Looking for veteran help in modelling trees


I’m using 3dsmax.

Hi peeps. I’m currently modelling trees. So far I’m leaning towards the direction of using a format similar to game development. But I was wondering how those of you who have modelled high-poly trees go about it. Is there an effective way of scattering leaves? Can particles somehow be used? I’m leaning towards modelling a branch and scattering, but I’m not sure that’s a a good solution.



i’d not want to spend much time making trees, when there are features and add ons that do it nicely. if you have to make them by hand, can you clarify your process? polygons? nurbs? polygon count? more information would help.


hi operativem. Well I’m making them because I want original meshs in my work. At the moment I’m not sure how realistic I’m going to go with these trees. But I felt that if I figured out a good, quick and efficient process then I’ll be set in the future when I want to whip up something quick. I making deciduous trees. I figure Coniferous are simple in comparison. Something native to the northern hemipshere. Poly count between 10000-15000 faces, unless something lower looks just as good. At the moment my process has been;

1 - model a 1000 face tree hull
2 - make a branch
3 - add planes to the branch
4 - scatter the branch on the hull
5 - collapse it and fix the scatter
6 - repeat with another branch

So far this is working fairly well. But it still needs a lot of improving. I think I need a more powerful scatter tool with more options.
And currently for some reason rendering up the leaves takes quite a while.



this may be of some help:
haven’t tried it yet, but heard it exports obj…


Ok this tutorial may help you…


Thanks guys.
@azazel - I’ll check it out.

@Sinok - This tutorial actually looks pretty helpful I’ll try the PArray out and hopefully it’ll speed up my render times.


If you have at least version 6, you just press a button and voila! Instant tree.

Actually you pick first the type of tree you want, fiddle with the parameters: leaf density and such, drop a few more and you have a forest (LOD feature in case you want thick Amazon rainforest without crazy viewport lag).


1 - I know a great script for 3dsmax (I’ve tried on gmax) : http://www.scriptspot.com/download.asp?ID=870&inf=1

2 - I do believe a sripted method to spread leaves would be fine. I’m using Maya, but it could be done in Max I hope. I mean, function to the branches (sub-trees mini-trees in fact) depth level, a script could spread more an more leaves over its surface. You should check out the last part of my article about geometry spreading http://ndhasusy.free.fr/temp/spreadArticle where I demonstrate how to use the geometryConstraint node to spread over a surafce. I the branches depth levels is explicit, a really simple script could do the trick.

3 - there is a tutorial explaining how to use shag fur plugin to do it really realistic.

  • Nico


Thanks guys.
@azazel - I’ll check it out.

@Sinok - This tutorial actually looks pretty helpful I’ll try the PArray out and hopefully it’ll speed up my render times.

so probably already solved but… everyone else is still suggesting so…
http://www.animationartist.com/2000/Tutorials/LWTrees/lwtrees.html might be of some use if you don’t want to pursue the plugin route, though trees are fractal by nature which means repeditive, which means algorithims, which suits itself to writing code to do your dirty work. This is of course a Lightwave tutorial but the method should apply well to most 3d modelers.


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