Thursday, February 13th, 2020 Posted by Jim Thacker

e-on software launches PlantCatalog

One of the 60 species available in the initial release of PlantCatalog, e-on software’s new library of procedural 3D plants. See demo videos of the other species on e-on’s YouTube channel.

E-on software has launched PlantCatalog, a new subscription-only library of procedural 3D vegetation models for use in visual effects, architectural visualisation and real-time applications.

The library ships with PlantCatalog Exporter, a standalone tool for customising the plants and exporting geometry in standard 3D file formats, plus import plugins for 3ds Max and Maya.

PlantCatalog assets can also be edited inside PlantFactory, e-on’s plant-generation software.

Includes 60 species from around the world, with more to be added quarterly
In the initial release, PlantCatalog consists of 60 plant species, covering a range of geographical areas and growth types, including broadleaved and coniferous trees, and grasses and other herbaceous plants.

According to e-on, new species will be added quarterly, and the search filters on the PlantFactory product page suggest that the firm plans to introduce new asset types, including mushrooms and fantasy vegetation.

The majority of species are available at two poly counts suitable for offline work – in e-on’s terminology, HD and LD resolution – and a smaller number at a lower poly count suitable for use in real-time engines.

The exact figures vary between species, but can be found in the info cards in the gallery on e-on’s website.

Two subscription tiers for hobbyists and pro users
Two subscription tiers are available: a Creator tier, intended for users with Creator subscriptions to e-on’s digital nature tools, Vue and PlantFactory, and a standard tier, intended for commercial work.

Creator subscriptions make the assets available in Vue and PlantFactory only; standard subscriptions also include tools for getting the plants into other DCC applications.

Tools to customise and export plants to a range of DCC applications and game engines
Those tools include PlantCatalog Exporter: a new standalone application for customising PlantCatalog plants and exporting them in standard 3D file formats.

As well as individual parameters governing plant form, users can adjust global controls like plant age, health and seasonal state, or set mesh resolution and wind intensity in animations.

You can get a feel for the options available in the video at the top of this story.

Export formats supported include OBJ, FBX, Alembic, 3DS, C4D and LWO, and there are export presets tailored to a range of host applications, including common DCC tools and the Unity and UE4 game engines.

Meshes can be exported at every LOD supported for the species, and come with textures and UV maps, including support for the UDIM format used in a growing range of DCC applicationas.

The assets are fully rigged; and wind animations may also be exported as clouds of vertices.

In addition, standard subscriptions include the experimental new 3ds Max and Maya import plugins rolled out with the recent PlantFactory R4 subscription update.

That makes it possible to import PlantCatalog plants directly into 3ds Max and Maya, with the plugin converting materials automatically, both to the native format of the host app and to V-Ray Next materials.

Limitations on purchases and asset redistribution
Unlike the plant species previously available through the PlantFactory Nursery on Cornucopia3D, e-on’s now-defunct online content marketplace, the species aren’t available individually: it’s an all-or-nothing deal.

The EULA also prohibits users from selling custom plants derived from PlantCatalog assets or their textures.

However, according to the FAQs, meshes exported from PlantFactory Exporter are “yours to … use forever”, even after a subscription expires: e-on tells us that this includes commercial work.

Pricing and availability
Standard PlantCatalog subscriptions cost $249.95/year, and include PlantCatalog Exporter and the DCC import plugins. Creator subscriptions cost $99/year and only include the plants themselves.

Users with Enterprise subscriptions to Vue and PlantFactory get both plants and software free.

The import plugins are currently available for 3ds Max 2019+ and Maya 2019+ on Windows only. PlantCatalog Exporter is available for 64-bit Windows 8+ and macOS 10.15+.

Read more about PlantCatalog on e-on software’s website