L-systems: from the theory to visual models of plants

Przemyslaw Prusinkiewicz¹, Mark Hammel¹, Jim Hanan², and Radomir Mech¹

¹Department of Computer Science
University of Calgary
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4
e-mail: pwp|hammel|mech@cpsc.ucalgary.ca

²CSIRO - Cooperative Research Centre for Tropical Pest Management
Brisbane, Australia
e-mail: jim@ctpm.uq.oz.au


Recent advances in computer graphics have made it possible to visualize mathematical models of biological structures and processes with unprecedented realism. The resulting images, animations, and interactive systems are useful as research and educational tools in developmental biology and ecology. Prospective applications also include computer-assisted landscape architecture, design of new varieties of plants, and crop yield prediction. In this paper we revisit foundations of the applications of L-systems to the modeling of plants, and we illustrate them using recently developed sample models.

Keywords: L-system, fractal, plant, modeling, simulation, realistic image synthesis, emergence, artificial life.


Przemyslaw Prusinkiewicz, Mark Hammel, Jim Hanan, and Radomir Mech. L-systems: from the theory to visual models of plants. In M. T. Michalewicz, editor, Proceedings of the 2nd CSIRO Symposium on Computational Challanges in Life Sciences. CSIRO Publishing, 1996. To appear.

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