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Adding text on shader domains in Carrara 5

Author: GKDantas

Tools Needed

  • Carrara 5 and a paint program

Support Files

Step 1 - Loading the ring


First you need to load the file. We will work in a ring modeled in Vertex Modeler (you can use it for free after).


Now click in the ring and call the Model Room with one of these ways:

1 - click twice in the ring

2 - click in the ring click in the Model Room icon


Now in Modeling Room we will create the shader domains to apply the textures. Here the idea is to create two surfaces, so we can see where we will put the text image.

Begin clicking twice in any face of the ring so we can get it all selected. When selected the ring will go red.

Step 2 - Creating the shader domain


Time to create a ring shade domain. In the properties menu click in the Model tab and you will see an option named Shading Domain, and under it the value Texture 1. Click in this dropdown menu and choose New shading domain:


A new window will open to you write the name, let's call it Ring and click OK:


Now the entire ring have a shade domain named Ring… always use a name that you can identify better latter.

We need the surface that the text will be applied, so click outside the ring to deselect it. Hold the shift key and select 5 polygons from the most front of the ring. Again go to the Shade Domain and select New Shading Domain to create a new surface with the polygons selected like we did in steps above. Call it Label.

Step 3 - Testing the shader domain


Close the Model Room and get back to Assembler Room clicking in the hand top icon.


To test if our shader domain is working just drag two shader over the ring and do a quick test render (Ctrl + R). you can use the file from this point. It have the two shader domains ready.


Here is the test, don't worry about the colors. We can see that the shader domains are working right.

Now the fun. Let's take this ring to a better shade: open up the browser and choose the shaders tab, then in the Metal category drag Yellow Gold shader to both shade domains in the ring, so we get a beautiful gold ring. You can use the file in this step.

Step 4 - Time for some UV-mapping!


Before apply the text we need to do a thing that everybody want to get away: UV Map! Don't worry it is pretty simple and you will learn a little about UV Mapping in Carrara 5.

Click twice on the ring and go to the Model Room. We need to select only the label shade domain, to do that go to the upper menu Selection / Select By / Shade Domain and a new window will be showed where you will choose the Label shade domain and click OK:


With the shade domain Label selected the ring will look like that:


Time to UV Map. In the properties window there's a tab called UV Map, click on it and choose the UV Editor button.


A new window will show up with many options…don't be afraid it's friendly!


Here you can see some good things:

Shading Domain List = is where all shade domains are listed, so we need to select only the Label domain, only it will be UV mapped.

In the grey area you can see the UV map and the polygons for the shade domain selected. UV map is something like to flatten an object, so we can put a 2D image in it.

Click in the Projection tab. Choose from the dropdown menu the option Planar. Set to No Split. In the axes click in the X axis (not in the letter).

Step 5 - Exporting the UV map


Hit the Apply button to tell the Carrara UV Map editor that you want that it project an image aligned in the X axis to that shader domain. It what you see when you click in that option in the Projection tab. Planar is the way your image are, like a rigid paper. Aligned to the X axe like a landscape orientation.

That's the image that you will have at the end of this process. Time to define a space where the text will be written. Choose the scale button (in red ) and click in a red point in the grey are and drag until get the space for the text.


Now the image looks a little more like the shader domain that you selected to be the text part of the ring.


Time to export that image so we can write our text. Click in the Display tab and choose the Export button, a new window will show up asking the size of the base image that you want. This is the size of the UV map that will be exported to be painted.


Here I have chosen the 512 option (512 X 512 pixels). Save the image where you want to and open your paint program.

Step 6 - Creating the label


Here I will use the Artweaver paint software that looks like the Photoshop interface and it's free (

So load the image and add a text to the image in a new layer. Now scale it to the size of the shader domain. Don't worry about text color.


Now is time to create an alpha channel or a mask that make Carrara 5 only see the text. Go to the layers panel and make the background invisible. Click in the eye icon to do that. Save the image as a PNG with transparency and back to Carrara.

Step 7 - New shaders


Now in Carrara close the UV Editor with the OK button (in close button you will lose all work!). Back to the Assembler Room to see that no changes are visible…yet.

In the properties window choose the Shaders tab:


Let's rename the Yellow Gold shader. Click on it and in the top of the Property window replace the text with the name “ring”


Back to the shaders right click in the new “ring” shader and choose duplicate. Now rename the new shader to “text”. Why do we do that? Simple if you map only one shader all the ring will get written upon! This is something that we don't want now.

Double click in the “text” shader so we can edit it. You will be sent to the Texture Room.


In the image you can see that the Top Shader is a Multi Channel, this way you can configure many attributes for a surface. but for our text surface we need some more options. What will we do is to create two “layers” of texture where the most top will define the text attributes and the most down will be our background to the text. So to do that we need to first change the Top Shader. Click in the blue dropdown menu and choose Complex Shaders > > Multi Channel Mixer. Don't worry it's not so complex.


Take a look only at what I have painted in red. You can see the 3 channels: source 1, source 2 and Blender. The text surface, the background surface and where the image goes. Let's see if that's right: in the blender channel in the dropdown menu (where you'read None) choose Texture Map and apply the image that you have created. Look that the option Color And Alpha are checked, so it can work as a mask.

Step 8 - Final render


Now just two more step to get it done. If you want you can do a test render to see how they look and understand what has happened until now.


Look that the text has the attributes from Source 1 ( I said to you!). But We don't want that the text should have the same color, so we could see it when render the final image. back to the Texture Room. Drag a new shader from the browser to the Source 1 so we can replace it. After that drag the Ring shader from the properties window to the Source 2, so the background will look like the rest of the ring. Do a new render.


Now is time to adjust your scene, add a Realistic Sky or just save it to use in others scenes and renders. You can also copy the Blender channel (right click and choose Copy from menu) to the bump channel from Source 1 to get a little bump (just right click the bump channel and choose Paste from menu).

Good luck to everyone and you can see the ring in the file. If you find that the text image are a little low, create one with more resolution. Even a square one, doesn't matter that you have exported a 512 pixel image, it's only a base for create the UV Map. The only thing is that you will have to close Carrara 5 to clean the cache so you can see the changes if using an image with the same name. You can use the file for this step.

A special thanks go to Ringo Monfort that are a great hand when I have a doubt, it's my Guru in the Carrara world.