AN EVALUATIVE REVIEW OF SIMULATED DYNAMIC SMART 3D OBJECTS
Three-dimensional (3D) modelling of plants can be an asset for creating agricultural based visualisation products. The continuum of 3D plants models ranges from static to dynamic objects, also known as smart 3D objects. There is an increasing requirement for smarter simulated 3D objects that are attributed mathematically and/or from biological inputs. A systematic approach to plant simulation offers significant advantages to applications in agricultural research, particularly in simulating plant behaviour and the influences of external environmental factors. This approach of 3D plant object visualisation is primarily evident from the visualisation of plants using photographed billboarded images, to more advanced procedural models that come closer to simulating realistic virtual plants. However, few programs model physical reactions of plants to external factors and even fewer are able to grow plants based on mathematical and/or biological parameters. In this paper, we undertake an evaluation of plant-based object simulation programs currently available, with a focus upon the components and techniques involved in producing these objects. Through an analytical review process we consider the strengths and weaknesses of several program packages, the features and use of these programs and the possible opportunities in deploying these for creating smart 3D plant-based objects to support agricultural research and natural resource management. In creating smart 3D objects the model needs to be informed by both plant physiology and phenology. Expert knowledge will frame the parameters and procedures that will attribute the object and allow the simulation of dynamic virtual plants. Ultimately, biologically smart 3D virtual plants that react to changes within an environment could be an effective medium to visually represent landscapes and communicate land management scenarios and practices to planners and decision-makers.