Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 Posted by Jim Thacker

E-on software releases PlantFactory 2015

E-on software has released PlantFactory 2015, the latest update to its range of products for creating animatable 3D plants, streamlining the UI and workflow, particularly when handling materials.

Users of the higher-end editions also get new file export options, including the power to export meshes in Alembic format and textures in Ptex format, and exchange geometry with ZBrush.

First released in 2013, the software enables users to create plants by adjusting procedural parameters, building a node graph, or drawing forms directly.

Simplified workflow for new users
Exactly which new features you get depends on which of the four commercial editions of PlantFactory you’re using, but the workflow changes are common to all.

According to e-on, workflow has been redesigned for a better “new-user experience”, including the introduction of Basic and Advanced workspaces aimed at novices and experienced users.

There is also a new Basic Material Editor, which uses standard channels for diffuse, alpha, normal and detail maps – the latter a new feature, which can be added as a second UV layer.

Other new features common to all four editions include support for double-sided materials, and improvements to the wind animation model.

New geometry-creation and export options for high-end users
If you’re using either the $195 Vue-only Artist edition or the $495 Designer edition, that’s essentially it, aside from a few other tweaks and new presets.

However, if you’re using either the $995 Studio or $1,995 Producer editions, you get an additional set of new geometry-creation and export options.

Plant geometry can now be generated as quads, which further enables branches to be merged using subdivision surfaces; and mesh density can be controlled independently across individual parts of the plant.

Users can also export plants in Alembic format for use in a VFX pipeline, or exchange geometry with ZBrush for sculpting via GoZ – a potentially powerful new way to refine the form of of a plant.

If you’re using the Producer edition, you also get the option to export materials using the Ptex texture format; and to export plants as multiple meshes, with one mesh per node in the graph.

Pricing and availability
PlantFactory 2015 is available now for 64-bit Windows XP and above and Mac OS X 10.6 and above. The MSRPs of the four editions are as listed in the story above, although there is currently a 40% launch discount.

The new releases of the non-commercial Personal Learning Edition and the free Exporter, which enables uses to edit stock assets from e-on’s online maketplace, will follow later in Q2 of 2015.

Read more about the new features in PlantFactory 2015 on the product website