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Color Render

Our Color Render tool creates a colorized plan of your design by swapping out your existing plant symbols 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.

Missing File Error

Did you receive a Missing File error when using Color Render? If so, you're likely working on an older Land F/X project with plants assigned to outdated color symbols. For details on addressing this issue, see our Missing File Error Knowledge Base article.

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





Planting toolbar

F/X Planting menu, Color Render option



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. 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.




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



3. 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.




4. 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').




The Select Symbol dialog box will open, offering a variety of tree forms you can select to represent your tree.




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




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-COLR-A: Graphical









TREE-COLR-B: Multi-color



TREE-COLR-C: Interior foliage




TREE-COLR-D: Interior linework (detailed)





TREE-COLR-E: Interior linework (simple)






TREE-COLR-G: Simple multi-trunk



TREE-COLR-H: Evergreen/conifer





Selecting a Tree Symbol


Select a color symbol to represent your tree.




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.

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:









SHRB-COLR-E: Simple (detailed)



SHRB-COLR-J: Evergreen





SHRB-COLR-N: Interior foliage






SHRB-COLR-W: Tropical








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).




The Select Symbol dialog box will open, offering a variety of shrub forms you can select to represent your shrub.




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 a tropical shrub form.




Then select a color.




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. If desired, you can also select a texture to go with that color.



We offer 42 color options for any groundcover. Back in 2015, we expanded the array of available colors from solely greens and yellows to a variety of tones ranging from greens to yellows, oranges, blues, and purples.



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




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 CGC-E02, a lightish blue.



Don't see a color here that you want? Note that these groundcover colors are hard-coded into the software. To request a new groundcover color, pick a color from the Truecolor index and send us your request via a tech support ticket.




You can now select a texture for the color you selected. We'll select the texture CGC-E02-18.

Note that the first option is for no texture.




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

These textures will be placed in your drawing on a layer named LK-PLNT-PATT-70TPY. This layer is set for 70% transparency, which provides a relatively subtle texture. One exception is the array of Sand hatches, which we've found to plot better at no transparency. This texture will be placed on the layer LK-PLNT-PATT-0TPY, which is set for 0% transparency.


Another exception is our Stipple pattern. Many of our clients like this pattern to represent their turf areas, but there is no method to substitute it into a pattern for a color. Our solution is to simply leave the existing Stipple hatch pattern in place when this pattern was originally used to represent a groundcover. If you have a Stipple pattern in the original drawing, simply select a color and no texture if you want that pattern to remain in the color-rendered version.




Stipple Patterns

In the following example, we've used our Stipple pattern to represent our turf in the planting plan. A stipple pattern has a gradient of sand dots to represent the plant, with more dense edges than center areas.






We'll select a fairly light green – CGC-A07 – as the color for the turf.





As soon as we make our selection, the color is added but we don't have the option to select a texture.



A stipple texture is assigned automatically.




When used on the original drawing, the Stipple texture will automatically carry over to the colorized plan.

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.



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:




After Colorization:


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.

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.

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, please 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, please see our Colorizing Site & Hardscape Blocks documentation page.

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, please see our Add Color to RefNote Hatches documentation page.

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

Last modified on Thursday, 27 August 2020 12:43

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