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Exteriors versus XFrog - advice?

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Adrian McKennaExteriors versus XFrog - advice?
by on Jul 2, 2004 at 10:58:08 am

I'm interested to hear from users of both Exteriors and XFrog as to their opinions on the software, as I need to get some trees happening. I'm in Australia by the way, so particularly interested to know of their Australian suitability and also suitability for architectural scenes. Currently I'm just photoshopping images in.

I can't find a demo of either, so I'm hoping to pull enough info together from here and any other reasearch, to make the decision.

Specifically, I am interested to know:

Value for money
Quality, and 'realism'
Adaptability of each plant by means of size, colours & foliage
Polycounts
Anything else I may be interested in?
Advantages/Disadvantages over photoshopping trees in

Thanks heaps!

--
Adrian McKenna
http://www.viewfx.com.au


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Adam TrachtenbergRe: Exteriors versus XFrog - advice?
by on Jul 2, 2004 at 1:11:08 pm

You can dowload a 30 day trial of Xfrog 4.1 here: http://www.xfrogdownloads.com/greenwebNew/products/productStart.htm

They are very different products. Exteriors provides a set number of low-poly trees/plants that look pretty good from medium to long distances. They can be use for short distances, but IMO they don't look near as good as Xfrog trees up close. They are sort of a cross between sprites and geometry. Very easy to use. Can't be animated.

Xfrog is a much more powerful system, but it tends toward the high-poly. It comes with a basic library of trees and there are many libraries that you can buy as add-ons. Pretty much all of these provided trees are of very high quality (and polygon count), so they can be placed close to the camera. They come in seasonal and young/old variations. They can be animated. You can also use Xfrog to model pretty much any plant you can think of, but it's not the most intuitive thing in the world and it does take some practice. XF4 even goes well beyond that, allowing you to generate all kinds of procedural shapes.

The advantage of both systems over sprite-based trees is that they can be used in animations and they respond to the lighting in your scene.

Hope that helps.


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Arndt von KoenigsmarckRe: Exteriors versus XFrog - advice?
by on Jul 2, 2004 at 1:27:59 pm

I can also recommend Onyx Tre Pro. It's a stand alone tool that comes with a huge database for trees, palms and bushes and has a nice C4D export connection:
http://www.onyxtree.com/

There is also a C4D plugin called DPInstantTree:
http://www.dpit2.de/
Maybe worth a look, too.

Kind regards,
Arndt von Koenigsmarck

http://www.vreel-3d.de
http://www.vonkoenigsmarck.de


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Adrian McKennaRe: Exteriors versus XFrog - advice?
by on Jul 4, 2004 at 3:40:32 am

Thanks Adam & Arndt,

I'm thinking I'll go the Exteriors direction for speed as much as anything, considering their low poly count.

I appreciate the advice!

Adrian McKenna
http://www.viewfx.com.au


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Arndt von KoenigsmarckRe: Exteriors versus XFrog - advice?
by on Jul 4, 2004 at 8:59:26 am

Adrian,
Exteriors is not a bad choice. They work great in backgrounds and in medium distances. They don't look too good in close ups or if you need a high res branch in the forground.
So it'll be always good to have some additional high res trees around.


Kind regards,
Arndt von Koenigsmarck

http://www.vreel-3d.de
http://www.vonkoenigsmarck.de


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Adrian McKennaRe: Exteriors versus XFrog - advice?
by on Jul 4, 2004 at 9:32:31 am

True - I will keep a couple of flat images for foreground stills.

Can you tell me what sort of 'adjustments' can be made with Exteriors? colours? Amount of GI received? etc.

Thanks

Adrian


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Arndt von KoenigsmarckRe: Exteriors versus XFrog - advice?
by on Jul 4, 2004 at 10:39:27 am

Exteriors uses low poly planes with alpha materials. AFAIK it comes with a plugin that alows you to change the season of the tree (leave colors, leave density).
I am pretty sure that I saw at lease one sample tree somewhere on the net. If you want to be sure that the quality is what you expect, you should do a search for that sample.
Beside this the tree responds good to shadows and GI.

Kind regards,
Arndt von Koenigsmarck

http://www.vreel-3d.de
http://www.vonkoenigsmarck.de


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Adrian McKennaRe: Exteriors versus XFrog - advice?
by on Jul 4, 2004 at 11:47:27 am

Thanks again - just looking back at your emails, you mentioned Onyx...

Do you run this software? And how is the polygon count? I'm just looking into it as a possibility also.

thanks so much
Adrian


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Arndt von KoenigsmarckRe: Exteriors versus XFrog - advice?
by on Jul 4, 2004 at 12:00:43 pm

Yes, I have it here.
It comes with a huge database of real trees and uses them as a base for user input. So you can enter the needed height, branch size, leave denisity, leave size, etc. etc.
For export you can specify the polycount for every part of the tree. You can keep them pretty much low poly and use textures for the leaves or high poly for close ups. You can even add wind to the tree to bend and animate it or use a chainsaw to cut branches away. OK, it's not the cheapest solution around, but regarding trees and bushes IMHO one of the best.


Kind regards,
Arndt von Koenigsmarck

http://www.vreel-3d.de
http://www.vonkoenigsmarck.de


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Adrian McKennaRe: Exteriors versus XFrog - advice?
by on Jul 4, 2004 at 10:24:06 pm

Arndt,

Are there any sample Onyx created trees in C4D available? Or could you email me 1-2 at amckenna@viewfx.com.au? I'm interested in seeing file size and the quality versus polygon factor.
I'm hoping to get one app that will do the lot for me - I found the Exteriors sample tree and it wasn't bad, but as others mentioned it lacks a bit close up.


Thanks again

Adrian


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Arndt von KoenigsmarckRe: Exteriors versus XFrog - advice?
by on Jul 5, 2004 at 7:14:34 am

Adrian,
I am sorry, but Onyx doesn't allow to share exported objects. I made you a screenshot of an imported tree.
http://www.vonkoenigsmarck.de/trees.jpg

Both trees are already optimised, so you can get much more precision if you need it for closeups. When exporting you get polycount sliders for every aspect of the tree, so it's up to you where you think you could reduce the definition.
Also have a look at their movies and the gallery. In combination with some nice textures, the trees look just great.

Kind regards,
Arndt von Koenigsmarck

http://www.vreel-3d.de
http://www.vonkoenigsmarck.de


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Adrian McKennaRe: Exteriors versus XFrog - advice?
by on Jul 6, 2004 at 10:59:23 pm

Last question, and thanks again for all the info!

With Onyx Tree Pro:
What is a typical C4D file size once exported?
Are the trees so poly heavy, that a scene with quite a number of background trees would make a fly through impractical?
What are the tricks to keep render time optimal with Onyx trees?

Cheers

Adrian


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Arndt von KoenigsmarckRe: Exteriors versus XFrog - advice?
by on Jul 7, 2004 at 9:19:26 am

Cinema 4D is quite good when dealing with high poly count scenes. It will only slow down the editor work but not so much the rendering times.
You can always use renderings of the trees with alpha-masks on simple geometry for the background. This is what you will do with forest scenes anyway. High poly in the front, low poly or alpha mapped polygons in the back.
You can see the memory requirements for both of my tree examples in the info box on my screencapture. Btw. you can always use instances of similar trees to keep the file size small.
I haven't used DPInstant Tree myself, but Samir is also a visiting this board and might give you a hand with this.

Kind regards,
Arndt von Koenigsmarck

http://www.vreel-3d.de
http://www.vonkoenigsmarck.de


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Adrian McKennaRe: Exteriors versus XFrog - advice?
by on Jul 6, 2004 at 11:02:35 pm

I'm interested to know about users of the DPInstant tree also?

I downloaded the demo, but there didn't seem to be default trees. Had to start from scratch.

Adrian


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Brian JonesRe: Exteriors versus XFrog - advice?
by on Jul 8, 2004 at 5:46:31 am

There is a Library of trees and other vegetation with the full version


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Adrian McKennaRe: Exteriors versus XFrog - advice?
by on Jul 8, 2004 at 6:18:41 am

Thanks Brian, Arndt & Adam...
I've gone ahead with Onyx Pro - good reviews and heaps of trees to play with. Plus seems it will offer good flexibility with other apps and even photoshopping as well as varying poly export.

I appreciate all the advice!

--
Adrian McKenna
http://www.viewfx.com.au


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