Friday, December 13th, 2019 Posted by Jim Thacker

e-on software ships Vue R4 and PlantFactory R4

e-on software has released the latest versions of its digital nature tools, Vue and PlantFactory, referred to variously as the ‘Q4 2019’ updates, or Vue R4 and PlantFactory R4.

Landscape creation tool Vue R4 gets an the option to retrieve real-world terrain data from directly within the software, and new cloud morphing and export features.

Plant generator PlantFactory R4 gets new 3ds Max and Maya integration plugins, available as tech previews.

Vue R4: import real-world elevation data to generate instant 3D terrains
The headline feature in Vue R4 is a neat new option to retrieve real-world terrain data for any location on the planet, simply by entering latitude and longitude figures in the Vue interface.

The imported elevation data is then converted automatically into a Vue heightfield or procedural terrain.

According to e-on, the spacing of the sampling points used to generate the data can be as low as 3m for some parts of the world.

Vue R4: new cloud animation and export features
Vue R4 also adds the option to morph two clouds generated by the software’s new MetaClouds system together, making it possible to create art-directable animations.

In addition, users with Professional or Enterprise subscriptions can now export cloud animations as sequences of VDB files.

Vue R4: rendering and workflow improvements
Other new features in Vue R4 include support for multi-pass rendering, camera orthographic projection and film offset when using the software’s path tracer.

Cube and octahedron maps can also be selected as panoramic modes when rendering.

Workflow improvements include the option to drag and drop from Vue’s Atmosphere Browser, better handling of scene layers, and the option to modify gamma settings in the camera backdrop editor.

Higher-tier PlantFactory subscrptions: new 3ds Max and Maya integration plugins
In PlantFactory, users with Professional or Enterprise subscriptions get new native import plugins for 3ds Max and Maya, making it possible to edit plant parameters within the host software.

Both are officially still tech previews, available on Windows only, and compatible with a limited number of renderers: V-Ray Next in both apps, and 3ds Max’s native Scanline and ART renderers.

When rendering with V-Ray, materials are converted automatically.

Both applications: improved texture baking and Substance support
Changes common to both apps include the option to bake procedural materials as sets of PBR texture maps, following the metallic/roughness model.

Other new baking features include a new colour bleed blending algorithm, intended to reduce visible seams when tiling exported textures in other software; and support for 16-bit greyscale textures.

The UV unwrapping and packing algorithms have been optimised, with a baking speed gain of “up to x15”.

Support for Substance materials has also been extended, adding support for multigraph and animated .sbsar files, and the option to select which parameters to publish from the material editor.

The export features are available only to users with Professional or Enterprise subscriptions. Enterprise users also get 10 new plant species in the asset library included with their subscriptions.

Pricing and availability
The latest versions of Vue and PlantFactory are available for 64-bit Windows 7+ and macOS 10.13+ as rental-only product bundles. You can see a comparison chart here.

A Professional subscription costs $75/month or $750/year, while an Enterprise plan costs $99/month or $990/year for node-locked software licences; $1,490/year for floating licences.

Both include Vue plugins for Maya 2015+, 3ds Max 2016+, Cinema 4D R16+, and LightWave 11.6+.

A Creator subscription, which includes the software’s core tools, but lacks any export options or Python scripting, costs $19.95/month or $199/year.

Read an overview of the new features in Vue R4 and PlantFactory R4 on e-on software’s website

Read a full list of new features in Vue R4 and PlantFactory R4 in the online changelog