Overview of software for 3D natural landscaping

minedesertSoftware and s/w Development

Oct 31, 2013 (4 years and 7 days ago)

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Estonia – Latvia – Russia
Cross Border Cooperation Programme
within European Neighbourhood and
Partnership Instrument
2007 – 2013,
http://estlatrus.eu



Project ELRI-177
“Tartu, Rezekne, Pskov: Green Management &
Planning in EE-LV-RU Border Area” /
GreenMan,
http://greenmanproject.org



Overview of
software for 3D natural landscaping

prepared by Sergey Timofeev, The GreenMan Project Assistant
NGO “Lake Peipsi Project, Pskov”
tel./fax +7-8112-720688,
peipsi_project@yahoo.com


The Overview describes most known software applications for 3D natural landscaping and gives a
general idea about the topic.
This document has been produced in the frameworks of the Estonia – Latvia – Russia Cross
Border Cooperation Programme within European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument 2007
– 2013. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of NGO “Lake Peipsi Project,
Pskov” and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the Programme,
Programme participating countries, alongside with the European Union.

2
Table of contents, software applications

3D World Studio..................................................................................................................................3
Acropora.................................................................................................................................................5
Bryce.......................................................................................................................................................7
EarthSculptor.......................................................................................................................................9
Esri CityEngine..................................................................................................................................11
GeoControl..........................................................................................................................................13
Grome...................................................................................................................................................15
iClone Nature builder......................................................................................................................17
L3DT......................................................................................................................................................19
MojoWorld...........................................................................................................................................21
Mountain 3D.......................................................................................................................................23
Nem's Mega 3D Terrain Generator............................................................................................25
OnyxTREE............................................................................................................................................27
PnP TerrainCreator...........................................................................................................................29
T.Ed........................................................................................................................................................31
Terragen...............................................................................................................................................33
Unity3D.................................................................................................................................................35
VistaPro................................................................................................................................................37
Visual Terrain Maker.......................................................................................................................39
Vue.........................................................................................................................................................41
World Construction Set (WCS) and Visual Nature Studio (VNS)...................................43
WorldBuilder.......................................................................................................................................45
World Machine...................................................................................................................................47
xFrogPlants.........................................................................................................................................49


3
3D World Studio

Name: 3D World Studio
Web-site:
http://www.leadwerks.com/werkspace/page/Products/3dworldstudio

Developer: Leadwerks Software
Area of application: an easy-to-use modeling program for making game environments. Creates
buildings and terrain, calculates lightmaps etc.
Price: free Demo version, 50 USD - full version
Description: The program is ideal for game environments, 3D presentations and commercial
applications.
File formats: x, wmp, gls, dif, dbo, b3d, csm, map, md3, txt, dds, jpg, bmp, png, tga, vtf
Support of metric system: yes
Support of geographic coordinate system: n/a
Platform: Windows

4
User interface screenshot:

Picture from http://www.leadwerks.com/werkspace/page/Products/3dworldstudio

Example of work, screenshot:

Picture from a post of Leadwerks.com staff member Josh Klint

5
Acropora

Name: Acropora
Web-site:
http://www.voxelogic.com

Developer: Voxelogic
Area of application: Acropora is a procedural voxel modeler for creating complex, organic mesh
topologies that are useful for all types of 3D modeling applications.
Price: Free Demo 30-day version, full version – 90 USD
Description: A procedural modeler, Acropora combines volumetric modifiers with multi-octave
3D noise sampling to generate detailed surfaces in far less time than conventional surface
modeling software. The effect is to create an endless, seamless expanse of surface that undulates
and changes in a natural way. The resulting meshes contain caves, ridges, overhangs and other
natural features that are not possible with height maps. Meshes can then be broken up into
segments, with segments further divided into different levels of details.
File formats: 3ds, fbx, collada, obj, dds
Support of metric system: yes
Support of geographic coordinate system: no
Platform: Windows

6
User interface screenshot:

Picture from http://www.voxelogic.com

Example of work, screenshot:

Picture from http://www.voxelogic.com, screenshot captured with JetScreenshot


7
Bryce

Name: DAZ Bryce
Web-site:
http://www.daz3d.com/products/bryce

Developer: DAZ (Digital Art Zone) 3D Studio
Area of application: 3D modeling, rendering and animation program specializing in fractal
landscapes. The name is taken from Bryce Canyon (Utah, USA) - a rugged region with many of
the same landscapes that were first simulated with the software.
Price: free as PLE (personal learning edition, no limitations), Pro version – 250 USD
Description: one of the most powerful software applications to create natural 3D environments.
It’s considered the Bryce became a first program of this sort in the world.
File formats: br7, 3ds, dxf, fbx, lws, cob, dem, obj
Support of metric system: yes
Support of geographic coordinate system: n/a
Platform: Windows / Mac

8
User interface screenshot:

Picture from www.architosh.com

Example of work, screenshot:

Picture from www.firedbydesign.com, work of David Brinnen

9
EarthSculptor

Name: EarthSculptor
Web-site:
http://www.earthsculptor.com

Developer: Ernest Szoka
Area of application: EarthSculptor is a realtime terrain height-map editor and paint program
featuring an easy to use interface designed exclusively for rapid development of 3D landscapes
for visualization, multimedia and game development.
Price: Unregistered downloadable version is for free, full version – 50-130 USD (depending on
version)
Description: EarthScultor is a tool for designing and painting heightmaps, useful in art projects,
geographic visualization and game development. Earthsculptor allows to start from scratch, or to
work from an existing heightmap and saves heightmaps as a 16-bit png image. Earthsculptor
works well with other paint programs to edit the heightmaps and textures, and can be used
simply as a visualization tool.
File formats: map, png, obj
Support of metric system: n/a
Support of geographic coordinate system: no
Platform: Windows

10
User interface screenshot:

11
Esri CityEngine

Name: Esri CityEngine
Web-site:
http://www.esri.com/software/cityengine

Developer: Esri R&D Center Zurich
Area of application: CityEngine is a stand-alone desktop software application for the design,
planning, and modeling of urban environments in 3D. CityEngine transforms 2D GIS data into
smart 3D city models.
Price: 30-day free trial, Basic version – 500 USD, Advanced version – 4000 USD
Description: CityEngine is a the tool for 3D city modeling in urban planning, architecture,
simulation, game development, and film production. CityEngine delivers a full suite of industry-
leading procedural tools to aggregate geospatial data, lay out and edit street networks, generate
and modify buildings, create 3D road profiles and distribute street furniture, control the shape of
the skyline, and analyze urban planning projects. CityEngine scenes can be published directly on
the web for sharing 3D models, analysis results, or design proposals with decision makers or the
public. The content generated by CityEngine can be loaded into ArcGIS 3D Analyst (ArcScene and
ArcGlobe) for visualization, editing, and analysis.
File formats: CityEngine fully supports the Esri file geodatabase (including textured
multipatches) and the shapefile format. Users can import/export any geospatial vector data.
CityEngine also provides advanced capabilities for the direct export of the generated 3D city
models out to other software tools, such as data management/analysis packages (like ArcGIS),
3D editing software (like Maya or 3ds Max), geo-visualization tools (like ArcGlobe or Google
Earth), game engines (like Unity or Unreal), high-end rendering solutions (like RenderMan), or
web-ready cloud rendering services (like RealityServer).
Support of metric system: yes
Support of geographic coordinate system: yes
Platform: Windows / Mac / Linux

12
User interface screenshot:

Picture from www.gdi.net

Example of work, screenshot:

Picture from www.gamedev.ru


13
GeoControl

Name: GeoControl
Web-site:
http://www.geocontrol2.com/e_index.htm

Developer: Johannes Rosenberg
Area of application: a professional terrain generator;
Price: free Demo version (limited to 31 days), 60-130 EUR full version (depending on version)
Description: The revolutionary concept of GeoControl2 opens up totally new dimensions of
creating virtual landscapes. The unique combination of more artistic tools and semi-scientific
algorithms makes it possible to create realistic, breathtaking landsapes, based on conceptual
layouts or on fantasie. The creative tool "isolines" is completly selfdeveloped and offers the first
time the opportunity, to creatively control the form of the landscape.
File formats: Import: Terragen, Raw (16 bit), R32, PGM, TGA, Image; Export: Ter for
Terragen, 3DS Max / Dreamscape, Raw (16 bit) for Carrara, R32 for Worldmachine, Heighfield
grayscale, PGM for Bryce, TGA for Vue and Povray, Wavefront Object, Normal Map
Support of metric system: yes
Support of geographic coordinate system: n/a
Platform: Windows / Mac

14
User interface screenshot:

Picture from www.geocontrol2.com

Example of work, screenshot:

Work of Forum.games-creators.org User listorien


15
Grome

Name: Grome (Ground Modeling Environment)
Web-site:
http://www.quadsoftware.com/

Developer: Quad Software
Area of application: creating and editing large-scale photorealistic terrains and landscapes
Price: free Demo version (saving not allowed, no export plug-ins, no SDK, no swap support,
partial object and texture libraries), and full version – 190-540 EUR (depending on a type of the
license)
Description: Grome is one of the most powerful and modern 3D landscapes development
engines in the world. It includes a great set of different options, which allows producing
extraordinary 3D environments.
File formats: bmp, jpg, dds, tga, png, tiff, gif, 6bit raw, 16 bit png, BT, DTED0, 1, 2, Google
Sketchup (KML/KMZ), GeoTiff, 3DSMax, Maya, Blender, XSI, Modo etc.
Support of metric system: yes
Support of geographic coordinate system: n/a
Platform: Windows

16
User interface screenshot:

Picture from www.quadsoftware.com

Example of work, screenshot:

Picture from www.quadsoftware.com


17
iClone Nature builder

Name: iClone Nature builder
Web-site:
http://www.reallusion.com/iclone/icnb_home.asp

Developer: Reallusion
Area of application: iClone Nature builder is a total designers’ toolkit for creating custom terrain
and flora designs.
Price: 30 days Free trial, full version - 80-200 USD
Description: iClone Nature Builder contains the EarthSculptor – the iClone Terrain Editor, the
Biosphere Collection with 400 live plants variations and the Gardening Collection, which allows
constructing virtual 3D gardens of any complexity.
File formats: map, png, fbx, bvh, obj
Support of metric system: yes
Support of geographic coordinate system: n/a
Platform: Windows

18
User interface screenshot:

Picture from http://softtorrent.ru

Example of work, screenshot:

Work of Flickr.com User Futurilla, screenshot captured with JetScreenshot

19
L3DT

Name: L3DT (Large 3D Terrain)
Web-site:
http://www.bundysoft.com

Developer: Aaron Torpy, Bundysoft
Area of application: L3DT is a Windows application for generating terrain maps and textures. It
is intended to help game developers and digital artists create vast high-quality 3D worlds.
Price: L3DT Standard is the freely available general-use version of L3DT. It includes all of the
commonly used features, but lacks some of the more advanced or experimental features of the
Professional Edition. L3DT Professional is free for 90 days as trial and is 35 USD as a full version.
Description: L3DT contains a serious set of instruments including a heightfield generator with
different effects such as erosion, terraces and cliffs, volcanoes, mountain peaks, etc., all of which
are controlled from the design map. An integrated 3D heightfield editor that allows a user to
easily shape and reshape the heightfield using mouse-driven brush tools. A texture generator for
high-resolution interpolated ground texture maps, as well as the ability to generate alpha maps
for run-time 'texture splatting'. A extensible climate modelling engine for controlling the
distribution of ground textures, including water-table and salinity modelling. Supports up to
65,000 unique and user-definable land types per map. Automatic and manual water-flooding
routines, for making sea and lakes at different water levels. A fast light mapping module for pre-
calculated terrain lighting and shadow casting, including high-resolution light mapping and bump
mapping etc.
File formats: L3DT supports a broad range of file formats:
· Image formats, including BMP, JPG, PNG, TGA, DDS, PGM, PBM, PCX and RAW.
· Mesh files, including DAE (COLLADA), OBJ, X, 3DS, B3D, and TIN (export only).
· Terrain exchange formats, including TER (Terragen), BT (Virtual Terrain Project), GeoTIFF
(import only), and HFZ.
· Game engine terrain files, including TER (Torque 3D), SD7 (Spring) and HTF (GLScene).
Support of metric system: yes
Support of geographic coordinate system: n/a
Platform: Windows / (can run on Linux via 'Wine compatibility layer')

20
User interface screenshot:

Picture from Bundysoft.com

Example of work, screenshot:

Work of Garagegames.com User Jason “fireVein” Culwell

21
MojoWorld

Name: MojoWorld
Web-site:
http://www.pandromeda.com/products/

Developer: Pandromeda Inc.
Area of application: creation of 3D landscapes of any complexity
Price: 30-day Demo version, 50-480 USD – full versions (depending on edition)
Description: a commercial, fractal-based modelling program for the creation of digital
landscapes. MojoWorld can generate entire planets through mathematics using a simple interface
which can then be navigated and a particular scene edited and rendered.
File formats: obj, dxf, 3ds, lwo, pz3, textures are exported as bitmaps (PNG, PGM, DEM, etc.)
Support of metric system: yes
Support of geographic coordinate system: n/a
Platform: Windows / Mac

22
User interface screenshot:

Picture from www.pandromeda.com

Example of work, screenshot:

Work of Deviantart.com User ~john0459

23
Mountain 3D

Name: Mountain 3D
Web-site:
http://cjain.free.fr/enpage.php

Developer: Corentin Jain
Area of application: virtual landscape generator software
Price: shareware (limited to 30 days), full version – 14 USD
Description: Mountain 3D is based on fractal technology, and creates the relief, the forests, the
ground, the rivers, and the sky with clouds. After creation, landscapes can be modified by a
ground editor part of the software. Mountain 3D allows to import and display the true colors from
a real landscape from an aerial photography. The result is a picture file in BMP or JPEG format, or
a movie file in AVI or MPEG format.
File formats: bmp, jpeg, avi, mpeg, dem
Support of metric system: n/a
Support of geographic coordinate system: n/a
Platform: Windows

24
User interface screenshot:

Picture from www.logitheque.com

Example of work, screenshot:

Picture from http://cjain.free.fr/enpage.php

25
Nem's Mega 3D Terrain Generator

Name: Nem's Mega 3D Terrain Generator
Web-site:
http://nemesis.thewavelength.net

Developer: Ryan Gregg
Area of application: creation of simple 3D landscapes
Price: Free
File formats: tgm, vmf, map, rmf, t3d, dxf, obj, smf, txt, bmp and jpg
Support of metric system: n/a
Support of geographic coordinate system: n/a
Platform: Windows

26
User interface screenshot:

Work of Remote-shepherd.blogspot.ru User Eric Baker

Example of work, screenshot:

Picture from http://alternativeto.net


27
OnyxTREE

Name: OnyxTREE
Web-site:
http://www.onyxtree.com

Developer: Onyx Computing, Inc.
Area of application: creating 3D-models of vegetation to be exported in most popular 3D file
formats
Price: 200-700 USD (depending on version)
Description: OnyxTREE is a procedural vegetation generator dedicated for modeling and
rendering photorealistic plants. OnyxTREE can save a created plant as a parametric model, as a
rendered image and a 3D geometric model. A user models a plant by manipulating its essential
characteristics such as the height, the curvature and density of branches, the type and color of
foliage etc. By adjusting the values of parameters, it’s possible to model a broad range of plants,
different species, variations of the same species, trees in different stages of growth, in different
seasons etc.
File formats: OnyxTREE exports 3D-models in six most popular 3D file formats: 3ds, c4d, dxf,
fact, lwo, obj
Support of metric system: yes
Support of geographic coordinate system: no
Platform: Windows / Mac

28
User interface screenshot:

Picture from the OnyxTree Broadleaf Tutorial

Example of work, screenshot:

'Forest Path' by Alex Alvarez, picture from www.onyxtree.com


29
PnP TerrainCreator

Name: PnP TerrainCreator
Web-site:
http://pnp-terraincreator.com/

Developer: Team PnP
Area of application: PnP TerrainCreator is a heightmap based terrain creator / generator
integrating all design tasks for large scale terrain creation in one single tool
Price: free downloadable Community version (has some limitations), 50-2000 EUR (depending
on version)
Description: PnP TerrainCreator is designed to enable the creation of really huge terrains with
the possibility to create, import and place different natural and artificial 3D objects, sounds,
physics simulations etc.
File formats:dae (Collada), 3ds (3D Studio), b3d (Blitz), obj (Wavefront), x (DirectX), bmp, png,
jpg, gif, dds, dip, hdr, raw
Support of metric system: yes
Support of geographic coordinate system: n/a
Platform: Windows

30
User interface screenshot:

Picture from http://pnp-terraincreator.com

Example of work, screenshot:

Work of Prairiegames.com User kaylon

31
T.Ed

Name: T.Ed, Terrain and World Editor
Web-site:
http://www.d-grafix.com/?page=ted

Developer: Daniel Harvey
Area of application: a complete solution for making huge outdoor worlds for games in realtime
3D
Price: Free Demo version, and 20 USD for full version
Description: T.Ed is designed primarily for games programmers and 3D artists to simplify their
work while creating terrains
File formats: epr, b3d, x, dbo, bmp
Support of metric system: n/a
Support of geographic coordinate system: n/a
Platform: Windows

32
User interface screenshot:

Picture from http://thegamescreators.com

Example of work, screenshot:

Picture from http://www.d-grafix.com

33
Terragen

Name: Terragen
Web-site:
http://www.planetside.co.uk

Developer: Planetside Software
Area of application: Terragen is a scenery generator, created with the goal of generating
photorealistic landscape images and animations.
Price: free for personal, non-commercial use with a few limitations. Commercial use: 300-1300
USD (depending on version).
Description: Terragen is a powerful application which can be used to create highly realistic
landscapes and natural scenery. While it has the ability to render buildings, indoor scenes, and
arbitrary objects of any kind, and includes powerful instancing technology, it is not intended as a
general purpose object rendering system. Likewise, support for volumetric shading is provided
and optimized for rendering clouds and other atmospheric phenomena, and while it can be used
for smoke, or even fire, dedicated particle systems in other applications will naturally provide
more power and flexibility.
File formats: tgd, tgo, obj, lwo
Support of metric system: yes
Support of geographic coordinate system: no
Platform: Windows / Mac

34
User interface screenshot:

Picture from www.softsea.com

Example of work, screenshot:

Picture from www.cgrecord.net

35
Unity3D

Name: Unity3D
Web-site:
http://unity3d.com

Developer: Unity Technologies
Area of application: development of fully interactive 3D-visualizations, mainly games incl. so
called 'serious games', virtual worlds of any complexity, virtual simulations and simulators incl.
natural and ecological ones
Price: there are 2 options:
(1) Free-of-charge version, the Unity, can be downloaded from the home web-site. Has some
minor limitations in functionality and in final visualizations.
(2) Full version, the Unity Pro, 1500 USD, has some additional features.
Description: Unity is a cross-platform game development ecosystem: a powerful rendering
engine fully integrated with a complete set of tools and rapid workflows to create interactive 3D
content. Unity pays great attention at the development of realistic natural environments and
contains different tools to work with terrains, trees, clouds, rocks, water etc. The main advantage
of Unity is that it is possibly to import / create a first/third person character and to walk as a
first/third person in a user-created 3D architectural model or natural ecosystem.
File formats: Unity supports importing of the main 3D-file formats: 3ds, obj, c4d, fbx, etc.
Support of metric system: yes
Support of geographic coordinate system: no
Platform: Windows / Mac / iOS / Linux / Android / Flash / Web Player / PS3 / Xbox 360 / Wii U

36
User interface screenshot:

Picture from http://unity3d.com

Example of work, screenshot:

Picture from the “Nature Pack” by Michael O., http://u3d.as/content/michael-o-/nature-pack/1Zi

37
VistaPro

Name: VistaPro
Web-site:
http://www.creative-3d.net/vistapro.cfm

Developer: John Hinkley, publisher - VendorNation
Area of application: a relatively low cost software package, which allow a user to create three
dimensional perspective renderings from Digital Elevation Models (DEM) files. The most common
source of DEMs is the United States Geological Survey. Vistapro also includes a fractal landscape
generator which allows the users to create their own landscapes.
Price: free Demo version, 50 USD - Full version
Description: This renderer designed to produce three-dimensional landscape of any complexity.
It gives an opportunity to add clouds, oceans, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, trees and even buildings
to a project as well as to manage their color. A project created can be saved in DXF format and
imported in any 3D-editor, where the project can be refined and where 3D-personages can be
added. The user also specifies light sources, and camera angles. The ground may be colored to
create different ground styles. Vista has many effects making some images almost photorealistic.
The ground itself may either be generated from a random (or user inputted) number, or it may
use DEM landscape files for real-world views, the software having come with a number of maps of
Mars and Earth. Trees can be placed on landscapes as either 2D or 3D objects. In 2D, the trees
always face the camera and are fast to generate. 3D trees are created using fractals and can be
given a variable bending of the branches to make them look more complicated.
File formats: Vista can load and save output images in PCX, BMP, JPG and Targa formats. PCX
files can also be imported as elevations and ground colors to allow third-party creation of
landscapes in other image editors.
Support of metric system: n/a
Support of geographic coordinate system: no
Platform: Windows

38
User interface screenshot:

Picture from www.tdt3d.com; in article by Benoît Saint-Moulin

Example of work, screenshot:

Picture from www.danceswithferrets.org

39
Visual Terrain Maker

Name: Visual Terrain Maker
Web-site:
http://www.ungsoft.com/vtm

Developer: UNGSoft Developers Group
Area of application: a simple and free 3D-modeling program allows to visually create
landscapes (maps) for games, education, planning or other visualizations
Price: freeware, downloadable from the web-site
File formats: x, bmp
Support of metric system: n/a
Support of geographic coordinate system: no
Platform: Windows

40
User interface screenshot:

Picture from www.ungsoft.com

Example of work, screenshot:

Picture from http://freeartsoftware.com


41
Vue

Name: Vue
Web-site:
http://www.e-onsoftware.com

Developer: E-on Software
Area of application: creating, rendering and animating exceptionally rich and realistic natural
environments based on 3D-models, developing movies, presentations and images for education,
architecture, art and illustration as well as for landscape visualization. The software is considered
as the best selling landscape construction software in the world.
Price: there are 3 options:
(1) Vue PLE (Personal Learning Edition) is for personal, non-commercial use only, free-of-charge,
can be downloaded from the home web-site, no limitations in time and functionality, but some
minor limitations in the final visualizations (renders may be watermarked and carry a logo, etc).
(2) Vue for 3D Artist, Trial version. Free-of-charge, can be downloaded from the home web-site.
Limitations: saving and exporting disabled, render resolution limited to 640x480 and animation
limited to 5 seconds. Trial period limited to 30 days.
(3) Vue, complete versions (from 50 USD (“enthusiast” version) to 1700 USD (professional
version)
Description: Vue provides an unparalleled ability to create rich, natural 3D scenery complete
with diverse ecosystems of wind-swept trees and plants, realistic spectral atmospheres, stunning
cloudscapes, detailed terrains and water, all of which are fully animatable. Vue enables creating
scenes of virtually limitless size, scope and complexity containing millions of trees, stormy
oceans, imported characters and objects, and finely detailed landscapes.
File formats: vue, vob, 3ds, c4d, cob, dxf, lwo, obj
Support of metric system: yes
Support of geographic coordinate system: n/a
Platform: Windows / Mac

42
User interface screenshot:

Picture from http://udm4.com

Example of work, screenshot:

Picture from http://www.cgsociety.org


43
World Construction Set (WCS) and Visual
Nature Studio (VNS)

Name: World Construction Set (WCS) and Visual Nature Studio (VNS)
Web-site:
http://3dnature.com

Developer: 3D Nature, LLC
Area of application: World Construction Set and Visual Nature Studio are widely recognized as
the best terrain visualization software packages available. With them you can model, render and
animate natural and manmade environments of any size and complexity with complete
photorealism. WCS and VNS create stunning, photorealistic images and animations, from close-
ups to the entire planet. WCS is created for Artists, Animators and Game Developers while VNS
is focused on the needs of our GIS customers, Cartographers, Historians, Foresters, Land
Planners, Landscape Architects, Golf Course Designers, Civil Engineers and other Natural
Resource Professionals.
Price: WCS – 500 USD, VNS – 2500 USD. Both WCS and VNS have demo versions. Demo
versions will not allow to save the work, preview renderings will have a "rainbow bar" across
them, and certain other features are intentionally disabled. A window may appear periodically to
remind that the Demo Version is used.
Description: World Construction Set and Visual Nature Studio are the leading GIS-based terrain
visualization and animation packages. WCS and VNS offer a serious set of advanced photorealistic
terrain tools for professional use. WCS and VNS are the choice of artists and scientists for critical
tasks where high quality is important. WCS and VNS are also popular on university campuses for
architectural and engineering visualization, cartography, natural resource management and
scientific simulations. You'll find WCS and VNS at Harvard, Oregon Graduate Institute of
Technology, Johns Hopkins, Penn State, and many others.
File formats: WCS and VNS support 3DS (3D Studio), DXF (3DFACE), Lightwave LWO/LWO2 and
Wavefront OBJ. Besides, WCS and VNS can read: Arc ASCII DEM, Arc USGS ASCII DEM, ASCII
Array, Bryce v2, v3, v4, Binary Array, DTED, DXF, GTOPO30, Images (BMP, IFF, PICT, Targa,
JPEG, PNG and TIFF), NED BIL (National Elevation Dataset), NED Grid-Float, SDTS DEM, SRTM
.hgt, STM (Simple Terrain Model), Terragen, USGS ASCII DEMs, VistaPro DEMs and WCS or VNS
DEM. Additionally VNS can use ECW, UK NTF and Arc ADF and E00 raster data. Scene Express for
WCS and VNS outputs NatureView, VRML, VTP, Google Earth KML, 3D Studio (PRJ), Lightwave
LWO and Alias FBX. Additionally, Scene Express for VNS offers export to GIS (ESRI DEM +
GeoTIFF) and VNS .proj. Some optional add-on formats can be purchased for VNS, including
STL(Stereolithography)/VRML-for-STL and OpenFlight (FLT).
Support of metric system: yes
Support of geographic coordinate system: yes
Platform: Windows

44
User interface screenshot:

Picture from 3dnature.com

Example of work, screenshot:

Picture from 3dnature.com

45
WorldBuilder

Name: WorldBuilder
Web-site:
http://www.digi-element.com/wb/index.htm

Developer: Digital Element, Inc.
Area of application: a stand-alone scene builder and renderer with unsurpassed compatibly
with Max, Maya, LightWave, and SoftImage, is the premier tool for laying out and rendering 3D
outdoor environments
Price: Free Demo version (several serious limitations), Pro Version – 500 USD
Description: Creation of landscapes of any complexity; WorldBuilder is still one of the only
commercial products that allow users to render scenes that could be millions of polygons.
File formats: Import: 3DS, DXF, OBJ, Vista Pro DEM, USGS DEM, VUE, LWO, LWS, MOT, AWB
Poly Mesh, AWB Animation, AWB Archive; Export: 3DS, VRML, DXF, LWO, LWS, MOT, AWB
Animation, AWB Archive; Supported 2D formats: BMP, JPG, Targa (.tga), TIFF (.tif, .tiff),
Compuserve GIF, Maya and Amiga IFF (support for Maya z-buffer), RGB, Macintosh PICT,
Autodesk CEL, Autodesk FLIC, AVI, WB Z-buffer (.zbf)
Support of metric system: yes
Support of geographic coordinate system: n/a
Platform: Windows

46
User interface screenshot:

Picture from http://www.digi-element.com

Example of work, screenshot:

Picture from http://www2.digi-element.ru, Copyright Digital Blasphemy www.digitalblasphemy.com

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World Machine

Name: World Machine
Web-site:
http://www.world-machine.com

Developer: World Machine is the creation of Stephen Schmitt, an independent software
developer
Area of application: a flexible and powerful solution for the creation of virtual landscapes and
realistic 3D terrain. Can be used for artistic landscapes, scientific and spatial planning
visualizations, creating artificial terrains for simulations and education.
Price: there are 2 options:
(1) Free-of-charge version, which is for personal, non-commercial use only, can be downloaded
from the home web-site. Has some minor restrictions (final resolution etc.).
(2) Full version, 90-1000 USD (depending on edition).
Description: Unlike many other terrain editors that function like paint programs, World Machine
operates on a procedural level. A World Machine world file is not the terrain, but the steps that
creates the terrain. This is the source of both its power and its complexity. When working in
World Machine, a user's role is to determine the overall appearance and characteristics of the
terrain, and then allow the generators and effects to create and detail the appearance of the
user's world. This way of working and thinking at a higher level takes some getting used to, but
the rewards are huge: the user can create impressive terrains with relatively little work, and once
he has created a terrain that he likes, he can use the same world file with different random
"seeds" to produce a different terrain with the same feel.
File formats: tga, raw, bmp, Terragen, Leveller, png, Povray-tga, raw16, rwa-fp32, bt (vtp
format), pgm (ascii), tiff, hfz
Support of metric system: yes
Support of geographic coordinate system: n/a
Platform: Windows

48
User interface screenshot:

Picture from www.uraldev.ru

Example of work, screenshot:

Picture from the article of World-machine.com User Remnant


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xFrogPlants

Name: xFrogPlants
Web-site:
http://xfrog.com

Developer: Xfrog Inc.
Area of application: a 3D modeller that allows creating and animating 3D trees, flowers, nature
based special effects or architectural forms.
Price: 50-1100 USD (depending on version / volume of libraries)
Description: xFrog allows easily building plants, organic shapes or abstract objects. Thereafter
the models can be exported to the main 3D applications like 3DS Max, Maya, Cinema 4D,
LightWave, Rhino3D and Unity3D. The models are realistic, highly detailed, fully textured 3D
trees, shrubs, flowers and other organic forms. xFrog own libraries contain more than 600 plant
species already modeled and ready to apply; 130 species can be downloaded freely.
File formats: According to the developer “The plants are available in all 3d formats known to
man: Vue, modo, MicroStation, Terragen 2, Maya, 3ds max, Cinema 4D, OBJ, 3DS, Lightwave,
and the editable XFR(xfrog) format”.
Support of metric system: yes
Support of geographic coordinate system: no
Platform: Windows / Mac / Linux

50
User interface screenshot:

Picture from www.grmstudio.it

Example of work, screenshot:

Picture from http://xfrog.com, work by SandroS