Alpha Trees - Render massive forests, fast

Welcome to the official Alpha Trees thread!

This is a tool for automating the process of making and using alpha mapped trees, which allows you to render massive forests of hundreds of thousands of particles in a fraction of the time and memory cost of using full 3D tree models.

You can get the addon here:



The general process for making these trees is shown in this great video by Zacharias Reinhardt:

Though I have made quite a few improvements and updated it for 2.8
For example, I split the models into a trunk and leaf layer and I also add a layer for masks:

This allows a lot of extra control in the materials and for winter/dead trees.
Overall, using the original method, it could take around 15-20 minutes to produce the maps for one tree, which this addon lowers to almost zero. It is only limited by render time, which usually takes around 30s to 3mins depending on settings.

How to use:

Check out the documentation to get an in-depth guide to all the features of Alpha Trees

Or watch this tutorial:



v2.0 - 15/01/22

  • Moved entire system to geometry nodes for Blender 3.0.
  • Added 133 new trees, increasing the total amount from 15 to 148!
  • Added a powerful system for controlling distribution using layers.
  • Icons now load instantly instead of taking up to 40s for the full library.
  • Icons are now also higher resolution.
  • Added tree search to make it easier to use large libraries.
  • Camera clipping and targeting is now fully automatic.
  • Completely rewrote the documentation.
  • Restructured the entire addon to be easier to develop.
  • Added ability to fade out trees when they get too close to the camera.
    See the release post for details

v1.3 - 28/03/21

  • Added LODs, which let you optimize your scene even more, by using lower quality trees further away from the camera.
  • Instead of freezing the screen when generating a tree, the addon now provides useful feedback about what stage of the process is being computed.
  • You can now track trees to the scene camera, which is useful with addons like RenderSet, which change the scene camera each frame.
  • Fixed a few bugs.
  • Laid the groundwork for changing to Geometry nodes.
  • Check out the release post for details and a demonstration.

v1.2 - 03/02/21

  • Added curve controls for weight maps, meaning that you can edit the distribution of trees in realtime!
  • Added camera clipping mask, which lets you even further optimise scenes by removing trees that are outside of the camera view.
  • Redesigned the UI for weight layers, making it much more intuitive and easy to use.
  • You can now copy whole trees between biomes.
  • Added multi import to particles.
  • Fixed a few bugs.
  • And even more! Check out the release post for a full list.

v1.1 - 19/01/21

  • New controls for height offset and width for particles. Makes it very easy to make bushes for example.
  • Added camera tracking for single trees.
  • You can now select materials for single trees, allowing them to share materials.
  • Improved material setting copying. You can now modify the tree materials without worrying about messing up the addon.
  • Improved tree icons to accurately reflect material settings. Improves readability drastically.
  • Plus way more! Check out the release post for a full list.

v1.0 - Initial release - 04/01/21



Hot Island by Hüseyin Demirtaş edited

If you want your artwork featured here, just reply to this post with a link to the image, and I’ll add it with credit and a link (To the reply or to another page for the artwork)!

If you have any questions, bugs or problems don’t hesitate to ask me on this thread

Alternatively, feel free to hop into the discord server and ask me directly (Just go to the #alpha-trees channel):

Hopefully, this can turn into something great! :grinning:


Update 0.2

  • Fixed a bunch of bugs
  • Added support for leaf opacity maps as well as diffuse
  • Cleaned up UI for easier use
  • Made operator titles more descriptive
  • Improved backend image search code (So now leaf images don’t have to have “diffuse” and “normal” in the title to be recognised)
  • Added addon preference for show extra operators in the UI (117.5 KB)


Thank you very much for sharing this cool helper. I haven’t tested it yet, but it will not work with a dot in the folder name :wink:

1 Like

Ah! Thanks once again!
note to self: don’t write titles in the middle of the night :smile:



thanks for the add-on.

I wanted to try it for trees a little more in the background, but it seems to interfere with Botaniq and plants their full 3D trees instead.
Still, I do need Botaniq for the foreground…

Does it also work with ModularTree out of the box?

Ah, I think I may not have explained fully what was meant by that plant tree operator.
At the moment this addon can only generate the maps needed, and then they need to be added to your scene manually with the material in the provide blend file.
The Plant Tree operator is simply for fast import of botaniq trees for use with the main part of the addon (I will rename it to be more clear)
I will be adding an importer for these maps very soon though, so check back soon and it should be a lot easier to add these trees to your scene
hope that helps :slight_smile:

1 Like

I haven’t tried it yet, but as long as the materials are set up as described in the first post, the actual tree object shouldn’t matter, and it should just work (please tell me the results though, in case I need to change something)

Yes thank you but unfortunately it does not run with 2.83. Is there a special reason for this?

Oh, I suppose It’s because I updated the bl_info to 2.90, though I didn’t realise that would stop it working in other versions, I’ll change it.

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No thats no problem. It must be something else.

Hmm, what’s the error message?

The open Renders folder works. These are the other two:

Ah, that error shows if there isn’t a camera in the scene for it to render with. Did you use the “Set Up Scene” operator before adding in the tree?
I would advise starting a new file and using that operator first, before adding in your tree.
In the next update, all of that will be done automatically, so you shouldn’t get the error and it will hopefully remove a layer of complication.
hope that fixes it!

1 Like

No, I followed your tutorial and there is already a camera in my startup.blend. But i will have a look at the update.

Ok, Ithink this should fix it (hopefully): (117.6 KB)

I haven’t manged to implement the scene set up automatically yet though, so you’ll still have to use the operator first.

1 Like

A short test gives me the following:

Linux does not read the double backslash \\ it uses /

Update 0.3 (136.0 KB)

  • Using the “Set Up Scene” operator is now no longer necessary when starting a new file
  • Changed code so Addon should work on all platforms
  • Added proper error messages to common problems
  • Fixed a few extra bugs

Thanks, @MarioPeper for pointing out the holes in the addon (Though I’m sure there are more), If the problem still persists, would you mind sharing the blend file so I could have a look? I think I’ve solved the problem, but I didn’t manage to replicate the error.

1 Like

Nope, unfortunately not. Here is the file after Execute All + error message. (2.0 MB)

Also a hint: It is better to save the files with the . blend file than in the addon folder.

Ooooh, so close! I forgot to update one of the files, but that download should work now :slight_smile:
also, I tried saving in the .blend folder, but that requires that the file be saved first which can be a bit of a pain, and also, having it all in one folder lets you build a library which, will hopefully be accessed by the addon in the future

1 Like