e-on Software’s The Plant Factory: Trees Your Way

The Plant Factory: next gen plant creation technologies goes anywhere

e-on’s new baby, The Plant Factory (TPF) is looking ready to rock the landscape and environment world, and could be up for an imminent release with June (2013) as the nominated release window. Exact date and price have not been publically finalised. TPF is a flexible, standalone go-anywhere application.  e-on states the program incorporates four fundamental design elements (to copy/past verbatim):

1. Multi-Platform/Multi-Discipline – operates across all CG platforms including real-time, streaming, and offline rendering systems and caters to the needs of CG, SFX, Landscaping, GeoDesign, Architecture and Gaming communities

2. Botanical Coherency – allows the creation of more botanically accurate plant appearances and behaviours

3. Precise Control – users can create plants of any desired shape, appearance, and behaviour using simple building blocks

4. Massive Populations – building on e-on’s leadership in EcoSystems™ to create landscapes containing millions of plants

All roads lead to trees

TPF has three distinct but interconnected methods for users to sink their teeth into and flora-craft to their hearts content. Any user should find one of the three methods (or a combination of any) to suits their current skills, needs, or whim.

1. Manually paint the shape of the plant – allows for quick creative flare

2. Assemble ready-made components – easiest of the trio – like connecting Lego

3. Construct everything from scratch, using a graph of nodes – the most flexible but might scare those unused to the increasingly popular node based method of working

The Plant Factory is capable of easily creating a wide variety of plant types from mushrooms to willows and palm trees, and even many things that are not remotely plant related.

TPF automatically rigs, textures (including displacement), uvmaps, and animates plants (swaying in gentle breeze to bending and twisting in storm conditions). TPF creations can be exported, for use in just about any 3D program, in many of the popular mesh formats as mesh or vertices cloud. Vue users will experience tighter integration with TPF than users of other software packages, with features like dynamic LOD for scaling detail to resolution, editing within Vue plant editor, and seamless integration with EcoSystem technology to create landscapes populated by hundreds of thousands of unique plants.

Rendering for compositing

As if all these tools weren’t cool enough, TPF comes loaded with an integrated compositing focused render engine which automatically generates and saves colour, alpha, and depth images. It supports  G-Buffer, and extensive multi-pass rendering down to the per asset and per material levels asset with the convenience of grouping into a multi-layer PSD.

The Plant Factory is exciting!

Personally, I’m excited …but I doubt I will green enough to grab a copy on launch day. With e-on’s penchant for personal learning editions (PLE), I do have hope I will be able to get my hands on a mostly functional version of the program.

TPF Story Developments

Pre-Release II – e-on relaxes feature restrictions

Greetings from a CG newb

Welcome to DigiSprawl, my little space for all things related to 3D computer graphics and more generally, CGI – but before I get too far ahead let me introduce myself. In the day-to-day grind I tend to go by my birth name, James Willey, but online I prefer Jim for the sake of simplicity. I am not a professional in the world of 3D imagery, nor have I studied it in any formal capacity. I am a hobbyist with a passion. I’ve always needed and sought out creative outlets, and on and off for sixteen years that outlet was primarily writing. I like to think I was getting good at it, even if my spelling and punctuation required the constant aid of MS Word’s spell checker, and then a keen pair of eyes. For some reason, though I loved it dearly, writing rarely worked out for me, and my creative urges were never fully satiated.

Apple IIe

Attribution: allaboutapple.com CC-BY-SA-2.5-it l

As a kid I always admired art, particularly CGI. I was always stunned and blown away by the next generation of computer graphics, and special effects, and awed when confronted by art produced with the aid of computers. For whatever reason I never translated my love of visual art into practice, digital or otherwise. Perhaps my parents relatively Luddite disposition is partly to blame – maybe I just thought it was all beyond me. I loved computers, but didn’t own one till I bought an old Apple IIe for five dollars from my high school in 2000. I think this shamed my parents somewhat – or maybe it was just a confirmation that my near lifelong computer lust wasn’t a phase – as an out dated and overpriced Power PC soon followed.

I dabbled with some graphics programs that came with a demo disk, but lacking the resources to learn the programs I gave up in disgust at the results of my inept tamperings. I took up writing – anyone can write – and thus began a long duration in the wilderness.

Like I said, I like to think my creative writing developed a lot in that time, though there were long periods where I wrote nothing and dabbled with other creative mediums, but I could never make anything stick. My whole creative life changed when I stumbled upon Daz Studio. This program (and its older brother, Poser) is to 3D art and animation sort of like what the digital camera was to photography. Anyone with a few bucks and the inclination to give it a go can make a start and take it as far as they like. For those not familiar with these programs, they allow the user to arrange pre made 3D modelled figures and props into scenes and render as an image using an integrated 3D rendering programs (3Delight in Studio and Firefly in Poser). I don’t have any ability as a drawer/painter/designer and limited skills as a photographer, but since I found this gateway into the digital realm I’ve become increasingly motivated to develop these skills in a way to fully realise the images that inhabit my mind. I want to digitise the stories I couldn’t quite tell with the written word. I want to model, texture, render, and animate them.

So what do I hope to achieve with this blog? In part it is to exercise my writing (I still love it), but more importantly it is to share my experience as a digi newb, and to hopefully point out resources and inspiration for others starting out or even well into their own 3D journey. So come on in, I know there will be something for the digital art enthusiast.