GrowFX first look review.

GrowFX is plugin for modeling and animating plants. It’s created by company called Exlevel and I would like to talk a little about my one day experience with it. I bought my copy today without actually trying trial version and I don’t regret it. It’s great piece of software.

Installation and activation.

Ordering process is pretty fast. You don’t need anything physical so right after payment you get product key and you’re able to download install files. Activation is fast. I used automatic option so I can’t tell how it works with other types. In general you’re able to use that software within 10 min after placing order. Nothing really impressive but sometimes that can take longer.

First try.

Plugin is very intuitive for me. I used Onyx very often before, so parametric creation of the tree isn’t a new thing for me. Anyway I was surprised by how easy it actually is to create and change simple tree.

Creation process.

Let me describe you the process as I understood it. You have those layers called paths and they add up creating a plant. Each path has 3 types of parameters that needs to be setup up to create desired part of the plant. For a tree you would need a path for trunk, few paths for branches, twigs and one for leafs. Take a look at this screen grab:

Here you can see all types of path options open.

In ‘distributors path’ window you can add all the nodes responsible for distribution, after that it’s possible to change shape using nodes in ‘modify direction’. At the end just drop node responsible for mesh generation into ‘mesh parameters’ and you have fully configured path.

I used simple standard distributor, a bit of noise, random direction and meta mesh for trunk.

Animation.

I will create another post soon with some animations. But from my first tests it seems very powerful. Basically it allows you to animate any value within the software. And comes with wind node. Animating tree moving on the wind is quick and simple. But what’s most impressive is ability to create growing tree exactly in the desired way.

Conclusion.

The ability to quickly create complex plants right in 3ds Max viewport with animation makes GrowFX a must have software for me. It’s time to say goodbye to old friend Onyx.

Quality and easy usage makes it perfect for architecture visualizations where good environment with plants and trees will make a big difference.

At the moment I can’t say anything bad about GrowFX, but will keep you up to date ;).

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