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Today standalone version of Xfrog looks very outdated.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
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
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)