Alternatively a heightmap solution could be ok too and probably better if i cant snap trees to an imported mesh. Are you looking at adding this ability in future versions?
Trees/plants and other objects can currently only be made to snap to other objects, such as imported terrains, 1 tree/plant/object at a time; the object will basically snap to whatever the mouse cursor is above as soon as you move it.
In other words, the commands above, ie, ALT-copying
& CTRL + Placing 10 objects
, would only apply collision snapping to the object by the mouse cursor. It's probably easier to understand how it works if you test these commands in Lumion Free
I am not aware of plans to extend this functionality so that it would work with multiple objects, but the developers, Ferry/Remko/Arthur, will be able to shed more light on this.
Regarding the alpha channel question, all i want to be able to do is render the trees & terrain without the sky, so i can photoshop it onto a location photo, not while its in Lumion. I only need this for still shots obviously.
For the time being, your only option is to place a large plane with a uniform colour in the background, eg, magenta, and remove this in Photoshop. I know it's not perfect and reflective materials that face the plane would obviously be affected, but it's a start I guess.
Currently i use scatter plugins to do my trees and love them as i can use maps and colours ids to spread types of plant in seconds, and create randomised forests with multiple trees very easily. Can or will you be able to import trees to Lumion?
Unfortunately, this sort of functionality is not available, and as far as I know, there are currently no plans to implement this, at least not in the short term. Remko will be able to shed more light on this topic though.
Which would you advise, a GTX560ti 2GB or a faster GTX570 that only has 1.2GB of memory?
This question is very difficult to answer without having access to both graphics cards as well as the projects that you're typically working on.
Generally speaking, the faster the card is, the better your framerate in Lumion and the shorter the render times will be.
Regarding memory consumption, if the graphics card runs out of memory, it will start to use the system RAM as a swap buffer.
If you are using all the graphics card RAM as well as some system RAM for geometry and textures, the performance in 3D applications such as Lumion may become sluggish. For example, when you turn the camera around in a large scene, it may sometimes pause for a moment, while the geometry and textures are transferred from system RAM to the graphics card RAM. Faster system RAM obviously reduces this problem.
The 64-bit version of Windows allows applications to use more than the limit of 3.5GB per application in Windows 32-bit, so if possible, always opt for Windows 64-bit. And 8-16GB of system RAM seem to work well for most customers who work on large projects.