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PlantStudio Kurtz-Fernhout Software
Developers of custom software and educational simulations.
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Help System
Quick Tour
How it works

PlantStudio Super-Speed Tour

Here's a quick list of facts to glance over if you want to get started with PlantStudio right away. When you're ready, try the PlantStudio tutorial.

What PlantStudio is for
PlantStudio exists purely to
draw pictures of plants. It uses numbers (parameters) you specify to simulate and draw 3D plants.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif PlantStudio can't draw every plant that exists, but it does cover a variety of common
herbaceous plants.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif You can
copy pictures (bitmaps) of your plants to the Windows clipboard, or you can save or print the pictures.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif You can write out one plant at a time to a
DXF file for use in 3D programs.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif You can create image hose nozzles for MetaCreations Painter and picture tubes for Paint Shop Pro.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif You can create numbered animation files of growing or revolving plants to use in Painter or many other animation studios.

Memory use
If you can't devote at least eight megabytes of memory exclusively to PlantStudio, you should turn off
plant bitmaps. They speed up drawing considerably but also increase PlantStudio's memory requirements by several megabytes.

Starting PlantStudio for the first time
When PlantStudio starts up for the first time, you will see an empty file with no plants in it. You should
make a new plant or open a plant file.

Using hints
There are long hints (text popups) for nearly everything you can point the cursor at everywhere in the program. If you are not sure what something does, hold the cursor still over it and see if a hint appears. If you don't see any long hints,
turn them on. You can also control the hint timing.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif Hints only appear when PlantStudio is on top in relation to other programs, including the help system. For example, if you are looking at a help window and you move the mouse over an item on a PlantStudio window behind the help window, you won't see a hint because the help system is on top. You can tell which window is on top because its title bar is a special color.

Using plant files
In the main window of PlantStudio is a list of plants in the
open plant file. Visible plants have a seedling gif/plantstudio00000002.gif in front of their name. Click on the seedlings to hide or show plants. Visible plants can be seen in the drawing area. If you can't see any plants, choose Scale to Fit from the Layout menu.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif You can only have one file open at a time. To move plants between two plant files, use the
plant mover (choose Plant Mover from the File menu).

Using the drawing area mouse modes
The first four buttons on the toolbar under the menu on the main window determine what the mouse does in the drawing area. The modes are:
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif gif/plantstudio00000003.gif Select/drag plants: Click to
select plants; click and drag to move them.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif gif/plantstudio00000004.gif Scroll: Click and drag to move the drawing area viewpoint.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif gif/plantstudio00000005.gif Rotate plants: Click and drag to
rotate the selected plants.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif gif/plantstudio00000006.gif Magnify: Click to
zoom in; right-click or Shift-click to zoom out.

Selecting plants
You can
select plants in the main window by clicking on them in the plant list or drawing area.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif In the plant list, Shift-click or Control-click in the plant list to select more than one plant.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif In the drawing area, Shift-click or click and drag to select more than one plant. You can only select plants in the drawing area when the mouse is in Select/drag mode gif/plantstudio00000007.gif.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif The plant you select first is called the
focused plant. It is different from the other plants you select because you will see information about it in the panels labeled Life cycle, Parameters, and Parts.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif If the Show Focused Plant Only option is on in the Options menu, all other plants will disappear when you select a new
focused plant. In this mode you can only select one plant at a time.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif To deselect all plants, click outside of any plant in the drawing area, or click below all the plants in the list in the plant list, or choose Deselect from the Layout menu.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif You cannot select individual parts of plants (like leaves) because the plants don't come apart.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif If you click on one plant and get another, the other plant is first in the
drawing order. This is more likely to happen when you are not using plant bitmaps.

Drawing speed
You can choose between Draw as Bounding Boxes, Draw as Wire Frames, Draw as Solids, and Draw Custom
drawing speeds. Choose one of these drawing speeds from the Options menu.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif When you copy, save or print a picture, or create an animation or nozzle/tube file, the current drawing speed is used. Make sure you set the drawing speed before you choose the menu item to create the output.

Changing plant age and parameters
In the Life cycle panel, drag the red line back and forth to
change the plant age. Click Animation gif/plantstudio00000008.gif to see a plant grow through its life cycle quickly.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif In the Rotation panel,
change the x, y and z rotations of selected plants.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif In the Parameters panel, choose a
parameter section from the list and change values in the parameter panels.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif The Parts panel is for
evaluating how plant parts grow. There is nothing to click on there; it's for display only.

Using 3D objects
Leaves, flowers, fruits, buds and root tops are drawn using
3D objects.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif You can choose from a library of 3D objects or
make your own.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif 3D objects have two colors: the front face and back face color. If you
change one of these colors and you can't see anything happening, change the other face color.

Breeding makes new plants from existing plants by randomly changing ("mutating") the plant parameters. You can breed from one or two parents.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif To
breed plants, select one or two plants in the main window, then choose Breed from the Plant menu. The new generation of offspring will appear in the breeder.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif In the breeder, double-click on single plants to breed, or choose two parents by Shift-clicking and choose Breed from the Breed menu.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif You can
drag plants out of the breeder to the main window.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif Breeder plants are NOT saved with the plant file and disappear when you leave the program.

Making time series
Making a time series creates a series of plants, each at a different age. This is useful when you want to see how a plant grows.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif To
make a time series, select a plant in the main window, then choose Make Time Series from the Plant menu. The new series will appear in the time series window.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif You can
drag plants out of the time series window to the main window.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif Time series plants are NOT saved with the plant file and disappear when you leave the program.

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Updated: March 10, 1999. Questions/comments on site to
Copyright © 1998, 1999 Paul D. Fernhout & Cynthia F. Kurtz.