Friday, May 10th, 2024 Posted by Jim Thacker

Check out the new features in Vue 2024 and PlantFactory 2024

E-on software has released the final versions of its digital nature tools, environment-creation software Vue 2024 and plant-creation tool PlantFactory 2024.

Both are available free, including for commercial use, albeit as beta builds, after e-on software’s owner, Bentley Systems, discontinued development of the applications close to their release.

Vue 2024 adds new options for creating and rendering clouds, including a new SmartClouds material library, and the option to use Blender’s Cycles renderer directly inside Vue.

PlantFactory 2024 features improvements to UV editing workflow, the viewport display, and to the integration plugins for DCC software, particularly Unreal Engine.

Both releases also feature experimental native Apple Silicon support.

Both applications: experimental native support for Apple Silicon chips in current Macs
Although Vue 2024 and PlantFactory 2024 are betas, both add quite a number of new features, having been in their “final stage of completion” when they were discontinued.

One of the biggest changes is native support for ARM-based Apple Silicon processors, although separate builds are provided for non-ARM Macs and “will probably be more stable”.

There are a number of workflow improvements common to both applications, including a new Export Central panel and Published Parameters editor, and a redesigned Color Picker.

The updates also improve performance of the application’s node graphs, with a “substantial speedup in fractal and noise computation”.

Vue 2024: new options for rendering clouds, including with Blender’s Cycles renderer
Vue 2024 updates the software’s tools for creating and rendering clouds, adding SmartClouds, a new library of 23 readymade procedural cloud materials with built-in animation support.

It is also possible to convert Vue’s MetaClouds and cloud layers to OpenVDB format directly, without having to export and re-import data.

Vue’s Ray Tracer renderer now supports multiple scattering when rendering OpenVDBs.

In addition, it is possible to render inside Vue using Blender’s Cycles renderer as a USD Hydra render delegate. Both new rendering features are still officially technology previews.

The other changes are mainly workflow improvements, including new golden spiral and rule-of-thirds frame guides for scene composition.

PlantFactory 2024: updates to UV workflow, the viewport and software integration plugins
PlantFactory 2024 gets improvements to UV workflow, with a new panel and workspace for previewing UVs interactively.

The Cutout Leaf node introduced in PlantFactory 2023 for generating 3D leaf meshes from textures gets new options for editing normals and editing the created mesh.

The viewport gets a new orthographic camera and camera presets; new clipping options for underground plant parts; the option to preview vertex normals; and better display of wireframes.

The DCC integration plugins get the option to convert LODs to the host application’s native LODs, and new meshing options to control the topology of the geometry generated.

Unreal Engine users also get the option to create custom mesh hierarchy levels during export, and support for Unreal’s Pivot Painter 2.0 tool

Licensing and system requirements
Vue 2024 and PlantFactory 2024 are compatible with Windows 8+ and macOS 10.14-12.0.

The integration plugins are compatible with 3ds Max 2019-2023, Cinema 4D R20-2023, LightWave 11.6-2020, Maya 2019-2023 and Unreal Engine 4.26-5.1.

PlantFactory 2024 also supports Unreal Engine 5.2-5.3.

The software is free to download, including for use on commercial projects, via a custom EULA.

Neither Vue 2024 or PlantFactory 2024 is an official production-ready release, but you can also download Vue 2023 and PlantFactory 2023 – the final stable versions – for free.

Read Bentley’s FAQs about discontinuing development of Vue, PlantFactory and PlantCatalog
(Includes a changelog for Vue 2024 and PlantFactory 2024)

Download Vue, PlantFactory and PlantCatalog for free from Bentley’s website

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