Tree Roots

What is the best method for modeling tree roots? Now im doing it by hand which is proving fairly tedious for general shape and a lot more work for realism. I thought a flipped tree might work but sprout from one source. Maybe ivy but its to thin and tapering is fairly constant.
thanks in advance

start with a shape like this, for the base. then extrude up and with the new edge loop selected, hit smooth a few times. continue this process a few times, until your trunk has gone from splat shaped to semi-round. make sure to taper it a bit.


here’s an example:


Thanks however I was looking for something more complex, like this image, I can model it by hand but it will prove to be fairly tedious is there an easier process than modeling it by hand.

use the sculpt tools and do a high poly to low poly normals bake. just say if you don’t know what that is, and i or some one will explain.
(edit) you might also want to use the ivygen add-on

Haha, I don’t know what that is…also is there a way to thicken the ivy and increase the taper? so its not so even. Know what I mean?

I just meant to use ivy gen to put some ivy on the trunk. anyway, I would try to use sapling add-on for the branches, but for the base where the trunk is all knobbly, here is what I would do:
First make a simple model of the base, duplicate it, and move the original to an unseen layer to be dealt with later.
2) give the duplicate a multires modifier, and go into scuplt mode, and sculpt in some details.
3) go back to your original base, and do a UV unwrap on it. add a new image, and join your UV coords to that blank image. If you don’t know how to UV map yet, you will have to research this step.
4) now select both you trunk objects, first the detailed one, then the original one, and find the panel in the render buttons with the bake options. you want to just bake the normals. so toggle normals on in the bake buttons, and there is a place to enter distance. you will have to increase that value slightly.
5) press bake and your result will appear in the UV editor window. save the result, and apply it to your material as an RGB normals texture ( of type image ), and the original model will take on the surface qualities of the more detailed version.
(edit) I am thinking in 2.49 terms still, so sorry if the details are a bit skewed
(edit) sorry I should have also mentioned you want the option " tangeant " when baking normals in this way.

Thanks that’s good enough.

A good method is to start similarly to how Modron explained.

You first model the base shape of the tree you want to do.
http://i.imgur.com/UJ5xTs.jpg

Then you bring a copy of your tree shape into any sculpting application you may use, or Blender Sculpt Mode with using the multires modifier, you click Subdivide once , and you start sculpting roughly (as the level of polycount is not yet high enough for high details) the tree details, by example i just use the draw brush and draw lines with my mouse.
http://i.imgur.com/bdgnws.jpg

You click Subdivide once again to get to the multires level 2 and you sculpt them more, here just more lines drawn
http://i.imgur.com/tzHe4s.jpg

Again, bring the multires to level 3 and you’ll be able to detail even more, even more finer lines drawn.
http://i.imgur.com/75LdHs.jpg

Level 4 of the multires and sculpt more, always more lines that due to the higher amount of available faces are more detailled.
http://i.imgur.com/8qKmls.jpg

Then there i usually click on “Apply Shape”, so the original shape get modified to follow the sculpt result, by example, if i obtain this with using the grab brush :
http://i.imgur.com/9XS61s.jpg

The original model is still this (you can see it in Edit Mode and if you bring the multires level back to 0)
http://i.imgur.com/mGkjjs.jpg

And after the “Apply Shape”, it becomes
http://i.imgur.com/6KdIPs.jpg

But note that this last step is done only if i want to bake the sculpted details on the lowest poly version (so the base shape), if you don’t want to use the lowest poly version, no need to do that, just use the level 1 of the multires as the base for baking.

edit : oops, was too slow, Modron already explained

I made roots manually in the past. Lots of work! Problem with tree root is that complex root forms needs to come out from simple trunk. It’s a subdivision mesh flow problem.

Thinking of it as such, idea came to me. I tried subdividing base ring. That created basic fan shaped mesh flow. From subdivided edge I made several extrusions down with scaling up progressively. After this subdivision is done, I pulled root ridges out with proportional tool. Selecting valley portion of vertices at the bottom you can pull it down to form root form to be extruded outward. From there the root can be organic extruded out word from top view. Scale it down as you extrude it out:

http://i1135.photobucket.com/albums/m626/cabby24/Blender%20Pics%201012/tree_root.png

Most time consuming part of this was figuring out the workflow that worked the best. After that modeling went very quick.