Modeling a tree

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  11 November 2008
Modeling a tree

I've recently been getting back into modeling after a slow start. I've recently done a lot of solid stuff in Autodesk Inventor (which is like SolidWorks or ProE I think).

Anyways, I also have 3ds Max 8 and I was trying to make a tree in it but it is not working out at all. I've tried a few techniques but I can't seem to make anything that looks like a tree.

Can anyone give me some tips or links to good tutorials that show how to make a tree something like the one below? I would like to avoid having to buy plugins for this both because I don't have the money for them and I actually want to learn some new techniques for myself.
  11 November 2008
I once tried various methods to make trees, and I finally found a method. I found this one tutorial a while ago to make a high poly tree. Give it a try.

I made one using the image mapping method that it says. Here is mine.

It looks really good close up

Having multiple of these will seriously slow your machine down.

So I have been looking for methods to make a low poly tree like in video games, but I've found that low poly doesn't work well, because the CG lights interfere, and make everything look dumb.

I then stumbled across this site.

they are selling trees, but if you look on the page you'll see a quick sample of their leaf maps. just to give you an idea of how to make them. It also has some videos on the front page. Also if you click on samples, you can download 2 samples (don't use them though) (I only downloaded them to see how they made the trees)

I see that they modeled the tree leafless with some branches, but not going too crazy with detail. Then uv mapping une plane cut in half and bended to make a an upside down V shape with the textures on it (look at the textures from the front page to get an idea) then you copy and paste that UV'ed leaf cluster all over one branch, then select all those clusters, and copy and paste again. (This way to get it going faster than doing 1 at a time) then go in and turn some of them so they don't look repeated. (Make sure to set the pivot point in the beginning.)

Here's my trees using that method.

I can't really get the shading or lighting rignt.

I hope that helps.
  11 November 2008
Thanks for the reply! The tutorial looks like it will be very helpful... Before I've tried using splines and I was never able to make anything any good.

I'm also looking to put some of these trees into games so I will also have to try some low-poly techniques with the leaves too.
  11 November 2008
I'm actually putting together a tutorial on how I do my trees. I print screened all my steps. Now I just gotta put the tutorial together.
  01 January 2009
Thanks, its really simple and very helpful
  01 January 2009
man, i think i was using max3 back then hehe
  02 February 2009
Awesome tutorial, thx!
  05 May 2009
I've made some pretty realistic trees using a great tutorial:

This uses a bunch of open source applications. Some are amazingly helpful, such as ngplant which generates trees for you. It's confusing and there is virtually no help file for it but its extremely flexible and filled with options.

Edit: I wanted to add a comment about NGPlant. It may sound like a cheap shortcut for the unskilled being as it generates trees for you. However, without researching the type of tree you are trying to make and knowing its branching patterns/angles, leaf type/formations/density, etc etc. You will not be able to make a great looking tree using it.

If any one is interested in using NGPlant (its just insanely useful for tree/plant creation) and is having a hard time understanding what all the settings, ramps, curves, and root/branch/leaf levels do, let me know in a private message or in this post and ill take some screenshots of the user interface and explain the settings.


Last edited by CombineMind : 05 May 2009 at 11:36 PM.
  05 May 2009
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