Mid Poly Trees

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  08 August 2008
Mid Poly Trees

I don't know wether to put this in the modeling section or the texturing section.

Anyways. For quite a while now, I have been struggling with how to make a realistic looking tree. I know how to do a high poly one where each leaf is an alpha mapped pollygon, and I build it in sort of a fractal way. The problem with this is that having multiple trees slows things down allot! Also, the fractal approach isn't very well suited for trees with character. More for generic trees. (which are kind of boring)

While playing video games, (Shadow of the collossus to be exact) play that game, and you'll really see character in the trees!. Anyways, after about an hour of standing on my hourse and trying to get a good camera angle, I see that those trees' branches are made up of 3 planes. 2 pointed diagnlally downward, and one pointed up. I can't really explain it. Anyways, uppon doing that approach, it just looked dumb. You can clearly see that they are planes.

Everytime I try to alpha entire branches it looks dumb.

Then I came across this website where you can buy a bunch of the exact kind of trees that I'm looking to make, and there was a free tree download to get you to want to buy the package (I downloaded it to study off of course)



Most of the tree itself is modeled with the main branches as well as a few smaller ones. but no really small branches at all.

the leaf texture map it came with had 3 small twigs each with 6 leafs each. (theres a different example on that link) the texture was on a 2 polygon plane with the middle segment pointed upward. there were about 1000 of those douple polygon things on the tree

Just as a test, I made my own tree, and one by one placed each of those polygon segments, and it was taking me forever! I can't see that being a productive way to do it.

Then today, I found this great piece of art


Scroll down and you will see a wireframe. That tree is made in some other way.

Basicly what I'm trying to ask is, What is the best way to make a good realistic tree? All the tutorials I see are so vague it's not even worth the bother to read sometimes.

If someone could give me a detailed description going over all aspects of it, including the texturing or even writeing a tutorial, that would be awsome! That is if someone has the spare time. I think that if someone were to make an in depth tutorial going over it all, they would probobly be the first person to do so.

Sorry for such a long post. I'm just tired of wasting countless hours and getting nowhere.
  08 August 2008

For high-poly branches with twigs and leaves I cut a small branch from a tree, scan it front and back, and trace splines over the resulting references to build the geometry, then make textures from them too. It works fine for a branch or two close to the camera but not practical for an entire tree. Last week I made some simple billboard trees for a distant forest but not detailed enough for your purpose.

You can download Arbaro at http://arbaro.sourceforge.net/ to generate trees.

Last edited by gregsandor : 08 August 2008 at 04:35 AM.
  08 August 2008
I just would like to say, if realism is what you are after then its a hard thing to achieve, its more than just modelling, its textures, shaders, renders, lighting, the whole enchilada. So if you have progressed in modelling, (There are so many tree generating softwares and scripts) try your textures and lighting and rendering. I am sure its achievable, it will also give you a rest on your focus on one area. Then return to your modelling and add more bits where you need them.

I have tried a lot of the software and alpha planes for trees & plants. There are some good ones. I like Xfrog, (because it goes into maya which i use). As for textures, i think Funkinawa has some good ones. There are also some tree stuff with Evermotions bundles.

Good Luck,
  08 August 2008
I posted a tree I made in the WIP stills section, if you would like to see it.

What I did was, I placed the leaves on one part of the branch, then I duplicated all those leaves and placed them on other branches, and I kept doing that.
  08 August 2008
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