Sapling Leaf Substitution

This is a question about the “Sapling” tree add-on. Is there a way to substitute other mesh objects for the planes used for leaves. The add-on works great for high-poly trees (over a million). But, I would like to create some low-poly trees, to be used in the background, in large numbers. Can bump-mapped spheres be substituted for the planes, to give the illusion of large clusters of leaves?

You can reduce the number of levels and leave the number of leaves to a minimum.

Since the leaves are a separate object and a single face, you can use duplifaces to propagate a sphere object around the tree mesh.

If the leaves are their own separate objects you can replace these leaf objects with another object with Ctrl+L / Link Object data. Select the leaf objects and lastly select the new object (so it is the active object). Each leaf object will then have the shape of the active object

Thanks for the tips. Unfortunately, neither Duplifaces nor Link Object Data worked. I tried both possible selection combinations, on both techniques. But, every time, I just ended up with another sphere—not spheres distributed as leaves.

I believe that I read somewhere, that the leaves are actually particles. But, I haven’t gotten to learning about particles, yet. Is there an answer somewhere in there?

Here’s a demo changing the shape of all the leaves to a sphere.
You need to separate the leaves to their own objects § then reset their origin to the centre of each leaf, then link the sphere to each leaf

Thanks Richard. I tried that method (though it took me a few minutes to figure out, as your tutorial moved far too fast). it worked great, except that all of the flattened spheres that I was using, came out horizontally aligned, and not randomly rotated, like the leaves. Did I miss a setting.

An alternative, perhaps a better method for what I want, would be to create rotated duplicates of the “leaves”, like the theoretical example in this image:

Two duplicates of a plane were made, and rotated around the axis of the “stem” (represented by the thin cylinder). With this method, I could map a flat image of a branch with leaves, onto each of the 3 planes. How can I do this though, with a whole tree of “leaves”, without moving the leaves out of position, or losing universal UV mapping capabilities.

you can attach a particle system to your leaves and uncheck ‘show emmitor’ in particle settings. check also ‘object’ under your particle display settings, to use an object ( like a leaf ) instead of a halo.

Actually, a very easy way to do this, suddenly dawned upon me. And, it worked! I simply used the “Solidify” modifier, to turn the planes into cubes. Those cubes could then be made into usable spheres, with a “Sub-Surf” modifier.

Even better, I found that I could duplicate the array of leaves, apply a positive “Solidify” to one copy, and a negative “Solidify” to the other. I was then able to join the two, with a boolean “union” modifier, so that the finished solid was symmetrical around the stem. “Sub-Surf” also worked on this.

And, in all of thees versions, the UV mapping is still valid. So now, I only need to crate a material, that makes the solid look like a branch full of leaves (at least, from a distance).