Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 Posted by Jim Thacker

e-on software ships The Plant Factory 2014.5

The Plant Factory teaser reel. e-on software has just released a free update to the vegetation-creation package, plus a new free tool for editing and exporting TPF content to other software; and relaxed its licence conditions.

e-on software has released The Plant Factory 2014.5, the first major update to its new vegetation-creation tool since it was released just under a year ago.

The update coincides with the release of The Plant Factory Exporter, a new free tool to help users of other 3D packages process stock content created with the software; and a relaxation of TPF’s licence agreement.

New import and export formats, better rendering performance
The main change is an increased range of import and export formats: TPF can now import and export LWO and C4D files natively; and FBX export scripts for 3ds Max and Maya are now bundled with the software.

The software can also export plants directly to the upcoming 2014 versions of its sister products, real-time visualisation tool LumenRT and instancing plugin Carbon Scatter.

Rendering performance has been improved, with e-on claiming a speed boost of up to 20 times when rendering indirect lighting set-ups to billboards.

Plant collections inside the software are also now automatically synchronised with TPF content in e-on’s Cornucopia3D online marketplace, providing direct access to over 100 user-created species.

The Plant Factory 2014.5’s exporter scripts output animated assets as FBX files to 3ds Max and Maya.

New free content browser tool
Cornucopia3D also plays a part in e-on’s two accompanying announcements: the new Plant Factory Exporter tool and the changes to the licence agreement.

Replacing the $99 Plant Factory Converter, the free tool enables users of other 3D packages to browse TPF content from Cornucopia3D and make simple edits: to “generate variations, and adjust age, health and season”.

The asset can then be exported as a static mesh for import into the user’s primary application. Mesh resolution is fixed, and is “typically in the 250-500K polygon range”.

Now possible to sell TPF content to individual clients
e-on has also updated The Plant Factory’s EULA, formalising the announcement on its forums that it’s okay to use TPF content in “pre-packaged applications” like games.

You can also now sell your content outside Cornucopia3D – but only to a single client. According to e-on: “If you want to sell your content to several people, you have to do so through Cornucopia3D.”

The change goes some way towards resolving what had been a contentious issue with freelancers, although it won’t satisfy those who want the option to sell TPF-generated assets on other online marketplaces.

e-on takes a cut of up to 30% of any sales made through Cornucopia3D: by no means the largest of any online marketplace, but not the smallest, either.

Availability and system requirements
The Plant Factory 2014.5 is available now for Windows XP or above and Mac OS X 10.5 or above. New licences costs from $195 to $1,495, depending on which of the four editions you buy.

The update is free to all registered users, even those without a maintenance plan. The Plant Factory Exporter is also free, and also runs on Windows XP or Mac OS X 10.5 or above.

Read more about the new features in The Plant Factory 2014.5

Download The Plant Factory Exporter