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Author Topic: Handling of Distribution Maps  (Read 5940 times)


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Handling of Distribution Maps
« on: October 30, 2007, 02:56:20 AM »
Hi, I would like to make a suggestion to how Forest Pro handles the custom maps. 

My situation is I have been given a very large landscape plan with lots of trees marked.  (which I imagine is a fairly common situation).

It's a normal sized picture say 1600 by 1600 pixels, with white discs where the trees are.  In fact the size of the disc corresponds to the size of the tree.  So this seems ideal to use as a custom map (rather than drawing out splines etc). 

Here's what I expected to happen. 
Step 1.  Load the map into the forest object.
Step 2.  Position the map using the settings there. (why not use the Max gizmo for this part of the process?)
Step 3.  Set a minimum distance between trees so that it doesn't try to place more than one tree per white disc.
Step 4.  Play with the threshold value if need be.  (mostly not)
Step 5 finished!

Unfortunately it doesn't work like that.  Here are the unexpected things.

Once I set a position for the map in my scene, nothing (and I mean Nothing!) should alter that except for the actual position settings themselves.  Obviously, this is not the case.... why?  Well it all comes from the one pixel = one tree idea, which sounds nice in theory, but it's painful in practice.  Changing the minimum spacing when you assume 1 tree/pixel changes the size of the whole map in your scene!  Suddenly this is looking very complicated to set up right.

So I work around that, but as it turns out it's not so easy turning a 1600 by 1600 pixel map into a 160 by 160 pixels one.  All sorts of problems come up which I end up fixing by hand, one pixel at a time.  (Actually I would be interested to know how others do this if in fact anyone does?)

So there you have it that’s probably my main wish for an otherwise very helpful plugin.
Thanks - Miles


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Re: Handling of Distribution Maps
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2007, 09:45:44 AM »

I agree with you. When we designed Forest, we wanted to use distribution maps as a way to create random distributions, tiling small bitmaps over the scene. Really, the idea of using a large bitmap for the entire distribution came from the users,  but the interface was not designed for this.

We are now rewriting Forest completely for the next major release (3.0), so we will look into this problem. Perhaps displaying a warning instead modifying the size of distribution, or deleting trees to maintain the minimum distance... well, i'm not sure.  ::)

Thanks for your suggestion!
Carlos Quintero
iToo Software


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Re: Handling of Distribution Maps
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2007, 05:58:51 PM »
Wonderful news! Rewriting Forest completely! :D
I will sign it only if it is a piece of art!