iToo Software has announced the release of Forest Pack 8, the latest version of its advanced scattering and scene assembly plugin for 3ds Max. Version 8 cements Forest Pack’s reputation as the most robust and flexible scattering option with the addition of Forest Sets, linked areas, Effects improvements and much more, offering users completely new and efficient workflows to populate scenes.
Forest Sets is a brand new helper plugin used to create a multi-purpose container for scene objects. A Forest Set object can be added to a Forest object as a collection of geometry, surfaces, references or areas. Multiple Forest Objects can share a Forest Set, making it simple to add or remove areas, geometry or surfaces and update several scatters from one easy to edit location. Even better, the contents of a layer can be dynamically linked to a Forest Set, making it easy to update scatters using familiar scene organisation tools.
To further improve the options for creating interdependent scatters, Forest Pack 8 adds the ability to link to areas referenced in another Forest Pack object. Using this approach you could have a single parent Forest Object that controls all of the areas for several children. Combining Forest Sets and linked areas makes it easier than ever to create huge flexible interlinked ecosystems.
Forest Pack 8 also introduces some often-requested features to Surface UV mode – making it much more powerful. In previous versions, to use surface UV mode you’d have to sacrifice the ability to use any other types of areas. In version 8, you can now use Spline, Object, and other area types in combination with UV surfaces by projecting them along one of 3 axes using the new Area->Projection Axis parameter. Edge mode is even supported when using spline areas.
Other features in Forest Pack 8 include:
- Autumn Leaves – A new preset library of high quality photo-scanned leaves for those chilly autumnal renders. The presets are logically organised by colour and supplied as both individual leaves for detail work and patches for filling large areas.
- Forest Effects improvements – Updates include the ability to use splines that are independent from distribution areas, opening up to a whole new way to work. Using these features it is possible to modify just the parts of a larger scatter by enclosing them inside a path that has no impact on distribution areas. It is also now possible to read the material ID from the surface and splines.
- New Forest Effect presets – To illustrate the benefits of the new Effects improvements, several new sample presets are available, including: the ability to rotate objects to follow splines, tilt objects to follow splines, scale by proximity to splines or within an area, limit by spline material ID and much more.
- Filter Forest Effects – Forest Effects can now be filtered so that they only apply to a subset of the geometry list, allowing you to refine individual types of plants using the powerful effects system.
- Scatter linked hierarchies – An alternative to groups, this new option means it is now possible to scatter child objects of source geometry, maintaining their hierarchy. Hierarchical objects can be animated, and Forest Pack can even control or randomise their playback just like a normal mesh!
- Randomise Position – When using path mode, it’s now possible to shuffle the position of objects while still following the spline – great for breaking up regular patterns for a more believable distribution of plants or other objects.
- Easier Error Identification – Save precious time by identifying issues at a glance. Forest Pack’s icon now changes colour depending on three different error states.
- Paint Areas UI – The brush size parameter is now available in the main interface for easier access.
- User Properties – V-Ray CPU users will be pleased to know user properties are now retained making it possible to use advanced texturing workflows.
- Vertex Colour – Arnold users can now take advantage of vertex colour in their materials and be confident that Forest Pack will retain the final look.
For a detailed overview, visit the Forest Pack 8 page on the iToo Software website. A full changelog of all the features, fixes and improvements can be found in the documentation.
Forest Pack 8 is available to download now for users with an active maintenance plan.
Forest Pack 8 Lite is also now available which includes all of the new features mentioned above.
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