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IDV unveils SpeedTree Engine

IDV has announced SpeedTree Engine, a new plugin version of its procedural tree-generation technology designed to integrate directly in DCC tools: initially, Isotropix’s Clarisse iFX, then 3ds Max and Maya.

It was demoed on Isotropix’s booth at Siggraph 2018, but the video has only just been posted on YouTube.

Realistic, art-directable animated trees
Widely used in movie VFX and AAA games, SpeedTree enables users to generate realistic, textured, art-directable trees using procedural controls, hand drawing, or a combination of the two.

The trees can be rigged and animated automatically, with support for both wind and growth animation.

Export trees as procedural geometry and generate variants and wind animation in your DCC software
Although there is already an edition designed for visual effects work, SpeedTree Cinema, it’s designed to be software-agnostic, exporting in standard geometry formats: typically Alembic caches for animations.

That means that file sizes can increase very quickly: IDV says 3GB for 10 seconds of wind animation is typical.

In contrast, SpeedTree Engine uses SpeedTree’s native .spm format: a procedural format that exposes many of a tree’s key control parameters, including those governing its form and seasonal state.

That means that a user can generate variants of a tree model directly inside their DCC software rather than having to do so in SpeedTree itself and export each variant individually.

Wind animation is also generated on the fly inside the DCC software on a per-tree basis, reducing file sizes from Gigabytes to mere kilobytes.

In the video at the top of the story, IDV director of operations Danny Oakes shows an entire landscape populated using variants of a single tree model generated directly inside Clarisse iFX.

“Theoretically, you could export just 2MB of trees … and populate the entire scene,” he said.

Pricing and availability
SpeedTree Engine is currently in closed beta: you can find instructions for applying to join the beta at the end of the video.

IDV hasn’t confirmed a release date or pricing, but says that the software will be sold on a per-seat or per-render-node basis, and activated via an RLM licence.

The Clarisse iFX version will ship first, with plugins for 3ds Max, Maya and V-Ray also in development.

Read more about SpeedTree on IDV’s website
(No more information about SpeedTree Engine at time of posting)

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