Tree Editor


To add scatter items Forest can work in two modes: Generate or Custom Edit. In Generate mode, items are created randomly within the regions defined in the Areas rollout according to the Distribution rules. The Custom Edit mode allow for a precise level of control, allowing you to edit and create individual items manually. A typical workflow might involve working between the two modes by creating an initial scatter of a large area of plants using Generate mode and then switching to Custom Edit to make final adjustments to individual objects to fine tune the composition. 

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In this section:

Related Tutorials:


To manually add individual scatter items

  1. From the Tree Editor rollout, click Custom Edit. 
  2. Enable the tree sub object level from the Modifier Stack Display or by clicking 
  3. To determine which items to use from the Geometry list select one of the following modes. 
    • To use a specific model, click Model and select an item from the drop down list.
    • To use a random item from the Geometry list, click Random.
    • To use a sequence of items as defined in the Geometry list, Click Sequence.
  4. Click Add.
  5. Click in the scene to place a new item.
  • New items will be positioned at zero on the Z axis unless a Surface area is being used and the Link to Surface option is active in the Surfaces rollout.
  • Alternatively you can set 3DS Max's Grid and Snap settings to Face to click on any geometry to determine the Z position of a new item.

To manually edit existing scattered items

  1. From the Tree Editor rollout, click Custom Edit. 
  2. Enable the tree sub object level from the Modifier Stack Display or by clicking .
  3. You can now select individual or groups of trees in the viewport. Edit them using the following methods:
    • Manipulate them with the translate,rotate and scale tools in the usual way.
    • Randomise geometry by clicking Randomise.
    • Randomise transforms by clicking Re-Seed.
    • Specify the geometry used from the items list by selecting an item from the geometry drop-down list

To attach another Forest object

To attach a single Forest object

  1. Click Attach > Single.
  2. Click the Forest object to add from the viewport.

To attach multiple Forest objects

  1. Click Attach > Multiple.
  2. Select the Forest objects to add from the Attach List.
  3. Click Attach

To detach selected items to a new Forest object

  1. In Custom Edit mode, select the items to detach.
  2. Click Detach

To create items along a path

  1. Click the Along a Path spline picker and select a spline.
  2. From the Properties (Selection) group, select the mode from Model, Random, or Sequence.
  3. In the Spacing input, enter the distance between objects. Alternatively click In Vertex Positions to place an item on each spline vertex. 
  4. If the objects should rotate to follow the direction of the spline, click Follow Path
  5. Click Create.


 When creating items using paths or reference geometry the default behaviour is to delete any existing items. To retain any items already created in the forest object, deselect Delete Existing Items.

To create items on reference geometry

  1. Click Select Objects and select the reference geometry from the Create Items in Objects Positions list.
  2. From the Properties (Selection) group, select the mode from Model, Random, or Sequence
  3. Choose the technique for positioning scattered items:
    • Pivot places one object at the pivot point of each selected object.
    • Face Centers places one object on the centre of each face of a mesh object.
  4. In pivot mode you can click Scale to match the scale value of the source objects.
  5. Click Align to match the rotation of the source objects.
  6. Click Create.






In generate mode scattered items are placed within regions defined in the Geometry List according to rules defined in the Distribution rollout.

Custom Edit

In custom edit mode, items can be created one at a time or distributing along paths or on the pivot points or faces of reference geometry. Once created, scattered objects can be edited manually using Max's default transform, rotate and scale tools.

When switching between Generate and Custom Edit mode, Forest Pack will always display a warning to ensure you don't accidentally lose any changes.

Generate →Tree Editor

Tree Editor → Generate

To edit the items, you must also activate the sub-object level using the Modify Stack Display on the Modify panel, or by clicking .

Add Items

This button creates individual items by clicking in the scene. To use is you must be at the Trees sub-object level.

There are three selectable modes, that work when adding individual items and using the Creation Tools (described below).

  • Selection. Uses the plant type defined in the Properties combo.
  • Random. Select a random plant from the Geometry List.
  • Sequence. Gets the plants models sequencially, as defined in the Geometry List.

Properties (Selection)

Lets you to change the type of plant (from the models defined in the Geometry List.) for the selected items.

Sub Item

When using Groups as Custom Objects this value defines the index of the element inside the group.

Select By Type

Selects all the items that use the type defined in the selection combo box.


Randomizes the plant type for all items selected.

Reset Size

Resets the scale of the items selected.


Applies new random seeds to the selected item's transform setting. Use this option to re-randomize items that have been created by a copying process.

Store Transform

Stores the current random transformations into the items properties, and disables the randomness settings. Useful for attaching Forest objects but maintaining their original randomised transforms. 


Detaches the selected elements to a separate Forest object.


Attaches items from other Forest objects. You may select a single object or choose from a list.

Consolidate Geometry List

If enabled, the plugin will try to match the Geometry Lists using the Name property and the type of geometry. If not, Forest will append the items from the Geometry List of the attached object.

Creation Tools

These tools are used to automatically build elements inside a Forest object.

Along a Path

Distributes trees along a path defined by a spline, use evenly spaced to place at a measured distance or create an item for each vertex of the spline. 

Reference Objects

Places items using the position of other objects as reference. Several modes are available:

  • Pivot Point: the point of creation is the Pivot Point of the referenced objects. For example: to create a group of trees in specified points, which have been defined in an external program (such as AutoCad) and imported to 3D Studio Max as dummy reference objects. Align and Scale can be enabled to copy the scale and alignment based on the reference.
  • Face Centers: creates a element for each face of the referenced meshes. If the Align option is enabled, items are aligned with the face, using as X axis a vector from the center to the farthest vertex in the triangle.


Alignment is calculated using a vector calculated from the center to the farthest vertex.