Bionatics has released a new plant simulation plug-in for 3ds max, called natFX. Targeting the game development market, natFX is a procedural plant generator that lets you generate photo-realistic plants from a database of "virtual seeds" with a minimum of polygons. Max users can simulate a number of different plants and trees, age them, change their seasonal states, the level of detail and add shadows.
According to Bionatics, natFX let you mix and match 2D objects (billboards) with 3D objects. For instance, if only the front of the tree is seen, a single billboard can be used for the back of the tree, and the rest of the tree is created in 3D.
Bionatics will launch natFX with a 10-plant library, and users can purchase other plants from Bionatics’ web site. The site currently has over 500 different plants and trees from around the world.
natFX is priced at $990, with 10 plants of your choice. Extra plants cost between $100 to $150 from Bionatics' web site.