What would one use Carrara for in 2022? After a few hours with it again, I’d say it still has some appeal for those interest in non-animating NPR / stylised renders…
* Relatively light on system resources, uses multiple cores, stable, 64-bit. Doesn’t demand Windows 10 etc.
* Works with older Poser content, albeit from a very clunky and un-searchable Library.
* Nice NPR rendering on older Poser content, both line-art and painterly. Different and a bit more controllable than Poser line-art / painterly Sketch. Repeatable painterly and line-art renders are not render-size dependent, as they are with Poser Sketch.
* Has toon plugins and native tooning capabilities, and several toon plugins now free including YAToon and Toon! Pro. Neither seem to give very “pro” looking results. For a more CAD-style line-art there’s the Vector Style 2 for Carrara plugin which ships with Carrara. The Carrara 5 Pro Handbook has a chapter on using it. Can export to .SVG for vector packages, via File | Save as… but I had no success at all with it.
* Relatively easy to hide eyelashes for NPR / toon renders. Though, without any automation, such fiddly processes can’t be automated.
* Still has some nice bits in its default content bundle, such as easy-start pre-lit rooms, some nice Solar System planets.
* ‘Make anything glow’, albeit with a bit of fiddliness in setup.
* Can grow / groom fur and hair, and a bit more easily than in Poser or DAZ.
* Has a true Isometric camera / grid (which DAZ and Poser don’t have). Can also export depth data. (I discover Vue also has Isometric, and can import from Poser).
* Multi-pass rendering to Photoshop .PSD output, though it seems odd that NPR “outlines” line-art can’t be sent to its own layer? I would have thought that was vital. Though with a day of work you could probably brew several good NPR render presets that would bypass the need for Photoshop.
* Can apparently import old Bryce .DFX files.
* Has Mimic Pro for lip-sync, built in. I assume it still works.
* Has a ‘3D text extrusion’ tool, which Poser and DAZ don’t.
Difficult to think of things beyond that, things which other software doesn’t do better. You can’t do useful things like make new Poser content in it, or ‘live 3D’ paint a mesh of a Poser prop, as the needed Poser-native export and packaging options are not there. It’s all meant to go from Poser to Carrara, it seems, and not the other way around.