- Let's take a look at the basics of the application. Plant Factory is available in several different versions to meet the needs of your production and your budget. The feature sets will vary depending upon which version of Plant Factory you have. So all of the things that we do in this course may not apply to your version. This course does use Plant Factory Producer, which is the top version of Plant Factory and one of its main advantages is that it allows file sharing.
If you have a version other than Producer, then when you create a file, you can only open that file with your current license. In other words, you can't share that file with anyone else. However, Plant Factory Producer does allow file sharing and so if you have Producer then you will be able to open up the exercise files for the course. Plant Factory is a stand alone application and you can render images and animations out of Plant Factory. But of course to get the full benefit of Plant Factory, you'll want to open it in a different program.
Plant Factory gives us lots of options for that. First and foremost, Plant Factory is able to export .TPF files, also known as VUE species. That's the procedural graph of the plant and its materials. The advantage there is that within VUE or VUE Extreme you can generate many, many different versions of that plant. You can use it within eco systems and populate your scene with millions of unique plants. And that's using the VUE species export feature.
Plant Factory also has the ability to export static meshes and it supports several different applications including VUE, Zbrush, and the old standby OBJ format. And finally, Plant Factory can also export a mesh with a skeleton rig attached to it and potentially with animation as well. This is so that you can produce wind effects either in Plant Factory or in your host application. You can save out to an auto desk FBX file for loading into Maya or 3ds Max.
You can also save out to an Alembic file which is an open source standard. Other applications are also supported including Cinema4D, Lightwave and others. Depending upon which version of Plant Factory you have, you'll have a different set of content files, which is a library of stock assets, such as tutorials sample scenes, plant species, materials and bit maps and so on. These stock assets or content files are stored by default inside the profile of whoever installed Plant Factory.
For example if you're on Windows, you'll find those content files installed by default into the current user's documents folder. Now this is problematic for several reasons, therefore, I recommend that if you have Plant Factory installed you might want to consider uninstalling it and reinstalling it to place the content files in a more neutral location. It's a better idea to store those factory default files inside the program directory rather than in the home directory of any particular user and that way we'll hopefully avoid any permissions issues, or people's files getting mixed up with one another when you have more than one user on the same system.
So what I'm going to do is I'm going to copy this string or path here of the destination folder and just select that and copy it and I can hold down control C or command C on the Mac. And then in this extra content files path I'll paste that in, control V or command V on the Mac and after the end of that I'll put in a slash and then the words content files.
And now when we install Plant Factory the content files will be stored inside the program directory and not inside the directory of the current user. We can go ahead and click through the rest of the screens to install the program.
In these tutorials, Aaron F. Ross shows how to get started with PlantFactory. He'll cover modeling plants and trees, sculpting plants from components, editing plant parameters, adding materials and animation effects, and rendering the results. Plus, learn how to use PlantFactory's powerful node graph to control individual properties and generate plants procedurally.
- Installing and customizing PlantFactory
- Creating plant segments with the Add tool
- Editing and blending segments
- Working with nodes in the graph
- Adding leaves
- Loading and editing materials
- Rendering plant images
- Sculpting with the Draw tool
- Pruning branches
- Modeling with the node graph
- Applying wind effects
- Exporting and importing plant models