Improving the Realism of Plant Models

Hairs, Textures, and Shades: Improving the Realism of Plant Models Generated with L-systems
Martin Fuhrer, MSc Thesis, August 2005
Department of Computer Science, University of Calgary


High-quality, realistic visualization of plant models is a long-standing goal in computer graphics. Plants are often modeled using L-systems. Strings of symbols generated by the L-systems may be interpreted graphically as drawing commands to a rendering system. In this research, techniques for improving the appearance of plants generated from L-systems are proposed. A method of incorporating dynamic material specifications in L-system strings is presented, along with shading and lighting considerations for leaves and petals. Texture mapping of generalized cylinders is revisited in order to properly fit leaf and petal textures onto surfaces, and procedural methods for generating venation patterns and translucent rims on these surfaces are introduced. Finally, a method of generating hairs and controlling their parameters with L-systems is proposed. The importance of these techniques is illustrated in numerous state-of-the-art plant renderings.

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This work is partially supported by grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, iCORE, and the University of Calgary.