Thursday, January 17th, 2019 Posted by Jim Thacker

IDV ships SpeedTree Engine for Clarisse iFX

Originally posted on 6 September 2018. Scroll down for news of the release of the Clarisse iFX edition.

IDV has announced SpeedTree Engine, a new plugin version of its procedural tree-generation technology designed to integrate directly in DCC tools: initially, Isotropix’s Clarisse iFX, then 3ds Max and Maya.

It was demoed on Isotropix’s booth at Siggraph 2018, but the video has only just been posted on YouTube.

Realistic, art-directable animated trees
Widely used in movie VFX and AAA games, SpeedTree enables users to generate realistic, textured, art-directable trees using procedural controls, hand drawing, or a combination of the two.

The trees can be rigged and animated automatically, with support for both wind and growth animation.

Export trees as procedural geometry and generate variants and wind animation in your DCC software
Although there is already an edition designed for visual effects work, SpeedTree Cinema, it’s designed to be software-agnostic, exporting in standard geometry formats: typically Alembic caches for animations.

That means that file sizes can increase very quickly: IDV says 3GB for 10 seconds of wind animation is typical.

In contrast, SpeedTree Engine uses SpeedTree’s native .spm format: a procedural format that exposes many of a tree’s key control parameters, including those governing its form and seasonal state.

Updated: SpeedTree Engine now generates .ste files: a new “lightweight” file type.

That means that a user can generate variants of a tree model directly inside their DCC software rather than having to do so in SpeedTree itself and export each variant individually.

Wind animation is also generated on the fly inside the DCC software on a per-tree basis, reducing file sizes from Gigabytes to mere kilobytes.

In the video at the top of the story, IDV director of operations Danny Oakes shows an entire landscape populated using variants of a single tree model generated directly inside Clarisse iFX.

“Theoretically, you could export just 2MB of trees … and populate the entire scene,” he said.

Updated 17 January 2019: SpeedTree Engine for Clarisse iFX is now commercially available. You can find more details on IDV’s blog, and download a 10-day trial version here.

Pricing and availability
SpeedTree Engine is compatible with Clarisse iFX 3.6 SP4 and above. A node-locked or floating licence for Clarisse iFX costs $795; a licence for cnode, the command-line version of Clarisse, costs $125.

Users also require a licence of the newly released SpeedTree Cinema 8.2 in order to generate STE files. A node-locked licence costs $1,650; a floating licence costs $2,500.

Read more about SpeedTree Engine on IDV’s website