since Multiscatter was getting slower and buggier with every new release and i did not get proper tech support from iCube, I was forced to buy ForestPack. I remember i stopped at work using it because working with it always caused me just frustration and anxiety, but now, when Multiscatter gave up on me, i have no other choice since there's not much competition when it comes to scattering plugins. I bought myself one licence for home use, and quickly remembered what all those frustrating things were. So in this thread, i would like to list them, and it could possibly lead to some improvements in these frustrating areas:
1, Scene bloatware
Nothing could frustrate me more than some plugin bloating my scene. ForestPack always forces me to have this frozen hidden layer of fake 2D trees i am never going to use in my scene. I can not stand that.
Also, instead of retaining materials on objects that i scatter, ForestPack has a need to completely mess up my material list with introduction of some forest_automat material. I can not understand why. Why it can not just leave my material scene alone. I want to have a clear list of materials i use in my scene, and i do not need ForestPack to anyhow rearrange it.
Why does ForestPack even separate scattered objects from their materials? I do not see any flexibility in this, just huge space for possible errors.
2, Painful pop-ups.
I get constant pop-ups all the time. I do not even finish creating FP objects and it already bothers me with Camera clipping, which i do not want. Same with display density, and so on. Even if i check do not show again, as soon as i create new FP object, entire hell stats over.
3, Crazy defaults.
I remember my colleague almost bursting into tears after 40 hours without sleep finding out why his scene flickers so much and looks ugly. Turns out ForestPack has some own Fake shadow system, that's absolutely unusable for animation. Disabling these fake shadows solved the problem. Why would you ever interfere with rendering? I would really urge to leave things like shading and raytracing to the developers of the particular renderers, and not try to mess with that. You will never make it work as well and optimal as the actual renderer developers do. What's scary though, is that this feature is enabled by default.
Same with Camera Clipping, enabled by default. Can you imagine how painful it is when you finish rendering sequence overnight and realize there are trees randomly popping up and disappearing in the reflections?
4, General usability
Overall, ForestPack feels way too overengineered. I realize every user wanted their own feature and that's why it's became this chimera. But UI is arranged in so visually complex manner it sometimes take several minutes just to remember where particular setting was. Also, something like creating a simple forest with bushes, which takes about a minute with multiscatter, can take up to 10 minutes in forest pack because even such a simple task like adding custom object is overly complicated.
Setting distribution is probably most painful here, as i constantly need to balance distribution map type, density, scale, threshold, max. density, etc... Otherwise, FP will again start to yell at me something about having to reduce viewport display because my distribution has became too dense, even when the actual density of instances is pretty much same as one with different ratio of parameters mentioned in previous sentece.
Now again, compare that to Multiscatter, where i just simply define amount of instances per square amount of scene units.
So now, solutions i would propose:
Give me the possibility of not having my scene bloated with ForestPack objects. Allow me to create empty FP object with New item set to disabled or custom object by default, and add the hidden layer only when user selects Template mode. This way, if i do not ever touch template mode (which I never will, because damn... those trees look ugly! ) i will never need any hidden layer. It would also be appropriate to add some sort of warning that FP is going to bloat your scene, if you select template mode.
Add some silent mode option, which would mute all the pop ups, and would remain saved even for newly created FP objects. I am really not an idiot, i can figure out that my viewport is going slow because of too dense ForestPack display settings, or that I may need camera clipping in some cases. And i do not need to read it 50 times a day, especially when i am immersed in the scene creation, and do not want any distractions.
Fake shadows and Camera clipping should be disabled by default, and properly warned how much harm can these things do when used unwisely.
You know what? I would be willing to pay double! Yes! Twice the price, for a stripped-down ForestPack version that would have LESS features. That would look something like Multiscatter, but would perform as incredibly well as ForestPack (seriously, the speed of viewport display and responsiveness when editing complex Forests with many dependencies is stunning, really great job done on that!). I want a simple scattering plugin. With ForestPack, i am getting a lot more, but on the other hand, the complexity makes day to day tasks take up to 5-10 times longer. So i am serious.
I would really not have any problems paying even twice as much as i pay for ForestPack, just to get version without pop-ups, fake shadows, camera clipping, template presets, loads of different distribution maps, tree editor, and overcomplicated starship control deck display settings, which would by default scatter directly scene objects, without need to create some container, that needs to be set to contain scene objects first.