Friday, July 29th, 2022 Posted by Jim Thacker

The Grove Release 11 is out

F12 – aka developer Wybren van Keulen – has shipped The Grove Release 11, the latest version of his Blender-based tool for generating biologically plausible tree models.

The update adds a new Roots tool for generating exposed roots; a new Surround panel, for mimicking the forms of trees growing in dense stands; and updates the software to use Blender’s Geometry Nodes system.

Mimic the growth forms of real trees
The Grove takes a parametric approach to generating trees, with controls that mimic the factors determining the forms of real plants, resulting in more realistic-looking models.

Once the overall form of a tree has been set, The Grove fills in details by using ‘Twigs’: instanced geometry representing not only actual twigs, but leaves, flowers and fruit, sold separately to the core app.

The software is a Blender add-on, but the resulting textured geometry can be exported in standard file formats, including FBX and OBJ, for use in other DCC applicaitons.

Users can also generate wind and growth animations for trees, which can be exported in Alembic format.

Release 11: new Roots tool and Surround panel
Changes in Release 11 include a new Roots tool for generating exposed roots at the base of trees.

It’s only intended for generating the ‘flare’ of roots at ground level, not entire root network, so it’s designed for speed rather than absolute biological accuracy.

In addition, a new Surround panel mimics the effect of shading from neighbours when trees are growing in dense stands, resulting in tall, thin trees with few lower branches and leaves only at the very top.

Now based on Blender’s Geometry Nodes, not its particle system
The Grove’s system for duplicating Twigs now uses Blender’s new Geometry Nodes. not the particle system.

As well as making duplication faster and more customisable, the change has made it possible to introduce a new Breeze wind type, which complements the existing wind deformation, and which is always on.

New Stash system saves grown trees in editable form
The update also adds a new ‘Stash’ system, for saving grown trees to disk.

Saving a tree as a Stash makes it possible to import it into a new Blender scene in an editable form, and can be used as a manual Undo system, since The Grove is not compatible with Blender’s own Undo system.

In addition, there have been a number of updates to existing tools and the software’s underlying algorithms, with the Plant tool now responding to the slope of the terrain to make trees grow perpendicular to a hillside.

Pricing and availability
The Grove Release 11 is available for Blender 2.80+, running on Windows, Linux and macOS.

The single-user Indie edition has a MSRP of €140 (around $143). Since the previous release, F12 has also introduced a new Studio edition, which has a MSRP of €720 ($735). Individual Twigs cost €9 ($9).

Read a full list of new features in The Grove on the product website