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Best software for low-poly, stylized trees?

polycounter lvl 9
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FiftyTifty polycounter lvl 9
Now that I've got my texturing, modelling, weighting, animating, and sculpting software sorted out, I'm now looking for more specialized programs that can save large amounts of time. For working with the game engine, I'm starting with a simple object that incorporates a good bit of the workflow: trees.

The art style is toony, and going for low poly, low texture res, and very high object density (batched at the modelling level, rather than at engine level,  due to the renderer being very antiquated). Looked at various styles of trees, and there are two I'd like to go with.

The first where the twigs and leaves are on a double-sided quad, intersected with another (same technique in, e.g, Mordhau, Skyward Sword).

The second, is where the twigs and leaves are a single, larger texture, which is wrapped around a half-circle, giving the appearance of a canopy (e.g, Wind Waker, Rome: Total War, Neverwinter Nights).

I could make them manually, but it will get extremely tedious and tiresome very quickly, as I'll need to create a bunch of different trees, shrubs and plants, with different variations to stop everything looking the exact same. Same with animations for different strengths & directions of wind animations.

I've checked out Speedtree, which seems geared to more hi-poly trees, as it creates individual polys for the twigs, with the leaves being on a quad. Which isn't exactly great for keeping the polys as low as possible. Is there something I'm missing?

Replies

  • Mink
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    Mink polycounter lvl 5
    TreeIT is pretty good, will do most of what you want, but most tree programs are geared towards modeled out twigs. At a certain point you have to realized people don't make specialized software designed specifically to churn out low quality garbage low poly "stylized" versions of trees.
  • Eric Chadwick
    You can bend Speedtree to your will, by substituting the leaf meshes with your own branch-style textures, or even substituting them with the meshes from your 2nd example. 
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    give speedtree free trial a shot. You can use custom meshes and textures all you want. Get your tree setup then smash "random" to your hearts content.

    TreeIt is good and free but doesn't offer as much fine tune control.

    Not sure how low-poly you mean by low-poly, but if it's like the little triangles you see in phone games just make by hand. Will be fast and easy. Save out your branch configurations in groups, set your pivot to the center of the trunk, rotate and duplicate. Make a million variations in no time.

    Before you go crazy fussing over unique tree variations, toss them into a big salad the way they will be in game. You might find that you don't need so many variations at all. Simple rotation on the x and z plus some hue change can take you a long way.
  • FiftyTifty
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    FiftyTifty polycounter lvl 9
    give speedtree free trial a shot. You can use custom meshes and textures all you want. Get your tree setup then smash "random" to your hearts content.

    TreeIt is good and free but doesn't offer as much fine tune control.

    Not sure how low-poly you mean by low-poly, but if it's like the little triangles you see in phone games just make by hand. Will be fast and easy. Save out your branch configurations in groups, set your pivot to the center of the trunk, rotate and duplicate. Make a million variations in no time.

    Before you go crazy fussing over unique tree variations, toss them into a big salad the way they will be in game. You might find that you don't need so many variations at all. Simple rotation on the x and z plus some hue change can take you a long way.

    I'm not doing those wee stacked pyramids, rather, the trunk and branches are modelled, but the leaves and twigs are just two intersecting quads, each wrapped with a transparent image of the twigs and leaves. A medium sized branch would have up to 6 pairs or so of these intersecting quads.

    Basically looking to have something that allows me to render to a texture, with the program's generated tree having wind animations that look good enough with that design.
  • poopipe
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    poopipe grand marshal polycounter
    speedtree is pretty much the only thing that actually works

    which is why they haven't bothered updating it in a decade (v8 doesn't count, it's just 7 in a slightly newer dress)
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