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Making Trees for GR with 3dsm Pt II
by shiver
Published : 15th July 2003
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Introduction - Part 2 - Fir Trees

Making fir trees is a little different from doing canopy style trees. You'll need the following texture files from either Ghost Recon or Desert Siege

M01_LODtreetest07B.rsb
M01_treetest07B.rsb

Creating a reference to work from.

Find and load the texture files into two empty slots in the material editor. After you load the M01_treetest07B.rsb file into the material editor, put a check in the box for 2 sided in the shader basic parameters rollout. That texture file has all the elements we'll need to texture our high poly model and we want those textures to be visible from 2 sides. The LODtreetest rsb is the low lod texture which we're going to use as a reference from which to build our model.

Let's start by first saving this file and giving it a name that's easy to recognize. Choose whatever you like.

For the reference object, create a plane in the front viewport. Give it a name. I chose the name "reference". If your plane is a wire frame, you'll want to hit F3(3dsm 4) to make the surface visible. Otherwise you won't be able to see your texture on it. Make the length 2m and the width 1.5m Apply the LODtreetest07B texture to the plane. Now we have a reference to work from. Save.

 

 

Switch to the perspective view port. Hit the zoom extents all button to give yourself some room to work and also be able to see the whole reference object. If you find that part of your reference object is below the grid, simply move it so that's it's bottom sits on the grid. Hit the zoom extents all button again if you needed to reposition your reference object. This will again center your reference object.

The Trunk

Lets make our trunk first.

Draw a cylinder in the perspective viewport right in front of the textured trunk in your reference. Give it a name. I named mine fir_trunk.

The bottom of your trunk should be in line with the bottom of your reference object. If it's not, adjust it so that it is. One of the best ways of doing this is with the align button.

With your trunk selected, click on the align button. Your cursor will change to a different shape. It's waiting for you to pick the target to align with. When you move your cursor over the reference object, it will change to an X. When that happens, left click and that will choose the reference object as the object to align with. In the align selection window that pops up, select "minimum" under current object (your trunk) and select minimum under target object (the reference object).

Under the align position (world) check the Z position radio button to select that axis. Click "apply". This aligns the bottom of the trunk with the bottom of the reference object. With the align selection window still open, select center under current object and center under target object. Now select the X position to center the trunk with the center of the reference object on the X axis. Click "apply". Click "ok". Save.

With your trunk still selected, click on the modifier tab to make some adjustments to the geometry. Change the number of sides to 6, height segments to 3, height .8m and radius .04. Save.

It should look something like this now.

 

 

Select the trunk and convert to editable mesh. Apply a taper modifier and in the parameters rollout
enter -0.3 for the amount. Apply an edit mesh modifier and save. Open the material editor and apply your M01_treetest07B.rsb texture to the trunk. Apply a UVW Map modifier. In the parameters rollout under mapping, select cylindrical.

Now apply an Unwrap UVW and click the edit button in the parameters rollout. Select all the UVW's and use the horizontal scale button to scale the white box smaller so that it's width is about the same width as the trunk in your texture. Then move the UVW's and position them so they cover the trunk texture. Use the vertical scale button to scale the UVW's slightly smaller to make sure they don't exceed the boundaries of your texture file. It should look like this.

 

 

Once your done, deselect the uvw's and close the window. Save. And now your trunk should look like this.

 

Branches

Ok, now the fun really begins. Make a cone next to your trunk. Give it a name like branch. Use the align button to align your cone's center on the xy axis with your trunks center on the xy axis. Use the select and move button to raise your cone higher on the z axis. Raise it up to where's it's bottom is lined up with the bottom of the first branch in your reference. Save.

Click on the modifier tab to change the size settings of your cone. Change radius 1 to .08, radius 2 to .765 and the height to .325. Ok, by now you should be starting to see where we're going with this. You should have something like this now.

 

 

So far so good ? If not keep trying. If so, good.

Now change the number of height segments to 1. Change the number of sides to 6. Save.

We have Branch1 done, now lets clone it to make a couple more. Do this by selecting your cone, clicking the select and move button and moving it higher on the z plane while holding down the shift key. Drag the copy of your cone upwards to where it's lined up with the next higher branch of your reference. In the clone options dialog box choose copy and number of copies 2. Save.

With your top branch selected, change radius 1 to .225, radius 2 to .525 and change the height to .35. Now select your middle branch and change radius 1 to .2, radius 2 to .625 and change the height to .315. Save.

You should have something like this now.

 

 

Our 3 branches are done but you may want to go back and do a little tweaking at this point. I'll leave that up to you. In my case, it looks like my branches could use a bit of adjusting but it's close enough for me so I'm going to leave it as is.

Next select your 3 branches and convert them to editable meshes. Select a cone, click on the poly button to go into sub-object mode and then select and delete the top and bottom Polys. Do this for each cone. We will only be using the sides of the cones for this model. In some cases the bottom polys will be hidden from view by other cones. Simply right click any cones that obstruct your view and select "hide selection" from the menu to temporarily hide that object. Then right click again and choose "unhide all" to make them visible again. Using F2 is very helpful here. It shows what poly's are selected by shading them in red.  Here you can see I have the top poly of the top cone selected.

 

 

Don't forget to exit out of poly sub-object mode after deleting the top and bottom polys of each cone. Also be careful not to select and delete any of the side polys. Use the arc rotate button after selecting a poly to rotate your view around to the back side to insure no side polys have been selected. Save.

Select a cone and apply your M01_treetest07B.rsb texture to it. Now apply a UVW Map modifier to it and choose "face" under the parameters rollout. Apply an Unwrap UVW and click on the edit button to bring up the edit uvw's window. Select the uvw's and scale the box smaller using the vertical and horizontal scale buttons. Position it over the middle texture. It should look something like this. Save.

 

 

 

And your branch should look something like this.

 

 

Now repeat the same steps to texture the other two branches. Once your done you can go back and tweak them a bit more to get the look you want.   Now you should have something like this. Save.

 

 

Now we have to make the top of tree. For that we just draw out a plane in the front viewport. Name it treetop or something like that. Switch back to the perspective view.

Click on the modify tab to change the size settings of the tree top object. Change the length segments to 2. Change the width segments to 2. Change the length to 1.1m and the width to .7m.

Align the treetop's center on the xy axis with the center of the top branch on the xy axis. Align treetop's minimum on the z axis with the center of the top branch on the z axis. It should look like this. Save.

 

 

 

Editable mesh

Converting the treetop object to an editable mesh.

Open the material editor and apply your M01_treetest07B.rsb texture to the treetop object. Apply a UVW Map modifier followed by an Unwrap UVW modifier. Click edit under the parameters rollout to bring up the edit uvw window. Select your UVWs and using the horizontal and vertical scale buttons, resize the UVWs and position them over the branch texture to the far left. Here's what it should look like.

 

 

And now your tree should look something like this.

 

Select the treetop object. Click the select and rotate button and rotate the treetop object on the z axis 90 degrees while holding down the shift key to clone a copy of it facing the other direction. The basic model is done at this point.

If you want to have a collision object simply create a cylinder and align it with the center of your trunk on the xy axis and the minimum of your trunk on the z axis. Change the number of sides to 5 or 6 and change the height segments to 2. The radius is up to you but .3 is a good place to start. Make the height 2m.
Save.

That's it... just tag all of your parts in the map editor, add a helper point and group it all together. I won't go over it again here since I've already covered it in the canopy tutorial.

Don't forget, you can apply the xform modifier to create many different sized fir trees. Now you have to ask yourself one question. Are ya feelin lucky? If so, try the Palm Tree tutorial, coming soon! 
 

 

 


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