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Sometimes questions arise..

... and this is where you'll find answers as well as a few ideas to make using your Vue plants a bit more interesting.

Below you'll find two separate categories: There is one called, "Lush Tips for SolidGrowth™ Vegetation", which are short easy tips to remember. The second, or, "Lush Tutorials", is a list of longer, in depth lessons that basically concern the Vue Plant Editor (Botanica).


 
Lush Tips for SolidGrowth™ Vegetation:
  Chunky Tree Branches
Are those odd chunky tree branches annoying you? Here's a tip on how to taper them in the plant editor.
  Pesky Hooking Points
Some of the default Vue plants have flying branches and leaves. Here's how to reset them.
  Where's the Wind?
Where exactly is the wind and how does it work?
  Working with Bumps:
Don't hesitate to change leaf bump settings...(more)
  Editing Textures in an EcoSystem
Yes it is possible to change colors and textures in an EcoSystem! Here's how!
  Making Vue Plants Vibrant (or not)
Depending on your scene and lighting, you may want to change the color of your leaf or grass blade textures...(more)
  Reducing "Leaf Glow"
In certain atmospheres, SolidGrowth™ plant and tree leaves can glow rather unnaturally....(more)
  Birch Bark in an EcoSystem
When using the Birch Trees in an EcoSystem, the procedural bark texture often becomes dark. Here's how to correct that.
  Which atmosphere is the best?
I have often been asked what the best atmosphere is to make my SolidGrowth plants look the best...

Lush Tutorials for SolidGrowth™ Vegetation:
These tutorials will open up in separate windows.

  Large Conifer Plants, Hedges, and Topiary
Here are several different ideas on what can be done with the Bulky or Cone-Shaped Conifers from Cornucopia 3D. For Vue 5 Infinite and Vue 5 Esprit with Botanica.
  Vue 6 Default Spectrals and SolidGrowth Plants
The Vue 6 programs include some marvelous new Spectral atmospheres with beautiful lighting and realistic clouds. Unfortunately, these new atmospheres can make your SolidGrowth plants look pretty horrid. In this tutorial, I will discuss how to make your atmospheres a bit friendlier to your Vue vegetation.

Chunky Tree Branches: For programs with the Plant Editor (Botanica)
 

Are those odd chunky tree branches annoying you? Here's a tip on how to taper them in the plant editor.

It is possible to smooth out the branches in the Plant Editor (Esprit and Infinite users) by raising the tree resolution. Select your tree, right click and select, "Edit object" to bring up the Plant Editor. Then click on the "X2" button at the top several times and raise the resolution of your tree to somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 polygons. Then you'll see your branches will be nicely smoothed out.

I wouldn't try this with some of the large new resolution trees, like the Broadleaf or the Bulky Conifer, unless you have a very powerful system. The raising of tree resolution can eat up your resources so only do this for trees situated close to the camera. It's not really necessary for trees father away.

Raising plant resolution in an EcoSystem is not possible.

Note: Due to a glitch in the editor, raising the resolution on a modified plum tree can crash Vue at this time, so it may be a good idea to always try to save your work before modifying any vegetation.

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Pesky Hooking Points: For programs with the Plant Editor (Botanica)
 

Some SolidGrowth plants have flying branches and leaves due to a hooking point placement that has moved for no apparent reason.

A hooking point is where the tree branch or plant stalk meets the alpha leaf branch or leaf. If the hooking point is wrong, the leaves and alpha branches will look as if they're not attached to the plant.

Here's how to fix this: Right click on the tree and choose, "edit object" to open the Plant Editor (Botanica) and then press on the little leaf under the image to the right. This will open the leaf editor where you can move the red hooking point to where it should be. Press "OK".

Now, after this manipulation I would save the vegetation again so I won't have to do this every time I use the plant. When you've finished replacing the hooking point and pressed OK, click on the "save species" icon (the one with the diskette and DNA symbol) and save the species.

 

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Where's the Wind?: For Vue 4 Pro and Vue 5 Infinite
 

Even though wind affects SolidGrowth™ plants, you won't find it in the plant editor. It happens to be in the Atmosphere editor.

Wind "Per Plant": Go to Atmosphere / Atmosphere Editor and push on the Wind tab. Enable "wind on a per plant basis". Push OK. The wind will now be visible in the form of a blue arrow which you can see ONLY in the top camera view after selecting your plant. Drag the blue arrow back and forth and your plant will move with it. It is possible to make a selected group of plants to move at the same time. This is very handy for stormy still images.

Breeze: The Breeze option, located under the Per Plant option is used for animations only and, if enabled, automatically makes the SolidGrowth™ plants move naturally throughout your film according to the parameters chosen.

It is also possible to move specific SolidGrowth™ plants individually while Breeze is enabled.

Note: Wind and Breeze only effect Solidgrowth™ plants, not static plant objects in vob format.

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Working with Bumps: All versions of Vue

 

I have included a very slight bump for each leaf texture in my packs. Should you find it not to your liking, you can always change the value in the Material Editor.

Personally I would lessen the bump or remove it entirely on the leaves that are situated very close to the camera.

Plant Editor (Botanica) Instructions: To modify the bump, select the tree in question, right click on it and choose "Edit Object" to open the Plant Editor. Then right click in the window where you see the leaf material and choose, "Edit Material" to open the Advanced Material Editor where you can fiddle with the bump values.

Instruction for all other versions: Select your tree and navigate to the leaf texture by using the little arrows in the Material Preview Window. Then double click in the window where you see the leaf material. There you can then play with the bump values.

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Making Plants Vibrant (or not): All versions of Vue
 

Depending on your atmosphere or type of scene, you may want to change the colors of your leaf textures to make them more or less vibrant or saturated.

Vue 6 tip: Right click and choose "Edit color".

In the Plant Editor (Botanica):

For single trees:

Select your tree and right click on it, then select "Edit Object" to open the Plant Editor. In the Leaves/Petals box, double click the colored rectangle next to "Overall color" and select a more vibrant color.

In general, the more vibrant colors will be the ones found above the current color in the main color screen. The screen on the right will help you choose a darker or lighter tone of the current color.

Select your color and click OK. If it's not done automatically, you can render the tree directly when back in the Plant Editor by clicking on the camera icon situated on the left.

You can also change the color of the bark texture in the Plant Editor by right-clicking on the bark image and choosing "Edit material" to open the Advanced Material Editor. You can then change the color in the Color Correction box by double-clicking on the colored rectangle.

For a tree species where there are several trees in a scene:

It's possible to change the colors of all of the trees of a specific species by modifying their materials in the Material Summary, which you can access by pressing the F6 key. Navigate to the textures you'd like to change and follow the instructions above.

If your trees are in an EcoSystem, you can change their colors in the Materials Editor under EcoSystem Materials. The subsequent instructions are the same as above.

In the Material Preview Window:

Select your tree and then navigate to the leaf texture by using the little arrows in the Material Preview Window. Double click the texture to open the advanced materials editor. In the Leaves/Petals box, double click the colored rectangle next to "Overall color" and select a more vibrant color.

In general, the more vibrant colors will be the ones found above the current color in the main color screen. The screen on the right will help you choose a darker or lighter tone of the current color.

Select your color and click OK.

It is also possible to change the color of the bark texture in the Material Preview Window. Select the tree and click on the bark texture or navigate to it with the arrows if it's not showing in the material preview window. You can then change the color in the Color Correction box by double-clicking on the colored rectangle.

Note: In certain cases the colors in the plant editor go wacky and you can suddenly wind up with pink grass or purple trees. When this happens I save my scene, shut down Vue and reboot. This is the only way I've been able to make the color editor cooperate when this happens.

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Editing Textures in an EcoSystem: Vue 5 Infinite
 

If your trees are in an EcoSystem, you can change their colors or textures in the Materials Editor under EcoSystem Materials.

Double click the material to open the Advanced Materials Editor in the bottom right hand corner of Infinite.

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Reducing "Leaf Glow": Vue 5 Infinite
 

In certain atmospheres, SolidGrowth™ plant and tree leaves can glow rather unnaturally. This is due to the backlighting effect, which causes the sun to shine through the leaves much as they do in nature.

If you find your leaves are glowing too much in your scene, open the Material Editor by right clicking and choosing, "Edit object", and then double click on the leaf material. Press on the Effects tab and move the Backlighting slider to the left. Somewhere around 50% usually does the trick.

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Birch Bark in an EcoSystem: Vue 5 Infinite
 

When using the Birch Trees with their procedural bark texture in an EcoSystem, the bark often becomes dark. Here's how to correct that.

Once you've populated your EcoSystem, go to the Material's Editor (see "Editing Textures in an EcoSystem" above) , click on the Influence of Environment tab and change the Mapping option to "Object - Standard". In the Altitude range, change the option to Per object.

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Which atmosphere is the best? Vue 6 and Vue 5 families of products
 

For a discussion about Vue 6 Spectral atmospheres, please have a look at my tutorial regarding them.

Vue 5 products:

I have often been asked what the best atmosphere is to make my SolidGrowth plants look nice.

Quite honestly, it's difficult to say. I spend more time on lighting than anything else and I experiment with all different sorts of settings and atmospheres before finding the mood I need for an image. Lighting can take longer for me to do than the rest of the job, so it's not something that's easy at all. There is no "one click" solution to making art.

In general, your plants will look great in any standard atmosphere, as long as you set the lighting to Global Illumination. This usually makes the plants look very realistic. To do this, open the Atmosphere Editor by pushing F4, click on Light and set the Lighting Model to Global Illumination.

Radiosity can also be great in certain situations, such as sunsets or in images where you want light to really shine through the leaves. I think it makes the plants glow a bit unnaturally in normal sunshine shots, but try it anyway!

Note: If you really want to show off grass or a field nicely, don't hesitate to select your main camera and move it down by about 50%.

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