Join David Andrade for an in-depth discussion in this video Quick tree making, part of Blender: Tips, Tricks and Techniques.
- [Instructor] Now let's say you had the goal of making a forest. How would you do that? What crazy expensive plugins and add-ons and simulation things will you need to make a whole forest that's moving with wind and leaves? Well, you don't have to buy anything because it's all included inside of Blender on a simple little add-on that we're going to take a look at today in Blender's tip, tricks, and techniques. First, let's enable it by going to file, user preferences, and typing in sapling. And then you can just check it on and go to save user settings.
And then let's delete the cube, but leave the rest for now and go to layer two and hit shift, A, curve, sapling tree gen. Now, if you've been following along with Blender's tips, tricks, and techniques, you may recognize that this is one of those side add-ons here that will disappear the moment you click on something else. So, whatever happens in here, make sure it's final and don't click on anything until you're ready. So let's play with some of these settings. There's so many that we can go through.
So we're only going to cover a handful of them. The first is, well, bevel, so we can actually see our tree. There's actually quite a few presets down here, like Japanese maple, Douglas fir, et cetera, et cetera. There's even a weeping willow. But I'm going to go with just the standard Douglas fir. A nice, simple little tree. And I'm going to come up here and then go to branch splitting. Branch splitting lets you, well, add more branches, really.
You can actually add tons of these, but I recommend that unless you're having a super computer, you stick to two or three. Because anything beyond that can get really kind of dicey. You can also do base splitting, where you have three on top of each other. So you can see what's going on here. But again, for the purposes of this video, we're going to keep it pretty simple. Lots of little options in here. Trunk height, for example, if it's too high, secondary base heights, split heights, all sorts of fun little things you can mess with. And as I've said earlier, a billion options.
But we'll leave it alone for right now and we'll move on to the next thing, leaves. So now leaves are really handy. I just click on leaves, and voila, there you go, you have some leaves now. You can also switch to rectangular leaves, which are really handy if you have a rectangular leaf texture, as most textures come in squares. You can also add more leaves, but be a little careful because if you put this value up really high, you're going to get yourself a really heavy, heavy scene. So I think I actually want another branch.
There we go. And then let's come back to leaves. And let's come down to leaf scale. And just to exaggerate things, I'm going to make them one. You know what, that might be a little bit too exaggerated. Let's try .5. Yeah, that looks a lot better. Now let's come up to armature. And I'm just going to click on use armature. And that's really it, that's all I'm going to do on this one. There's a whole bunch of settings in here to make the armature a little bit more optimized. But for right now, just going to click on use armature. And finally, come to animation.
Now, you'll note this warning that says, finalize all other settings first. And please do, because if you don't like the look of this tree, and you start messing with these options and then start messing with branches and leaves, you're going to be in a world of pain. So I'm going to make it really easy. I'm going to say, overall wind strength, all of this looks great to me. Armature animation, turn it on. It's going to calculate and do its thing. Depending on the speed of your computer, it may happen in a few seconds or a few minutes.
If you see it taking too long, I recommend you lower your branch splitting and then re-run animation. And then finally, leaf animation, let's turn that on too. That's going to go ahead and animate every single leaf based on these wind settings. And now this option, leaf animation, may take a couple of more minutes or a few more seconds. Don't worry, it's happening. It's just taking its time. Okay, now how do you preview all of this stuff? Well, it's pretty easy. Just come down here and click play.
And at first, well, at first it might take a while because it's such a heavy scene. And you can see, I'm getting a good ol' frame rate of .3. So I can stop that. And I'm going to do what I said I wouldn't do, which is change my branch splitting down to two just for the purposes of the demo video here. Come back to animation, click them back on so they get resent. There we go. And now play it, and hey, we now have a, kind of an awkward tree, but it's animating.
But for the purpose of this little demo, it works out pretty good. Okay, so now, remember how I said the moment I click away on something, well, I'm going to select my trunk here, new material, and boom, it's gone. Now, if you want to, let's switch to cycles, use nodes, and let's make this brownish, dark brown. I also like to change the view port colors. So let's do that. Same with these leaves. Let's make greenish view port color.
Now, with the leaves still selected, shift select the trunk, control, G, and then come down to groups and type in tree. Come to the first layer, hit shift, A, empty, plane axis. Zoom into it, hit T to get some more real estate here. Same object properties area, scroll down, look for duplication group. Come down here, click on it, and click on tree. Now, if I look through the camera view, this is a really tall tree.
So I can hit S and scale it down some. Shift, D, shift, Z, shift, D, shift, Z. B for box, shift, D, shift Z. Do it again, B for box, shift, D, shift Z. And you can kind of get the pattern of what's going on here. We're just going to make a quick forest. And you can even vary some of them by hitting R and Z. Or if you really want to, just R and just rotating them a little bit. Just to get some variance there, so it's not all the same side of it.
Now, of course, the proper way to have done this is to go ahead and make a few trees, not necessarily one tree, and use multiple instances rather than just one group instance. But hey, you've gone ahead and now made a quick forest using the sapling add on. It's animating, it looks pretty decent, and all we have to do now is get in there and mess with some of those materials and the leaf size and you've got an awesome-looking landscape. So like all things inside of Blender, I recommend you get in there an play with it and see what cool things you can discover.
And until next time, this is David for Blender's tips, tricks, and techniques.
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