View Full Version : Vue 4 Professional

05-11-2004, 11:02 PM
Has anyone used Vue 4 Professional yet to export trees into Lightwave? This question was brought up today in a meeting? I'm torn in so many directions. Right now, I have the Dosch Tree collection, but I'm not happy with the rendering time. I'm looking into Tree and Leaves Designer. Also looking into Onyx Tree and X-Frog and everything that Omeone has recommended. (http://vbulletin.newtek.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=20218&pagenumber=2) So, right now the question is Vue 4 Professional...I've been on their website and it looks promising. Any input would be great. Thanks!

Quick update: checked out Eki's Modpak tree generator. Looks good.
Also (from Flay.com) Terragen terrain creator. Very cool.
Comments and opinions from anyone would be great.

05-12-2004, 03:42 AM
I use Vue Pro regularly. Therefore, I safely recommend using something else - anything else - for trees. Unless you want to composite your renders, that is.

Don't get me wrong, Vue is a great program, especially now that the bugs are getting squashed. Its trees are, however, not worth exporting to LW. In short - they look terrible. At least they did when I last tried using them. In the end, it was easier compositing Vue and LW renders. Unfortunately, the z-buffer scales are vastly different in the two apps, so even *that* was tricky..!

Anyway, I usually build terrains and features in Vue, export to LW (with nice textures and all) and then add plants from XFrog and Plant Studio. Plant Studio is free, btw - it makes nice flowers. XFrog and Plant Studio plants render very nicely in both apps. I use Terragen for clouds - they are so amazingly realistic.

About XFrog - I haven't used it extensively, but here's my findings to date..
Greenworks' customer service is rather spotty and they seem to concentrate on the C4D version, so I don't know where they're going with the stand-alone XFrog. A thing that bugs me about XFrog is its inability to create multiple instances of the same species. If you need a selection of trees, you'll need to manually twiddle the parameters of each...gah! UV maps needs adjustment in most cases. Renders take forever.
Renders beautifully. Greenworks has another product, which may be just what you need: XFrogTune. It apparently is capable of reducing the polygon count to a fraction of the original without losing much detail (why they didn't include this feature with XFrog from the start is beyond me) - you should definitely check it out.

On Terragen:
Well, it doesn't have many (virtually any) features right now, but the renders are absolutely stunning! And have you read their 1.0 announcement? WOAH! Too bad it'll be another year or so....

Also, if you haven't already, you should pay a visit to Renderosity and look at their Vue/XFrog/Terragen galleries. Don't know much about the other apps you mention, sorry...

I can post a tree from Vue and XFrog, if you'd like to check them out?

05-12-2004, 03:46 AM
I forgot - Vue Pro has a LightWave synchro plugin, which may do the trick when compositing. It supposedly works very well. :)

05-12-2004, 02:59 PM
So I've been looking at X-frog's website for info. Here's what I have gathered: (correct me if I am wrong)
1) The 4.1 upgrade is for Cinema 4d only.
2) The X-frog 3.5 is for everyone else.
3) X-frog 3.5 is a stand alone program that is PC based. There is not a version for the Mac.

What is the process that I would follow to get trees out of X-frog and into Lightwave? I am using Lightwave on both platforms, so that's not an issue. Do I order X-frg 3.5 and install it on my PC and export the trees that I want in Lightwave format?
Could you tell me how you have used it in your projects?

Also: how does the plug-in come into use? I see on flay.com that there is a plug-in, but I don't understand how it works or sees the x-frog models.

05-12-2004, 05:07 PM
Well, as far as 1), 2) and 3) are concerned, you're absolutely right. You should also note that XFrog is available in a 'Lite' version - this is the version I bought. It has no animation capabilities (as used in the movie 'The Time Machine'), but is otherwise the same as the full version. And quite cheap, too.

On their site, in the section 'support' -> 'export and plugin guidelines', you can read about the plugins. The plugin you saw is capable of reading their native .xfr format and replace assigned nulls in a scene with an XFrog tree. I've never it myself, but might be worth checking out. Hmm...

In the two projects I've done so far (both arch pre-viz), I've used XFrog trees to supplement the ones in Vue Pro. Specifically, I rendered the background in Vue and the rest in LightWave. The foreground consisted of XFrog trees and LW buildings. In the last case, XFrog allowed me to make a specific species of tree, the Aesculus Hippocastanum, a common tree in this country. Vue's plant editor just crashed. :rolleyes: (In all fairness - it does seem more stable in the newer iterations..)

What I did was -
1) Found the species I needed.
2) Took a lot of pictures of the tree.
3) Took closeup shots of the bark, ignoring people giving me funny looks.
4) Took a leaf and put it through a scanner.
5) Used XFrog to build a fair representation of the tree.
6) Assigned the images (bark+leaf) as texture maps.
7) Saved as LWO. Made a few variations and saved those.
8) Loaded the tree(s) into my scene and rendered...some tweaking was required, but the level of detail was apparently not meant to be high, so I didn't explore beyond basic texture alignment.

If you don't have the time to create your own trees or just don't want to go outside, Greenworks has some excellent collections.

I also considered the HDInstance plugin, but it wasn't necessary for the small amount of trees I was doing at the time. If I ever need a forest, though..

If you'd like to see what a gifted Vue/XFrog user can do, take a look at http://www.thomaskrahn.com.
This kid is amazing!

05-12-2004, 05:25 PM
I'm not going to be doing any animation within x-frog, so I think "lite" sounds good for my needs. Are you happy with the look and the rendering times? By the way, the link to that kid was awesome. Very talented! Thanks for your info. I think I may have come to a conclusion in the tree department. Have you used Terragen for terrain? (Instead of vue) I just downloaded it last night and it looks great. Looks like I may be putting that to use as well in the future.

05-13-2004, 12:30 PM
Yup, he's very talented, and quite friendly, too.

So far, I've either created terrains inside LightWave using displacements or imported Vue's terrains. A warning, however - the exporter in Vue is flaky! When it does work, however, it works nicely. The best thing about creating the terrains in Vue is the fact that you can export the generated textures as bitmaps (color, bump and alpha). When you apply them to the terrain mesh inside LightWave, it looks okay, but gobbles memory like candy..

As far as I know, Terragen cannot export textures. I do know, however, that Terragen is limited to a 256*256 point terrain matrix. What Terragen is very good at is generating clouds and 'vistas'. The clouds in particular are amazing, extremely realistic, I think. I have high hopes for version 1..

Be sure to check out the demos, also look at World Builder (http://vbulletin.newtek.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=21084) and World Construction Set, especially if you're going to need it for some heavy-duty production pipeline. I honestly don't think Vue is quite up to such a task. The combination XFrog/LightWave is much more solid, I think. Terrains are probably not that difficult to create in Modeler - ask me again in a few months! My next-next project plans include Sasquatch for grass. To add to the confusion, Pavel Olas (www.polas.net) also has some interesting plugins, if you haven't seen them yet. No, it's not easy...:p