L System - is it worth revisiting?

Hi All,

I’ve been away for a while but have recently been thinking about the l-system tree generator script that I worked on for a while.

For those of you who have no idea what I’m on about, you can check out;
the original thread; http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?t=125966&highlight=lsystem
and the website; http://lsystem.liquidweb.co.nz/

This is a reprise of the fantastic script by JM Soler/Armagan Yavuz

Last point I was up to I had severly modified it so it had better arrangement for the controls, less errors, more options, and the ability to generate forests using a variety of trees, rather than just single trees.

For a preview of what I did (and a special reward for bothering to read this thread) you can download a beta of the forest build here;
(Please note that this is probably bug-ridden, and probably doesn’t work with Blender 2.5 - its a beta)

My question to you all is;

Should I bother doing more on it? Some people seem to think so, some think not - I want to know what you think.

Yes please! Love procedural generation of anything! I have used a number of tree/foliage generators, most of which have fizzled out or gone commercial. Add flowers, fruit shrubs, ground cover, creepers, climbers and leaves generated as textured meshes instead of alpha bitmaps. Good bracketed random generation would also great for populating scenes. Also inputting real world measurements or more obvious real world parameters (tree shape, branching styles etc.) or perhaps combining presets i.e. make one tree look a bit more like another.

To aeonsien: It’s worth it to me. Please do! I like Dorro’s suggestion of extending it to other types of plants.

To Dorro: Do you know about the Ivy Generator? I can’t say if its code will be adjusted (or needs to be) for it to properly export into Blender’s next, or current major upgrade version. I hope so, because it has been a fun and useful tool to enhance forests, gardens, and archetectural interiors (potted ivy). If you’re not familiar with it, here’s the link:

I’d vote a definite YES. Procedural generation is a fascinating topic, and can be a HUGE time saver, plus just ‘look’ better than what you do by hand. The concept was also then applied to a city generator, iirc. There’s all sorts of possibilities for this, but nothing would be achievable unless we have something to start with. But dont start until we reach something like 2.55 or so. I have been frustrated at too-early attempts with the 2.5 API.

How about a render-time/file size saving 2D option, as well?

My vote for yes. It really helps… So… YES PLEASE! : )

I would also like to vote yes.
thank you for your work on this great product!

hi aeonsien,
he he, you already know my feelings.
L-system is one of the most important scripts written for Blender.
Also one of the most underdeveloped for it’s power.
If it was not for great forward thinking people such as yourself, it would have been lost to the Blender Community a long time ago.
Any help you need, it’s available to you. I will be actively encouraging people to help you,
I’m very sure you will have many resources & people that are willing to support your efforts.
IRC up my friend. :wink:

Did you know Weta used L-system scripts for the trees/foliage in Avatar??
Man that annoyed me.

Absolutely yes! :slight_smile:

edit: and now that we’ve got the 2.5 you know what would make this great script even more great? everything animatable! and I already see the chance to change leaves with other meshes…

Wow…strange that this thread just popped up. It was only yesterday when I said to myself, “I need a tree”, I wonder if anybody ported that L-System script to 2.5. Did some research, found the old 2.4x script and then frowned and said, nope - guess I’ll have to do it in 2.4x then work with imports…sigh…

So, in short, my answer is absolutely yes! I love the L-Systems!

yes, and you should put up a poll, its easier for people to vote then

Definitely YES!.. Keep working on it :slight_smile:


any chance i can talk to you about this online? email/irc? my dissertation/thesis is based on generation techniques.

Wow. Great response :slight_smile: I’ll take that as a Yes :slight_smile:

Thanks for all the feedback and support, looks like this will be fun.

I’m in the process of getting a code repository setup so I can track all the relevant bits and pieces in one place - Blender Projects.

The first thing to do will be 2.5 support, apparently it doesn’t work in 2.5, I’m assuming his is because they finally depricated the old mesh objects. My previous experiments with the newer mesh handling was that it was extremely slow (in comparison) but if memory serves me right I actually refactored the code to test it so that should be easy to re-implement.

For all the suggestions and offers of support, my thanks :slight_smile: I will be collecting these up to add to the upcoming features lists.

For the future, who knows where this script will go - I will leave the scope fairly vague so it can grow organically and respond more easily to the needs and desires of it’s users.

Keep the suggestions rolling in :slight_smile:

I’m also interested to see what people have been using it for - I just wish it had been used to do the forests in Avatar :slight_smile: might have to chat to old PJ about that one… :slight_smile:

Absolutely YES please!! L-systems are SOOO incredibly useful, and not just for trees. I hadn’t tried forest generation scripts before, I’ll have to check that out. And the idea of making them animatable … =O awesome!!

Yes! And possibly a low poly version?


Weta, actually did use L-system algos for the forests.
not the Blender script, but a custom one, they built.

“A lot of our modeling techniques were procedural, so we wrote a tree building L-System type that allowed us to build lots of variations on trees, plants, and ground covers in a very efficient way. They came out essentially rigged so we could do dynamics and interactions.” The result was roughly 2000 variants on plants and trees for dressing the jungles on Pandora"

is the repo for script dev, i can help with anything you need.

cool stuff. What do I need to do to get a project in there? I think I submitted a request to the wrong place :slight_smile:

Well meta is in charge of it, so he can set you up easily

+1 for generated foliage (not just trees).

Suggestion: auto generated weight painted mesh, for physical sims. I just made a palm tree with cloth sim to get gently waving fronds, but found painting it efficiently very time consuming. I would think that based on mesh volume various elements could be easily weighted.

Agreement regarding instability of 2.5, other cool scripts are prone to development fatigue and make it hard to rely upon.