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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    4

    realistic yet low-polygon trees. Impossible?

    I have to admit I'm not really satisfied with UT's standard trees. So I decided to try and make my own ones. I quickly realized that working with palm-like alpha planes gives relatively nice results, maybe one of the reasons why jungle vegetation is so popular in games (see first image). But this is not exactly an oak, is it? It's not 'round', actually it looks more like a weeping willow. So I started to work with vertical, rounded planes instead of horizontal "leaves" (see second image). This time, the shape was better - but due to the nature of those alpha plains, the outlines of the canopy are clearly visible, giving it a cartoonish look I wanted to avoid.

    Image 1:


    Image2:


    I'm almost sure there's a way to combine alpha planes for leaves and alpha planes for additional detail branches to get something more realistic without exceeding a polygon budget of 1-2k. I just don't really have a clue where to start.

    Any idea what one could do, positive examples or concepts? I'd love to have more lifelike woods in Unreal!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    533

    How about this?



    This is just a volumetric, but you could stick some cool alpha'd textures of oak branches on the planes and it would probably look pretty cool.

    And here's one with textures:



    This is about 300 triangles btw, you actually get all your detail from the leaf textures, so once you get the volumetric dialed, you can put in as much detail as you want by tweaking your texture file.
    Last edited by djtomservo; 07-15-2004 at 03:12 PM.
    Technical Artist - 106th ODST Division, Fireteam Tango Alpha Echo

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    4
    That's a good idea... problem is, the structure of the tree will become very obvious when looking a the alpha planes directly facing you... still, it's a step forward.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    The Land of the Hand
    Posts
    7,776
    i don't have a copy of maya PLE available so i don't know if this will work with the PLE version of maya but theres a tute to create trees in maya available at Alias Tutorials
    Aint that some ...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    17
    Actually Gabriel, I like your first attempt at an oak the best.

    You might want to check out this site http://www.idvinc.com/ they make a tree generating program for unreal, it's way too expensive for the enthusiast but they have a ton of screen shots and even a runtime demo level you can walk around in.

    Going to be a challenge to generate a photo realistic tree with so few poly's, maybe with combination of umbrella modeling and cleaver textures perhaps.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Atlanta
    Posts
    165
    You want realizm in unreal? Try making them ragdolls. If you set it up right (with only 5-6 bones per tree) you could have a threshold for the leaves were if there is a great enough force acting on them they would break off.

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