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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When I place a tree with a light in the back the tree is completely dark. How do I fix that?
  A: People use the first light source to create the shadow, but you can also add lower intensity lights to create ambient light. Remember, if you just define one light then Verdant thinks it’s a dark room with one spotlight. Put a couple of low lights right above or from the direction of the camera to bring out the highlights. You can also change the mood with colored lights.

Q: How do I…

…get trees to look young and newly planted?
  A: The age variable does a lot to help in this respect. You will also want to independently change the trunk width and the branch width as well as the number of branches. When you obtain something you like save it. It will also reduce twisting in the trunk.

…keep the tree and/or shadow on another layer?
  A: You will need the tree and shadow on a separate layer. Open up Verdant and place the tree where you want it. Now hit cancel. Next create a layer above where you want the tree and shadow to fall. Now reload Verdant highlighting the blank layer. You can’t see the picture but the tree and shadow are exactly where you left them. Press Okay.

…add trees from a master plan or in a specific pattern?
  A: This is easier than it may seem. All you need to do is take the overhead view of the plan in question and create one layer above the plan for each type of tree you want. On each layer mark where you want the given plant. Save each layer independently as a bitmap and import it into the groups section.

…morph a shadow to fit the hillside?
  A: This is mainly done in Photoshop and requires the tree and shadow to be on a different layer (see “keep tree and/or shadow on a different layer” above).

Q: So what about the exact plant I need….
  A: Burpee lists over 60,000 varieties of plants and trees – no software tool out there supports all of the plants that an artist might need. That’s why Digital Element will design a custom plant according to your specifications. You provide a few pictures of the plant and its common-use or scientific name, and Digital Element will model that plant type. You receive your plant within two weeks.

Q: Can I Make My Own Plants?
  A: Digital Element will roll out Green House -- a plant developer network, offering select third-party vendors the SDK and license to make and sell customized plants and trees for Verdant. Green House participants will get a link on the products page and discounts on marketing their plants and trees. Digital Element has secured two strong art community partners and is seeking two more to begin the program.
Q: How do I install the Mac version?
  A: If you have bought the packaged version, access the CD and copy the file Verdant.hqx from the Mac directory on a CD to a temporary directory on your hard drive. If you have the downloadable version, go to the directory to which you downloaded the software. Double-click on Verdant.hqx. When the archive is unpacked a folder named “Digital Element” will appear in addition to a VerdantUnpack.sea file. Move the “Digital Element” folder to the directory where the plug-ins for Adobe Photoshop are located (PhotoShop 6.0\plug-in if you chose standard pathways for installing Adobe Photoshop). Remove VerdantUnpack.sea. If you have purchased the CD and inadvertently double-clicked on Verdant.hqx, you can click OK for the error message and manually select the installation director.

Q: I tried to install the Mac version but it doesn’t work
  A: Verdant has different versions for OS 9 and OS X. The .hqx will have carbon in its name if it’s the OSX version. If you received the download then confirm your purchase order. The CD has both versions on it.

Q: None of the options work – they are grayed out.
  A: Your product might not be registered yet. Go to the About button, then Register. It will tell you if you are registered. If you are not registered then input the serial number (the number you were given with a dash in it) and obtain a license number (there is a specific FAQ on that). Once you are fully registered, all of the options will open up.

Q: Where is the license number? I don’t have one.
  A: You need to register Verdant online. Click on the registration page, be sure to select the correct product, and then fill out the information. You need to select a valid e-mail address because Digital Element will e-mail you the necessary information. Copy and paste the license number into the registration screen, which is located by pressing About, then Register. The product will indicate that it is registered when you have entered the data and tabbed to the okay button.

Q: How many plants will I receive?
  A: When you buy Verdant, you will receive ten plants. Users can also subscribe for a “plant of the month.” Over the course of the year, you receive twelve plants. You can also buy additional plants for $50 a piece – half the price of the leading algorithmically-generated plant competitor (who doesn’t support Photoshop anyway).

Q: I have the .hqx file on my machine but the .hqx file won’t open up – what do I do?
  A: Sometimes you need to open up StuffIt – the free file compression tool and “Unstuff” the file through the StuffIt software. Download the free Expander from Aladdin Systems.

© 2003   Digital Element Inc.   www.digi-element.com