Hey Guys, for the past month I’ve been working on and off on my latest project:
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.
My general plan for this addon is to ultimately make it a commercial product, but while it is still in development I will be making these early versions completely free.
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 30s - 5mins (depending on render settings).
How to use:
Import your tree model/models and make sure the origin is at the base of the trunk (the addon can currently only do one at a time, but this may change soon.)
Make sure that your tree model has 2 materials, One for the leaves and one for the bark, and that they contain the words “leaf” or “leaves” and “bark” or “trunk” respectively.
Change the settings to your liking in the addon panel (Though the defaults usually work the best) and…
Either go through the operators one by one or press the “execute all” button!
You can view the progress of the addon in the terminal and once it is done, use the “open render folder” operator to check the maps, they should look something like this:
This addon was tested mainly on trees from the botaniq tree library, and so trees from this pack should work perfectly out of the box (Something else I want to fix quickly), and if you have the addon installed, you can spawn trees from the addon panel
If you want a more in-depth guide to setting up the trees from scratch after creation, watch the part two video here:
some things that I want to implement eventually are (most important to least):
- Improved UI and User experience (tooltips)
- Automatic import and setup of trees
- Automatic setup for particle systems
- Support for seasons and advanced material effects
- Procedural animation of trees
If you have any questions, bugs or problems don’t hesitate to ask me on this thread
Hopefully, this can turn into something great!