodies and 2D shaders for ship hulls, windows, and pipes. Fractal and Geometric shaders complete this exhaustive collection.
Enhance:C from Digital Carver’s Guild

more on the next page…

Page 3 of 3123