This review was taken from our group test of 3D tools for illustrators.
Carrara 6 provides five different ‘rooms’ for working on your scene; you switch between each ‘room’ to focus on modelling, texturing, rendering and other tasks. As the central part of Carrara, the modelling room has context-sensitive tools, which switch modes to suit the task – offering in turn a primitive, spline, vertex and metaball modeller. It supports objects like hair, volumetric clouds, text, particles, terrains and plants.
There is no dedicated integration with Photoshop Extended CS3: you have to render out an image in a Photoshop-supported 3D format (Carrara offers 3DS and OBJ) and then work with the objects in Photoshop’s 3D layers. Alternatively, you can render out the scene as a 2D image, choosing a file format capable of attaching an Alpha Channel
While the latter seems like a poor option compared to the capabilities of some of the other applications here, Carrara does offer some helpful features. You can include G-Buffers when rendering, which supplies separate greyscale channels of geometric and lighting information. This gives you useful options when working with the image file in Photoshop, such as the ability to select individual objects with the Magic Wand regardless of colour.
A new Landscape Wizard allows you to quickly combine terrains, shading, sky, and rendering presets to use as a starting point for projects. Daz 3D content is, unsurprisingly, now fully supported in Carrara. However you’ll want to use 3D Bridge with Daz Studio, rather than Carrara, if you want closer Photoshop integration for character models, while Strata’s solution is hard to beat for a more general 3D/Photoshop workflow.