Trouble with trees; roots & pine needles/leaves

I have been working on a scene with trees using the sapling addon, following the Blender Guru tutorial, and have not been able to achieve sufficient results, so have a few questions.

1 - Is there a way to create the roots in a realistic manner, instead of extruding each one in little segments? The scene has trees with roots partially above the ground, weaved kind of like a poorly sewn seam.

2 - When I use the above method and try to subdivide and smooth, the trunk and roots do not look like a seamless single object. If the mentioned method is what I must use, how can this be done?

3 - How do I put pine needles or leaves on only the proper end-branches?

4 - To be sure; I can cut out a paper leaf shape, scan it, and import it to make the leaves on a tree, correct?

Update; I managed to get more realistic-looking trees by weight painting the branches so as to leave a short distance of each main branch base without any needles/leaves. I also realized this part of the post belongs in the particles forum, so I will start a new thread there for this topic. I am unsure if question 4 is okay here or best for the materials and textures forum, if it needs to be moved say so and I will start a thread there for it. And I do not know if this is acceptable editing or if it is best put in a new post instead, again say if so.

I think the standard method for creating realistic roots for a generated tree, is to make them as a separate base object, then merging the two. this is how it was done for big buck bunny. I think the skin modifier, and sculpting tools would be handy to this end.

Thanks, will try that next chance I get.

I am still unsure how to turn a drawing into a mesh object. I saw in tutorials where they created leaves and other flat objects out of an outline drawn on paper, but they did not say how they did this. I made a drawing of a leaf on plain white paper, scanned it, and imported it using the add-on “import images as planes”. I had UV/image editor on the screen and the image did appear, but several times larger than the tiles, and I could not figure out how to scale it to fit like they show in the tutorials. Any idea how to do this?

you need an alpha channel. meaning transparent region. there are various ways to accomplish this, using blender, or photoshop, or gimp, or most any image editor. in order to have an alpha channel, you have to use format .PNG, or PSD. open your leaf image in photoshop ( or GIMP ), then use the wand select tool, to select the region around the leaf. clear that region. you should see the checkerboard background now that indicates a transparent region. clean up any remnants of the original background with the eraser, and save as .PNG. that should do it. If you have trouble, ask again, and i’ll explain how to do it with blender.

don’t know if you still need that advice but you asked how to put the needles and/or leaves on specific regions of your mesh.
It’s pretty simple, you just have to create a vertex group and increase the weight of your “leaf-regions”.
Step by step:

  • Properties Panel (right) -> “Data” (next to “Modifiers”) -> create a new vertex group (and name it, e.g. “Leaves” or stuff)
  • enter “Weight Paint Mode” and paint the regions you want to have your leaves on red (solid blue: 0 leaves, solid red: max. density)
  • add a new particle system -> hair -> under “Vertex Groups” “Density” select your (“Leaves” - )Group

Btw using weights of a vertex group is the proper (and only?) way to control the density of your hair/leaves/stuff, just define the density of your hair by painting the weight of your vertices.

best regards

Thanks for the info! I have been focused on modelling an animal and figuring out the fur, funny how some of what I have learned from that gave me the idea for trying weight painting for the leaves, and now that I see Harlehatschi’s post I know it will work.

Modron; I have heard & read about assigning/applying an alpha channel however have found no info on how to, but have not spent much time researching or experimenting. I will be going back to this part of my project soon so will see if I can figure it out or need to ask for more assistance. And thanks to a tutorial on Blenderdiplom (Dragon) I learned what I need for sculpting & joining the roots & tree, although your mention of the skin modifier has me wondering if that may be more efficient, especially for many trees & shrubs with extensive root systems.

instead of drawing a leaf why not scan a real one ?? [maybe not the best way for pine needles but great for all other leaves]
and don’t just do one! scan at least half a dozen load into particles as a group makes the tree look a lot better with random leafs

Sapling tree generator plugin. Already in master. Under curves add menu.
Select the branch, jump into dyntopo sculpting mode and do what you like.
Don’t need to go for really dense sculpting. No need at all.
If staying in blender, if cycles render engine, a simple box mapping of a texture will serve well.

heddheld; Unfortunately all I have here are leafless trees and snow, so a drawn outline is the best I can manage. Would have been nice so I had no materials or texturing to do!

michalis; I did say in my start post that I am using the Sapling addon, or is there another I am not aware of?
Two questions though; Is dyntopo sculpting just the fancy name for sculpting mode found in the tab with object/edit/weight paint? And I keep seeing box mapping mentioned in the forum but do not know what it is, enlighten me please?