E-on is well-known for outrageous prices (though that depends who you ask), but they are also known for providing their software for free under their Private Learning Edition licensing. It was unclear at the time of release if there would be a PLE version of The Plant Factory, so many will be very happy to see the software join E-on’s list of PLE software.
Basically, what E-on is doing here is giving away the full featured version of their software for free on the strict condition that the work is non-commercial, and should be used only for personal education, so great for students, enthusiasts, and evaluation for potential commercial purchases. Of course there are some limitations in the software: Renders carry a logo and will be water marked after 30 days; exporting mesh removes 1 in 5 polygons; importing full featured files into Vue is limited to PLE versions, and can’t be exchanged with other users.
But what is The Plant Factory?
Obviously not everyone that stumbles upon this post will know what The Plant Factory (TPF) is, some will not know who E-on is, or have ever have heard of Vue (pushing it there?). I’ll leave the later names and products to the investigation of interested parties, but TPF is a modeling program (stand-alone or plugin for Vue), that allows users to create a huge variety of vegetation. TPF has also been used to create other sorts of objects, but vegetation is by far the primary use. Yep, the name is a dead giveaway.
Plant Factory includes three modeling methods – node based procedural, snap ‘n connect components, and shape painting. The three methods can be combined at any stage. Any variety of plants, from grass, to succulents, shrubs and trees and vines can be created. TPF includes technology to grow plants on objects – especially cool for vines and other climbing plants. Plants can be animated and exported fully rigged and UV mapped in many popular file types for use in just about any 3D program. You can find a list of full features here. Access The Plant Factory Personal Learning Edition here.