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Carrara 6 Intermediate Skin Shaders

Author: BTLProductions

Tools Needed

  • Carrara 6
  • A figure with skin
  • The Gimp
  • IRFanView


This tutorial is designed to let you get more out of your figures and introduce you to more advanced skin settings. It will also teach you some ways to reduce the overhead of your Carrara scenes when using DAZ Content. IRFanView is free and available from http:/// The Gimp is also free and available from


Step 1 - Bump creation-Create a Map.

Unfortunately not all texture sets come with bump maps. Mostly this is older characters but not always. For example the G-2 series of figures uses a Poser Procedural shader for bump. In the event that you don't have a bump map you can follow these steps or those in Step 2.

A. Open The Gimp and load your texture.


B. Desaturate your texture.


C. Use the Bump-Map option.


D. Add the new bump map to your shader tree.


Step 2 - Bump creation-Don

A. Use the texture map.

A. 1. Load the texture map into the bump channel and adjust the settings.


A. 2. These will generally have to be set higher than the same settings for a Bump Map. (Roughly twice as high.)

B. Create a Procedural Shader.

B. 1. On the bump part of the shader, choose natural function, cellular.


B. 2. Pick an appropriate type.


B. 3. Set the Intensity (generally 5-8%) and Scale (generally 2-5%).


B. 4. Make sure the bump amplitude to 100%.


Step 3 - Sub-Surface Scattering

Subsurface scattering generally has the most use when you are dealing with Global Illumination. Subsurface Scattering is greatly influenced by scene lighting so will have to be specifically set with your lighting in mind. These are general rules and settings, but they will need to be modified for your specific scene.

A. Choose SSS from your shader tree.


B. Check the box.


C. Set your color.


This should generally be darker and a little bluer in shade than your skin shade.

D. Set intensity.


In general this should be set at less than 35%.

Step 4 - Highlight and Shine

Like Subsurface Scattering Highlight is very dependent on scene lighting. One point the higher the shininess setting the less actual shine.

A. For something that is, in general, supposed to be shiny set the highlight to color and a light gray. Then set shininess to the desired level.

B. For things that are supposed to have some highlights, like general skin, create a highlight map. this is accomplished by the following steps.

B. 1. Load the bump map into Gimp. (If you don't have one create one according to step 1.)

B. 2. Choose Contrast Brightness.


B. 3. Set Brightness and contrast, the settings here are a good guideline, but experiment for your own best results.


B. 4. Save the picture and then like a bump map or texture map load it into the highlight channel.


B. 5. Set the shininess to your desired level.

Step 5 - Reduce overhead

The amount of resources used by each Poser/DAZ Character is determined by several factors. A major contributor is texture map size. So here are a few tips to help reduce the overhead of your figures. These steps will help you put more figures into your scene.

A. Replace the bump map with a Procedural Shader. (Step B.)

B. Reduce a highlight map (if any) in size as accuracy is not as essential, so the long side is in the neighborhood of 1024 or even 512.

C. Use IRFanView to reduce all of your texture maps, especially for figures that are not in the foreground of the picture.

C. 1. Create a folder for your reduced resolution images.

C. 2. Open IRFanView and go to File-Batch Conversion.

C. 3. Navigate to the correct folder for your texture maps.


Also set your output folder.

C. 4. Select the images you are going to use.


and push the Add button.

C. 5. Make sure the use advanced options box is checked and push the use advanced options button.

C. 6. Set the change size with the long size to something like 2048, larger or smaller depending on your actual needs. Make sure you have the do not enlarge smaller images box checked. Hit OK.

C. 7. Make sure you are set for jpeg output with the proper settings, (I usually recommend 85 to 95% compression.)

C 8. Push Start.

D. You can now swap these textures out for the full size ones in your shader trees.

Step 6 - Conclusions

You can use each of these techniques alone or together to give you more options and more realistic skin and/or lower overhead for your renders. You should use these techniques after consolidating the shaders per texture map as you are able making the changes easier to accomplish.

Remember that much of the techniques for skin and other materials is highly dependent on lighting in the scene. test rendering is required to get the best effects.


Enjoy Carrara.