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PlantStudio Kurtz-Fernhout Software
Developers of custom software and educational simulations.
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PlantStudio Version 3.0 Wish list

These are the items to choose from. Some we came up with, some are from PS users. Note that some of the vote categories are blank right now, because we want to start fresh. We'll update the list here to reflect the emails we're getting. As always, what actually ends up in PS will be a combination of what people ask for, what is most feasible in the time we have to work with, and what's fun for us.

To contribute, send your ranked list of these and other items to

Big Deals (things that will take a good long while to do)
Item Votes Description
True modeling of leaves, flowers and other structures 9 We'd like to move up from the simple "3D objects" PS now uses to include parameterized modeling of leaves, flower petals, buds, fruit, and so on. This will give the plants a much greater realism - for example, individual leaves will be able to vary randomly, and even show damage such as by insects.
Gravity 22 This was something that came out high in the wish list for PS2, but the export formats trumped it. However, we developed posing as a partial solution to the gravity/wind/tropism need. It would be nice to address this more completely (and more biologically) later.
Trees 35 We didn't use to be very interested in this, but so many people have written about it that we're giving it some thought. We'd like to do it in a way that keeps up the educational use of PS, with true secondary growth, dormant periods, and so on.
Mac version 28 Making version 3 of PS cross-platform would definitely improve it a lot. Typically programs get more robust whenever you get a chance to take them apart and put them back together again, whatever the reason. And we do love Macs, contrary to all appearances :)
Book   We'd love to write a workbook about plant growth and diversity using PS, including sections on the different major plant families and (related to the growth stresses) the impact of growth conditions such as salty soils.
Cooler interface 1 We're proponents of the idea that software should be fun to use and nice to look at. But PS is simple and functional in its look. That has some merits, but we think it's starting to look a little old. We'd like to give it more of an interesting character.
Thumbnail views 1 If you could look at all the plants in a file in boxes, instead of floating around in space (like they look in the breeder), it might be easier to work with plants when you get a lot of them in one file.
Small Deals (things that are probably doable in a fairly short time)
Item Votes Description
More botanical libraries and information 6 One thing we've heard a lot about from users is that they'd like to see more types of plant libraries -- desert plants, swamp plants, plants from different parts of the world. We'd love to make some "country packs" with native fauna as add-ons, and so on, with complete botanical information. It would even be nice to add a "key" section to PS where you could take a plant you've found, "key it out" to identify it, and build its model in PS at the same time.
Growth stresses and senescence (aging) 1 We'd like to make it possible to draw plants with wilting, nutrient deficiencies, trampling, insect damage, aging - the kinds of things that make plant models and images look more realistic.
Generating UV texture mapping info 6 If we output texture mapping coordinates in 3D export, you could use bitmaps of scanned leaves to add realism to rendered plants.
Generating animation morphs 5 Somebody suggested the idea of outputting 3D models with an invarying number of points and polygons so that they could be used to create a morphing 3D animation of growth. Someone else suggested that these could be done for blowing in the wind as well as for growth.
Generating 2D animations and pastable images with alpha channels 2 This would make it easy to create animations in 2D programs like Illustrator and Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro.
Truly interruptible drawing   We're aware that it's annoying when PS won't stop drawing with an Escape or anything. It's tricky to add because of the way the program runs through modeled plant parts. It could be done with some refactoring though.
XML plants   If the plant information was all encoded in XML instead of structured text, it would make plants easier to pass around and more robust against corruption.
More wizards 1 PS has a LOT of parameters, and people seem to get stuck on the complexity of the plant model. We'd like to make it easier to change plants without having to muck around in all 400 plant parameters all the time.
OpenGL 4 We evaluated using OpenGL in the past and found that it was incompatible with our system of drawing to off-screen bitmaps, but that was some time ago. We'd like to revisit this to make plants look as good in PS as they do elsewhere. On the other hand, not bothering to make our rendering beautiful has enabled us to spend our time on the more important tasks of modeling and export, so this probably wouldn't be a higher priority than those in the future either.
More probably smallish things suggested by PS users
Item Votes Description
Roots 2 Modeling the plant below the ground as well as above it.
More strange appendages 3 More of the things that grow in strange places on various plants that make them as variable as they are: prickles, scales and other bark and stem appendages; secondary inflorescence bracts; leaf spikes; adventitious roots; and so on.
More control over smaller plant parts 2 Individual control over growth and appearance and posing of things like petals, sepals, and the like that are now lumped in with the flower.
Easier way to make viney plants 1 This could be done in various ways - a wizard, special vining parameters, etc.
Bryce format export 3 For easier import to Bryce.
Targa export with alpha channels 1 For Pinnacle Systems Targa.
SDK toolkit 1 Interface to work with PlantStudio from other programs.
Window to automatically show selected plant at larger size 1 Or other better methods of looking at plants.

Many thanks to everyone who has contributed!

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Updated: February 12, 2002. Questions/comments on site to
Copyright © 1998-2002 Paul D. Fernhout & Cynthia F. Kurtz.