In this tutorial I’ll show how to completely make a tree 3d model for games using Blender and the Gimp. I guess the same things can be made in photoshop.
I assume you have at least basic knowledge of Blender. If you don’t, click here.
I strongly recommend using background images when modeling the trees! The results end up a lot better and more realistic!
First, let’s start with the textures:
Some images used here are copyrighted by Steve Baskauf:
You can use these images for most educational and personal purposes.
2. If you want to use the images commercially, contact the copyright owner.
3. If you use these images on the web, credit the copyright owner and link to the Bioimages site (http://bioimages.vanderbilt.edu/)
For the tree bark, make a 256x256 or 512x512 texture:
File->New->Set width and height to desired resolution->OK
Find a tree bark texture, could be using google images, watch out for copyright, or you could just go out and take a photo yourself, make sure you’re using the type of tree you want if you don’t want to make an hybrid tree, copy and paste it, use the grab tool to grab the image until you can only see the bark. If you can’t, look for a bigger image or scale yours to less. If the tree image is too big, you can have more parts of the bark by scaling it down.
When you’re done, go to Layer->Anchor Layer in the image window.
Next make this texture seamless. Go to filters->map->make seamless. This could have some undesired results… If it does feel free to post your image and I may tell you how to fix it.
Here’s mine (I got it from a website, using goole. I used the resyntesizer plugin and copied one side and flipped it horizontally):
Original Image (© 2002 Steve Baskauf)
Modified image (© 2002 Steve Baskauf)
Now, for the leaves.
This time create a 256x256 image, I don’t think you need a bigger one, this time we’ll use transparency:
File->New->Advanced Options->Fill with transparency->Set resolutin to 256->OK
Now, browse for or take a photo of a leave, and paste it on the GIMP. Take the erase tool and erase everything except the leave… it will be scaled down so don’t worry if you make some little mistakes.
I use this for the example (ALSO © 2002 Steve Baskauf)
Now when you’re done just copy, paste and scale the leave many times, until you fill the image. It should end up looking like this:(© 2002 Steve Baskauf)
Now let’s go with the modeling.
Just randomly, I picked the tree species Paulownia tomentosa (princess-tree)
If you want you can make flowers for it, if your game’s time is at summer…
The tree trunk:
Now fire up Blender, here’s the reference picture I’m using by Paul L. Redfearn, Jr.
Go to the top view if you aren’t there and add a circle. It can be 8 verticles. We’re making a lowpoly tree, DON’T use the default 32, it’s way too high poly.
Now go to the front view and Extrude (E) the thing up 10 units. Now go to wireframe view and select the lower verticles (B on your keyboard, box select). I teell you to go to wireframe view so you can see through the model and select the verticles you can’t see on solid view.
I know there’s a button that lets to see trough in solid view, but this is easier to explain to beginners.
Now extrude them down 1 unit. We’ll make the roots this way. Select half the verticles of both circles (B on your keyboard, box select) Extrude them to the right or the left, depending on which you selected. Select the end and scale it down and grab it down.
Do the same thing, but in quarters with the rest.
It should look like this:
Now that you know how to extrude, I believe you know how to create edges and faces using the F key. Just try to immitate this geometry for the branches:
That’s it! The basic model of the tree it’s done. Now we just need texturing and leaves.
Now we’ll apply a texture, and if you’re not using Blender materials (which makes the engine run faster), static shading.
In 2.46, enter edit mode with the tree selected, or face select mode before 2.46.
Select all faces, in 2.46 hit the U key and select “reset”. In 2.45 don’t do anything.
Now I assume you know how to make a new window and handle the UV image editor. Go open the image you created for the bark texture and apply it for the tree.
You may have to enter textured display mode to see it.
Now for the shading, go to vertex paint, in the edit buttons choose a black color and shade the tree so it looks like this. If you just add a vertex color it will bake lightning on it, but it normally looks too dark.
It now should look like this:
Now with the leaves. There are many ways to do this.
I’ll start with the halo faces, add a plane in top view, apply the leaves textures we made to it, and position it facing to the -X layer IN EDIT MODE, select it, go to the texture face menu, disable collision and enable halo.
Now go to object mode, select the leaves plane and duplicate it near the branches, try to use as few as possible and to make the model look like a tree.
Here’s the result, it can look a lot better.:
With more patience:
Now with the next method. First add a plane and use the knife tool to cut it on half, then extrude both sides, scale them to 0 and remove doubles, grab the 2 verticles on the middle and pull them up, it should look like this:
Now just get in top view, hit U and project from view (bounds), apply the texture, duplicate it around and in the branches. It might end up like this:
You might duplicate the leaves and rotate them by 90 degrees (Z) so it looks more volumetric.
Using a texture with more leaves would look better. It just looks okay when I just made it but when I come back it doesn’t look right.
When using background images: