Xfrog 3.5 (standalone) interface
Xfrog 3.5 standalone interface

Xfrog for Maya plugin
Xfrog integrated into Maya


Created by Bernd Lintermann and released in 1996, Xfrog for a decade was THE software of choice for creation of 3D plants. But since version 3 was released in 2000, its development was sluggish, version 3.5 with minor improvements was released only after 5 years, and since then 3.5 is still the only version available as standalone.
Today standalone version of Xfrog looks very outdated.

It seems that greenworks, developer of Xfrog, has focused on creation of extensive libraries of ready to use plants, and development of Xfrog plugins for Cinema 4D and Maya. Those plugins give Xfrog serious advantage over other 3D vegetation software, because in form of plugin Xfrog closely integrates with host application, so you can really edit Xfrog models directly from C4D or Maya in the same way as you edit any native objects in those applications, and not just import the object created outside. In some situations, when specific actions, or animations are needed, such close integration can be quite advantageous.

Xfrog is procedural, graph based editor, so same kind as TPF & Speed Tree. It offers 10 node types, so more than 2 nodes from Spped Tree, but far less than countless TPF nodes.

Xfrog uses simpler, more straightforward approach to definition of plant structure than Speed Tree, so it can excel in creation of abstract geometry, and plants like flowers. Unfortunately for Xfrog it lacks parameters variability, and has very limited set of modifiers (gravitropsm, phototropism) which hampers realism of trees created with Xfrog. Also there is no blending of geometry between branches and trunk.

Lack of variability also means that the model you get is "static". If you need several plants looking slightly different, you need to modify the model manually. More advanced software like The Plant factory or Speed Tree offer build in randomness for every parameter. So you can define that let say trunk length will be in range 10-15 meters and number of branches will vary in between 20 to 30. In Xfrog it is impossible.

Neverthless Xfrog despite his advanced age, still can kick in some domains. It is pretty good in defining parts shapes. Thanks to cartesian manualy defined splines, every imaginable section shape is possible with Xfrog. Speed Tree section spline is ony circular (only way to change branch section in Speed Tree is with material displacement) and TPF uses radial section/profile splines, which serioulsy imits possible shapes, and makes splines edition difficult. Thanks to good spline modeling Xfrog can still excell in case of smaller plants models, like flowers, cactuses where such shape may be needed.

Xfrog cartesian spline editors

Xfrog provides integrated timeline, so it is easy to animate plants to obtain such effect like plant growth, blossoming of flowers, or sunflower directing itselft toward sun etc... (however in real scenarios, you raraly need to animate plants, maybe except wind)