How to make leaves

I have a tree, i need to make a massive amount of leaves. How can this be done? It would take forever to make them individually. This is without python though…

Why not use dupliverts and ztransparent planes with alpha enabled textures? You could then have as many as you want, and if you use a few textures you could make different sets of dupliverts to get a more random, natural arrangement of leaves.

You could also use particles with billboards for falling leaves I suppose.

as above: smallest footprint would be straight planes with leaves as textures. If you really have a lot of them, don’t fall into the trap of one plane per leaf… have clumps to a plane. Often entire backgrounds are not more than a single matte painting, just like a stage set for theatre. Even when that background is animated (trees swaying in the wind) it’s often just a loop of a prerecorded render… really speeds up production.

good suggestions, Lancer, I learned something new as well!

Thanks for the information guys. I am not very experienced with blender so some of the those terms i did not know. I am also having trouble visualizing what you guys are trying to propose.


gives a pretty easy example to follow, just practice with simple planes.

If you need any help, pm me and I’ll see what I can do.

Hmm… i don’t know if it is just me but the link might be broken. It is bringing me to

Formatting on pasted links sometimes goes astray. You can right click and copy the link, past it and then remove the unneeded http://http:// from the beginning. Like I did here:

Ah ya i just typed it into the search bar and took out http and it worked. I did not realize that it was listed twice.

I read the tutorial. It is very nice except i am having a hard time visualizing how i can do this with leaves. I get the concept that i can duplicate them. I think my problem is that i don’t know how i want my tree to look like. I am not sure if i should just put leaves on the top or if i should put them around each branch.

You need to think through what look you want from the tree and how close you are going to get to it in your animation. For example, in many CG cartoons trees tend to just have big lumpy green cloud like shapes for the entire tree tops, they do not have individual leaves. However, if you want realism, you need individual leaves. Even then, if you are only going to see the tree far away, you can get away with an image plane or large clumps of leaves on a few planes (like Lancer) mentioned. If you are going to have the camera fly into the tree, you would need, branches and twigs with individual leaves on each twig,you would also need a render frame at that point :wink:

There are lots of free Tree generators out there, that can make very high poly trees with individual leaves. You could try one of them to see if it will fit your animation.

Thanks for the info. Ya, the animation is going to have a person walking about 3-10 feet near the tree. Although i will probably have numerous amounts of this tree in the animation. I am aiming for as real as possible.

What exactly is a tree generator though? Someone else s work being placed into mine? If so i am not sure if i want to do that. Most of this is just for learning experience and i don’t know if that will help me learn how to model a tree :p.

A tree generator means getting realistic about the fact that if you want people to admire the effort you put into animating, then you’re going to spend a lot of time animating. As a guide; a professional animator should be able to nut out ten to twenty seconds of quality animation per week… and that’s when they’re working on it full time every day.

Normally the tree generator is still your work in that you have to give it the texture leaves, and work on settings etc to get just the type of trees you are after. It’s just another tool among many you use when you make 3D.

If you were using Maya, you’d have Paint Effects which has a custom “make your own rules to create tree type” script. When I was studying Maya, a typical exercise would be to pick a random tree off the internet, pluck its properties into the random tree generator and try to make it spurt out variations of that tree.
Beyond study, once you’re in the film industry, there’s a whole 'nother team dedicated to environmental modeling… would you still say the scene was your own work?

I think you may be picking far too ambitions a project for someone not yet experienced per say. Don’t get me wrong here - I’m not saying don’t do it…

Actually, I want you to get this thing done, and just like you would like so that you have something you made on Blender you can be proud of.

I’m suggesting that you might want to prioritise on getting it blocked out and roughly animated before stopping for leaf technicalities. Have spheres on a stick for your tree, as a placeholder so you can work on getting your animation sorted. You’re not likely to finish otherwise.

Then when you have the animation working, you can plug a better tree into the scene and rerender as you need… YouTube the animation at this point for feedback and encouragement to keep you going. :yes:

Not sure if anyone knows of others, specificlly for trees, though you could look at IvyGenerator:

Good luck!!

Wasn’t there a scripted tree generator for Big Buck Bunny that they used to get the basis worked out and then add leaves? I thought it looked like a curved bevel object or something…

And I agree with Lancer on this, it depends on if you want to learn hard core modeling first or animation first. Either way, there’s plenty of work to do.

Thanks you guys, that helped me out a lot. I see what you mean though lancer. I will never get this project done if i just keep trying to make new things.

I am a pretty organized person, well strictly following the guidelines. So when i get things done i usually like to get them done in layers. For example, i will do all modeling first, texture, and then get into the animation. Although to me that might feel like the right thing to do, it probably is not in my situation.

I will start the animation and i will get back to you guys on that later. Thank you.

Here are three Tree generators that I came up with. The only one I have personally used is Arbaro. It does make nice, but very high poly trees. There is no crime in using a tree generator for your animation. I don’t think many people would hand model every tree in an animation. There is also a tree from curves script from BBB, you can search the Test forum here on BA for it. I seem to recall it being a little cumbersome for most people to figure out.