Tree making fast technique?

134
polycounter lvl 10
Offline / Send Message
NAIMA polycounter lvl 10
Hello is there a fast tree making technique? so far I am making a cylinder then I extrude parts and move vertices arond , quite a long and tediouse work when I shoudl just have a base tree and eventually with a seed get the good variations , I know of natfx ,tried the demo and I dont like it .... I tried the demo of speedtree ok it creates stuff that requires speedtree to work so excluded and finally I tried treemaker demo , and makes stuff not at all like what I would like to , so I wonder if there is may be a workflow that could help me improve and make faster the production of severall tree shapes ...

Thanks for any help :) ...

Replies

  • Rhinokey
    Offline / Send Message
    Rhinokey polycounter lvl 11
    if you want it to look good then buckle in and make one,, a tree is art just like a character you will get back what you put into it.
  • Will Faucher
    Offline / Send Message
    Will Faucher polycounter lvl 9
    ^
    What Rhinokey said. There are a multitude of tree generators out there, and for my current environment, I used one. But I was *not* getting the results I wanted, so I started back from scratch and made it myself.

    If time is not an option however, it's like I said, there are a ton of programs out there. I started a thread about this a while back. Don't be afraid to use the search function! Some programs are free, some aren't. So go check them out and see which one suits your needs!
  • ZacD
    Online / Send Message
    ZacD interpolator
    Speedtree seems powerful, I'd try following some tutorials and seeing if you can get a hang of it.
  • PogoP
    Offline / Send Message
    PogoP polycounter lvl 9
    Not really sure about a fast way of modelling a tree, but I modelled my first ever tree the other day.

    I started with a spline, lofted a cylinder up the spline and then manually cut into the cylinder and extruded branches, and then further branches from them. It was time consuming, but I then had a decent base mesh to take into Mudbox. I then sculpted it, retopologized, and unwrapped it.

    Took about a day though so it's probably not what you're looking for. Just wanted to share a workflow idea with you.
  • Wells
    Offline / Send Message
    Wells polycounter lvl 14
    I always just use this

    maketreebutton.jpg

    I love being an environment artist!
  • PogoP
    Offline / Send Message
    PogoP polycounter lvl 9
    -Double post, sorry!
  • Mark Dygert
    3dsmax > Graphite modeling tools > Branch Extrude.
  • frubes
    We tend to use a lot of evermotion trees as a base but im working in VFX. The same principles still apply though. We have had lots fo requests for custom trees in scenes of late and we have found the easiest way is just to start from scratch. Tidying up a pre made high poly tree is immensely time consuming and either way you tend to have to respawn the leaves whatever you do so heres what we do:

    - grab all the ref you can
    - we then create a zsphere sketch in zbrush creating the form and bulk etc which is signed off
    - retopo and and unwrap the base mesh and begin your sculpting
    - then we use a particle system to spawn the leaves on the areas of the tree we want them to appear on.

    Simples! :) You could apply this same workflow adding in a bake after you have finished sculpting.
  • Eric Chadwick
    Sectaurs, is that standard in Max 2011, or a custom plugin?

    This is a good tut, for Maya but easily done in other apps too.
    http://www.andyzibits.com/tut_maya_low_poly.html
  • Wells
    Offline / Send Message
    Wells polycounter lvl 14
    Sorry Eric, no make-art button exists :[

    was just reiterating what rhinokey was saying - environment art is just like character art, you have to put the time in.

    guess i made it too nice looking!
  • TSM
  • Tom Ellis
    ZacD wrote: »
    Speedtree seems powerful, I'd try following some tutorials and seeing if you can get a hang of it.

    +1

    I literally just got into Speedtree for the first time the other day and it is actually pretty easy to get some great looking results.

    The version that comes with UDK is pretty well stocked in terms of the texture files included too so you should get some nice results pretty quickly.

    Check out these tuts, they're fairly short and to the point:

    [ame]


    Two benefits of using Speedtree if you plan to use your trees in UDK are that firstly, you can have them affected by wind so they sway (as much or as little as you want) in the wind, and you can also add them to a DecoLayer so you can place a lot with size/rotation variation very quickly.

    EDIT:

    I'm not sure if it's possible but you may be able to export the trees you create as OBJ's or similar so you can unwrap/texture using your own textures rather than Speedtree's.
  • Eric Chadwick
    Ian you biatch!

    Max has AEC Foliage but it's just too much mesh. And the leaves float too much anyhow.
  • Mark Dygert
    Ian you biatch!

    Max has AEC Foliage but it's just too much mesh. And the leaves float too much anyhow.
    There are tutorials in the 3dsmax help files to turn those trees into billboards. While its probably way too low poly for most games now it does make some nice branches. Just something else to think about.
  • Justin Meisse
    Offline / Send Message
    Justin Meisse polycounter lvl 14
    I'll have to see if speed tree actually works with the new UDK update (all my previous tries just crashed) but Speedtree always sticks out like a sore thumb to me, maybe it's just lazy artists using default settings.
  • Tom Ellis
    I'll have to see if speed tree actually works with the new UDK update (all my previous tries just crashed) but Speedtree always sticks out like a sore thumb to me, maybe it's just lazy artists using default settings.

    Are you running Windows 7? I had to replace a DLL to get Speedtree to work, previously it would just open and crash/lockup on opening.

    There's a thread with the DLL link here:

    http://forums.epicgames.com/showthread.php?t=705766&page=7

    Apparently it still isn't fixed with the latest UDK, but the DLL fix still works.



    I was always curious as to the quality of Speedtree but I was pleasantly surprised. I don't really see how you couldn't get unique looking trees, even with 2 minutes of effort tweaking the settings for tree components can change things drastically enough that you get some decent results.

    While making the stump/branches in a 3D package isn't much of a challenge, it's the placing of all the alpha planes that takes time I find. If you want a group of 10 or so tree variations to scatter around your scene, thats gonna take a long time compared to the matter of minutes in Speedtree.

    I guess it comes down to what your requirements are... a few trees which may be a focal point in a final image would benefit far more from being hand-modelled and textured individually but for a jungle or dense forest, I'd happily use Speedtree I think.
  • NAIMA
    Offline / Send Message
    NAIMA polycounter lvl 10
    Sectaurs wrote: »
    I always just use this

    maketreebutton.jpg

    I love being an environment artist!

    What is this?
  • Rhinokey
    Offline / Send Message
    Rhinokey polycounter lvl 11
    NAIMA wrote: »
    What is this?

    it was a joke,

    and why i see using tree generators could be beneficial, i would suggest not using shortcuts like that as a crutch, if you are slow or have trouble modeling trees, then you should practice at them. even if there is a program that shits out nice trees at the touch of a button, it never hurts to know how to do them from scratch
  • sprunghunt
    Offline / Send Message
    sprunghunt polycounter lvl 14
    You could also script a L-Systems generator (basically speedtree but custom made)

    Also the various painting systems like object painter really help with placing leaves and so on.

    I also don't get the obsession with each tree being unique. You can usually make a very good looking forest with only a few tree variants as long as you make them look different from different angles.
  • omid3098
    trees always are hardest models to create!
    I usually create trunk and basic branches using splines and then modify them to what I want to look like..
    so far my results was always really good! but for placing leaves it did not ever even looked like what I want them to be!
    I tried many ways..
    instance model painting
    placing them one by one!
    and the final way which I think should be the best way available is to use particle system.
    define leaves as particles, put them on trunk and branches(as particle source) and modify positions, direction, scale and ...
    as I told you this way is the best way I could find, but I didn't get my ideal results yet.. they are just better than my previous tries.. ;)

    sometime I will write a script to create lowpoly trees! (don't wait for it soon!)
  • NAIMA
    Offline / Send Message
    NAIMA polycounter lvl 10
    Here is a Tree I was trying to make , not sure how willlook ingame since Istill have to uvmap the trunk , the total polycount (tris) is 588

    Its for Crysis and I dunno if is too much lowpoly to look too skinny or not ....

    its handmodeled from base to leaves .... problem is I have to make tons of those and all different , and I was looking for a faster way that could help making the right shape ....

    what you think?

    treesample.jpg
  • sprunghunt
    Offline / Send Message
    sprunghunt polycounter lvl 14
    Rhinokey wrote: »
    it was a joke,

    and why i see using tree generators could be beneficial, i would suggest not using shortcuts like that as a crutch, if you are slow or have trouble modeling trees, then you should practice at them. even if there is a program that shits out nice trees at the touch of a button, it never hurts to know how to do them from scratch

    Have you seen the actual tree button in 3dsmax? they're under create>AEC extended>foilage

    they're very high poly though. And don't look that great.
  • Disaster
    Offline / Send Message
    Disaster polycounter lvl 9
    I've found that building trees from Z Spheres to be much faster than doing them in 3ds or Maya. Just my opinion though.
  • Jeremy Wright
    I've been interested in trying my hand at some trees. Do you texture the tree trunk with a tiling texture or is it unwrapped? I'm curious because it seems like the tree generators would have to use a tiling texture of some sort.
  • Eric Chadwick
    Tiling is best yes.

    The trick is in getting the flat foliage planes to light well. Bending/aligning the vertex normals helps a lot. Speedtree does a neato trick with dynamic vertex color, darkening the sprites relative to the light angle and distance from the center of the tree (or something like that).
  • NAIMA
    Offline / Send Message
    NAIMA polycounter lvl 10
    I haven't tried this yet but how about that workflow vcould work ?

    Create cilinder and a uvmap and texture it ....
    create severall splines and apply deform path to the cilinders and clones of it severall times
    taper a bit the cilinders and so u have severall branches
    If you preplace severall planes of leaves on each branch u have branches ready
    then I guess you can rearrange them in several positions and reorentations and deforminb the base central trunk u can have further shapes , then eventually merge the base of each branch in the trunk base model ...
  • Eric Chadwick
    Sounds time-consuming to me.

    I don't know if this still works, but it was really cool when I tried it awhile back.
    http://www.scriptspot.com/3ds-max/scripts/tree-maker
  • michi.be
    If you need quick trees go to my Vegetation Shop on pure3d.de and buy a pack. ;)

    But otherwise your tree looks nice and will look good in CryEngine.
  • NAIMA
  • NAIMA
    Offline / Send Message
    NAIMA polycounter lvl 10
    Sounds time-consuming to me.

    I don't know if this still works, but it was really cool when I tried it awhile back.
    http://www.scriptspot.com/3ds-max/scripts/tree-maker


    I tried that , but then it is a nightmere to texture ...
  • Eric Chadwick
    Yeah, the leaves aren't UV'd. The trunk is, but the connection UVs suck.

    Been playing with the Speedtree modeler that comes with UDK, it's pretty sweet. I can get a very nice tree very quickly by fiddling around with the settings. But... export is disabled unless I have a Speedtree license. Besides, I doubt that I could use the model in a different commercial product without a license. Would be cheating quite a bit, even if I used my own textures.
  • Eric Chadwick
    Found this earlier today, very weird workflow, but might be interesting to some.
    http://www.branches.ws
  • Eric Chadwick
    Been playing with that TreeMaker script, actually got some decent results once I figured it out.

    Also played around with a cool little script called Normal Thief. It projects vertex normals from one mesh to another (from the red mesh to my leaves). Super slow, like 1-2 seconds per vertex! But the results are really cool, as long as your game supports edited vertex normals.

    Pretty good, for totally free tools.

    Oh, and the tree is only 672 triangles!

    normalthief.jpg
  • NAIMA
    Offline / Send Message
    NAIMA polycounter lvl 10
    What is this normals thing ? Wha'ts the use for it?

    Here is instead my technique I am trying to use ... that way I can have pretextured fast one cylinder and just clone around getting severall branches shapes by using severall splines may be I can even preadd some bunches of leaves on it ....

    What you think of this tech ?

    pianta.jpg
  • Mark Dygert
    NAIMA wrote: »
    What is this normals thing ? Wha'ts the use for it?
    Lighting, it unified the normals and helps even out the lighting so not every plane is an island unto itself.
  • Eric Chadwick
    naima, the splines look like a good technique, just time-consuming.

    The tree I made is not a finished piece really, but the script looks like it could really automate a lot of the time-consuming parts. Under the good it uses a particle system to generate the leaves, pretty quick to edit. Just have to face-map them to get decent UVs.
  • NAIMA
    Offline / Send Message
    NAIMA polycounter lvl 10
    problem with that tech speed maker is that the trees have no uvlayout , I tried and it has a messed up uvmapping and as I see would be more timeconsuming to make uvs for all the branches than using the splines I guess...
  • NAIMA
    Offline / Send Message
    NAIMA polycounter lvl 10
    Vig wrote: »
    Lighting, it unified the normals and helps even out the lighting so not every plane is an island unto itself.
    I really don't understand whats the use of this stil , what's the difference in game if I dont use it? Would make a dfference in crysis ?
    How that works?
  • Eric Chadwick
    The tree trunks & branches do have UVs. The connections between the branches have UVs too, but they're kind of messed up. The leaves have no UVs, but if you use Special as the leaf type, you can add a UVW Map modifier and use Face Mapping.

    My image shows the difference between default vertex normals (left side trees) and edited vertex normals (right side trees). I like the lighting on the right side better. Not sure if Crysis supports this, actually I kind of doubt it. Some info here about their vegetation shading (section 16.2.1):
    http://http.developer.nvidia.com/GPUGems3/gpugems3_ch16.html
  • Ben Apuna
    Lots of great advice in this thread. I'm not sure if this was mentioned yet but tree[d] is a pretty nice solution for "trees in a hurry" as well.
  • Mark Dygert
  • Eric Chadwick
  • 3DRyan
    Offline / Send Message
    3DRyan polycounter lvl 8
    It may just be me, but I can't see game companies frowning too much upon trees made in programs like speedtree. Bethesda, Rockstar, and Epic all use them. Personally, I agree on the notion that you should have a couple "landmark" trees from scratch, and the rest can be speedtrees. I can't see how wasting your time making everything from scratch can have any kind of benefit. Unless you want to take a year or so to create an outdoor environment. That's just my two cents.
  • Eric Chadwick
    My point was you should not use Speedtree unless you have a license. If your studio does have a license, then certainly use it. I got great results very quickly, I think it's a great toolset if you know what you want (like turning off the sprite leaves).
  • NAIMA
    Offline / Send Message
    NAIMA polycounter lvl 10
    I still not understood much this normal changing thing can someone explain me in more detail how to use this and what take the normals from ? and how will look ingame if I turn around that tree?Like what has to be like the master object?
  • Eric Chadwick
    I'll upload the model later today, so you can tumble it in Max. What version of Max are you using?
  • Eric Chadwick
    OK, here's the model in Max 2010 format. Textures are from an older SpeedTree demo, so they're probably copyrighted.

    This technique would only work for a game engine that supports edited vertex normals. UDK doesn't as far as I know. CryEngine has their own foliage shading system, so it might not support custom vertex normals out of Max. Something to test I guess.

    TreeMakerScript_plus_NormalThiefScript.gif

    Hope this helps!
  • Joshua Stubbles
    Offline / Send Message
    Joshua Stubbles polycounter lvl 14
    Also Naima, the normals only matter if you're using dynamic lighting. In Forza 3, we had to run at 60fps, so we couldn't use dynamic lights on foliage or animated meshes for trees. Our foliage was all static, using either vertex coloring or explicit lightmaps.

    You seem to be using CryEngine so it shouldn't be an issue as Eric stated, but I thought I'd say it anyways, as you seem a bit confused on the matter.
  • Michael Knubben
    Eric: Thanks for posting some examples of this. I've been talking about this for ages, and the amount of times you see games where they just went 'Alright, this looks bad, let's just turn off lighting on trees altogether or almost entirely' is disheartening.
    Also, I'm really shocked about some of the big engines not supporting custom normals being exported. What the fuck?
  • Eric Chadwick
    Thanks Vassago for posting this, very good point about performance. Lighting has a cost, but getting framerate to a rock-steady 60Hz is a struggle for graphics-heavy games, so you have to make tradeoffs.

    np MightyPea. There's a lot you can do with vert normals, but like Vassago says sometimes it's a conscious decision to forego lighting altogether. Still, it helps to make the case for an artist feature I want, since a coder might not see the cost/benefit ratio for spending their time on implementing it.

    NAIMA if you want more info about it, lemme know.
134
Sign In or Register to comment.