Wednesday, November 13th, 2013 Posted by Jim Thacker

IDV releases SpeedTree 7 Studio and Cinema

IDV has released SpeedTree 7, the latest update to its vegetation-generation software, used on feature films including Iron Man 3, World War Z and The Lone Ranger.

New features in the release include the option to generate hero assets as subdivision surfaces and export data in Alembic format. There is also a new Simplify feature, to reduce high-quality models to low-poly versions, and a Focus tool, to display only those parts of a model being worked on in high detail.

The library of ready-made content available with the software has also been updated.

Users of the Cinema edition also get a new tool for animating plant growth and transitioning plants through seasonal changes. There is also an option to control and preview rendering sequences using a timeline.

SpeedTree 7 is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. The Architect edition costs $495, the Studio edition $895, and the Cinema edition $4,995. You can find a comparison chart of the three editions on IDV’s website.

Version 7 of the SpeedTree® Cinema and SpeedTree Studio has been released today for evaluation, license and upgrade, according to developer Interactive Data Visualization (IDV).

New features and workflow improvements, which deliver a significant leap in photorealism and save modeling time, include:

Subdivision Surfaces: Create procedurally generated subdivision surface models suitable for hero shot pipelines.

Animated Growth: Animate simulated growth of trees and plants with a new artist-friendly tool (available in v7 Cinema only).

Alembic Export: Easily export cached SpeedTree models into the open Alembic framework (.abc) for exchanging animated scene data with popular DCC platforms like Maya®, Houdini and Cinema 4D.

GUI Improvements: Slash modeling time with user interface and workflow enhancements, including a new “Focus” tool that presents only those portions of the tree being actively modeled and reduces certain processes from hours to minutes.

Season Changes: Transition models through a full range of seasonal colors and foliage changes by using a new slider control, including an unlimited number of structure-based variations—even mid-leaf transition states for more variance in the final render (available in v7 Cinema only).

Tree Library Enhancements: Match nature more closely than ever with the largest library yet of high-detail models. Individual leaves and needles move realistically in new, fine-tuned wind settings.

Beta users have already reported early success with these new version 7 tools. “The reverse-growing tree provided a unique opportunity to deploy some cool new features in SpeedTree,” noted Digital Domain Visual Effects Supervisor James Atkinson. “The developers at IDV provided us with a beta version for animated growth. The resulting animated asset was one of our most complex, with a 55 gigabyte Alembic file generated on each version.”

Read a full list of new features in SpeedTree 7