Plant Generation Software Packages

Tool Description Pros Cons Pics
XFrog - see the XFrog Page xfrog tree xfrog flower
SpeedTree Available as an SDK ($10k for a single-product license).  The SDK integrates with the Unreal Engine, and also the Gamebryo, BigWorld, Vision, OGRE and Multiverse engines.  Also available as a standalone tool, $5k for Cinema, or low-cost version $900 for Studio for non-game use. Fully 3D trees without using a lot of polygons, with dynamic LOD.
Includes an option to design your own trees.  The runtime allows trees to move with the wind.
The SDK package ("Speedtree for Games") is expensive and not usable for freely-distributed apps.   speedtree speedtree
Lenné3D Very powerful plant software, once available as plugins, is now built into their Biosphere 3D  software. Leverages Xfrog.
The results of several years of academic research into realtime rendering of large number of plants.
Rather large file sizes. Mohn in Königslutter am Elm
ngPlant Standalone application for creating plants.  Looks very much like a simpler version of Xfrog, with a more narrow focus. Yorik's blender greenhouse has free trees made with ngPlant for use in Blender; the emphasis is on non-realtime rendering. Free and open source.
Seems fairly powerful for a free program.
Lots of complex controls, would take a while to learn.  ngPlant
Unity Tree Creator A tree authoring tool is part of the Unity game engine. Good looking trees, optimized for realtime rendering. Tightly integrated with the game engine, unsure if useful beyond Unity.  
Silvador A tree authoring tool targeting the VBS2 system, from Bohemia Interactive. Attractive screenshots. No price given, no real info.  Seems to be competitor to SpeedTree, specifically in the VisSim "serious games" field.
Virtual Gardening and Virtual Bonsai Standalone application from JFP, Inc., for modelling gardens and bonsai trees. Beautiful output, realtime interaction (OpenGL) Only available in Japanese Virtual Garden
Arbaro Tree modelling tool, Free and open-source, written in Java. Free (gratis and libre).
Writes OBJ files.
Look like just a few types of plant possible. Screenshot of the Arbaro main window
tree[d] Tree modelling tool, free, as a plugin for gile[s] or standalone.
Exports to "x" and "b3d".
Seems fairly easy to use. Just does simple trees (trunk/branch/leaf model).  
Ivy Generator The ivy grows from a single root following different forces and constraints. Free and cross-platform. Minimal UI.
Algorithmic Botany: VLAB (Linux) and L-Studio (Windows) Dr. Prusinkiewicz's full package, was available as shareware, now around $300 (?)  Latest website has no information about availability.
  • Lots of features.
  • Most major papers in the field came from research with this package.
  QuickTime: CPFG
OpenAlea Research software Looks powerful Very low level, focus is on biological research caribu.png
Treemagik Tree modeler, $50 for Windows, from Aliencodec.
  • Low-polygon output with texture per branch
  • Many output formats
  • Cheap
  • Limited range of output, no real species
  • Really weird nearly-illegible UI
  • Highly restricted use of output
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Plant-Life Plant modeler, $45 for Windows, from Aliencodec.  Does "rocks, mushrooms, grass, weeds, ferns, lilies, flowers, bushes, twigs, tropicals".
  • Same as Treemagik
  • Same as Treemagik
Dryad Standalone tree app, for Windows and Mac.  Claims to output models in OBJ format.
  • Free
  • Unstable, couldn't make it run on my machine
  • Consumes 1 GB of RAM for no apparent reason
  • Trees look fake
Plant Studio Herbaceous plant modeler for Win32.  Use to be inexpensive, now free.
  • Does gardens and small flowering plants very nicely
  • Great deal of parameter control in real botanical terms
  • Free
  • Uses a dated, built-in software renderer instead of a 3D API
  • 3D output is limited to POV and DXF
Plant studio
Forester Arboretum Tree modeler, $35 for Windows.  Generates detailed trees in POV-Ray, .x, and .obj formats.  
  • Output is generally 2-20+Mb files.
  • Only 5 example trees.
  • Doesn't seem to do non-tree plants.
Tree Professional / Tree Still, Tree Storm Decent package from Onyx Computing, a bit old now.   Standalone tree designer and well-integrated MAX plugin.
  • Has a great many features... Pruning, Bonsai curving, etc.
  • Only supports three plant types: Broadleaf, Conifer, and Palm
  • Just not quite as good looking as XFrog
Onyx Onyx Onyx Onyx
Intel Smoke Library (see Procedural Trees and Procedural Fire in a Virtual World) Open-source library for procedural simulation of fire and smoke, which curiously also does proecedural creation of trees.       smoke demo


Plant Software: Only Available as a Modeler Plug-in

Sapling Blender Plugin (free) Looks like rather basic branching geometry, but capable of a few common tree types.   Sapling
Branches 3DS MAX Plugin (free with registration) "not a tool for generating procedural trees, but a modeling tool for creating trees by hand ... intended for games."   Branches
Laubwerk Plants Kits 3DS MAX Plugin (€149+VAT per pack of plants) Quality of the trees looks good.
There is a free version that includes two species.
It's just 10 species of tree, although each comes in 3 shapes, 3 ages and four 4 seasons, for a total of 36 variations. Acer rubrum
TreesDesigner LightWave Plugin ($100) with separate LeavesGenerator ($80) Where the branches/ trunk split, it is quite smooth, better than the "intersecting cylinders" of nearly all plant software.
Reportedly, there are no restrictions on use of the output.
The branch angles look rather unnatural, and it appears to only do tree-type plants. TreesDesigner
DPIT Nature Spirit Plugin for Cinema 4D, €300   Really odd, lumpy, unnatural-looking trees. DPIT
Maya Paint Effects Maya plugin (included with standard Maya product) "Create a jungle of trees and plants in a matter of minutes" - "paint" grass onto the ground, and you can customize    Maya Paint Effect
Digital Landscapes Softimage plugin (NT / Irix) from JFP, Inc.
Based on the research of Dr. Norishige Chiba of the Department of Computer Science at the Faculty of Engineering at Iwate University.
Beautiful output, impressive control of plant distribution Only available as a plugin. Digital Landscapes
("based on" AMAP, see old plant software page)
Three products: natFX (Maya/MAX Plug-in), EASYnat (3ds VIZ Plug-in), and REALnat (billboard generator) Same large  plant library as AMAP.

Very restrictive licensing on use and redistribution of the resulting models
You can only use the plants they provide. Somewhat discontinued as of 2013.

Digimation - Tree Factory Has reasonable-looking sample trees.
  • MAX plug-in
  • Simple, easy to use interface.
  • Only capable of creating very simplistic models.
  • Output doesn't look very good
Tree Druid Plugin for 3D modeler Carrara ($80), also available as a standalone app ($100) Includes 36 trees. an old program by this name had very crude, unrealistic plants (left) Tree Druid Tree Druid

Plant Software: Old/Historical