Monday, January 17th, 2022 Posted by Jim Thacker

IDV ships SpeedTree 9.0

IDV has released SpeedTree 9.0, the latest version of its line of software for generating animated trees.

Both SpeedTree Cinema 9.0 and SpeedTree Games 9.0 get a new toolset for freehand editing of 3D trees, and Mesh Converter, for turning 3D scans of tree trunks and branches into native SpeedTree trees.

Other new features include USD export, HDRI lighting, and the option to generate turntable renders.

IDV has also changed its pricing model, standardising subscription pricing between SpeedTree Cinema and SpeedTree Games, with the Indie subscriptions now starting at $19/month.

The firm has also dropped perpetual licences of SpeedTree Cinema, incorporated SpeedTree Engine into Enterprise subscriptions to SpeedTree Cinema, and made SpeedTree Games games engine-agnostic.

A production-proven toolset for authoring 3D trees for games and visual effects
First developed over two decades ago, SpeedTree generates textured, wind-animated 3D trees for real-time and offline work, using a combination of procedural generation and manual editing.

The technology has been used on recent AAA games including Far Cry 5, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and The Division 2, and movies from the Star Wars and Marvel franchises.

Although there have been several different editions of the software over the years, it is currently available as SpeedTree Cinema, for visual effects and feature animation work, and SpeedTree Games.

Both include SpeedTree Modeler, the actual plant-authoring software, and SpeedTree Library, a library of readymade 3D plants. SpeedTree Games also includes the SpeedTree SDK.

SpeedTree 9.0: new toolsets for freehand editing and integrating photogrammetry-based scans
The first major update to SpeedTree since IDV was acquired by Unity, SpeedTree 9 has been in development for some time, having been previewed as far back as Siggraph 2020.

Major changes include Freehand Mode, a new set of visual tools for editing the form of 3D trees manually.

Intended to reduce the need to export 3D trees to other DCC apps for editing, it includes tools for placing new branches on a trunk, drawing them in freehand, or bending existing branches into new shapes.

Artists can also use the toolset to paint displacement onto trunks or branches to create features like burls and knots, or paint vertex colours.

In addition, the options for integrating 3D models generated via photogrammetry into SpeedTree trees, first introduced in SpeedTree Cinema 8.2, have been extended, via a new Mesh Converter.

It automatically generates a heightmap and a tileable bark texture from the 3D scan, which can then be used to convert the scan into a node-based SpeedTree trunk or branch, or extend it with node-based geometry.

Other changes: USD export, HDRI lighting and turntable rendering
Other new features include the option to export trees in USD format, as well as Alembic, FBX and OBJ. Users can also preview trees in SpeedTree Modeler with HDRI lighting, and render out turntable image sequences.

Updates to existing features include the option to modify the layout of the texture atlases SpeedTree generates, to use separate materials for the fronts and backs of leaves, and new branch control parameters

New standard rental-only pricing for both editions
IDV has also shaken up SpeedTree pricing, dropping perpetual licences of SpeedTree Cinema, and standardising subscription prices with SpeedTree Games, which was already a rental-only product.

Whereas Indie subscriptions used to be priced at $999/year for users earning under $1 million/year, they now cost $199/year or $19/month, but use the more industry-standard definition of an ‘Indie’ user as someone earning under $100,000/year.

Studios with revenues under $1 million/year now qualify for Pro subscriptions, which cost $499/year for a node-locked licence, or $899/year for a floating licence.

SpeedTree Games, previously avaiable as separate integrations for Lumberyard, Unity and Unreal Engine, is now engine-agnostic, with its version of SpeedTree Modeler now working with “any games engine”.

SpeedTree Engine, the plugin edition of SpeedTree for Clarisse iFX, is now listed only as part of Enterprise subscriptions to SpeedTree Cinema, although individual licences are still available for SpeedTree 8.

Pricing and system requirements
SpeedTree Cinema 9.0 and SpeedTree Games 9.0 are available for Windows, Linux and macOS.

The software is rental only, with the prices of Indie and Pro subscriptions listed in the story above. Enterprise subscriptions, for studios with revenues over $1 million/year, are priced on demand.

Read a full list of new features in SpeedTree 9.0 in the release notes

Read the online FAQs about SpeedTree 9’s new pricing and licensing model