SpeedTree Engine works primarily with a new file type called STE (SpeedTree Engine), introduced in SpeedTree Cinema 8.2. STE is a special variant of SPM, designed specifically for use with SpeedTree Engine. When STE files are exported, all possible textures the tree model might use are included, which is a different set than the SPM file uses. This different (and often much larger) texture set adds:
All of these can result in a good number of additional textures, but it’s necessary in order to capture the Cinema material definitions accurately. It ensures Cinema will work correctly with external applications and renderers.
Exporting is accessed from the “File” pulldown menu in Cinema, specifically “File → Export mesh…”. There are several different mesh types supported. Be sure to select (*.ste) from the options. Once selected, you'll have several options in the popup dialog, including:
SpeedTree Engine will read standard SPM files as well; however, there will be several issues with the materials:
SPMs are best used for rapid prototyping or when only geometry is needed.