Plant Color Render
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Plant Color Render

Our Color Render tool swaps out the existing plant symbols in your planting plan for colorized symbols. It also colorizes your Shrub Areas and groundcovers.


This article provides instructions on how to colorize plants using the Color Render tool. For information on placing your color-rendered plants in your drawing, visit our Placing Color Rendered Plants documentation.


For important tips on setting up your printer or plotter to provide best results for a colorized planting plan, see our Plotting the Colorized Plan documentation.


Color Render is also available for Shrub Areas and Reference Note (RefNote) hatches.

New to Planting F/X? Request a trial.

Our Planting F/X plugin streamlines the landscape design process in AutoCAD by automating the most tedious tasks and running automatic calculations. Ready to find out how? Request a 30-day trial.

Important: Color Render and Drawing Performance

Color plant symbols can definitely have an impact on drawing size and performance – particularly if the color chosen for groundcovers or Shrub Areas includes a gradient.


Dealing with this issue can be as easy as freezing the color layers, or simply switching to the normal plant symbols by turning Color Render off when a drawing is performing slowly. We also recommend taking one of these measures prior to sending the drawing to others who will be working on it but don't need to see the color symbols. If you've already sent your colorized drawing to another professional, such as an engineer, who is having trouble with slow performance, you can advise him or her to either freeze or turn off the color layers.


Need help figuring out which layers to freeze or turn off? Color layers will always contain the letters COLR. For example, the plant color layers will start with the characters LP-COLR.




Color will always be more intensive for AutoCAD, as we will continue to push the bounds on the quality of product to be produced. As such, we never intended for a color plan to be routinely opened and worked on. We always intended it as a separate color rendering process for presentations.

Color Render Overview

Open the Color Render tool:


F/X Planting ribbon, Color Render flyout


F/X Planting ribbon, Color Render flyout





Planting toolbar


Planting toolbar

F/X Planting menu


F/X Planting menu, Color Render option



Plant Render toolbar


Plant Render toolbar




or type PlantColor in the Command line




When you select Color Render, the Plant Colorization dialog box will open. When first opened, this dialog box will contain a blank thumbnail area for each plant you've added to your project.



colour render

1. Use these checkboxes to include or exclude certain plant types. For example, if you only want to see your color symbols for trees, leave the Trees option checked and uncheck the rest of the options.


2. Plants you've placed in the drawing appear first in the list of thumbnails. Note that these thumbnail areas are blank until you select a color symbol for each plant.


3. You can also choose color symbols for Concept Design Group plants you've placed using the Concept Manager (example: DECIDUOUS).


4. An empty space separates the plants you've placed and those you've added but haven't placed. Note that the plants you haven't placed begin after this empty space.


5. Turn Color Render on or off.




After selecting all your color symbols, close the dialog box to apply Color Render to your plants.

Don't see any plant symbols in this dialog box, and you know you've added plants to your project? Solution >

Tree Symbols

Click a tree name in the Plant Colorization dialog box (example: Abutilon hybridum 'Albus').

Plant Colorization dialog box, clicking a tree name




Select Symbol dialog box

The Select Symbol dialog box will open.


You can now choose from several symbol categories to find the tree symbol you want.




Scroll down through the symbol library within the category you selected using the scroll bar on the right side of the dialog box.

Scrolling through the color symbol library




Tree Symbol Organization

Notice that the tree symbols are organized into groups of forms named with grouping numbers. These names start with TREE-COLR-, followed by a letter, a grouping number, and a final number. The symbol types are grouped by the letter that follows "TREE-COLR" in the following manner:


Tree symbols: Graphical


TREE-COLR-A: Graphical









Tree color symbols: Multi-color


TREE-COLR-B: Multi-color



Tree color symbols: Interior foliage


TREE-COLR-C: Interior foliage




Tree color symbols: Interior linework (detailed)


TREE-COLR-D: Interior linework (detailed)





Tree color symbols: Graphical

TREE-COLR-E: Interior linework (simple)

Tree color symbols: Simple







Tree color symbols: Simple multi-trunk


TREE-COLR-G: Simple multi-trunk



Tree color symbols: Evergreen/conifer


TREE-COLR-H: Evergreen/conifer




Tree color symbols: Palms



Selecting a Tree Symbol


After selecting a symbol category, select a color symbol within that category for the tree.


In our example, we'll select the TREE-COLR-E103-00 within the Generic category.

Selecting a tree color symbol




Select Color dialog box, tree color symbols

The Select Color dialog box will open.



Select a color for your tree symbol.



Several (but not all) tree symbols allow you to scroll down in the dialog box, using the scroll bar scroll bar shown to the left, to reveal even more options.



In our example, we'll select a light purple symbol – just because!




The tree form and color you selected will be added to your project to represent this tree, and you'll see it in the thumbnail images in the colorization listing of plants.

Form and color symbol assigned to tree

Shrub Symbols

Color Render works similarly for shrubs as it does for trees, but you'll choose from a library of shrub symbols.




Shrub Symbol Organization

As with the tree symbols, the shrub symbols are organized into groups of forms named with grouping numbers. These names start with SHRB-COLR-, followed by a letter, a grouping number, and a final number. The symbol types are grouped by the letter that follows "SHRB-COLR" in the following manner:


Shrub color symbols: Simple









Shrub color symbols: Simple (detailed)


SHRB-COLR-E: Simple (detailed)



Shrub color symbols: Evergreen


SHRB-COLR-J: Evergreen





Shrub color symbols: Interior foliage


SHRB-COLR-N: Interior foliage




Shrub color symbols: Flower




Shrub color symbols: Tropical


SHRB-COLR-W: Tropical




Shrub color symbols: Vines






Selecting a Shrub Symbol

As with trees, you'll select a shrub form and then its foliage color.



Click a shrub name in the Plant Colorization dialog box (example: Abronia fragrans).

Plant Colorization dialog box, shrubs




Select Symbol dialog box, shrub color symbols

The Select Symbol dialog box will open. As with trees, you can now select a symbol category for shrub symbols.


Select a symbol category, then scroll down through the symbol library using the scroll bar on the right side of the dialog box and select a form.


We'll select the Shrub-Flowering category, then the shrub form LAFX-SHRB-COLR-S105-00.




Then select a color.

Selecting a color




Color symbol assigned to shrub

The shrub will now have a color symbol assigned to it in the Plant Colorization dialog box.

Shrub Area & Groundcover Symbols

When using the Color Render tool on Shrub Areas and groundcovers, you'll select a color rather than a form. The system now applies the 2D or black-and-white hatch pattern as a texture.



We offer a variety of default color options for any groundcover, including tones ranging from greens to yellows, oranges, blues, and purples. Colors are now customizable through the use of our Site Color tool.



Select a Shrub Area or groundcover in the Plant Colorization dialog box (example: Eriogonum arborescens).

Plant Colorization dialog box. groundcovers and Shrub Areas




The Select Symbol dialog box will open. Click a color to assign it to the selected groundcover or Shrub Area. We'll select the color PCLR-E03, a lightish blue.


Select Symbol dialog box, groundcover colors


Don't see a color here that you want? You can add your own using our Site Color tool.




Color and texture assigned to groundcover

The color you selected will now fill the thumbnail preview pane above the groundcover or Shrub Area in the Plant Colorization dialog box.

Not seeing the step to select a texture or hatch pattern?

Note that groundcovers and Shrub Areas now use the 2D hatch pattern already assigned to the plant, and you no longer need to pick a texture when selecting a color.


Want to know why we made this choice? Or do you prefer to assign a different hatch pattern for a color groundcover or Shrub Area symbol? See our explanation and solution.

Color Render and Plant Outlines

Want to outline your colorized plants for more definition? Our Plant Outlines tool also works with color plant symbols!

Colorizing Only Part of a Plan

At times, you might find yourself wanting to keep your plant symbols colorized in one portion of your drawing but only show the plan symbols in another. You can turn off the color for selected symbols by completing the following steps.

Note that this process will not work with plants that are on frozen layers.


1. Turn Color Render OFF for the plan.


2. Create a layer named something like COLOR-EXCLUDE.


3. Using our Highlight Plant tool, select any plants you want to exclude from color (that is, just show as a normal plant symbol). Type S in the Command line to add the selected plant(s) to a Selection.


4. With the plant(s) still selected, type Prop in the Command line and press Enter to open the Properties panel.



Properties panel, layer information

5. In the Properties panel, use the Layer menu to select the COLOR-EXCLUDE layer you created.



The selected plant(s) will be moved to that layer.




6. Follow our instructions to freeze a layer, and freeze the Color-Exclude layer.



7. Run Color Render again. The plant(s) you moved to the new layer will not be colorized.

Save the Drawing

You should now save this colorized drawing with a different name from that of the planting plan.

Example of a Colorized Plan

Here's an example of what a planting plan might look like before and after you colorize it:



Before Colorization:


Planting plan before colorization, example



After Colorization:


Planting plan after colorization, example

Turning Color Render On and Off

Color Render is a great presentation tool, but you probably won't want to have colorization turned on all the time – not only because the color symbols can cause drawing performance to drag during production work, but because it can also result in some errors when left on.



To turn Color Render off, click the Turn Off Color button in the Plant Colorization dialog box.


Then, when you're ready to present, you can open the dialog box again and click On to turn colorized plants back on.

Turning color on and off

Including Colorized Plant Symbols in the Plant Schedule

You can include color plant symbols from either your main drawing or one of your Xrefs in your PLant Schedule. For instructions, see the Plant Schedules for a Colorized Plan section of our Plant Schedules documentation.

Customizing the Color Wheel for Planting Areas

You can now edit the color wheel assigned to planting areas within our Site Color tool, which will update the Color Books Color Render relies on.


For more information and instructions, see our documentation on Editing a color on an existing wheel, taking care to make your customizations to the Planting Areas wheel.

Site Color dialog box showing Planting Areas color wheel

Plotting Your Colorized Planting Plan

Time to plot? See our Plotting Your Colorized Drawing page.

Important: Do not use the built-in AutoCAD DWG-to-PDF utility to plot a colorized plan to PDF. Instead, use one of our recommended third-party PDF printers.

Get the Latest Plant Color Symbols

Having issues with your colorized plan? You might be working with outdated color symbols. If so, follow our steps to get the latest plant color symbols.

Adding Color to Site & Hardscape Blocks

Want to colorize your site blocks as well? We've begun adding color fills to many of our default blocks in the Plan Graphics and Elevation Graphics libraries. Our Site Color tool also allows you to add your own color fills to our blocks, as well as your own. For more information, see our Colorizing Site & Hardscape Blocks documentation.

Adding Color to Reference Note (RefNote) Hatches

We've engineered Color Render to work with Reference Notes (RefNote) hatches that you've placed using our Area/Volume RefNote tool. Color Render now colorizes these areas in the same way it colorizes a groundcover or Shrub Area hatch, retaining the hatch pattern and associated data. For further information and instructions, see our Add Color to RefNote Hatches documentation.

Related Webinars

  • Using Presentation Graphics: Get some "from-the-basics" looks at some of our presentation graphics tools, such as Plant Color Render, Site Color, and SketchUp Connection. Along the way, we'll also give you some more advanced tips for developing a great presentation. (58 min)
  • Getting Started with Planting F/X: We'll give you a full tour of our F/X Planting ribbon, covering everything from adding, placing, and labeling plants to error checking, scheduling, and turning on our quick render tools. (1 hr)


Issue: Problems with tree transparency – can't see through or below the trees


Issue: How to turn off one color plant symbol but leave the other symbols colorized


Issue: Missing File error when using Color Render


Issue: You used Color Render on a drawing, and it now has an overly large file size. You may be unable to plot your drawing as a result.


Issue: When using Color Render, you received the message "Automation error: Problem in loading application"


Issue: Some portions of your colorized planting plan are not plotting (printing) in color


Issue: You need the latest plant color symbols


Issue: Unable to see hatches or colorized plants in a 3D model (AutoCAD or Civil 3D)


Issue: Error: Bad argument type stringp nil


Issue: You are unable to call out or edit a Reference Note (RefNote) hatch you've colorized


Issue: You opened Color Render, and the Plant Colorization dialog box is blank and lists no plants. You might also have received a message from Land F/X asking you to check your Internet connection


Issue: Colors are displaying incorrectly in Model Space


Issue: You're not seeing the step to select a texture or hatch pattern when selecting a color for a groundcover or Shrub Area


Issue: You created custom color using our Site Color tool, but those colors are not showing up in the hatch selection dialog box for Color Render


Issue: You edited plants' information while Color Render was active, and noticed that one or more of your plant label leader lines are pointing to 0,0 instead of the plant(s) they are meant to call out


Issue: You was an "Invalid input" error when attempting to use Color Render, and the plants were unable to render in color


Issue: You customized solid color fills or gradients in the color wheels, but when you assign the color to a groundcover or Shrub Area, the preview in Plant Info is showing the wrong color

Last modified on Monday, 10 July 2023 16:57

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