E-on software has released a new version of their landscape modelling and visualization software vue. According to the offical feature list a number of key methods and technologies have been improved significantly. Amongst the features are ecosystem models, volumetric clouds, tree generation, global ilumination, etc.
A look inside their gallery shows some very detailed and realistic scenes, e.g. the Picture of the Day, Wednesday, December 10, 2008.
I have made some tests with an earlier Version in 2004 and I have to say that it was a lot of fun to work with vue. The main problem was to integrate GIS data and to create realisitc plant distributions. I wonder if this has changed by now, because the visual quality which can be achieved is very impressive.