ryuuyasha - The Panorama Project: Carrara Settings and weirdness

Website redesign with new menu styles.

Software used:
Carrara 8 Pro (64bit)
AdventureMaker
Cubic Panorama Image Combiner
MakeCubic (for QTVR examples only)
CubicConverter 2 (until I crack the conical camera conundrum...)

Project created/rendered on WinVista

Oh, Carrara, switching to you after DAZ and Poser is like being asked to translate Greek... in other words, the things I've learned no longer apply, and my bewilderment is tripled. First, the Z and Y axis, if you're familiar with them from other 3D programs, are flipped here. X still controls your pitch (think of an airplane angling up and down), but your Z-axis now controls your yaw (side-to-side motion).

The first test was with a 22mm conic camera.

Carrara 22mm Conic Camera
Cube Faces X-Rotate Z-Rotate
H-1 90 90
H-2 90 0
H-3 90 -90
H-4 90 -180
Top 180 0
Bottom 0 0

As you can see, the seams are extremely visible. The next step was attempted after adjusting the focal length of the camera. An issue with Carrara is that even if your focal length is actually set to 21.5, the program's display rounds the number up and down. Although the camera is actually set to 21.5mm, the display will claim it's 22mm instead.

Carrara 21.5mm Conic Camera
Cube Faces X-Rotate Z-Rotate
H-1 90 90
H-2 90 0
H-3 90 -90
H-4 90 -180
Top 180 0
Bottom 0 0

On this one, I thought I had it. Lesson learned from this? Don't try critical seam analysis after midnight. Critical thinking and examination definitely take a big hit. My next step in "desperately trying to get the cameras to work" is kind of a weird one. I set up a conical camera at 21.5mm at the default angle, copied it 5 times to get six cameras that are exactly the same, rotated them to face the different sides of the "cube," then unclicked "visible" on the cameras. Because I had it set up to view the production frames, I ended up with what I call a The CamCube. This allowed me to really see what the problem was with setting this up. When I zoomed in very close on the corners of the cube and altered the focal length for the cameras, it jumped out. It would jump from no corners touching at 21.65mm, to everything overlapping at 21.7mm. When zooming in at super-extreme levels, it also became apparent that the overlap was uneven, probably due to the rotational hot point having nothing to do with the position of the camera lens.

Well, I will still attempt to eventually find the magic camera numbers for Carrara, but in the meantime, here's a simpler but more expensive solution.

Render with a spherical camera. Your aspect ration should be 2 (i.e., the width should be twice the size of the height). Buy CubicConverter ($49 USD) and convert the spherical/equirectangular render to cube faces. Easy day. In some ways, this actually makes the whole process much easier, you only need to do one big render instead of six little ones, so you're a little more free to focus on your 'steps,' if you're doing this to make an adventure game, or a walkthrough.