Models of Plant Communities for Image Synthesis

Brendan Lane


In this thesis I examine the problem of modeling and visualizing large groups of plants. The extreme visual complexity of such scenes can be captured using multilevel models, which combine a hierarchy of models at different levels of abstraction. The modeling of plant communities is done by two-level models, where the higher-level model describes the spatial distribution of plants, and the lower-level model describes individual plants' shapes.

Models of plant communities can be divided based on the direction of information flow: local-to-global models are rooted in individual-based ecosystem simulations, while the properties of individuals in global-to-local models are inferred from a given distribution of plant densities. Multiset L-systems are introduced as a formalism for local-to-global models of the spatial distribution of plants. A new global-to-local model is developed which uses the idea of iterative deformation of a probability density.

Examples of both local-to-global and global-to-local models of the spatial distribution of plants are demonstrated which exhibit various ecological properties, including succession, clustering, and self-thinning. These examples are coupled to a low-level model of individual plants to create realistic visualizations of the plant community.


Brendan Lane. Models of Plant Communities for Image Synthesis. M.Sc. thesis, University of Calgary, June 2002.

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