The Vegetation Addon by Bproduction is a huge library of Trees, Shrubs, Pots and Plants you can drop into you scene. On top of that is offers a bunch of features. Like: animation, add to cursor, randomize, snap to ground. And each vegetation is available in the variations Summer, Winter, Autumn and Spring. I did a huge range of tests to find out the value of this product.
If you know me, you know I am quite strict when it comes to plausible albedo values. The reason is that if the albedo values of textures and materials are good, the rest will be manageable. So I checked this first by loading assets of the Vegetation Addon in several HDRI’s. Next is to see if they fit or if they show off. Very surprised here that the vegetation fits well. Sometimes I barely can’t see what is the HDRI and what is the asset. One thing I noticed is that some textures contain reflections, but if at the end it fits well in the HDRI, I am happy. Here a few examples:
Next I am curious how the geometry and topology is arranged. Here an interesting solution to save some memory. You see here that there are only 10 polygons per twig. This, instead of 4 polygons per leave which would make at least 28 faces, plus numerous of faces for the rest of the twig. To get an impression how many tris a whole tree can have: the small beech1 summer tree in the Vegetation addon has 345.000 tris.
First I load an empty scene with one HDRI and render. The statusbar in the Image viewer shows me 375Mb, VRAM 0.9 Gb. Next I load the summer beech tree in this case. The statubar shows now: 817Mb and VRAM 2.3Gb. A little bit worried, I test with a particle system of 1000 trees, and it seems that doesn’t ask for more memory. That’s a surprise, I didn’t know that. So I suggest to load a few trees, put them in a collection and use that in the particle-settings. With my 16Gb RAM, and 11Gb VRAM, I was able to render this forest and just used a third of my resources:
The user interface is pretty handy with the thumbnails where you can see a person in each thumbnail. This way, I can easily see if I am dealing with a big shrub or a small one. Here are the feature the User Interface provides:
There is a lot more to test, but I leave the rest up to you. I hope this article gave you an impression of what my experience is. Again, the materials are excellent because they fit well in the scene. And the assets all look very real. A very good product overall!
Realise that is it quite a task to create a forest. One challenge here is that trees tend to grow differently in a forest. Namely, the trunks and leave tend to avoid other trees. There are also more leaves to find on the outside of the tree and on top. This later one is the biggest challenge. You will want to achieve this in case you want a forest where you see a lot of translucency from the leaves. In that case, there should be mainly just one layer, sometimes two. Otherwise you won’t see the effect of translucency.
To make this effect even more apparent, use 32 bounces. You can have more bounces, but that doesn’t really open up the leaves above and make just a kind of foggy effect deeper in the forest.
Then you need an HDRI with a sun pointed as such that the leaves are between the sun and the camera. A noon HDRI gives quite contrasty shadows and it’s quite hard to manage. You will be better of with a late morning or afternoon HDRI.
You can purchase the Vegetation Addon on Blender Market.