Base Scene Download
Volumetric Lighting - Basic Interiors
To Install (Windows - I don't know a thing about Mac):
The file structure is using the system that ships with Carrara for the User's use - aka; It's in the My Documents folder under DAZ 3D, then Carrara 8.5
When we open the downloaded zip file, we see a folder named: My Presets
Drag this into your Carrara 8.5 folder and let it merge with your browser files.
The file contains:
My Presets > My Artwork > Dartanbeck > (three spherical image files)
Starry Sky BG
My Presets > My Objects > 1280 x 720 Blank.car (this is the scene file)
In the Carrara browser's Objects tab you should see the file: 1280 x 720 Blank. In the Artwork tab you should find a folder named: Dartanbeck. Within it will be three maps. We're not going to use them from here - it was just a nice 'out-of-the-way' spot within the simple system to store them for later use, as explained soon.
Double-click 1280 x 720 Blank from the Objects tab to open the scene. This base scene is set up to render 1280 x 720 jpg of the current frame, and it's using Gamma Correction at a value of 2.2, which is also common rendering Gamma for Iray, Luxrender and other newer engines. Disable this now if you don't work in Gamma Correction mode.
The scene uses a spherical map in the background (Scene settings tray)
I only use this (in such a base scene) to give reflections something to reflect, so it also has a Backdrop setting of Color = Pure Black, so that we can render straight to alpha if we wish while leaving the background to reflect from.
Also in the scene settings is an Ambient Light (top of tray) setting of 6 with a color of a somewhat muted dark blue green. Again, I use this only as a method of quick lighting and I'll often turn this off (or edit it) after I optimize the scene. If I have a character in the scene I turn off Ambient Light entirely, right from the start. That's why my Character Setup base scene has no Ambient Light within its scene settings.
Suggestion: Change all of the settings to the way you like to perform quick test renders and save it as your own Base Scene and always use it as your starting blank scene when you start a new interior stage scene. It'll help to become more consistent and will save a lot of time!
Notice regarding Gamma Correction at 2.2 (linear workflow):
Using a spherical map in the background scene setting does not work well for me. I may be missing something and will edit this if I find out otherwise. So when I do want to use a spherical image as my background during a render, I use the map I need on a sphere which is set to Not Cast Shadows, Nor Receive Them. Here is a scene file with such a sphere included with the Cave map applied to it.
Changing background Maps
Refer to where you've installed your files. Default will be My Documents > DAZ 3D > Carrara 8.5 > My Presets > My Artwork > Dartanbeck
To switch background scene settings map, click the Load Map button and browse to the above location and pick a map.
I will be releasing a shader pack for the Sphere, but editing the existing shader is a breeze! Keep in mind that I'm using GC@2.2 when you see that the image map is multiplied by itself. If you're not using GC@2.2 then drag only one of the source images to the main slot where multiplied images exist. For example: In the Color channel, drag either Source 1 or Source 2 Texture Map over the Color channel. The XColor channel is now set to a single Texture Map. In either case, load the image of your choice from the same location as above and Cntrl+Drag that image to the other Texture Map channels within the shader. Ctrl+Drag = Copy To
Exterior scenes have a rich volume of light being reflected, scattered and absorbed that simply is not present in closed-walled interior scenes, like dungeons and the like. I never use this base scene for starting an exterior stage. This scene is set to fake light that isn't - or shouldn't be there. So for exterior scene I refer to the EnvironKits for Carrara.
I might just load one of the presets or the base scene that fits the style of scene I need, but I've also made my own "Base Scene - Day" scene file which uses just the environmental controls and water without any geometry. For this scene save, I made all of the most common changes that I almost always make to the default settings it ships with. Now I have a simple, yet complex-enough starting scene to which I can simply drop in any content that I buy.
That new Base Scene is only the part where it relates to this Base Scene Download. With EnvironKits, I make lots and lots of other such Base Scene for different types of terrain and atmosphere - even time of day. Like a spooky wooded path, but with none of the central area of the scene fleshed out - again, so I can simply plunk in some content.
Space, Vehicles and Props
Space is a different beast entirely. If I want to have control of my stars in 3D, I go right for Starry Sky for Carrara. But if I just want to optimize a space craft or other in-space object, I prefer to use this Base Scene Download or the Character Setup base scenes. Sometime a deep Ambient Light can really enhance a space scene - sometimes it wrecks it. So remember to test different settings or shut it off entirely.
When it comes to saving vehicles, some hero monsters and most prop-like objects I often don't "Save the Scene", but I'll make an exception if I feel a need to. If you prefer to save the whole scene, I think it's nice to Not have extra geometry in the scene that isn't necessary. Keep that in mind when you design your Ultimate Base Scenes!
Have a Question? Just Ask!
I love to help others as best I can. This is a rather broad topic: CG Filmmaking, so my articles on any particular topic may not answer your specific question.
Most of the questions directed to me are regarding Carrara or How did I do this?
For these sorts of things, post your question at the Carrara Discussion Forum (or another appropriate category) at Daz 3D.com forums, and if I don't see it right away, someone else might. They are such a friendly and helpful bunch! I've learned so much from that forum over the years!
For a more immediate question directed to me, log into those forums and Send me a PM!