Thursday, January 17th, 2019 Posted by Jim Thacker

SpeedTree Cinema 8.2 ships

IDV has released SpeedTree Cinema 8.2, the latest version of its software for generating animated trees for VFX projects, adding support for new photogrammetry-based workflows.

The functionality is also available in IDV’s games middleware, SpeedTree for Games, a new Indie licence of which has just been announced.

Blend photogrammetric tree trunks with procedurally generated canopies
Although photogrammetry is becoming an increasingly popular way of creating vegetation assets, particularly for games work, it’s not one that sits easily with a procedural tool like SpeedTree.

In its blog post, IDV even describes image-based modelling as “antithetical” to procedural workflows, despite the “incredible levels of detail” it can capture.

The solution in SpeedTree Cinema seems to be to graft a procedural canopy onto a photogrammetric trunk.

Users can import a photogrammetric mesh to use as the base of the tree trunk, then have the software generate the upper trunk, branches and leaves on top of it.

Geometry and materials are generated automatically across the seam, blending the two parts of the tree.

Users can also manually edit sections of the photogrammetry mesh together, or blend in sections from other photogrammetry meshes: for example, to add custom side branches.

The result should be a CG tree that remains procedurally editable, but which incorporates unique photogrammetric details near ground level, where they are most noticeable.

Also available in SpeedTree for Games, including in the new Indie licence
The new photogrammetry system is also available in IDV’s middleware solution, SpeedTree for Games, a new Indie version of which has just been announced.

Due to ship on 23 January 2019, the Indie edition will be available to developers with revenues under $1M/year on a rental-only basis, priced at $999/year.

As well as the photogrammetry tools, it will include the option to export tree assets in FBX or OBJ format, or direct to Unity, Unreal Engine or Lumberyard.

Photogrammetry is not available in the dedicated versions of SpeedTree for UE4 or Lumberyard, or the new version for Unity, which is due to ship – updated: it has now shipped – on 23 January.

Pricing and system requirements
SpeedTree Cinema 8.2 is available now for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. A node-locked licence costs $1,650; a floating licence costs $2,500. Rental options are also available.

Read an overview of the new features in SpeedTree Cinema 8.2 on IDV’s blog
(Also includes more information on SpeedTree for Games Indie)

Read a full list of new features in SpeedTree Cinema on the product website