How to create, edit and use your own plant figures in LANDWorksCAD


How to create, edit and use your own plant figures in LANDWorksCAD


It is really quite simple to develop your own unique drawing styles using LANDWorksCAD. 

In this tutorial we explore ONE method of creating your own plant Figures(Blocks) ready for your presentation drawings. In this example we include Bitmaps(image files) as an infill for the plant and we explore the use of adding shadows as part of the style too. 

In this tutorial we have added a few extra steps to help you learn some additional commands that will assist you long term.

Procedures covered in this tutorial are

Creating Your Own NEW Plant Figure from an existing Figure

  1. Open an existing plant Figure file
  2. Check the plant Figure for correct Position, Size, Layer, Colour, Style, and Weight
  3. Save-as a New Name
  4. Edit or add a Bitmap Plane
  5. Check change and add items
  6. Save the plant Figure file

Assign the Figure to your database

  1. Assign your Figure to a Plant in the Database

Inserting your Plants

  1. Select and Insert your plant into the drawing
  2. Switch display modes

Creating Shadows

  1. Copy your plant Figures away from drawing
  2. Explode the copied Figures
  3. Delete unwanted entities to leave just planes
  4. Change Planes Layer, Colour and type
  5. Move shadow planes back into the drawing
  6. Arrange display order

Explore Layer Switching

  1. Switch various layers on and off
  2. Compare speed difference.

Step 1

Run LANDWorksCAD and select File>Open,  then select an existing plant Figure file (one that you like the shape of) from the …\Figures\Plants\… folder.

Step 2

Click somewhere inside your plant to check if there is a surface Plane there. Many of the plants supplied with the software already have a Plane on them but because the plane is white they can not immediately be seen. Some figures do not have any Planes in them.

Double click on the Plane to find out what Layer and what type of surface Plane it is.

If it was created correctly the Plane should be on Layer 600 and will probably be colour 254 (nearly white) by default with a 0.2 to 0.5 transparency value (20% – 50% transparent)

Do the same for the lines and you should find that the they are on a Layer other than 600.

Now measure the plant diameter; it should be about 1000mm. (You can roughly measure by drawing a line from one side to the other and check the length display of the line as you drag. You don’t have to actually finish drawing the line, we are just checking to make sure it’s about the right size.

Check too that the plant is positioned so that its centre is at x=0 y=0 (as shown above)

Step 3

Now use File>Save as… and save this with a New Name into the ..\Figures\Plants\.. folder.

Step 4

Set the current Layer to 600 and make sure the Plane type is set to Solid Fill. (You can use the Eyedropper Icon and pick the existing Plane to do this if you wish).

If the existing Plane is not the right shape, delete it and reinsert a new plane as desired.

For this example we are wanting a textured, bitmap fill pattern in the body of the plant, so now CHANGE the Options of this selected Plane to – Bitmap Fill… In this example we use Browse to select:-

C:\Users\Public\LANDWorksCAD-v5.90\Textures\Grass & Vegetation\Vegetation-5.jpg

Apply a 0.2 transparency (20%) for this particular tree as we will want to see partially through it when it is placed in the drawing.

Set a Bitmap Width of say 500 and Bitmap Height of 500 (mm) This will mean the bitmap will be repeated only twice in both the X and Y diection to fill the 1000mm diameter tree.

IMPORTANT: Set the Bimap Width and Height value to reflect the size it represents in your drawing in real life. Be really careful not to have a small value like 1 for the Bitmap Width and Height as this will cause the bitmap to be drawn 1000 time in both the X and Y direction (That’s 1000 x 1000 = 1,000,000 times) to fill a 1000mm diameter tree!. This will lead to the software taking so long to display the bitmap that you have to restart the software or take a vacation 🙂

Tip: By creating and using YOUR OWN bitmap images you will be able to truly have your own unique look and feel. You can create bitmaps by using software such as or PhotoShop or our easier-to-use PhotoImpact editing suite or even by drawing by hand with pencil or Pantone pens and scanning the image to a JPG file. There are also thousands to choose from on the web.

Step 5

If you like you can also add some seasonal detail to your plant such as flowers. Simply select a different Layer to place them on (suggest 602) and add the detail. Here we have added some simple orange Points to represent flowers in bloom.

If required, use the Arrange commands to make sure that the Plane is at the ‘back’ and does not obscure the other entities.

Check and change any aspects of this new plant such as line weight, style and colour until you are happy with the look of your new plant Figure. You can even do a check print to your printer to see how it will look when printed.

Step 6

File>Save your figure as it is now complete.

Remember: Make a separate backup of all your own created Figures and Bitmap files in a safe place other than on your machine in case your machine should ‘die’ or you upgrade your software and accidentally overwrite the contents of the folders.

Step 7

Next we need to assign this Figure to one of the plants in your Excel database. You can do this by opening Excel and editing the database file directly or by selecting the Insert Proposed Plant command and in the dialog tick/check the Edit option.

Select the plant to modify (or add a new plant) and click in the Detailed Figure checkbox square to browse for the new figure file and Open it. It will show up in the display window but will not show the bitmap.

Repeat this procedure for each of the plants you wish to use and then SAVE the DATABASE. If you are using a large database with hundreds and hundreds of plants such as the one supplied with LANDWorksCAD v5.9, saving will take a long time. Editing the Excel file directly is recommended in this case rather than though LANDWorksCAD itself. (If unsure, see section in Landworks Reference Manual on how to do this)

Let’s now insert the plant in our drawing. In this example we have use a combination of different types of surface planes to describe the ground areas. You can use bitmap plane but solid fill and traditional hatching can also be used.

Before we start inserting plants , make sure that you have Options>Figure set as follows:

Step 8

Use the Insert Proposed Plant commands to insert the new plant. Then copy it as desired in your drawing.

Step 9

If you have not updated your software you may find that the plant’s bitmap Plane does not display.

To resolve this simply select the Plant Display Switch icon and select to display the Basic Figure.

Then after it has displayed the basic figure repeat the command, only this time select the ‘Show Detail Figure’ option. The plants should regenerate themselves correctly displaying the bitmap planes in the figures.

Now let’s create some shadows:

Step 10

Select all the trees you wish to create shadows for and copy them to one side of your drawing. (You can use the Selection Mask tool if they are difficult to select).

Step 11

Now use the ‘Explode‘ command to explode the copied Figures into their original entities. Do not Group them.

Step 12

Use the Selection Mask to select everything in these copied trees except the Planes

Step 13

and press Delete to remove all the lines and points etc. You should be left with just the Planes and their boundary lines

Step 14

Select only the boundary lines and change them to be on Layer 605 (using the Layer Default/Change command)

Select the Planes and change them to Layer 603, Colour Black, Solid Fill, with 0.5 Transparency

Select and drag your shadow planes into position

Step 15

Now select the original Trees (not the shadows) and use the Arrange command to bring them to the Front, so they are not obscured by the shadows.

Because each shadow is an individual plane you can move them further away from the larger trees to indicate greater height.

Now use the Layer display Switch to switch off the Flowers we drew on Layer 602 and the lines around the edges of the shadows.


The use of transparency in your drawing will dramatically slow the refresh rate of your model on screen. This will affect Zooming and Panning and even selecting.

If you are using transparency then it may be a good idea to switch Planes off until absolutely necessary. In future versions we are looking at switching transparency on or off as you work to improve speed.

Tip: A good use of Layers will assist you in selecting the different items such as trees, shadows, edges, etc.

Tip: Do not over complicate your Plant figures when you create them as this too will affect the speed that the machine can display the entities on the screen.

Tip: Whilst the supplied plant figures are all set to be approximately 1000mm Dia, you can make them smaller or larger if you know they will be used for dramatically different sized plants. In this way they will display more accurately.