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Buying Carrara

February 12, 2010
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Just wanted to write a few notes about buying Carrara as I’ve received a few questions from some 3D buddies about the package. The Buy structure for Carrara can be a little confusing. I’ll take a few excerpts from the Tech Manual and explain. Here’s one to start:

Carrara Standard and Pro offer the following main types of modelers to create or edit objects:

Primitive modeler
Vertex modeler
Spline modeler
Metaball modeler

There are also other primitive objects that open the Model room when you edit or add them to your scene:

Text
Particle Emitters
Terrains
Plants
Volumetric Clouds
Old Volumetric Clouds
Surface Replicators
Replicators
Hair
Ocean
Displacement modeler (Pro only)

NOTE! Carrara 3D Express only provides terrains and plants.

Ah! There’s the Rub! You have to read the features notes carefully. For myself, I’m all done with “Lite” versions, etc of software, because they always leave you wanting. Note that from the above, you’ll be missing a lot of highly desirable functions by going for the Express version.

Similarly, if you want to be able to Unfold UV Maps or 3D painting, you’ll need the Pro version as well. From the Manual:

UV Unfolding (Pro Only): Adds the ability to unfold UV maps when in the UV Editor.

and also

3D Painting (Pro Only): Provides the ability to paint directly on objects using color, shaders, and imported textures. Also includes real bumps and specularity display in OpenGL

There is good and bad in how Carrara offers their package. If you are very new to the 3D world and just unsure about how you will progress, then Carrara Express may be the way to go. If it turns out that you really hate it, at least it’s not a huge investment lost. But if you’ve already gotten your feet wet in 3D and have played around with things like the Silo modeler or Blender, then the Express package will be sorely lacking. The good thing here is that Carrara’s upgrade ladder has fair pricing, and you won’t lose anything in the process.

So read as much as you can,, and ensure the package you buy has the desired features. If the information is murky on the marketing pages, then download the Technical Manual if it’s available. In that way, you can ensure you’re getting exactly what you want and need.

In the case of Carrara, everything is available by direct download immediately after payment. Most others operate this way these too, but just imagine going the cheap way and having to wait for an upgrade on CD 😉

As just a note, Carrara is now testing their Beta 8 version, so look for even better things to come.

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