The number of vegetation asset plug-ins for Blender has grown lately. Botaniq is one add-on among many today that battle for attention in this field. The question is if it is worth your time and money.
I would say a definitive yes. I think this add-on and the assets are very well made and sit right where it should. It strikes a perfect balance between performance and quality, making it fun to work with.
If you are looking for an add-on that can solve your nature asset needs and do so with elegance, Botaniq might be just what you are looking for.
You can get it on Blendermarket here.
External link: Blendermarket Botaniq add-on (affiliate)
But let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Botaniq is a Blender add-on that features a nature asset library. There are plenty of variation in this package. It covers a lot of different categories of plants.
Here is a list of the covered categories:
All in all, it is an extensive library and plenty for most nature or exterior scenes. If you don't want to, you won't need to go create a vegetation type.
For instance, if you are creating an exterior house scene and you add some trees and grass in the garden, you can continue to add shrubs, flowers, and potted plants to the scene without having to use another add-on or create them manually.
What you would need is some way of adding rocks or stone, but that isn't the focus of this add-on.
There are high-quality thumbnails available for each asset, and they are loaded in at the click of a button as collection instances. If you want to edit an asset, you can quickly make it editable with another button and start editing away.
You can spawn single assets or select an object to scatter assets across.
Botaniq is for anyone who doesn't want to or doesn't have the knowledge to create vegetation assets. It offers a quick and effortless way to just add assets to your scene that are reliable and offers good performance.
But it is not a library for game developers or real-time applications. Also, there is no animation, but according to the creator animation is planned.
Given the price of this add-on I would say that they target it at those that work with digital 3D art as opposed to the hobbyist. But I think that for anyone considering this add-on it is probably a good fit.
There is also a lite version that is priced more towards the hobbyist, but personally I would go with the premium option since the assets are scattered across so many categories, the library will probably feel quite thin in the lite version after a while.
If you go for the lite version, it is also likely that you will miss out on assets that are added to the library over time as it is improved. This is always a risk with lite versions of asset libraries.
The only other downsides are that it is not the absolute best assets available, but they are still very good considering that the assets feel lightweight to work with.
The Botaniq assets are of excellent quality.
I think they have put much thought into performance when developing Botaniq. Working with Botaniq feels fluid and easy.
Compared to many other nature asset libraries that go all out on the looks but forget that someone is going to work with those assets, this feels fresh.
I think Botaniq hits a good balance between quality and performance. I could see myself using this much more frequently than a library with assets that look stunning but is just dreadful to work with thanks to performance issues.
For the quality, I am surprised that the performance is as good as it is. Performance is one selling point together with a well working add-on.
In the end, I think the assets you use will come out on top of those that look great but are too heavy for the computer.
For me, I simply downloaded the latest version after the purchase on Blendermarket. Unzipped it and moved it to my Blender add-on folder.
Just make sure that you don't move a folder within a folder. Move the folder called botaniq_full to the add-on folder so that the add-on files are not nested.
Then I started Blender and the add-on could be enabled, just like with any other add-on in the user preferences.
If you are unsure how to install Blender add-ons, you can read more in this article.
Related content: 30 Blender addons (install, manage, free and paid)
There was no problem during the installation process this way.
The interface is available as a tab in the N-panel, or the right-side properties panel in the 3D viewport. The tab is called Polygoniq after the creator.
Expand the Botaniq section and you will be presented by all the add-on controls.
The two first buttons make up the bulk of how the add-on works. You press "spawn asset" and you have some filter options to filter assets by season or by name and browse the various categories.
The asset is added into a Botaniq collection with the category as a nested collection and the asset contained inside. If you uncheck this, the asset will spawn in the selected collection.
You can also make the asset editable as you add it, changing it from a collection instance into a mesh object. We can also do this operation to any asset after it has been added.
Next, we have the scatter asset feature. To use this, we select an object we want to scatter an asset across. Press the "scatter assets" button and hit the plus sign to add a particle type.
Here we can select grass or weed types. This is an excellent design because this selection acts as a preset.
This means that instead of selecting a single grass asset or grass asset type, Botaniq will select a preset and add multiple particle systems with a matching selection of assets.
We can then add more asset types if we want. For instance, we can start with basic grass that contain four types of grass assets. Then we can add flowers as we see fit, or we can add one of the meadow presets that includes a variation of flowers and be done with it.
The workflow goes like this:
We can change each step at any time and for more granular control you can use the regular particle system settings as well. For instance, if we want to distribute the assets according to a texture, we need the particle system settings.
A nice touch is that as you change the different particle system distributions, you get a preview of the selected particle system so that you can quickly see what kind of asset you are currently changing.
This is very nice for me, at least since I barely know any names of different vegetation.
The add-on feels very responsive and quick, and I encountered few bugs when using it. But here are a few things I encountered while testing.
At one point, Blender completely crashed as I tried to convert an asset from collection instance to an editable object. This is likely thanks to something inside Blender rather than the add-on itself, but it is still worth mentioning.
It wasn't something that happened frequently, though.
Another bug that I found is that when using the "Snap to ground" feature that is supposed to snap selected Botaniq assets to a ground plane seems to snap the bounding box rather than the pivot point of the asset.
This means that assets that have parts that go below the pivot point will float slightly above the ground. This feature says "beta" on the button in the version I am testing, so I will give this one a pass.
Overall, a very stable add-on with reliable performance.
Botaniq hits a good balance between performance and quality, and this is the primary selling point, I think. It also has an easy add-on that just get out of your way when using it so that you can focus on your scene.
There is no real-time performance or animation. But the things Botaniq does, it does well. Adding good quality assets that are easy to work with when you need them without burning your computer.
A definitive recommendation and it has become my go to library for nature related assets in a short time.
If you consider buying Botaniq for your own projects and you want to support artisticrender.com. Please use the affiliate link at no extra cost to you.
External link: Blendermarket Botaniq add-on (affiliate)