3d tree's hot topic!

Community Forums/Developer Stations/3d tree's hot topic!

SabataRH(Posted 2004) [#1]
Due to all this recent talk about 3d trees and such I thought I'd offer a first look at Aliencodec's secret project ( which i suppose is no longer a secret ). We haven't been sitting idley by but rather for the past few month's have been creating a tree generation tool that far exceedes all it's predecessors. As the project is still in early alpha design I won't reveal the feature-list at this time but rest assured it's packed with every imaginable tool and filter to allow for some gorgeous 'on the fly' tree generation.. Our goal for TreeScape is to reach a broader audience by suppling internal export options for most popular model formats. We still plan to support B3d exports to the fullest though, including boned/animation tree exports..

Wiebo(Posted 2004) [#2]
nice! Bit green though =]

SabataRH(Posted 2004) [#3]
Yah very green, theres 5 choices for GUI color setup also I may be working with halo regarding a true windows API via purebasic... The one shown is WinTheme Xbox.

CyberHeater(Posted 2004) [#4]
Is that the Xbox skin then...

Falelorn(Posted 2004) [#5]

ashmantle(Posted 2004) [#6]
Looks very interesting indeed. I like the approach on tree creation.

Picklesworth(Posted 2004) [#7]
that sounds good :D

Skitchy(Posted 2004) [#8]
Eeeexcelent Smithers :)

SabataRH(Posted 2004) [#9]
Did some rework to the GUI today and added a host of configurable GUI options including 6 theme presets... Btw this is using BCF3.0 modified only slightly.

Bremer(Posted 2004) [#10]
Those colors are much better if you ask me :)

Filax(Posted 2004) [#11]
Good BCF 3.0 using :) nice work !!!

Rob Farley(Posted 2004) [#12]
How to Recognise Trees From Quite Far Away...

Picture Number One. The Larch...

The Larch

sswift(Posted 2004) [#13]
I was working on a tree creation program like this several weeks ago, but I didn't get nearly this far. Hell I didn't even start with any interface stuff. I was just in the design phase and creating functions to generate limbs. It somehow morphed into the foliage system I now have rather than something to generate trees with. Ah well.

Looks good!

Btw, it's "growth" not "groweth". :-)

SabataRH(Posted 2004) [#14]
Alot done over the last few days! But before I begin the ever-challenging task of plane deforming for leaf sections I thought I'd post a new look at TreeScape in it's current state. This is a shot of a tree made in 5 clicks on Med-Poly settings. It uses reverse-contort filter to prdouce a dead-like look.

Skitchy(Posted 2004) [#15]
That looks DAAAAAAMN good :) I don't recall having seen a low-poly tree that nice in *ANY* AAA game. How many polys is it (I'll guess about 250)?

Also, is that a custom GUI system? Looks smart.

SabataRH(Posted 2004) [#16]
That paticular screenshot tree is 387 polys but thats medium LOD... it goes alot less then that with the lower poly exports..

SabataRH(Posted 2004) [#17]
And a look at the UV controls, as they offer all that's needed for precise trunk skin placement.

wmaass(Posted 2004) [#18]

SabataRH(Posted 2004) [#19]
Thanks wmaass..

Tranz fnished the skeleton layout/design today and I was able to get them in the code for some quick testing.. This is my results so far but bare in my im only laying out the entire application first - then I'm going back over for tweaks and enhancments.

ashmantle(Posted 2004) [#20]
This is a must-buy!

RifRaf(Posted 2004) [#21]
well i would agree about the must buy thing except that.. it seems every time Alienhead announces a new tree program.. a few months later he makes another one.. so perhaps ill wait a few months for the pro version :)

SabataRH(Posted 2004) [#22]
The new modular design allows me to add/remove/change or do anything i want to the application without having to rewrite it. There will be no Pro version and all updates to Treescape will be free for as many versions as I release. I will also be releasing a free 'blitztree export only' version to all Blitztree owners - It'll only export Blitztree .btr files but if you own blitztree then that's all you really need.

ashmantle(Posted 2004) [#23]
Lets just say that Alienhead has evolved with every incarnation of his trees ^^

sswift(Posted 2004) [#24]
Your latest trees are very pretty. However I have a few suggestions:

On the first tree, the base of the trunk is much too wide. Looking at how the two branches come down to the trunk, the trunk should be much narrower. Half as wide at least.

The second level of branches after the first two main branches off the trunk also seem abnormally thick. I might make the radius of those 1/3 less.

And lastly, the leaves on that second tree are afully huge near the bottom. It's clear you're changing the size of those quads from the top to the bottom of the tree. But trees aren't built like that. The leaves over the whole tree are the same size in general. Maybe they are a LITTLE smaller near the top where they're younger, but nothing like the difference you have there.

Eole(Posted 2004) [#25]
You make nice modifications of the BCF 3.0 :-)

Good work

SabataRH(Posted 2004) [#26]
Thanks for the comments...

Good points Sswift, I'll alter the quads to better handle the height scaling. Also the fov is probably playing with the depth reception and size of those quads.. but none the less it'll get tweaked considerably before released.. these tree shots are actually some of the first ones I made with Ts. Heres a tree generated after tweaking some of the lower branch settings and better balencing the default values. This tree was randomly generated off the load-up values.

sswift(Posted 2004) [#27]
The tree looks better propotion-wise but the grey background and interface made the tree in the other one look more nicely textured.

SabataRH(Posted 2004) [#28]
Okay spent the weekend getting all the trunk textures to tile properly. Also designed the leaf chunks diffrently. They now contain more detail and look just as good masked as they do alpahed. Also worked out a method to even further reduce tree polycount... these trees should all be around 200-350 polys now ( hi LOD mode) and as low as 36-108 polys in Low LOD mode ( all dependant on slider settings).. Also all leaf skins are now 256x256 no more odd numbering or large skins. more later !

Red Ocktober(Posted 2004) [#29]
you guys wanna talk trees....


I can't heAR YOU...



now hold onto a thick branch, and check out the price of this tree maker's license... :)


Skitchy(Posted 2004) [#30]
$6000 - need I say more.


Billboards. :)

$6000 for billboards.

Thanks for the link though Red - interesting read.

SabataRH(Posted 2004) [#31]
Whats so new about that? The Speedtree apraoch has been around for a long time. As matter of fact my Blitztree system uses the speedtree approach of panning quads to face the camera. Ive played DAOC, which now uses speedtree, and I was actually shocked as I thought my Blitz trees were far suprior in looks and used about 1/10 the quads/polys that speedtree used.

Anwyays, I'm moving away from the rotating quad approach and into the true 3d stuff now as my new editor actualy molds tree leaf planes to limb / branch and twig connections. Results are great as the tree uses far far less polys and the leaf skin dosent have to be 1024x1024(speedtree) to look decent.

Don't get me wrong, i love the speedtree approach and i think their stuff looks awesome, so awesome that it inspired me to make blitztree. But times change and other than DAOC and a few other low-end game releases the industry never picked up on Speedtree as I've yet to see it in use outside those titles :(

[edit] oh I forgot to mention, Treescape won't cost $6000.00, lol. [/edit]

Red Ocktober(Posted 2004) [#32]
Skitch... maybe just a bit more than billboards, i wouldn't dismiss it so quickly...

... but the price is definitely outta my range.

just thought it might be interesting to the tree people here seeing as all these trees popping up all around...

Alien... you got any shots of your stuff that even comes close to the one they posted... and keep in mind, that's almost a whole forest you're lookin at...

awesome... yeah, awesome is an understatement...

now i know yours is still a wip, and not really ready to show...

but if you can come up with something half as pretty, and just as fast, then your doin good...


SabataRH(Posted 2004) [#33]
I'm not in competition with speedtree nor do I want to be. They are on a commercial-license setup and as such they have a wider budget to deliever more dynamic media. But ask yourself a question, other than the handful of pro-game compaines that would actually consider using speedtree - how many have? The field for game devleopment belongs to the indie coders as they make up the bulk of the industry. I'm sure Im not the only one that occasionally has more fun making a game than actually playing one knowing good and well the game will probably never see the light of day. With that in mind tools for the indie is the right choice, maybe not as high and rich in detail but affordable to the occasional game maker, this is my focus. You can try and wage a comparison war between my stuff and speedtree's stuff all you like. In the end I win as I have a larger market, aless-costly product and it still produces results compariable to the bigboys. As far as screenshots and what-not, i've posted many times the ability of blitztree pushing 1000's of quads to create a forest, further more several demos lay on my website.

maybe just a bit more than billboards

They are billboards pure and simple, they have a solid 3d trunk and spaceish' limbs.. nothing more.

Red Ocktober(Posted 2004) [#34]
what are you getting so defensive about...

and you are the one that started making the comparisons...

i just put up the link as a point of interest for those making apps similar, and those interested in licensing apps like these...

... not as a threat to your project.

for gods sake take a chill pill.


SabataRH(Posted 2004) [#35]
Nothing defensive about my post.. If you see defense in it than I appologize. The screenshot you posted is very good and is of interest to all 3d devers needing trees. It's a good sounding board to gauge other products against and I have long since been a fan of speedtree..

Red Ocktober(Posted 2004) [#36]
no need to apologize to me... i don't have anything to do with SpeedTree...

i aint makin' a penny from it...

just thought that it might interest some of the tree crowd...


wmaass(Posted 2004) [#37]

Sorry if its been asked but will the trees work with BlitzTree?

SabataRH(Posted 2004) [#38]
After releasing treescape I plan to rip out some of the code and insert a 'blitztree only' save/export option. I will then release this as a free addon-editor for blitztree users.. Should have it finished a few weeks after treescapes launch.

SabataRH(Posted 2004) [#39]
Okay not quite as glamourous as Speedtree but it dosn't cost 6k either.. This tree is low poly - using 2 surfaces and 2 skins both 256x256.

JoshK(Posted 2004) [#40]
You should make your leaf sprites facing horizontal instead of vertical.

Your branches would also look better if they were straight, instead of flopping downwards.

SabataRH(Posted 2004) [#41]
Branches are completely configureable via the sliders, as for the vert and horizontal settings i started adding a chk box for that last night but I will admit the animations won't look to good when the leaves lay horizontal.

Bremer(Posted 2004) [#42]
With some types of trees the branches will be in a downwards position.

Skitchy(Posted 2004) [#43]
Those trees are NICE.

SabataRH(Posted 2004) [#44]
Thanks Skitchy, can't wait to slap some of these trees on an ALE lightmaped terrain! :)

As mentioned earlier, I have alot of balencing to do as of yet - notice the bottom leaves are way to large.

JoshK(Posted 2004) [#45]
Much better! I like the straight branches a lot more, too.

I've been meaning to map a leaf shadow texture onto my tree trunks. Nothing complicated, just add a spotty shadow texture as a second layer.

The shadow and leaves can be moved with a texture shader. Look for a "texture shaders" thread I did in the B3D forum. This is a lot faster than animated fronds, and the trees can be merged into a single mesh without losing movement.

SabataRH(Posted 2004) [#46]
Ahhh cool idea on those shadowmaps halo, searching for the thread now... thanks.

JoshK(Posted 2004) [#47]
It's called CreateSwayShader(), just give it a really slow speed and small amplitude.

SabataRH(Posted 2004) [#48]
Okay it's taken all day and night but I managed to balence the scale of the leaves ( from top to bottom ) without using any additional surfaces, meaning only one texture and no tiling.

This should really make for good speeds in games since the entire tree makeup is a single 256x256; no tiled texture now.

Tranz put the branches on a diet and he's also working on an addon root-system for the trunks.

Let me know what ya think about this one please, Im at the stage where i can easily make critcial changes without screwing up everything..

sswift(Posted 2004) [#49]
Do you allow the user to scale the UV coordinates for the trunk?

If the whole tree is one texture, as my palm trees are in my demo, you can still scale the trunk texture vertically if the trunk texture touched the top and bottom of the texture, while having the leaves off to one side. Scaling the trunk texture hoirozntally isn't as important, but scaling it vertically is because you'll get a very low res texture on the main trunk if you stretch it vertically all the way up the tree.

Oh and as for the branches... tree branches don't tend ot bend downward. They bend upward. If you want the branches to not point upwards as much, then angle the base of them, but keep the bend in a positive direction, upwards. Trees grow towards the sun you know. :-)

Of course there are exceptions to this rule, but they are few.

And if you do that you can give them more bend than they have now (which is practically none) and still have it look right.

I also hope you've designed it so that if the user increases the number of segments in the branches or trunk for higher detail levels that the length and curvature of the branches stays the same. This way people can create multiple levels of detail. But you probably did that.

Red Ocktober(Posted 2004) [#50]
those leaves are a definite improvement... looks like the SpeedTree people better check their six... :)


podperson(Posted 2004) [#51]
Any reason why all the links to:


are now broken?

SabataRH(Posted 2004) [#52]
Sorry, I was moving dir's last night tring to free up some webspace and I accidently did a mass delete :(

Didn't have the temp dirs on backup. I'll post some new shots this evening.

SabataRH(Posted 2004) [#53]
As promised, a tree i generated with the new 'tropical' preset-settings button. This tree is true-3d all around at all angles... No simple billboard placement, and the polys are very low as well.


Same tree new angle new trunk skin, increased height, added diffuse to skin.

This is a new filter im toying with... approitately named 'majestic'.

Same majestic tree with an adjust to the falloff and rndseed sliders and a new trunk skin.
New_type4, New_type5

Chinese water tree

wmaass(Posted 2004) [#54]
very nice. looking forward to the release!

Vorderman(Posted 2004) [#55]
I have a question about your program, Alienhead - please excuse me if it has been asked and answered before.

Alongside outputting a 3d model to use, will it be capable of outputting a flat bitmap tree graphic for use as a sprite or billboard object? This could also be used as a second or third LOD model for normal 3d mesh trees.

If it would be possible to add such a feature then I feel it would be a very useful addition.


SabataRH(Posted 2004) [#56]
3 levels of LOD exports are possible, upclose (usually between 300-700 poly), med distance ( 1/2 that of full ) and billboard export ( trunk mesh and 4 fronds ). A sprite only mode should be possible as well as it'll just be a capture que of the current tree rotation.

Vorderman(Posted 2004) [#57]
It would be very good to be able to output a single hi-res sprite / billboard image of the current tree.

For things like racing games you basically need a large cross-section tree or a single sprite (both of which would use a single bitmap image of the tree), as you don't get close to them or see them for long. A full or even simple 3d model of the tree is probably a waste of polygons, dep. upon the individual game of course.

JoshK(Posted 2004) [#58]
I still think your boughs tend too face up-down too much. Most of the possible positions you can be relative to the tree are far away. So the majority of the time you are viewing it will be from some distance. If the boughs face sideways, it gives a better outline.

SabataRH(Posted 2004) [#59]
Good suggestions both of you, I'll see what can be done.. Thanks.

Skitchy(Posted 2004) [#60]
Any new news on this Alienhead?

SabataRH(Posted 2004) [#61]
Yah I've actually got tons of new news but due to recent activity I've decided to not disclouse anymore info until the app is actually out.. Basically 2 weeks ago I deleted the entire Treescape project and begun anew... Learned better ways to do things and better ways to make lower poly trees look great. If I had to guess, I'd say the new Treescape is about 75% complete now.

Skitchy(Posted 2004) [#62]
I thought the trees were great anyway, but whatever you think is best :)

SabataRH(Posted 2004) [#63]
Skitchy: true the other trees looked great and were at pretty low polycounts.. But being a greedy person (not really) i wanted them to look even better while at the same time cut the polys in half.. Tranz and myself played with many many configurations and creation options/designs until we found one that allowed for the detail we wanted at ultra-low polycounts...

I've had many emails over the last month asking me how the leaf painting would effect the skin textures... I thought it best I publicly respond to those emails here..

Basically, you load a leaf brush ( which consists of a series of leaf patterns)... You enter TextureMaker mode and begin to spary leaves across the layout window. Once happy with your selection you can then render the image to your quads using masked or alpha transparencies. Treescape will export these skins when the tree is saved. You may also adjust texturesize and quality..

Sorry, I know this dosent answer alot but Im holding the good stuff back until release. :)

Heres a skin making screenshot