Eovia Carrara Studio 3

[DTP Reviews]
[Vector Reviews]
[Bitmap Reviews]
[Web Reviews]
[3D Reviews]

[3ds max 6]
[3DSOM Pro ]
[Acrobat 7]
[Acrobat 6]
[Acrobat 5]
[Acrobat 4]
[Acrobat 3]
[Acrobat Capture 2]
[Advanced Render 2.5]
[Articulate Presenter 5]
[AutoEye 2]
[AutoEye 1]
[Avenue.Quark]
[Bryce 5.5]
[Camtasia Studio]
[Canvas X]
[Canvas 9]
[Canvas 8]
[Canvas 7]
[Canvas 6]
[Canvas 5]
[Captivate 1]
[Carrara 5 / Pro]
[Carrara 4 / Pro]
[Carrara Studio 3]
[Cinema 4D 9.5]
[Cinema 4D 9]
[Cinema 4D 8.5]
[ColorDrive 1.5]
[CompuPic Pro 6]
[CompuPic Pro 5]
[Contribute 2]
[Contribute]
[Corel Designer 12]
[Corel Designer 10]
[Designer 9]
[Designer 1/8]
[CorelDraw X3]
[CorelDraw 12]
[CorelDraw 11]
[CorelDraw 10]
[CorelDraw 9]
[CorelDraw 8]
[CorelDraw Office 9]
[CorelDraw Premium 9]
[Creative Suite 2]
[Creative Suite 1]
[Deep Exploration 3]
[Deep Paint 2]
[Deep Paint 3D 2]
[Digital Image Suite 9]
[Director MX]
[Director 8.5]
[Director 8]
[DreamSuite 1]
[Dreamweaver 8]
[Dreamweaver MX 2004]
[Dreamweaver MX]
[DrawPlus 8]
[Expression 3]
[Expression 2]
[Eye Candy 4000]
[Fireworks 8 ]
[Fireworks MX 2004]
[Fireworks MX]
[Fireworks 4]
[Fireworks 3]
[Fireworks 2]
[Fireworks 1]
[Flash Professional 8]
[Flash MX Pro 2004]
[Flash MX 2004]
[Flash MX]
[Flash 5]
[Flash 4]
[Flash 3]
[FlashCom MX]
[Flightcheck 3]
[Flix Pro]
[Fontographer 4.1]
[FrameMaker 6]
[FrameMaker 5.5]
[FreeHand MX]
[FreeHand 10]
[FreeHand 9]
[FreeHand  8]
[FrontPage 2003]
[FrontPage 2002]
[FotoFusion 3]
[Generator 1]
[Genetica 2]
[Genuine Fractals 3.5]
[Genuine Fractals]
[GoLive CS2]
[GoLive CS]
[GoLive 6]
[GoLive 5]
[GraphicXtras]
[Headline Studio 1]
[Hexagon]
[Illustrator CS2]
[Illustrator CS]
[Illustrator 10]
[Illustrator 9]
[Illustrator 8]
[Illustrator 7]
[Image Doctor]
[InDesign CS2]
[InDesign CS]
[InDesign 2]
[InDesign 1]
[ImageReady 1]
[ImageStyler 1]
[Intellihance Pro 4]
[Intellihance 3]
[KnockOut 2]
[KnockOut 1.5]
[KPT 7]
[KPT 6]
[KPT 5]
[KPT 3]
[LiveMotion 2]
[LiveMotion 1]
[Mystical Lighting ]
[Mystical Tint]
[Namo WebEditor 5.5]
[NetObjects Fusion 7.5]
[OnOne Photoshop Suite]
[PageMaker 7]
[PageMaker 6.5+]
[PageMaker 6.5]
[PagePlus 6]
[PagePlus 5]
[PagePlus 4]
[Paint Shop Pro X ]
[Paint Shop Pro 9]
[Paint Shop Pro 8]
[Paint Shop Pro 7]
[Paint Shop Pro 6]
[Paint Shop Pro 5]
[Paint Shop Pro 4]
[PSP Album 5]
[PSP Studio]
[Painter IX]
[Painter 8]
[Painter 7]
[Painter 6]
[Painter 5.5]
[Painter 5]
[Painter 4]
[Painter Essentials 3]
[Photo Album 6]
[PhotoArtMaster]
[Photo-Brush]
[PhotoDeluxe BE]
[PhotoDraw 2000 2]
[PhotoDraw 2000 1]
[PhotoFrame 1]
[PhotoGraphics 1]
[PhotoImpact 11]
[PhotoImpact 10]
[PhotoImpact XL]
[PhotoImpact 8]
[PhotoImpact 6]
[PhotoImpact 5]
[PhotoImpact 4]
[PhotoImpact 3]
[Photo-Objects 2]
[PhotoPaint 8]
[PhotoSEAM]
[Photoshop CS2]
[Photoshop CS]
[Photoshop 7]
[Photoshop 6]
[Photoshop 5.5]
[Photoshop 5]
[Photoshop 4]
[Photoshop Album 2]
[Photoshop Album]
[Ph/shop Elements 4]
[Ph/shop Elements 3]
[Ph/shop Elements 2]
[Photoshop Elements]
[PhotoSuite 7 ]
[PhotoSuite 5]
[PhotoSuite 4]
[PhotoSuite III]
[PhotoSuite II]
[PhotoTools 2]
[Picture Publisher 8]
[Piranesi 4 ]
[Piranesi 3]
[Portfolio 3]
[Poser 6]
[Poser 5]
[Poser Pro Pack]
[PrintOffice 2000]
[PrintOffice 1]
[PressReady 1]
[Publisher 2003]
[Publisher 2002]
[Publisher 2000]
[Publisher 98]
[Pxl SmartScale]
[QuarkXPress 6.5]
[QuarkXPress 6]
[QuarkXPress 5]
[QuarkXPress 4]
[Real-Draw Pro 3]
[Real Draw Pro 2]
[Sapphire Plug-ins]
[Satori 3]
[Satori 2.5]
[Sketch and Toon]
[SketchUp 5]
[SketchUp 4]
[SketchUp 3]
[SketchUp 2.1]
[SnagIt 6.2]
[Streamline 4]
[Studio 8]
[Studio MX 2004]
[Studio MX]
[Studio Pro 2 ]
[Swift 3D 4 ]
[Swift 3D 3]
[Swish 1]
[Swish 2]
[Test Strip 3]
[Texture Maker 2]
[Toon Boom Studio 3]
[Toon Boom Studio 1]
[Type Manager Deluxe]
[Vector Studio 2]
[Vector Studio 1]
[Ventura 10]
[Ventura 8]
[Ventura 7]
[Virtual Painter]
[Vue 5 Esprit]
[Vue 4 d'Esprit]
[Vue 5 Infinite]
[Vue 4 Professional]
[Web3D 2]
[Web3D 1]
[WebEasy Pro 5]
[WebPlus 8]
[WildFX]
[WildPresenter]
[Windows Draw 6]
[Windows Draw 5]
[Wright Design 1]
[Xara Xtreme]
[Xara X1]
[Xara X]
[Xara 2]
[Xara 1]
[Xara3D 6]
[Xara3D 5]
[Xenofex 2]
[Xfrog 3.5 / 4.x]
[XPress 6.5]
[XPress 6]
[XPress 5]
[XPress 4]
[xRes 2]


[Home / What's New]
[DTP / Publishing]
[Vector Drawing]
[Bitmap / Photo Editing]
[Web Design]
[3D Software]
[All Reviews]
[All Articles / Tutorials]
[Book Search / Shop]
[Site Map / Search]
[Contact]
 

you can help support the site with a direct donation or by shopping via the following links:

[Amazon.com]
[Amazon.co.uk]
[Amazon.ca]

Thank you!

 

 

RECOMMENDED

Improved modeling, shading and rendering and the bargain price combine to make Carrara Studio 3 an attractive proposition.

These days 3D is moving into the mainstream of graphics creation, but the flagship applications such as Maya, LightWave and 3DS Max are way beyond the means of most designers. That's where Eovia's Carrara Studio comes in, promising professional functionality at an affordable price.

However there's an immediate price to pay. Carrara Studio is a direct descendent of MetaCreations' pioneering 3D work and this inheritance is apparent in the program's idiosyncratic and at times maddeningly frustrating interface. At least Eovia is moving things in the right direction and has again streamlined the working environment and in particular the Properties panel, which now provides access to the crucial object hierarchy. It has also added a new Scene Wizard which provides access to over 150 ready-to-use scenes. I wouldn't get too excited about these but the generous collection of pre-designed objects is certainly useful and, along with the comprehensive manual and tutorials, means that it's possible for new users to create good work from the outset as they begin tackling the precipitous learning curve.

And for those users willing to put in the effort, Carrara Studio certainly provides some serious power, especially when it comes to modeling. To begin with, you can quickly add basic primitives and text, but the real power comes with Carrara's spline and vertex modeling. Spline-based modeling depends on the user adding cross-sections along customizable sweep paths and now offers the ability to automatically add bevels. Vertex-based modeling offers even more control, right down to the individual polygon level, and its implementation has been seriously enhanced with a new Dynamic Extrusion tool, which is great both for roughing out shapes and for controlling fine detail, and the addition of Edge Creasing to the Subdivision tool.

Carrara also provides plenty of organic modeling functionality with the ability to add metaball-based shapes, bitmap-based terrains, particle-based effects such as rain and snow, and volumetric clouds and fog. Completely new is the ability to add realistic vegetation with the new Tree Maker engine. This provides complete control over features such as trunk shape, leaf type, leaf twist and so on. Even better, there are 26 presets provided ranging from arbutus through to willow, and a render preview in the dialog so that you can see exactly what you're getting.

The Tree Maker engine further improves Carrara's organic modelling options.

Once you've added the elements to your scene, you need to control their appearance. The easiest way to do this is to use the preset shaders from the Browser palette and Carrara 3 now provides 270 to choose from including a complete collection of planet texture maps. If you want to take things further the Texture Room now provides a range of new shader functions such as Colour Gradient, Fractal Noise and an Environment option which shades terrains depending on their altitude, slope and orientation - ideal for producing realistic snowy mountains. There's also a new Overlay operator for combining shading effects. For precision control over your objects' appearance, Carrara Studio 3 now supports shading domains so that you can format part of an object differently from the rest and even includes a full-blown UV editing tool for total control over texture map placement.

When your scene is assembled and formatted, it's ready for output. Carrara has always supported the main 3D standards such as OBJ, DXF and 3DS and now it incorporates two web-oriented standards that were previously only available via plug-ins. The first is the VET (Viewpoint Experience Technology) format which lets you produce highly efficient, fully-textured 3D models for interactive viewing in a web browser. The second is the W3D Shockwave format which lets you incorporate 3D work into your Director projects. To output to Flash SWF format however, you'll still need to buy Eovia's dedicated VectorStyle plug-in.

Of course the most common way of outputting your work is to render it as a 2D bitmap or animation. Eovia has completely revamped Carrara 3's rendering engine combining the previously separate renderers into a single more flexible hybrid engine, Photon Reality 2.0. This offers a number of relatively minor improvements such as improved control over anti-aliasing, depth of field and the ability to output alpha channels. More importantly the whole quality of the ray tracing has been seriously improved with support for soft shadows, optimized global illumination including sky dome illumination and, for the most impressive results, support for realistic lighting via High Dynamic Range Image (HDRI) files - though apart from the few provided HDRI samples you'll have to source these for yourself.

HDRI support seriously boosts rendering quality.

The improvement in rendering quality is certainly significant but, apart from HDRI work, this is still an area where Carrara Studio loses out to its high-end rivals. Sadly "photo-realistic" is still the aim rather than the reality in most cases and you're not going to use Carrara to produce the next Monsters Inc. Cleverly, Eovia has come up with an ingenious alternative. Using the completely new Non Photo-Realistic (NPR) rendering engine, Impression, you can automatically turn your scenes into attractive artistic renditions. This works by rendering the geometry of the scene as brush strokes with separate customizable control over the main image, background, highlights, shadows and outline.

It's important to realize that, if you're intending to go all the way with 3D, you'll eventually hit a ceiling with Carrara Studio and so would be better off shelling out for one of the expensive top-end packages from the start. Having said this, Carrara Studio's range and depth of power is seriously and surprisingly impressive - especially at the price.

Ease of Use
3.5
Features
5
Value for Money
6
Overall
5

ratings out of 6

System requirements: Pentium III 300MHz, 128Mb of RAM, 300Mb of hard disk space, Windows 98, ME, 2000, NT 4 (SP3) or XP, CD-ROM.

Tom Arah

January 2004


Hopefully you've found the information you were looking for. For further information please click here.

For free trials and special offers please click the following recommended links:

For further information on the following design applications and subjects please click on the links below:

[3D], [3ds max], [Adobe], [Acrobat], [Cinema 4D], [Corel], [CorelDRAW], [Creative Suite], [Digital Image], [Dreamweaver], [Director], [Fireworks], [Flash], [FreeHand], [FrameMaker], [FrontPage], [GoLive], [Graphic Design], [HTML/CSS], [Illustrator], [InDesign], [Macromedia], [Macromedia Studio], [Microsoft], [NetObjects Fusion], [PageMaker], [Paint Shop Pro], [Painter], [Photo Editing], [PhotoImpact], [Photoshop], [Photoshop Elements], [Publisher], [QuarkXPress], [Web Design]

To continue your search on the designer-info.com site and beyond please use the Google and Amazon search boxes below:

Google
Web designer-info.com

       
designer-info.com: independent, informed, intelligent, incisive, in-depth...
 


All the work on the site (over 250 reviews, over 100 articles and tutorials) has been written by me, Tom Arah It's also me who maintains the site, answers your emails etc. The site is very popular and from your feedback I know it's a useful resource - but it takes a lot to keep it up.

You can help keep the site running, independent and free by Bookmarking the site (if you don't you might never find it again), telling others about it and by coming back (new content is added every month). Even better you can make a donation eg $5 the typical cost of just one issue of a print magazine or buy anything via Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk (now or next time you feel like shopping) using these links or the designer-info.com shop - it's a great way of quickly finding the best buys, it costs you nothing and I gain a small but much-appreciated commission.

Thanks very much, Tom Arah


 
[DTP/Publishing] [Vector Drawing] [Bitmap/Photo] [Web] [3D]
[Articles/Tutorials]
[Reviews/Archive] [Shop]  [Home/What's New]

Copyright 1995-2005, Tom Arah, Designer-Info.com. Please get in contact to let me know what you think about a particular piece or the site in general.