Randomizing shapekeys

Ok, so I was looking at a magnolia tree last night and had an idea for how to make realistic leaves in Blender without having to model more than one leaf. I don’t know how this would be accomplished, but I was thinking that if you created one leaf that looked perfect to you and then created 2 shape keys, one for bend along the length of the leaf and one for the bend along the width, that you could somehow randomize the influence of the shape keys when you used the leaf as a particle object. The effect I’m looking for would be no 2 leaves would be exactly alike, but they would all come from one single leaf object.

So I was thinking you could maybe use the parametric data or geometric data or something of the tree object to effect the shape keys, but this wouldn’t allow for any real randomization. I have a feeling it would leave your leaves looking oddly uniform.

Any ideas on how to accomplish this?

No one has any clues as to how to accomplish this?

I hope I’m wrong, but I think there is no way it can work, since every particle is a virtual instance of the one leaf.
The only way that I know is to make a group from several modified leaves and use it for random generating of particles.


no this doesnt work. you would have to some how take the key data and seperate it from the mesh and use it to influence the random emmision of your objects. this is not possible you can only use groups of objects that are different. you could however use the mesh and duplicate it a number of times and use the duplicated shapekeys to define randomness within the group. you could then use the groups combined shape keys to create a fluttering effect on your tree, keyframed randomly that would give you quite an illusion of total randomness add in some random rotation and size in the particles and you hahve something cool.

if you then also wight paint your particle emitter and apply the leaf mesh as several seperate particles based on the weight painting you could even get that windswept " mexican wave" type effect that you often see on trees (more often on grass stalks, but you get the idea)

Yeah that sounds very interesting. I didn’t think about it and I don’t often use hair particles for anything, but I bet there would be a way to use them and then just comb the damn leaves. Maybe I’ll just make a pine tree. lol

you could turn on hair dynamics and have a wind force field blow the leaves. or just have a force forcefield ainimated to move through the leaf mass. that could be interesting!