JUNE 10, 2003
Digital Element Verdant 1.0
3D plant creation for Adobe Photoshop
by David Nagel

So you need to composite some greenery into an image. Maybe you need to dummy some trees into an architectural rendering. Maybe you need to pretty up a nature scene for an advertising layout. Whatever the reason, you're looking forward to some tedious work ahead: finding the right tree in the right lighting conditions to shoot and then masking out the image; modeling a tree in a 3D application and then, through trial and error, trying to get it to look right in your composition; or even spending the time drawing the tree by hand. But for those of you who'd prefer another way, Digital Element has developed Verdant, a plugin that allows you to generate 3D foliage directly within Adobe Photoshop.

How it works
Verdant works as a plugin with Photoshop, allowing you to build 3D trees and shrubs from a library of presets and customizing these to meet your needs.[an error occurred while processing this directive]

You can work directly on your background image to see how your Verdant-generated foliage will fit in with your composition or create the tree or shrub on a new layer altogether. Verdant ships with 35 presets to use as a starting point, from which you can then theoretically build just the right image for your composition.

Once you select the type of tree you want to use, you can then go in and adjust a multitude of parameters for customization. Parameters vary with the tree type, but, in general, for any given preset, you can adjust the following areas of your tree's appearance: age; detail level; mutation; randomness; length of the leaves or needles; amount and color quality of greenery; branch length, number, declination, thickness and chaos; and trunk length, thickness, twist and bend.

Both trees in foreground added using Verdant

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