Plant Shotgun
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Plant Shotgun

We've transformed placing plants into a quick, easy, and, dare we say, fun experience. You've undoubtedly spent countless hours arranging, copying, and spacing trees and shrubs into the endless variety of patterns called for by each of your projects' planting requirements. We're here to help. Introducing our Plant Shotgun feature – a valuable tool that takes much the tedium out of plant placement and arrangement. Plant Shotgun is a versatile interface that will forever change the way you place plants in your drawings.


We know that software can never replicate a designer's ability to place plants intricately and artistically throughout a site – an ability you've honed throughout your education and career. We designed Plant Shotgun to enhance the planting experience, allowing you to toggle effortlessly between numbers, patterns, and spacing arrangements of plant symbols in your drawings. It's not automatic design; it's just a quicker, easier method of placing multiple plants at a time that will minimize the time you spend copying, placing, rotating, and moving plants.

Note: Plant Shotgun will also work with Generic Plants and Concept Plants.

Plant Shotgun Overview

At its core, Plant Shotgun is a set of quick keyboard toggles that will have you flying through planting tasks that once required multiple clicks and commands.



To start using Plant Shotgun, place a plant from the Plant Manager.

Plant Manager, Place button




Plant appears in drawing

The plant will appear in your drawing, and the Command line will prompt: Position, [Keyboard commands].




Type K to view the keyboard commands available with Plant Shotgun. The Keyboard Commands dialog box will open (see image to the right).



Here, you can see the various keyboard commands you can now use while placing your plant.

Keyboard commands for Plant Shotgun




Available Keyboard Commands:

1 – 0: Select a number of plants to place (aka Shotgun Mode).

Type a number multiple times to view the various plant groups (patterns) available for that number of plants.


Q/E: Toggle to the previous/next plant of the selected type (shrubs or trees) in your plant palette (as listed in the Plant Manager).


T: Enter Paint Mode.


W/S: Space plants inward/outward.


A/D: Rotate plants 90 degrees to the left/right.


X: Set a crosshair angle for placing your plants (similar to Xhair Angle, or Snap Angle).


P/V/C: Copy along a polyline/line/arc

This dialog box is simply a guide for what each keyboard command does. Once you have the commands committed to memory, you can simply dive right in and begin using them when you first place the plant.

Read on for more detailed information on each of the keyboard commands.


The Plant Shotgun Keyboard Commands

Set a Number of Plants to Place: Type 1 Through 0 (aka Shotgun Mode)

The number keys allow you to select a number of plants to place. You can place between 1 and 10 plants at a time. (Typing 0 will place 10 plants.)

Number keys for plant spacing




You can toggle between numbers of plants on the fly by simply typing different numbers. Here's what happens when we start with one plant and then type 2, then 3, then 4, then 5:


Sequential space toggling

This example shows sequential toggling. However, you can toggle from any number to any other number: 1 to 8 to 7 to 4, and so on.

We designed these plant patterns to fit easily together for mass planting. You'll notice that as you rotate the plant groups and toggle between numbers, you can easily mix and match them to form a larger mass of plants.



Toggle Between Multiple Plant Groups (Patterns): Type a Number Multiple Times

Pressing the same number key multiple times will toggle through the various patterns that are available for placing that number of plants. For example, the sequence of images below shows the patterns available for placing 7 plants. If you type 7 multiple times, this is what you'll see:


Toggling between plant patterns


If you decide on a pattern but want to change the number of plants you are placing, Plant Shotgun will remember the basic pattern you selected. When you type a number key to select a different number of plants, you'll see the number of plants you selected, arranged in the last pattern you selected.



For example, here's what happens when we arrive on a pattern for 7 plants but then toggle to 8, then 9, then 6 plants:


Toggling from 7 plants to 8, then 9, then 6


Toggle to the Previous/Next Plant in the Plant Manager: Type Q/E

Type Q to toggle on the fly to the plant listed previously to the selected plant of the same type (including its data and symbol) in the Plant Manager. Type E to toggle to the next listed plant.

Q and E keys for toggling to the previous and next plant in the list



In the example below, we currently have the shrub Cichorium endivia selected. While placing that shrub in the drawing, typing Q will toggle to the shrub listed before it: Chrysopsis floridana. Typing E will toggle to the next listed shrub, Heteropogon contortus.


Toggling to next plant in list, example

Type Q or E multiple times to continue up or down the list of plants. In this way, you can continue placing different plants of the selected type on the fly without opening the Plant Manager.


Enter Paint Mode: Type T

Type T to enable Paint Mode, which allows you to "paint" your drawing manually with trees or shrubs. For more information, see our Paint Mode documentation.


T key for Paint Mode

Paint Mode currently only works with a single plant. If you have set a number of more than one plant to place, type 1 to return to a single plant. You can then type T to enter Paint Mode.


Wider/Smaller Plant Spacing (aka Shotgun Spacing): Type W/S

W and S keys for wider and smaller spacing



To give a wider spacing to a group of plants, type W.


Toggling to wider spacinf


To give a smaller spacing to a group of plants, type S.


Toggling to smaller spacing



Rotate Plants 90 Degrees to the Left/Right: Type A/D


A and D keys for rotating plants 90 degrees to the left or right



To rotate a group of plants 90 degrees to the left, type A.


Rotating a group of plants to the left



To rotate a group of plants 90 degrees to the right, type D.

Rotating a group of plants to the right




Set a Crosshair (Xhair) Angle for Placing your Plants: Type X

Shotgun Mode also includes the ability to turn on Xhair Angle, allowing you to snap your crosshairs to a custom angle for placing your plants.

X key for setting an Xhair angle

Once you set an angle, you can still type A or D to rotate your crosshairs and plant group 90 degrees to the right or left.


Type X to set an angle.



The Command line will prompt: Setting Xhair angle -- select entity, enter angle <0>, or click to specify.



You'll now have three choices:



Select entity: Click a line or polyline in your drawing to snap your crosshairs to its angle.


Click polyline to snap, example



Your crosshairs and the current group of plants will snap to that angle. Click to place your plants.


Crosshairs and plants snap to angle of polyline


Enter angle: Type an angle in the Command line, and press Enter. Your crosshairs and plants will snap to that angle.



In the example below, we'll type 45 for a 45-degree angle.


Typing in a 45-degree snap angle



To set the crosshairs back to 0 degrees, right-click or type 0.



Click to specify: Click within your drawing. Click a second point to specify an angle manually. The crosshairs and plants will snap to that angle.


Click two points to specify annle



Copy Plants Along a Line/Arc: Type V/C

V and C keys for copying plants along a line or arc



Type V to copy your plant along a line using the Copy Along Line tool.



Type C to copy your plant along an arc using the Copy Along Arc tool.



Copy Spacing dialog box

When you press either of these keys, the Copy Spacing dialog box will open. Enter a number for spacing between your plants, and select a fitting option (Best fit or exact).




Click OK to copy your plant along a line or arc (depending on which option you selected).




Copying Along a Line

If you typed V to copy along a line, the Command line will prompt you to set a Start point. Click a location where your line of plants will start. As you move the cursor from that point, a line of plants will follow it (see image below). Click to place the line of plants.


Copying plants along a line




Copying Along an Arc


If you typed C to copy along an arc, the Command line will prompt you to set a Start point. Click a location where your arc of plants will start.



The Command line will then prompt you to set an Arc midpoint. Click a location that will become the midpoint of the arc. Now, as you move the cursor, an arc of plants will follow it (see image below). Click to place the arc of plants.


Copying plants along an arc

For more information on copying plants along lines and arcs, see our Copy Along Line and Copy Along Arc documentation.

Related Webinars

  • 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)
  • Planting F/X for Beginners Part 2: In this second installment, we'll dive right into some of the tools you need to know about for the best experience and fastest workflow when starting with Land F/X planting plans, including our Plant Shotgun tools. (1 hr 3 min)
Last modified on Tuesday, 28 June 2022 09:06
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