This FAQ is a constant work in progress. It hopefully answers most questions. More documentation and tutorials are being worked on.
If you do find a bug or have a question that is not answered below, please do tell! You can find contact information at the bottom. The best feature of any software is stability and this is top priority for the Grove.
No. We have users all over the world, and we want you to cherry pick a bundle of twigs that represents the trees of your region.
The Grove is an addon to Blender, which runs on Windows, OSX and Linux. If Blender runs, so will The Grove. Blender is free and provides The Grove with all the power of a full 3D software, including export to other software.
Yes, you can simply increase the number of trees for an automatic distribution around the world center. Or you can also plant trees at specific locations or at an angle. To do this, simply add empty objects inside your grove collection (Add > Empty > Single Arrow). Then restart or regrow your grove to plant the trees and start growing. Add as many trees as you like and start growing groves of trees!
The twigs system provides huge savings in memory and is quick to render. But the amount of polygons can have quite an impact on viewport performance. There are two easy ways to get back viewport speed.
The first solution makes use of Blender’s brilliant Decimate modifier. Decimate is to geometry what JPG is to images. It has a way of reducing just the right polygons while keeping UV mapping intact.
Add a Decimate modifier to your twig and set the Ratio slider to a low value. Don’t apply the modifier! In the header of the Decimate modifier’s panel you will find two icons, a camera and an eye. Click once on the camera to disable the modifier at render time. Your viewport (and viewport preview rendering) will now use the low resolution twig. Final renders will use the full resolution twig model.
You can also choose to use the Decimate modifier at render time or when exporting a 3D tree model to a different application.
EDIT: The Grove now automatically adds Decimate modifiers to twigs with the Viewport Detail parameter.
When you have many trees in your scene, even a decimated mesh may be too much to handle for your graphics card. That’s where the second solution kicks in, to change the way Blender draws particles. Select one of the two twig duplicator objects and head to the Particle Settings. Scroll all the way down to the Display Panel. Select Circle and increase the Draw Size to match the size of your twig. Repeat this process for the other twig duplicator object. Viewport should be smooth again. While at render time, Blender will use the twig object.
The twig system is very flexible. The twig 3D models made by the Grove are made for realism, they capture every detail in a twig. Although they take almost no memory with (GPU) rendering, they are not usable in game engines. However, you can make your own twigs with just the amount of detail you want. You can distribute your own low polygon image mapped branches.
As a tree grows older, the branching structure can get quite complex. Although the twig system can save amazing amounts of memory, branches can also fill up your (GPU) memory quite quickly. You can reduce the amount of polygons when using the Advanced Mesh build type. It allows you to reduce the profile resolution based on the thickness of the branch, for high poly trunks and low poly branch ends.
Absolutely, we plan on covering the entire world and are working hard on more twigs.
No. These plants are very regularly repeating structures. The Grove focuses on trees that evolve through branching. The Grove’s twigs are basically small plants, and these are also modeled by hand for the best quality and realism possible.
Unfortunately, not yet. Although the algorithm is perfect for it, Blender’s operators cannot be animated. We are however investigating a different approach that might make this work. More on this later…