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nocturne00

Landscape Plugins

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nocturne00

May I hear anyone's thoughts on certain landscape plugins Im currently deciding on, or if you could suggest others.

Im currently browsing and deciding on w/c one to purchase.

Top choices so far are plugins from Onyx (OnyxGrass, Tree STORM, Onyx2MAX,etc), Speedtree, AutoGrass, and some others.

 

Thanks

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Cad64

I've never heard of AutoGrass, but it appears that it can only be used with VRay. But if you go with Onyx, they have an OnyxGrass plugin now available.

 

These are all very good options

SpeedTree - I've never used this one, but supposedly it's a pretty good solution. The trees have a very low poly count, and they look good from a distance, but I don't think they look that great up close. Also, I don't think they have much of a shrub collection, just mostly trees. SpeedTree is used a lot in video games.

 

Bionatics Easynat - Absolutely beautiful trees and shrubs but very high poly counts which can quickly bog down your scene with only a few trees added and will dramatically increase render times. If you're using Max 2010 you can use the new Mental Ray proxy system to help eliminate the drain on system resources while working, but your render times will still be very long. A nice feature, with Easynat, is the amount of control you have over the trees in your scene. You can adjust the size and age of the tree, you can adjust it's level of detail, etc. Also, there is no software to purchase. You just download the plug-in and then purchase trees as necessary. Just be aware that these trees cost about $40 each. :roll:

 

XFrog - This is my personal favorite, at the moment, because it has a good combination of poly count vs. quality. The trees look pretty good up close and render times are still pretty reasonable. You can also create your own plants with the Xfrog software, although I've never really tried. I just use the pre-made content. Below is a render that I did a few years ago, but I have recently re-built the scene using XFrog trees, so you can see the type of quality I'm talking about. Render time for this image, on my machine, was only about 25 min. (Sorry about the low quality image. I had to significantly downsize it in order to post it).

 

Note: You can download 100 free Xfrog trees from Autodesk Seek.

 

Onyx - I have not tried Onyx yet, but it looks really good. This will probably be my next purchase because I've heard so many good things about it, from industry professionals on other forums. It might actually be your best choice.

 

So, to answer your question, I would go with Onyx. Even though I've never used it, from what I've heard, it's what the pro's are using. :wink:

 

Hope that helps. :P

MtVernonBTS.jpg

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nocturne00

Thanks a lot for the reply :D

Autograss was just released, but a bit pricey at the moment and little or no customer feedbacks to browse, wew.

I checked out Xfrog and it does look real promising, with a reasonable budget. and looking at your gallery, (very impressive Works by the way :D ) , it does boast a good rendering quality. Can you apply Maps to the trees/ bushes?

 

Onyx looked really good but the price made me think twice (almost $700), its a bit of a big leap just to add those Landscape elements.

XFrog seems to win this one. Thanks a lot for your insight, really appreciate it.

Cheers

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Cad64

Yes, you can modify the maps for the trees and shrubs. I do that sometimes if the leaves are just coming out too dark or too light or whatever. Or you can change the color completely, like if you want to give the impression of Autumn, you could change the leaves to red, orange and yellow. It's easy to do in Photoshop.

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Lazarus

In my experience the Xfrog trees give high render times because they use cutout maps for the leaves. There's some tips from Jeff Patton how to make them render faster here : http://www.mrmaterials.com/jeffs-blog/103-faster-foliage-renders.html but i still can't figure out quite what he's doing(i'm a noob).

And another tip taken from a forum:

"We use the xFrogs quite a bit. Mostly in scanline but we are starting to use them in MR. A few things that we have worked out to speed up/improve rendering.

In many cases the xfrogs are intended to use the transparency of the diffuse map for opacity. Go head and make a black and white alpha map then in Max set the bitmap blurring to .01 This will definitely speed up your render time.

MR seems to be fairly sensitive to the color of the diffuse map even if it has been knocked out with a cutout map. So open your leaf diffuse texture, sample the color, fill the background with that color, flatten and save without LZW compression. This might sound kind of weird but if you go and make your background white you'll see what kind of effect it has.

As it was said earlier xfrogs bennefit greatly from an optimize modifier. In my experience you can safely cut 25% of the faces.

 

I hope these tips help!"

 

So if you guys figure this thing out please share.

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nocturne00
Yes, you can modify the maps for the trees and shrubs. I do that sometimes if the leaves are just coming out too dark or too light or whatever. Or you can change the color completely, like if you want to give the impression of Autumn, you could change the leaves to red, orange and yellow. It's easy to do in Photoshop.

 

Yep Maps for textures are real fun to play with in photoshop, i do it a lot also mainly to create the bump and diffuse maps. Finality of renders, both maps and an overall render are better finished in Photoshop. the tree leaves and bark will be nice to play with too.

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nocturne00

nice link lazarus, gettin eager to try out xfrog :D , the tip on reduction time did make a bit of sense, sort of reducing the complexity of how light will react to the textures when they get hit. after all, a lot of landscape elements will only be supporting elements in a render and detailing them further will be a waste of render time. will try to get back on this after i actually use xfrog :D .

Thanks again for the link

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