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Need help- How to go around with creating trees for unreal engine 4

Will just mentioned, reposted it here because I posted in the wrong category previously. Sorry for that.


So as the title suggests, I could use hand, tips and tricks, and overall best methods for making trees, and then rendering them inside unreal engine 4. Here on top theres a tree created inside treeit, imported into unreal engine 4. Trunk material is custom/modified megascans material, leaves material is created by me (texture was one of the provided).
As you can see, it doesn't look very impressive... looks hurrendous in fact. 


Heres a shot in the scene I want to use it (and after creating few other trees, use them as a forest in this little level I am working on). This is pretty much my first time making so many assets by myself, all models here are made by myself (megascans materials though, I hope thats considered as okay or acceptable). However, trees (or overall foliage) is a huge unknown to me. Thats why I need a help, how can I make trees look good?



Shot from treeit

So, since I don't wanna pay/pirate speed tree, I decided to use treeit (instead of modeling it by hand in blender which would only take more time, effort, and give off worse results). Every time I create a tree, that I have no clue how to improve on, it always looks odd (proportions maybe?). Looking at references or examples from other games don't really help me much, since I can't tell what exactly is wrong (apart from leaves). 

So, if anyone experienced could really help me out (since I am a novice in creating game foliage) that would help me greatly. The level am working on now is the first one where I made nearly everything (except textures) myself instead of using assets provided to me, and I want to learn and make it the best I can. If its a wrong board, please excuse me since I am not really experienced around here. Hope to get better at that too. Thank you, and have a nice day!

Replies

  • VValkyr
    Little update on my efforts with trees. Still not very happy with how it turns out. Especially leaves. What can I do?

  • Obscura
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    Obscura godlike master sticky
    Hi @VValkyr , the first and biggest issue is with the proportions. The leaves are half human size, and the truck is very thicc. Small branches are also completely missing. Compare it to some reference images and you'll immediately see what should it look like:


    Now yours:


    The trunk should decrease its thickness towards the top. almost linearly til it has zero thickness. Your one looks like its cut in half and then someone removed every branches except the thick ones.
    Even if you want to make the thin branches as a texture with an opacity map, the thick branches should be much longer

    Hope this helps.
  • VValkyr
    Hi @Obscura
    Yes, it does help one way or another :P I guess the thing I didn't mention however, is that I attempt to go for that "fantasy" feel, with a realistic approach to it. Since then I have done quite some progress (that I am not happy with however)



    Thats how my level is looking like currently. So far everything here (apart from textures which are from quixel) is made by me (which is a huge achievement for someone who used assets all his life). I have made progress on trees and foliage, but they, mainly leaves still look... odd to me. And I can't tell if they look alright now, or if theres something seriously wrong with them, I just can't get my head to pinpoint it. Also something about tree trunk rendering so black after lighting build, but lighting building comes later :P What would be your opinions/tips and recommendations in my current situation? Also, do they foliage gets a pass so far, or should I go back to the basic again? Thanks in advance 
  • Obscura
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    Obscura godlike master sticky
    A fantasy tree is a stylization of a real tree so in order to be able to make a proper fantasy tree, first you need to be able to make a decently looking real tree. Its the same with everything. You can't just slap "fantasy" sticker on things that don't look the way they should. Without knowing how to properly make a realalistic character, you would struggle creating the stylized / fantasy one. Proportions and details would be off which would make the end result looking off overall.


    These last ones are definitely an improvement though.
  • Obscura
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    Obscura godlike master sticky


    Sry for the poor quality, I know it kinda looks like kids drawing, but I believe it still shows the differences. While the proportion differences are not as extreme as on my drawing now, the structure is still similar to the left.
  • VValkyr
    @Obscura Yep, I get you 100%. You are right though, so thanks for helping out. I guess its wrong to slap a "fantasy" tag on something just to excuse poor knowledge or proportions. I guess now theres an improvement, theres one longer main trunk, and progressively smaller branches as the tree goes up. Guess my main issue right now are leaves, and the fact that they look kinda... weird. And I can't get my head to say whats wrong with em. Is it the amount of them perhaps? Or they're just fine now, I can't really tell. 

    Also, the drawing is fine, it visualizes what needs to be shown :) Made the new batch of trees with this in mind

  • Kligan
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    Kligan polycounter lvl 3
    If I may throw in my 5 cents... On every screenshot you've posted the shadows look WAY too dark. So the trunks appear almost completely black.
    Try adding Skylight to your scene to illuminate shaded areas. It could help to blend your scene together and maybe the trees will look a bit better.
    Also, I assume you are using subsurface for the foliage? If now, I'd suggest to look into it.
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