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How to create lowpoly trees with Blender 3D


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Hello!

I'm back with a quick tutorial on how to make lowpoly trees taking advantage of Blender's 3D add-on "sapling tree generator" in less than 10 minutes!

post-13528-0-93798200-1447595695_thumb.j

Here's a video tutorial from BlenderGuru with more in-depth information about how sapling add-on works:

http://www.blenderguru.com/tutorials/how-to-make-a-christmas-tree/#

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One of best tutorials for 0 A.D. Great job. Good job remind to extrude trunk below terrain (although dont need extrude that far). Mayb you can export example trees to game for us?

I'll be adding some trees, I'll search for the thread that has a biome roadmap with several trees that needed to be included in the game and make some.

Here's the list of trees needed in the game, under "gaia" section: http://wildfiregames.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=17730

Also, should trunks have a "chop point" where the tree will eventually be chopped and fall down?

This isn't a bad idea... basically making all trees to share the same skeleton with two simple bones, one for the trunk that will remain attached to the ground and the "top" bone that would be falling to the ground. They can share the same animation too. However, I'm not sure if it would be compatible with the "windy" material that the trees have as the wind effect. (and obviously, all trees should be fixed to this chopping animation)

Not sure how easy would be to select a chopped tree in the ground to task units to collect wood though.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Those dead ones are nice! The acacia's problem is probably the leaf texture. Look smudgy, :) I like the twigs coming out tho.

Indeed, I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, but my leaves texture with alpha transparency do not look as sharp as the branches textures already ingame :(

These are the acacias with a branch texture from the game, plus a new dead tree done with the tutorial technique:

post-13528-0-22755300-1448897602_thumb.j

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Are you sure your alpha textures use the full grayscale range? If those renders are in-game, this might also have something to do with the fact that alpha values below 0.5 ( out of 1 ) are scrapped iirc when rendering the basic non alpha-blended pass.

Compare your alpha and the alpha of in-game textures, the difference should be obvious

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Actually alpha blending (in blender) is quite similar (I don't know the specifics of alpha blending stuff in detail) but I think it has something to do with the DXT compression used with the "old" textures already in the game?

Not sure at all, and I don't even know how to save the textures using those different types of compression either.

Details and explanation is found here:

http://trac.wildfiregames.com/wiki/TextureFormat

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  • 3 months later...

The new oaks look pretty good in the game. I tweak some texture and put them on a autumnal version of Gallic Firld.

screenshot0640.thumb.png.9fcda6a045f0552

 

In general some of older trees still look better because of angle of branch geometry is all at 45 degrees (Carob trees are best example). This is ideal for game like 0 A.D. with it have RTS camera angle. Many of the new tree have branch planes at all angles so viewer get edge on views and stretched look at texture. Also, some texture need  reworked, for instance the Aleppo Pines, to fit the new geometry. Look like the etxture was not meant to go with this geometry (I know you worked with what you had tho). I would say the oaks are the success story and the others still need help. I might see what I  can do in Blender.

Edited by wowgetoffyourcellphone
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  • 2 years later...
5 minutes ago, Dorena said:

Thanks a lot for the great tutorial!

Where did you get your library of textures from? I don't find the kind of branch you used...

Most of the textures come from the game itself, though they are mostly in DDS format. Then the rest come from open source places like wikimedia.

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9 minutes ago, Dorena said:

which game is it? Is there a way I can get the branch texture without the game? if you are using pictures from wikimedia and use them for a game, how do you give appropriate credit or provide a link to the license?

Well ... 0 A.D. ? Yes you can use the source browser on trac.wildfiregames.com.

We release our art under the cc by saying 3.0 license and there are copies and links to that license in the source as well as the artists in our credits.json

So if

You give credits to Wildfire games.

You add a link or a copy of the license with your files you should be covered. Be careful though not all open source licenses are compatible.

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Hahah, ups, thanks a lot, yeah I came to this page via google "make a low poly tree in blender" and didn't realize that it's talking about a specific game :D (the name of the game 0 A.D wasn't really ringing a bell, but now I checked it out, really cool, used to play age of empires a lot!! and this looks so similar)

We are developing a VR education app, so I'll have to check how we could make that work...

Edited by Dorena
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When I first designed some of the trees for the game, I was getting into the files of other games and looking at how they did them to learn from that and find motivation to try to do something better.  Much of what low poly 3d work for games is how to make as good of an effect for as little resources as possible so that computationally the game can run in real time.

Here is an old screenshot with the trees in question, they have probably been improved upon and modified since back then but are still in the game.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genie_Engine#/media/File:Magna-Graecia-Redux-1600x1200.jpg

The exact texture is still in the game and shown in the tutorial above. 

As a modder I loved opening up a game's files and seeing how it all comes together. I had found motivation for the technique I used in 0ad actually from Battlefield 1942  which at the time looked quite good.  Exploring their game files I saw that their tree textures were all a single branch, repeated and scaled along planes of geometry similarly shown in the tutorial posted above. Prior to this trees in 3d games were like a spray paint "blob" of canopy leaves placed on a pyramid or octagon geometry like in Age of Mythology and Age of Empires 3. Our first trees in the game were of a similar style.

I went through a few iterations of the most generic "branch" i could make. I think the texture was  128x128 or something very small like that (today its common for game textures to be 4096x4096 pixels). I think we had a cap of 256x256 or 512x512for most textures in the game, so whatever I did would have to fit in that resolution, we were always trying to use as little pixels as possible, originally the game would have to run on a 64Mb graphics card as our minimum requirement. We'd actually lag out our computers if everything was 512x512. 

 Early versions you could tell a some aspect of a the branch repeats so anytime something stuck out I'd go back and remove it and make it more and more "generic"...the goal was to not have a spot on the texture stand out so much so that you could tell is the same texture repeating. This is also the same philosophy for ground textures, when it happens its painful to look at, so a certain uniformity is desired. It was a study in making something symmetrical, but different enough so that it looks organic. Too organic or too symmetrical and you can see the "tiling" effect when the texture repeats. Also important to me was to be able to see the individual leaves rather than a blurry smudge of canopy. 

I had also burnt in some shadowing and specular effect drawn by hand within photoshop in the texture (the shine at the tips of the leaves to mimick the sun hitting them, and a darker shadow in the body to ofcourse mimick shade cast from other leaves), It gives the branch clusters a sort of depth and volume. This was to mimick dynamic effects that our engine didn't have at the time. The effect was really good for the amount of resources used. (a single 128x128 texture file, or was it 64x64?)  Today you would have alpha maps and a specular channel doing this along with the shading from a game's engine to make the effect more dynamic, and use as much geometry as you want but back then in 2004 we didn't have that luxury.  When designing I also found less is more, or atleast if the poly count of the branch planes is really dense then you have to compensate by removing leaves from the texture used or it gets blurry and muddy looking because too much is going on, even though higher resolutions and more geometry was used.

 

Less is more. 

If you are designing trees today, you would want to break down the tree into its "element" branches, have a few versions of that, and build it up from there against a reference, then spin it around in your 3d  software and do it again, adjusting as needed so it looks good from all angles. I see Enrique has a pretty good understanding of  it and a good tutorial showcasing that style. 

Edited by Aeros
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On 11/29/2015 at 11:29 AM, Enrique said:

post-13528-0-81263900-1448825369_thumb.j

This is awesome :) I always intended to go back and do something like this, those first dead trees were quite crap and were just the same tree mesh but without the leaves geometry. I only comitted them because they were an extra art asset for almost no work. When I was working on this at the time we didn't have an art biome that those dead trees to fit in so it was back burnered to improve them. The result of your branch texture is really good, the only way to get it better is to give the trunks more geometry and curves IMO 

 

Edited by Aeros
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1 hour ago, Aeros said:

This is awesome :) I always intended to go back and do something like this, those first dead trees were quite crap and were just the same tree mesh but without the leaves geometry. I only comitted them because they were an extra art asset for almost no work. When I was working on this at the time we didn't have an art biome that those dead trees to fit in so it was back burnered to improve them. The result of your branch texture is really good, the only way to get it better is to give the trunks more geometry and curves IMO 

 

Not too late to go back your contributions are always welcome. Let me know if you want to go back or if you need anything else :)

Thanks for the feedback !

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1 hour ago, Aeros said:

This is awesome :) I always intended to go back and do something like this, those first dead trees were quite crap and were just the same tree mesh but without the leaves geometry. I only comitted them because they were an extra art asset for almost no work. When I was working on this at the time we didn't have an art biome that those dead trees to fit in so it was back burnered to improve them. The result of your branch texture is really good, the only way to get it better is to give the trunks more geometry and curves IMO 

 

Nice of you to hear from you again  btw you might look at 

 

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