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Thread: What software are you using for Landscape/ foliage generation?

  1. #1
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    What software are you using for Landscape/ foliage generation?

    Hey guys I am looking for any solution (open source or paying) for landscape/ foliage generation.
    I am looking forward to your replies.
    -R
    This message does not reflect the opinions of the US Government, CG Networks or CGTALK.com. The opinions expressed on this posting are on my own volition.

  2. #2
    ngplant is a open source xfrog like (bit reduced) tree/plant generator. http://ngplant.org/
    Unfortunately the good intorductionary tutorial (wich detailed out to get more complex tress) is offline

    For detailed close up trees there is the grove for blender. https://www.thegrove3d.com/
    Where you litterally grow trees But the twigs of the trees (wich you have to buy seperately / or create your own)
    are instances so you either end up with a large dataset on export or you can't instance them in lw (instances of instances are not possible)
    But the results of the tree looks really nice.

    There is also speedtree, but it has a hefty price tag. And I personally never used it.

    as for landscapes, gaea is worth a shot https://quadspinner.com/
    wich allows you to nodaly create landscapes.
    Also worldcreator is finaly getting some of the features back, the former version had before the complete rewrite
    https://www.world-creator.com
    (The former version geocontrol did really some nice landscapes, but was crawling slow)

  3. #3
    Curmudgeon in Training Ma3rk's Avatar
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    Hey Robert,

    I've had World Creator for awhile. A hoot to play with, but I'm a stall taking things further & into Lightwave. Seems like the primary user base is focused on Unity & game export. I know the tools are there but the UI is... unique. Would be nice to have more LW knowledgeable users dabbling with it.

    I also have a few of the X-Frog libraries. I've used those pretty successfully as instances on terrains & controlled via Wt. maps. For LW 2018+, you'll probably have to do some minor remapping.

    If you're up for a bit of playin' on the other side of the tracks, take a look at this product: https://www.daz3d.com/ultrascenery--...ndscape-system

    The up side is that this has proven hyper stable (its a 1.0.0.0 release!), able to handle 100k+ instances PLUS several geom intensive furred animal characters in the same scene.

    Down side, I can't even begin to export to Lightwave. But, for bg work and such.

    It's using some really clever scripting for proxy & instancing geom. There are users hacking the JSON files so they can use other foliage, but the author is pretty active & a lot of features are coming. I can wait.

    Here's a scene I was playing with last week:

    Click image for larger version. 

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  4. #4
    Registered User Oldcode's Avatar
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    I have bought and collected lots of plant and tree objects from various sources and then use's Lightwave's Instancer. I then use Paint Weights to create the maps to place the plants where I want.

  5. #5
    Registered User squarewulf's Avatar
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    SpeedTree

  6. #6
    RETROGRADER prometheus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by squarewulf View Post
    SpeedTree
    I donīt have money...but what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that would make great vegetation images to show people like you.
    And rest assure, when I find it..I will get it..and I will use it.

    Yup..had I the money, speedtree would be on top of the list.

  7. #7
    Eat your peas. Greenlaw's Avatar
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    I used to use Vue, mostly back in my Rhythm & Hues days. It's very powerful and worked well with LightWave and Fusion. Some of the projects we used it in are a Fable: The Journey trailer and a Halo: Midnight trailer for MS, and other video game trailers and cinematics. You can see some of that on my Rhythm reel. I also used an old standalone program called Tree to create a lot of alien trees in our cinematics for Star Wars Kinect. Tree worked very well but its UI was archaic even back then. We also had XFrog but I'm not sure I ever used it there.

    I maintained my personal Vue license for many years after Rhythm but over time I found myself just using LightWave with Instancer, DP Instance, and Hurley's wonderful Advanced Placement. To create trees and plants, I used Polas' TreeDesigner, An Ivy Generator (free!), and native LW Modeler tools. For terrain models, 3DCoat is very fast and easy to use, and it works directly with LightWave. When I freelanced for The Asylum back in 2014, I used this combo on many films for terrain and landscapes. You can see a lot of that work on my The Asylum reel. I also had Plant Factory when the program first came out; it worked well but I never used it on a job.

    The main reason I moved away from the Vue products was because, even though I created a lot of landscapes for a variety of productions, I didn't do it with enough regularity to justify an on-going subscription. (Unlike, say, the Adobe products, which I use pretty much every single day.) It's less of a hassle for me to stick with LightWave with some plugins and 3DC now.

    At DreamWorks, I mainly use LightWave, Maya, and ZBrush for 3D...but I'm rarely asked to do terrain work there. I've created a handful of cityscapes but that's really a different thing altogether. We also have SpeedTree but I've never used it.

    In my personal work, the old Brudders music video excerpt has 'fantasy' terrain, plants and trees. That was all created inside LightWave, no third party plugins or tools except for An Ivy Generator. I did use Vue for one animated cloud effect. I never finished that project but I come back it every now and then for a few weeks when I'm able to. (Sigh! Someday I'll finish it.) I'm about to return to it again. Still using LW 2015 on this one but using LW 2019 now for clouds and shots unrelated to the cemetery scenes.

    (All the reels referenced above can be seen here: https://vimeo.com/littlegreendog)

    If I was on an extremely tight budget and using LightWave as my primary program, I'd stick with the native tools plus DP Instance and DP Verdure (remember to tip the programmer.) Hurley's PlaceIt or Advanced Placement are nice extras if you need more precisce control over your instances. An Ivy Generator is very limited but it's free and works great for creating, well, ivy. (Hopefully, it still works...it's been several years since I used it last.) If you have some extra money, add 3DCoat to your toolkit. It's really easy to sculpt and paint terrain, rocks and trees with this program, it plays nice with LightWave, and it's very affordable. Plus, it can do so much more than just terrain stuff.

    I think most of the software described in this post are still available except for maybe that really old Tree program...I think that one came out back in the 90's. It was great for its time but there are much better tools available now.

    Hope this helps.

  8. #8
    Eat your peas. Greenlaw's Avatar
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    Oldcode mentioned Paint Weights. Yes! I highly recommend this tool too. In fact, the entire suite of 3rd Powers tools is incredibly useful if you have to do a broad and unpredictable range of fx work to do in LightWave. (Like I do.)

  9. #9
    Super Member Kryslin's Avatar
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    Hmmm...

    I used to have a Vue xtream license. I dropped in when they went to subscription, never used it enough to justify an ongoing subscription. It's a shame, because they finally added HDR suppport after I dropped it.

    I have both volumes from Xfrog, I bit on one of their sales. I wrote my own terrain generator (a simple fractal foil generator) in lScript that does some pretty good work, but does nothing special, like erosion or weathering. Simple fractal terrain using simplex noise. It could stand some work too; there are a couple of features it could use.

    I've used DP Verdure to make some trees, and used Lightwave's instancer with some tricks from DB&W to populate a terrain.
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  10. #10
    RETROGRADER prometheus's Avatar
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    Dp verdure is very nice and free..though donation should be in mind to Denis.
    the problem is time to creat asses, otherwise I think it can produce a lot of varied realistic trees, but you need to research the real treeīs anatomy and phyllotaxy..and that would take a considerable amount of time for any substantial covering library of species, but I guess start what you would want foremost, pine tree or broad leaf.

    Good is that you can run the verdure tree again or previous and save out as line skeleton as well..and use that to make the tree dynamic with ik booster for instance.


    Otherwise there is also an option to use what is available for free in blender, and also learn to use skin modifier to create an absolute own manual hand drawn design if you need that..
    You could even use line pen to create branches, or copy edges from meshes and send to blender to use the skin modifier, or run verdure in skelegon mode and send to blender and use skin modifier..this only for having a structure you at anytime can go in and manually move or delete or add new branches, that is something you can not do with verdure tree..of course that may not be needed, but when you do need it..good to know.

    if you want special trees with roots flowing over a ground or stones, rocks in a special way..I would recommend working on that in blender, cause you can draw curves with active solid 3d form visable in realtime when you draw the roots on the ground or rocks, but you would need to fuse them later.

    otherwise if you need roots in lightwave to follow rocks or ground, instead of manually plotting it, you could actually use the two part created verdure trees, one witht the mesh, and one with polychain skeleton, then use bullet and deform bodies on that skeleton..and let it fold over the rock parts which should be static, then metalink the main root mesh to that polychain skeleton.



  11. #11
    ack ack Markc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenlaw View Post
    For terrain models, 3DCoat is very fast and easy to use, and it works directly with LightWave. When I freelanced for The Asylum back in 2014, I used this combo on many films for terrain and landscapes. You can see a lot of that work on my The Asylum reel. I also had Plant Factory when the program first came out; it worked well but I never used it on a job.
    I would never had thought to use 3D Coat for terrains.......
    I will have to give this a go.
    Currently only use it for 3D painting.
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  12. #12
    RETROGRADER prometheus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markc View Post
    I would never had thought to use 3D Coat for terrains.......
    I will have to give this a go.
    Currently only use it for 3D painting.
    For free alternatives, I would recommend looking in to blenders ANT landscape, and make sure to make your own presets..I got some done.
    AS such you can recall them and continue to tweak the landscape parameters, it also have erosion options...itīs a bit slow though when working on denser meshes, but otherwise it may be great for some landscaping, and especially since you can sculpt on it once you are happy with the intial landscape, so using dynatopo with snake brush or using an alpha map to draw on top of the newly created landscape..for sending back to lightwave..just use OD copy and paste and you have the landscape and sculpt in lightwave to add verdure trees, foliag instances on and render, and add some volumetric clouds if needed.

    Roads and paths may be nice to work on with blender, either drawing directly with grease pencil or with curves and stroke on surface, then if needed to be fused witht the landscape..just remesh it all.

  13. #13

    regarding Ivy Generator, it might be possible to get alright results in LightWave using the DP plugin...


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  14. #14
    Eat your peas. Greenlaw's Avatar
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    Yes, I've used both methods.

    In the old Brudders excerpt, there's a lot of ivy everywhere. Some of it was created with An Ivy Generator and some with Polas Tree Designer, which is similar to DP Verdure but with additional features.

    I think I used AIG along the walls and fences and TreeDesigner around trees and on the ground. I don't recall exactly why I switched between the two methods when building the cemetery set but they do work differently. Maybe AIG worked better around 'rigid' stuff? Not sure. Next time I jump back into this project, I'll check on this.

  15. #15

    Maybe AIG worked better around 'rigid' stuff?
    yes, a quick look at the site, it seems so.  
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