Friday, 6 March 2009

Carrara 6 Pro - Free with DigitalArts Magazine

For those of you interested in 3D modelling and animation I have to recommend that you buy the April 2009 edition of DigitalArts magazine (came by mail today - expect in WHSmiths very soon I expect).

The free software in this edition is none other than Carrara 6 Pro, an extrememly powerful and versatile 3D modeller and animator. Other people have written far more detailed reviews than I ever will, but to sum up the changes:

Carrara 6 allows users to choose from an unprecedented array of tools while exploring new dimensions in 3D creation. Carrara 6 provides 3D figure posing and
animation, modelling, environment-creation and rendering tools within a single

Carrara 6 features include non-linear animation, giving users the ability to create clips of animation that can be reused and combined on multiple tracks. Also includeds is dynamic hair that allows artists to style, cut, brush and drape the hair, and displacement modeling where the user can paint detail on a model using free-form brush tools.

Apart from the non-linear animating and the hair, the icing on the cake was that it can export in DirectX (.X) format, and converts procedural shaders into raster images on export. Finally, I can use a program I am extremely familiar with to make models for 3D games and export them directly without having to convert them using other programs (at least that is the implication with .X export - I will of course try it out with my copy of The 3D Game Maker, and FPS Creator (also available free for learning purposes).

Ever since version 1 I have found Carrara to be one of the most easily learned 3D animation and modelling programs. Even so beginners may be glad of a little help in which case they will find Mark Bremmer's video tutorials helpful to get started.

I am certainly not going to complain that Daz is continuing to follow its strategy of giving freebies to DigitalArts readers (or readers of any other creative journal for that matter), and earning most of its income from selling content for its Daz Studio product. On pondering why I considered 2 possible causes. First, E-on have had their open beta of Vue 7 going for a while and by launching cornucopia have thrown down the gauntlet to Daz in the pre-made content arena. Second, by giving Carrara away free on design and creative journals they may encourage more talented 3d designers to produce content which can then be sold in their store. Well... it's a nice theory. Whatever the reason, Carrara 6 for the price of a magazine has to be a bargain.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Internet Explorer 8

Web designers will be interested to know that Internet Explorer 8 is coming very soon. At present you can download release candidate 1, this means that it is ready for public testing while they iron out the last few bugs.

You might want to add it to your stash of browsers for testing purposes. After all, you want to make sure the next most popular browser shows your websites nicely.

Download it here: