View Full Version : Tree Generators

07-27-2004, 05:16 PM
I am looking at using 3d trees and shrubs in my Architectural Renderings (I use 2d clip maps amost exclusivly now) and I have a few questions:
1. How much of a rendering hit will you take by using high polygon 3d trees?
2. Would Radiosity be affected alot more than Raytracing?
3. What is the best tree generator in your opinion?
- Xfrog
- Onyx tree generator
- Pawel Olas's tree pugin
-Other tree generators.
4. What of the above products is easiest to use.
5. What program gives the most realistic results.

I am not asking for much am I?

Rob K
Liquid Light 3D Graphics Inc.

07-28-2004, 05:13 AM
Since I had these very same questions some time ago this is what can come up with:

if you clipmap the leaves and bake lighting in the illumination channel and use HD_Instance to make a lot of copies, the rendering hit mostly comes from the volumetric rendering from HD_Instance. If you don't have HD_Instance keep in mind that good trees are from 30K to 200K polys which means that swapping starts at about 2M polys on 1M RAM (I think).

XFrog is a tree MODELING program meaning that there is some learning curve to get really good looking trees. There are however a lot of tree libraries available/for sale but since all leaves are flat they are not very realistic. There are LW-plugins for XFrog 3.5 which make it possible to do good growth animation. Realistic wind animation is not easy and requires splitting up a tree in multiple parts...There also is XFrogTune which can drastically reduce complexity for distant trees, by a simple proces that deletes certain polygons and scales up others.

With Pavel Olas' TD you get better looking trees very easily. Here however it is very hard to get exactly the look you want: Making an Acer Platanoides for example is not that easy. There are some strange issues in the trunk wich make all trees a little Bonsai-like (curly roots, trunk and branches) but with a little postwork you can fix this. Growth animation is nearly impossible, wind animation is easy with help of weightmaps and procedural object deformation on leaves.

I don't know exactly about onyx in it's current form (once used TreeStorm4 in MAX) but: I think it's the best and easiest tree generator, supports pruning, comes with an awesome library, can be bought in 4 modules (broadleaf, bamboo, conifer and palm), etc. Drawback: animation in LW is only supported (for now) in the bamboo module by exporting object sequences.

There is also the Trees&Bolts plugin from Dynamic-Realities which is the most integrated one. There is a demo so you'd surely check it out. It supports animation and if you have a lot of spare time you could export short looping object sequences which you could tie to HD_Instance and there you have a whole forest of animated tree with very little impact on your resources. All above plugins support UV-mapping more or less extensively. UV-mapping in T&B is NOT directly supported but can done after freezing the tree (see tutorial on their site).

If you don't care about making/generating real-world trees you can start with some free or cheaper Tree-generators like Tree(d) (http://www.frecle.net/treed/),
TreeCage (http://perso.wanadoo.fr/dpont/plugins/TreeCage_Lscript.htm), HyperGrover (http://member.nifty.ne.jp/MASMAS/plugin/plug01.htm) or TreeGen (http://www.kolumbus.fi/erkki.halkka/modpak/TreeGen_frame.html) which is in Eki's ModPak.

Hope this helps !!!

07-28-2004, 08:08 AM

Thanks for your comments. I don't need them for animations (maybe in the future) since I only usually do Hi-Res stills. I don't know much about HD instance but again I don't do many forest (Lots of trees) type renderings it is usually 5 or 6 foreground trees and some backround trees to either side of the building.
I guess the best looking trees are my main interest. it sounds like the Onyx one might be the best for that. I will also invetigate your other suggestions.
Thanks for your help it is gretly appreciated.


07-30-2004, 07:43 AM
Of all the free ones I like TreeCage the most. It offers plenty of options. Maybe not as good as commercial tree generators, but in my opinion it is one of the best of the free ones.

I've never heard of onyx, I looked at their website. Looks great indeed, but the prices scared me away :) If you do not care much about price, go with onyx.
I tried xfrog in the past. Onyx looks like a better option.

08-02-2004, 03:57 PM
PovTree is cool

TreeDesigners still my favorite tho.


08-02-2004, 09:11 PM

TreeDesigners still my favorite tho.

Where do I find TreeDesigners to look at. I did a web search and came up with nothing


08-03-2004, 12:46 AM