Grow me a Forest…

While I’m currently not using Cinema 4D, I still follow developments and combined with my obsession about virtual plant generation, Forester could be of some relevance, but then again maybe not. I take issue with a few things that are all too apparent even from the demo videos.

  • The trees look crude and very “artificially generated”. They remind me of a plug-in called TreesDesigner back then in the golden Lightwave days. Examples of those ugly trees can be seen in many TV series from that era that have Lightwave VFX in them such as Babylon 5 or Firefly.
  • The growth simulation looks just awful. Scaling your plants to make them appear? RLY?
  • The so-called “industry-leading wind effects” just look like what they probably are – some sort of 3D noise whose force multipliers propagate across the different sub-elements. Even the settings for it are a dead giveaway. if you need that many controls, then perhaps it’s not as sophisticated as they want you to believe. I always thought “real” wind behavior should automatically be derived from parameters like surface area, density/ rigidity of the lements and how elements facing the wind shield others, reducing the overall effect. Or in other words: It doesn’t look real at all to me.
  • Speaking of which, the whole interface seems like a bloody mess. There’s like twenty tabs and on each of them equally as many sliders. Given Cinema 4Ds architecture and paradigms, I would have expected a more elegant solution where e.g. wind would be a deformer.

With that being said, the part that’s enticing me is the Multiflora thing. There seem to be lots of ways to control distribution and some of the examples could indeed pass for a real meadow. Even if I always considered myself reasonably masterful at e.g. coercing MoGraph to place my clones where I wanted them, getting organic distribution of nature elements is an art in itself. You can have the most beautiful individual trees, but still produce an ugly forest, if you get my meaning. That’s definitely one of those areas where nobody has found the best solution yet.

It’s quite a mixed bag, but things being that there aren’t too many plant tools overall and most plant plug-ins for Cinema 4D have shortcomings or are dysfunctional in one way or another, it’s always good to have one more option. in fact if they can improve their overall user experience and quickly expand their plant libraries they could be onto something here.

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