Instant ivy

Ivy Generator is a simple free application for forest and garden fans. It’s very easy to use, but sadly it makes huge meshes — though it could still be useful for those using a 3D rendering app (such as Poser, DAZ Studio, Blender etc) to make a 2D background for an iClone scene.

Ivy Generator in action.

Ivy Generator is a very simple. To use:

1. Extract the .zip file. There’s no install — just find the /ivy_generator folder, and then the /bin folder. This is where the main ivyGenerator.exe lives. Double click on it to open the application.

2. Click on ‘Import OBJ’, find a suitable model (keep it a simple one, not an entire DAZ house) to grow your ivy on. Import. (You may have to click inside the viewport window to get the model to display).

3. Double-click somewhere near the base of the model. A small green dot will appear and stick there. This serves as the “root” point for your ivy.

4. Adjust some of the Grow sliders, then press “Grow”. Your ivy will slowly grow itself over the model. This may take a minute or two.

5. Now press “Birth”, and the leaves and branch textures will be added. Lovely!

6. Give the export function a minute or so after you click it. There’s no indication of completion, other than looking at your output folder and seeing that the output file has stopped growing in file-size.

7. When you export an OBJ it’s just the the ivy that gets exported, not the model + ivy. 3DXchange works fine with the model but can’t seem to handle importing the .mtl file (I think this is Lightwave’s material format for textures?), but perhaps the new version of 3DXchange will be able to. Poly-counts for a large mesh such as the one seen below are huge — 800,000 faces…

… but as Ivy Generator’s author suggests, you can stop the “grow” process when you just have a little bit. Even then, it’s probably going to have more polys than you want to use up in an iClone scene. As I said at the start, it seems that this application is best used on models in Blender , Poser, or similar.

(Update: use the free Meshlab to reduce the number of the polys in the model)

Of course, from a distance I guess you might fake clambering ivy in iClone by using billboard “cut-out” leaves (from the packs by Marlin or Dosch) and by “drawing” the ivy branches directly onto the tree’s texture? In fact, for a static scene you might just render Ivy Generator’s mesh against a blue background then use Photoshop to remove the blue and bring it into iClone as a billboard? But you’re first need to match it with a render of your tree from the same angle, and use Photoshop to remove the ivy where there should be a tree branch in front of it. Then, of course, you run into the problem that iClone’s branches sway in the wind…