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Carrara 5 Pro

Users who have upgraded to Carrara 5 Pro will need learning material to help them use the latest features which have been included in version 5. Though the application is loaded with easy-to-use new features, detailed tutorials will help them learn to apply them. The Carrara 5 Pro handbook will serve the purpose.

For new users or occasional users of Carrara 5 Pro, this handbook is supposed to be a complete guide providing a detailed coverage of various features and tools. However, having read the book from the very beginning to the end, I opine, that it falls short of its claims.

In fact, the book has not covered about eighty percent of added new features. A list of the items which are not covered are New particle system, surface replicator, replicator, ambient occlusion, anisotropic lighting model, irradiance map, translucency model, fresnel, new volumetric clouds, weight painting, matchmoving, bounding box display, include/exclude lights, and smoothing of multiple objects. Further, a few new tools of vertex modeler are not mentioned.

The first part of the handbook starts with the fundamentals of 3D concepts as well as techniques like 3d modeling, animation and texturing. In part II, it deals with Carrara assemble, modeling, texture, and rendering rooms. However, they are not in detail, and seem more like an overview.

In Part II, we get to know the Carrara assembling, modeling, texture and rendering rooms. Once again, there are no details, and it looks much like an overview of these features.

Part III deals with Modeling with the Carrara and Hexagon. In this part, modeling techniques using vertex and spline modeling are explained with detailed samples. Modeling with Hexagon, which is a new 3D polygonal modeler released by Eovia Corp, has been detailed in a short section. The tutorials are very good, but a few new tools of vertex modeler are not explained at all.

In Part IV, texturing that ranges from UV editor, subsurface scattering, projection mapping layers and displacement mapping are all covered. But it does not mention about the anisotropic, translucency and fresnel which are newly added features in Carrara 5 Pro.

Part V is about animation with morph targets, and walk cycle with bones. Good samples are used here, but there is no teaching for using new graph editor as well as weight painting tool, which form another set of features in Carrara 5 Pro.

Part VI is about rendering with Carrara by using HDRI, skylight, Global Illumination, Caustics, NPR, etc. Here again, Irradiance mapping and Ambient Occlusion which are the Carrara 5 Pro rendering features are not mentioned at all.

Par VII is about using Carrara along with other programs namely, Flash with Vector style, exporting to After Effects, and Native poser importer. This section has very good material.

Part VIII is the last part and it covers third party plugins from a Digital Carver Guild. It informs useful facts about Anything Goes, Anything Grows and Cognito.

Though Carrara 5 Pro handbook has good material to help new users start with 3D, eighty percent of the newly added features of Carrara 5 Pro are omitted. So it cannot be recommended for those who have upgraded to Carrara 5 Pro from the Carrara 3 or 4.

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