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PlantStudio Kurtz-Fernhout Software
Developers of custom software and educational simulations.
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Product area
Help System
Quick Tour
How it works

Frequently asked questions

Main window

I dragged a plant out of the window! How do I get it back?
PlantStudio doesn't stop you from dragging out a plant out of view (maybe you want to). Select the plant in the list of plants, then use the keyboard shortcut to "nudge" the plant back into view -- hold down the Control key and press the arrow keys.

I can double-click on the plant's name in the list to rename it, but when I double-click on the plant itself, nothing happens. Why?
Double-clicking on the drawing of a plant doesn't do anything. It has to do with properly responding to your mouse movements in the drawing area.

Why doesn't anything happen when I drag the parameter sliders?
The parameter sliders don't update until you let go of the mouse button. You can also change values when a slider is focused by typing the arrow keys -- this gives you finer control.

I change the drawing speed, and the main window redrew, but then the hourglass cursor stayed around for a while and nothing seemed to be going on. What was happening?
You probably had plants in the breeder or time series window and they were redrawing also.

Why doesn't anything happen when I change color parameters?
3D objects have two colors: the front face and back face color. If you
change one of these colors and you can't see anything happening, change the other face color.

Why do my plants shrink when I animate them?
Depending on the parameters you have set, a plant can seem to shrink near the end of its life because it is allocating resources to reproductive parts you might not be able to see. See the section on
how plants grow for more information on this.

Plant Wizard

Is there any other way to make a new plant than to use the wizard?
Yes. You can make a plant just like the plant you made the last time you used the wizard (even if it was the last time you used PlantStudio). If you have never used the wizard before (or if you lost your settings file where the wizard information is stored), you will get a plant with the default wizard options.

Is there any way to see my wizard plant before I've finished answering the questions?
Yes. Click the last picture in the row of pictures at the bottom of the wizard -- the red stop light. You will see the last page of the wizard with your plant on it. Click any of the other pictures (or the Back or Next buttons) to return to the page you were on.


I dragged a plant from the main window to the breeder and it fell out of the drawing. What happened?
When you drag a plant from the main window drawing area to the breeder or time series window, you must use Control-Shift-drag instead of a regular drag so the plant doesn't move. Or you can drag from the plant list on the main window instead.

I dragged a plant from the main window (or time series window) to the breeder, but PlantStudio didn't breed the plant. Why not?
Dragging a plant from the main window to the breeder does NOT breed the plant. It replaces a plant in the breeder with a copy of the main window plant, and you can then breed from the plant in the breeder. To breed a plant from the main window, choose Breed from the Plant menu.

I was breeding plants, and they all disappeared. Now I'm getting all blank squares. What is going on?
There are a few possibilities. First, check the age of breeder plants in the box labeled % max age at the bottom of the breeder. If this age percentage is low, you might not be able to see plants that are growing very slowly. Set the age percent to 100% and see if you can see plants. If that doesn't work, it probably means that some parameters are so extreme that the plants can no longer draw, or are drawing so small you can't see them. Delete the plants you can't see (or breed over them) and try breeding from a plant you can see. If this continues to happen, try using a smaller amount of breeding variation.

Why am I getting all black plants in the breeder?
You are probably mutating colors, which means you've chosen the High variation option or you've turned on the "mutate and blend colors as numbers" option in the Custom breeding options. With high variation and color mutation, if your parent plants have dark colors the offspring can tend to black. But it's random, so don't worry, just keep breeding and some other colors should turn up.

Time series window

Can I select more than one plant in the time series window?
No. If you want to drag or copy all the plants to the main window, you have to drag or copy them one at a time.


Why do some of the windows blink so much when I am resizing them?
If you have the Microsoft Plus! package of enhancements to Windows 95/NT, you may have the option of showing window contents while you are resizing. Since PlantStudio draws complicated plants, this can cause the windows to look pretty jumpy when you resize a window. We recommend turning this option off. To do this, go to your Windows NT control panels and double-click on Display. Click the Plus! tab, then uncheck Show window contents while dragging. If you don't have a Plus! tab, you probably don't have this problem.

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Updated: March 10, 1999. Questions/comments on site to
Copyright © 1998, 1999 Paul D. Fernhout & Cynthia F. Kurtz.