Tuesday, April 12th, 2016 Posted by Jim Thacker

iToo Software ships Forest Pack 5.0, RailClone 2.6

iToo Software has released Forest Pack 5.0 and RailClone 2.6, the latest updates to its popular object scattering and parametric modelling plugins for 3ds Max.

Both updates add support for rendering scenes created using the software with V-Ray 3.3, improving speed “between 40 and 100%”, and refine the plugins’ user interfaces to make it quicker to work with large scenes.

The ‘ultimate scattering tool for 3ds Max’
Described by iToo as “the ultimate scattering tool for 3ds Max”, Forest Pack is designed to distribute objects across a scene: as the name suggests, usually plant models, but also rocks or buildings.

The plugin can generate scenes with hundreds of thousands of scattered objects, with a point cloud display mode to improve viewport response, and the option to convert Forest Pack objects to Max’s native instances.

The scattering process is fully parametric, and object distribution can also be controlled by image maps, splines or painting directly onto terrain geometry.

Forest Pack can scatter both static and animated objects, with the option to randomise both texture maps and the time offset of animation cycles, or control them via image maps.


New in Forest Pack 5.0: expression-driven Effects and new Forest Lister view
To that, Forest Pack 5.0 adds Forest Effects, a new system for controlling object colour, distribution, dynamics or transforms based on mathematical expressions.

As well as creating and sharing custom effects, users can load presets – the plugin ships with 12, including tint by boundary, repulsion and stepped rotation effects – from the new Effects Library.

The UI has also been overhauled, adding a new Forest Pack toolbar with shortcuts to add Forest Objects or Level of Details, or to access the new Forest Lister view, designed to simplify the management of large scenes.

Improved render performance
If you use V-Ray, the update adds support for V-Ray 3.3, which iToo claims boosts render speed by up to 100%.

Forest Pack also now supports motion blur and V-Ray velocity channels on animated meshes and proxies; and supports the VRayEdgesTex map type, to chamfer mesh edges at render time.

For users of other renderers, Forest Pack’s Edge mode is now compatible with Corona and mental ray as well as V-Ray; and there are new preset Maxwell Render materials for lawns, meadows, leaves and stone.

There are also a number of smaller features, including new presets for generating rugs and ‘mulch’ – layers of bark chippings of the sort you’d find on flower beds – which you can find in the online release notes.

Similar features in RailClone 2.6
RailClone, iToo’s parametric modelling plugin, has also been updated, with RailClone 2.6 adding a similar – if smaller – set of new features.

The update overhauls the UI in similar ways, adding a new RailClone toolbar and RailClone Lister view; and adds support for V-Ray 3.3. Again, you can see a full list of changes in the online release notes.

Pricing and availability
Both Forest Pack 5.0 and RailClone 2.6 are available now. Forest Pack is compatible with 3ds Max 2010 and above; RailClone 2.6 with 3ds Max 9 and above.

New licences of both plugins start at €200 (around $230) including one year’s support, with a discount for buying both together.

There are also free Lite editions of both plugins: feature-limited, but available to use on commercial projects.

Read a full list of new features in Forest Pack 5.0

Read a full list of new features in RailClone 2.6

Visit iToo Software online
(Download links for the Lite editions are at the foot of the Forest Pack and RailClone product pages)