“Realistic modeling and rendering of plant ecosystems” by Deussen, Hanrahan, Lintermann, Mech, Pharr, et al. …

  • ©Oliver Deussen, Patrick (Pat) Hanrahan, Bernd Lintermann, Radomir Mech, Matt Pharr, and Przemyslaw Prusinkiewicz




    Realistic modeling and rendering of plant ecosystems



    Modeling and rendering of natural scenes with thousands of plants poses a number of problems. The terrain must be modeled and plants must be distributed throughout it in a realistic manner, reflecting the interactions of plants with each other and with their environment. Geometric models of individual plants, consistent with their positions within the ecosystem, must be synthesized to populate the scene. The scene, which may consist of billions of primitives, must be rendered efficiently while incorporating the subtleties of lighting in a natural environment. We have developed a system built around a pipeline of tools that address these tasks. The terrain is designed using an interactive graphical editor. Plant distribution is determined by hand (as one would do when designing a garden), by ecosystem simulation, or by a combination of both techniques. Given parametrized procedural models of individual plants, the geometric complexity of the scene is reduced by approximate instancing, in which similar plants, groups of plants, or plant organs are replaced by instances of representative objects before the scene is rendered. The paper includes examples of visually rich scenes synthesized using the system.


    1. Alias/Wavefront; a division of Silicon Graphics Ltd. Studio V8. SGI program, 1996.
    2. AnimaTek, Inc. AnimatTek’s World Builder. PC program, 1996.
    3. R.A. Armstrong. A comparison of index-based and pixel-based neighborhood simulations of forest growth. Ecology, 74(6):1707-1712, 1993.
    4. A. C. Beers, M. Agrawala, and N. Chaddha. Rendering from compressed textures. In SIGGRAPH 96 Conference Proceedings, pages 373-378, August 1996.
    5. B. M. Blumberg and T. A. Galyean. Multi-level direction of autonomous creatures for real-time virtual environments. In SIGGRAPH 95 Conference Proceedings, pages 47-54, August 1995.
    6. B.N. Boots. Spatial tesselations: concepts and applications of Voronoi diagrams. John Wiley, 1992.
    7. A. Brownbill. Reducing the storage required to render L-system based models. Master’s thesis, University of Calgary, October 1996.
    8. N. Chiba, K. Muraoka, A. Doi, and J. Hosokawa. Rendering of forest scenery using 3D textures. The Journal of Visualization and Computer Animation, 8:191-199, 1997.
    9. Adobe Corporation. Adobe Photoshop.
    10. O. Deussen and B. Lintermann. A modelling method and user interface for creating plants. In Proceedings of Graphics Interface 97, pages 189-197, May 1997.
    11. J. Dorsey, H. K~hling Pedersen, and E Hanrahan. Flow and changes in appearance. In SIGGRAPH 96 Conference Proceedings, pages 411- 420, August 1996.
    12. T. Duff. Compositing 3-D rendered images. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 85 Proceedings), 19(3):41-44, 1985.
    13. F. G. Firbank and A. R. Watkinson. A model of interference within plant monocultures. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 116:291-311, 1985.
    14. K.W. Fleischer, D. H. Laidlaw, B. L. Currin, and A. H. Bart. Cellular texture generation. In SIGGRAPH 95 Conference Proceedings, pages 239-248, August 1995.
    15. R.W. Floyd and L. Steinberg. An adaptive algorithm for spatial gray scale. In SID 75, Int. Symp. Dig. Tech. Papers, pages 36-37, 1975.
    16. D.R. Fowler, E Prusinkiewicz, and J. Battjes. A collision-based model of spiral phyllotaxis. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 92 Proceedings), 26(2):361-368, 1992.
    17. G. Y. Gardner. Simulation of natural scenes using textured quadric surfaces. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 84 Proceedings), 18(3): 11- 20, 1984.
    18. A. Gersho and R. M. Gray. Vector quantization and signal compression. Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1991.
    19. D. G. Green. Modelling plants in landscapes. In M. T. Michalewicz, editor, Plants to ecosystems. Advances in computational life sciences I, pages 85-96. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, 1997.
    20. J. C. Hart and T. A. DeFanti. Efficient anti-aliased rendering of 3D linear fractals. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 91 Proceedings), 25:91-100, 1991.
    21. J.C. Hart. The object instancing paradigm for linear fractal modeling. In Proceedings of Graphics Interface 92, pages 224-231, 1992.
    22. E Heckbert. Color image quantization for frame buffer display. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 82 Proceedings), 16:297-307, 1982.
    23. S.I. Higgins and D. M. Richardson. A review of models of alien plant spread. Ecological Modelling, 87:249-265, 1996.
    24. H. Hoppe. View-dependent refinement of progressive meshes. In SIG- GRAPH 97 Conference Proceedings, pages 189-198, August 1997.
    25. D. H. House, G. S. Schmidt, S. A. Arvin, and M. Kitagawa-DeLeon. Visualizing a real forest. IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, 18(1):12-15, 1998.
    26. J.T. Kajiya and T. L. Kay. Rendering fur with three dimensional textures. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 89 Proceedings), 23(3):271- 289, 1989.
    27. T. L. Kay and J. T. Kajiya. Ray tracing complex scenes. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 86 Proceedings), 20(4):269-278, 1986.
    28. A. D. Kelley, M. C. Malin, and G. M. Nielson. Terrain simulation using a model of stream erosion. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 88 Proceedings), 22(4):263-268, 1988.
    29. C. Kolb. Rayshade. http://graphics.stanford.edu/~cek/rayshade.
    30. M. E Kumler. An intensive comparison of triangulated irregular networks (TINs) and digital elevation models (DEMs). Cartographica, 31(2), 1994.
    31. M. Levoy and E Hanrahan. Light field rendering. In SIGGRAPH 96 Conference Proceedings, pages 31-42, August 1996.
    32. B. Lintermann and O. Deussen. Interactive structural and geometrical modeling of plants. To appear in the IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications.
    33. B. Lintermann and O. Deussen. Interactive modelling and animation of natural branching structures. In R. Boulic and G. H6gron, editors, Computer Animation and Simulation 96. Springer, 1996.
    34. Lucasfilm Ltd. The Adventures of Andr6 and Wally B. Film, 1984.
    35. D. Marshall, D. S. Fussel, and A. T. Campbell. Multiresolution rendering of complex botanical scenes. In Proceedings of Graphics Interface 97, pages 97-104, May 1997.
    36. N. Max. Hierarchical rendering of trees from precomputed multi-layer Z-buffers. In X. Pueyo and E Schr6der, editors, Rendering Techniques 96, pages 165-174 and 288. Springer Wien, 1996.
    37. N. Max and K. Ohsaki. Rendering trees from precomputed Z-buffer views. In E M. Hanrahan and W. Purgathofer, editors, Rendering Techniques 95, pages 74-81 and 359-360. Springer Wien, 1995.
    38. F. K. Musgrave, C. E. Kolb, and R. S. Mace. The synthesis and rendering of eroded fractal terrains. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 89 Proceedings), 23(3):41-50, 1989.
    39. R. M6ch and E Prusinkiewicz. Visual models of plants interacting with their environment. In SIGGRAPH 96 Conference Proceedings, pages 397-410, August 1996.
    40. F. Neyret. A general and multiscale model for volumetric textures. In Proceedings of Graphics Interface 95, pages 83-91, 1995.
    41. F. Neyret. Synthesizing verdant landscapes using volumetric textures. In X. Pueyo and E Schro6der, editors, Rendering Techniques 96, pages 215-224 and 291, Wien, 1996. Springer-Verlag.
    42. K. Perlin. An image synthesizer. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 85 Proceedings), 19(3):287-296, 1985.
    43. M. Pharr, C. Kolb, R. Gershbein, and E Hanrahan. Rendering complex scenes with memory-coherent ray tracing. In SIGGRAPH 97 Conference Proceedings, pages 101-108, August 1997.
    44. E Prusinkiewicz. Visual models of morphogenesis. Artificial Life, 1(1/2):61-74, 1994.
    45. E Prusinkiewicz. Modeling spatial structure and development of plants: a review. Scientia Horticulturae, 74(1/2), 1998.
    46. E Prusinkiewicz, M. Hammel, and E. Mjolsness. Animation of plant development. In SIGGRAPH 93 Conference Proceedings, pages 351- 360, August 1993.
    47. E Prusinkiewicz and A. Lindenmayer. The algorithmic beauty of plants. Springer-Verlag, New York, 1990. With J. S. Hanan, F. D. Fracchia, D. R. Fowler, M. J. M. de Boer, and L. Mercer.
    48. E Prusinkiewicz, W. Remphrey, C. Davidson, and M. Hammel. Modeling the architecture of expanding Fraxinus pennsylvanica shoots using L-systems. Canadian Journal of Botany, 72:701-714, 1994.
    49. Questar Productions, LLC. World Construction Set Version 2. PC program, 1997.
    50. W.T. Reeves and R. Blau. Approximate and probabilistic algorithms for shading and rendering structured particle systems. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 85 Proceedings), 19(3):313-322, 1985.
    51. C.W. Reynolds. Flocks, herds, and schools: A distributed behavioral model. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 87 Proceedings), 21(4):25- 34, 1987.
    52. R. E. Ricklefs. Ecology. Third Edition. W. H. Freeman, New York, 1990.
    53. J. Shade, D. Lischinski, D. Salesin, T. DeRose, and J. Snyder. Hierarchical image caching for accelerated walkthroughs of complex environments. In SIGGRAPH 96 Conference Proceedings, pages 75-82, August 1996.
    54. H. Sinoquet and R. Rivet. Measurement and visualization of the architecture of an adult tree based on a three-dimensional digitising device. Trees, 11:265-270, 1997.
    55. A.R. Smith. Plants, fractals, and formal languages. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 84 Proceedings), 18(3):1-10, 1984.
    56. J.M. Snyder and A. H. Bart. Ray tracing complex models containing surface tessellations. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 87 Proceedings), 21(4):119-128, 1987.
    57. R.R. Sokal and F. J. Rohlf. Biometry. Third Edition. W. H. Freeman, New York, 1995.
    58. K. A. Sorrensen-Cothern, E. D. Ford, and D. G. Sprugel. A model of competition incorporating plasticity through modular foliage and crown development. Ecological Monographs, 63(3):277-304, 1993.
    59. I.E. Sutherland. Sketchpad: A man-machine graphical communication system. Proceedings of the Spring Joint Computer Conference, 1963.
    60. J.H.M. Thornley and I. R. Johnson. Plant and crop modeling: A mathematical approach to plant and crop physiology. Oxford University Press, New York, 1990.
    61. S.J. Wan, S. K. M. Wong, and E Prusinkiewicz. An algorithm for multidimensional data clustering. ACM Trans. Math. Software, 14(2): 135- 162, 1988.
    62. A. Watt and M. Watt. Advanced animation and rendering techniques: Theory and practice. Addison-Wesley, Reading, 1992.
    63. J. Weber and J. Penn. Creation and rendering of realistic trees. In SIG- GRAPH 95 Conference Proceedings, pages 119-128, August 1995.
    64. L. Williams. Casting curved shadows on curved surfaces. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 78 Proceedings), 12(3):270-274, 1978.
    65. L. Williams. Shading in two dimensions. In Proceedings of Graphics Interface 91, pages 143-151, June 1991.
    66. H. Wu, K. W. Malafant, L. K. Pendridge, E J. Sharpe, and J. Walker. Simulation of two-dimensional point patterns: application of a latice framework approach. Ecological Modelling, 38:299-308, 1997.

ACM Digital Library Publication:

Overview Page: