Space Tree Pro

by Michel's add-ons & more in Models

A fully illustrated and comprehensive manual in pdf format is included with the product. It contains installation instructions, several work flow centric tutorials, an extensive reference section and a Q&A section. A YouTube play-list with several tutorials is provided as well. The section below is an excerpt from the manual that covers the creation of simple trees, while this list of introductory videos aims to give you a good taste of the possibilities:

Revision information

1.021-jun-2015201506201446initial version
1.110-jul-2015201507100830added option to make particle systems unique, plus minor cosmetic tweaks (removal of unnecessary print statement)
1.204-oct-2015201510041334add new skinning methods for trunk, bumpiness to basic crown shape and some pruning options
1.221-feb-2016201602211426Blender 2.77 compatibility update (add-on stays backward compatible with older versions as well)

Simple trees

Trees can also be made from scratch in a few distinct steps. The idea is to work from the ground up by defining first how the branches will develop, then how the general shape of the crown will look and finally adding detail like bark and leaves.

Adding a new tree

Add a new tree object in the 3D view by selecting Add → Mesh → Tree. A tiny skeleton of a tree will be positioned at the 3D cursor.

Controlling the branches

The next step is to increase the complexity of the branch structure. We can do this by adjusting three important properties in the Trunk and branches panel: Markers, Segment length and Kill distance. By setting Markers to 400, Segment length to 0.25 and Kill distance to 2.0 and clicking Update tree we get a much more developed branch structure:

The central idea in the algorithm used by the add-on to generate a tree skeleton, is to distribute markers inside some volume and grow a branch in small steps towards the markers that are closest. When the growing branch reaches a marker this marker is removed (coloured red in the illustration below). In the process of growing and removing markers the relation between markers and existing segments changes: a branch may grow a new segment but some markers may still be closest to the previous segment because they were outside the kill distance. This will lead to a side shoot.

So by lowering the Kill distance the growing tip of a branch will remove less markers, leading to more side shoots and thus a more complex tree. By shortening the segment length and increasing the number of markers we then improve the definition of the tree.

Shaping the crown

The outline of the crown of the tree is mainly determined by the shape of the volume that contains the markers. By default this is a sphere located straight above the 3d cursor, resulting in a straight trunk and a spherical crown: 

In the picture above we can see both the generated branches (in green) and the distribution of the markers in the crown volume (in grey). The shape, position and size of this volume can be controlled with properties in the Crown panel. Setting Shape to 2.0, Taper to 1.8 and clicking Update tree will give a wider crown:

Adding bark

Until now we defined the tree skeleton but we didn't give give it any body. In fact if we would render the tree right now it wouldn't be visible because it consists of just vertices and edges. By checking the Skin option and clicking Update tree we get an actual trunk:

However a trunk without any material assigned is just a dull grey pipe, therefore select a material in the Bark material selection box and press Update tree.

Adding leaves

Although many trees lose their leaves in winter, most situations call for trees with leaves. These can be added in the Leaves panel. Space tree pro comes bundled with a small selection of particle systems with leaves and flowers in the examples.blend file that you can append  to your scene and then select from the Leaves selection box.

[end of excerpt]