Google Research

Synthetic silviculture: Multi-Scale Modeling of Plant Ecosystems

  • Milosz Makowski
  • Torsten Hädrich
  • Jan Scheffczyk
  • Sören Pirk
  • Dominik L. Michels
  • Wojciech Pałubicki
SIGGRAPH 2019 (2019)

Abstract

Due to the enormous amount of detail and the interplay of various biological phenomena, modeling realistic ecosystems of trees and plants is a challenging and open problem. Previous research on modeling plant ecologies has focused on representations to handle this complexity, mostly through geometric simplifications, such as points or billboards. In this paper we describe a method to design large-scale ecosystems with individual plants that are realistically modeled and faithfully capture biological features, such as growth, plant interactions, tropismns, and competition for resources. Our approach is based on leveraging inter and intra plant self-similarities for efficiently modeling plant geometry. We focus on the design of plant ecosystems of up to 90K plants, while adhering to biological priors known in forestry and botany research. The introduced parameter space supports modeling properties of nine distinct plant ecologies (e.g. deciduous forest, boreal forest, tundra, etc.) while each plant is represented as 3D surface mesh as required by commodity rendering systems. The capabilities and usefulness of our framework are illustrated through numerous models of forest and individual plants.

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