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Forest Pack 9 Beta with Max 2025 support. ForestIvy, and more


Paul Roberts:
Forest Pack 9 Beta with Max 2025 support. ForestIvy, and more

We're excited to announce the beta release of Forest Pack 9 introducing our brand new ivy plugin designed to simplify the creation of climbing plants. Some of the features of Forest Ivy include:

* 20 High-Quality Presets (two available during the beta period). Easy to use, just pick a surface and start painting to grow Icy. Our presets feature high-resolution leaf scans for improved realism.
* Customizable Library Browser: Easily create, manage, and add your own presets with a couple of clicks.
* Super-Fast Multithreaded Algorithm: Get instant feedback with our bespoke multithreaded algorithm, no more waiting for growth simulations.
* Hybrid Drawing and Algorithmic Growth: Combine artistic control with procedural growth to achieve art-directable natural and lifelike results.
* Advanced Leaf Controls: Customise presets or create your own using various growth patterns, heliotropism, and leaf size adjustments based on branch age for accurate simulation of natural behavior.
* Multi-Layered Growth Options: Add leaves, flowers, berries, and more to recreate many types of climbing species.
* Surface-Independent Growth: Create basic bushes and shrubs without the need for a surface.
* Efficient Rendering: Seamlessly render hundreds of thousands of high-poly assets with viewport and render time instancing, currently supported for Arnold and V-Ray CPU.
We look forward to your feedback on our new plugin,  it's vital in helping us refine and polish it before the stable release. You can find a preliminary documentation for the plugin here.
Please feel free to ask questions, share your experiences, report bugs, or suggest improvements the the beta feedback thread on the forum.

Note: Beta versions include new features and fixes, but a beta version is NOT the final version of the product and therefore we don't guarantee there won't be errors that may disrupt the computer's operation and/or result in data loss. Always use it at your own risk.

In addition, this release also includes support for 3ds Max 2025 as well as many more new features and fixes, including the following:

Changes and improvements to the Forest plugin

* New Display->Point-cloud mode, more optimized for recent 3DS Max versions and modern GPUs (only Max 2017 and above).
* In classic point-cloud mode, the density of points was proportional to the distance of each Forest item to the camera which required a full redraw with each change on the viewport, triggering multiple updates to the GPU.
* With the new mode, the density of points is fixed (all Forest items have the same number of points), and the GPU is updated only when a Forest object is modified. In this way, the point-cloud is cached most of the time in the GPU, and doesn't need to be updated. This is much faster and more efficient.
* By default each Forest object is drawn using 250k points. As before, density can be changed using Display->Global/Local Density.
* We included several parameters in the configuration file (forestpack.ini) for fine tuning:
* cloudPointsByObject (default: 250000): number of points of each Forest object. Setting it to 0, reverts to the classic Point-cloud mode.
* cloudHitTestMaxPoints (default: 1000): maximum number of points used for hit-testing (to select items on viewport). You can reduce it, to improve hit-testing performance.
* cloudSubSelDensity (default: 300): percent of points for selected items on Custom Edit mode.
* cloudSubUnselDensity (default: 100): percent of points for unselected items on Custom Edit mode.

* For maximum performance, we recommend that you don’t use points cloud with features that trigger a rebuild when the viewport changes. For example Camera->Enable on Viewport.

* Added support of Edge Mode for V-Ray proxies.
* To use it, you must set proxy preview mode to whole full mesh.
* When using this mode, proxy is used just as a container of the geometry. Some parameters or features of the proxy object may have no effect.
* It requires a recent V-Ray version (tested with V-Ray 6), and is compatible with CPU mode only.

* Removed several pop ups and suggestions (such as Enable Camera Limits, Change to Display Proxy mode, etc.)
* Improved memory management when rendering animated objects.
* Previously all animated samples were stored in memory while rendering. This would exhaust the available memory when rendering heavy objects in long animations.
* Now old animated samples are deleted while rendering, keeping a limit of 10 gigabytes of memory for all samples of Forest objects.
* This limit can be modified with samplesCacheLimit in forestpack.ini. The value is defined in kilobytes. Setting it to zero disables the limit.

* Several improvements to the process of loading and resizing thumbnails in the Library Browser.
* Improved performance of Library Browser when loading multiple items using the same material library.
* Added icon to Library Browser.
* Distribution->Density->Draw Gizmo Corners is disabled by default.
* Improved use of mapping channels with Distribution Map:
* With Surface XY mode, Map Channel is no longer needed. The distribution map is evaluated for all channels of the surface.
* Surface UV mode is no longer limited to map channel 1. But multiple channels are not supported.

* Added option to move items from Geometry List to a ForestSet object.
* To use it, select items and use right click->Move to ForestSet.

* Randomize Stacked is moved from Surfaces to the Areas rollout.
* This option works also with stacked splines, not only surfaces.

* Added Areas->Separate Sub-splines.
* When enabled, each sub-spline is handled as a separate Area, ignoring the hierarchy within the spline.
* Use it combined with Randomize Stacked to create randomized distributions when using stacked splines.

* Default rollups order is changed to a more logical way: Geometry, Distribution, Areas, Surfaces, Transform, Items Editor, Camera, Material, Effects, Animation, Shadows, Display, General, About.
* Please note if you changed the default rollup order in 3DS Max at some time, that is stored permanently in the user's configuration (at C:\Users\<user name>\AppData\Local\Autodesk\3dsmax\<maxversion>\ENU\en-US\UI\RollupOrder.cfg)

* Improved behaviour of Display->Max.Items when using Camera clipping.
* Improved stability with Corona Interactive Render and Forest Color.
* Display->Wireframe and Opacity options are removed.
* These are still available from Maxscript if you need them (wireframe and opacity parameters).

* Fixed crash using Forest object in Custom Edit mode as excluded area.
* Fixed: ForestSet is not properly handled when cleaning the library layer from unused objects.
* Fixed: Area->Falloff is not computed correctly if General->Num.Threads is zero.
* Fixed: Material library is not properly loaded from Library Browser for some items.
* Fixed crash on 3DS Max close if Library Browser is opened without using any Forest object.
* Fixed: modifying item after loading from Library Browser affects properties of a different item.
* Fixed: Library Browser->Paths->Modify replaces paths backlashes (\) by slashes (/).
* Please note this is a cosmetic issue only. Forest internally accepts both types of slashes, converting them when needed.

* Fixed: Library item attributes textColor and textBoxcolor have no effect.
* For compatibility reasons, these attributes are applied only when value is different from '#000000'.

* Fixed several issues moving/copying catalogs (Drag & Drop) in the Library Browser.
* Fixed: Library Browser dialog has no icon.
* Fixed: Distribution->Path->In Vertex Positions also adds items at interpolation steps.
* Fixed: Randomization of Particle Flow items is not consistent when using multiple events.
* This fix may change randomization of particle scenes created with previous Forest versions.

* Fixed crash rendering Alembic proxies with motion blur in V-Ray.
* Fixed rare crash loading Distribution Maps file ("index.dat").
* Fixed: Forest_pro.ForestPack.exportData interface doesn't work, returning always error code 2.
* Fixed incorrect scale/rotate values from Forest Tools->Exporter.


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