Can anyone model realistic 3D plants?

Hello there lovely SketchUp people,
Just wondering if there is anyone out there who is able to model realistic 3D plants?
My workflow is SketchUp to Enscape.
My first priority is Loropetalum chinense Purple Pixie and below I have attached a couple of reference images.
It would be awesome to hear from someone talented :four_leaf_clover:
Thanks so much in advance :heart:


Are you asking for advice on HOW to model plants or asking for someone to model this for you? I can model 3D plants and I’m sure there are others who can as well but they do take time to do with a decent level of accuracy and quality which is why I ask.

See example of modeling a California Golden Poppy ( Eschscholzia californica):
Reference image:




Gorgeous poppies Eric!

No I don’t want to learn, just find a talented person like yourself to model the species I need for my work.

I’m a garden landscape designer in Australia, as I said SketchUp to Enscape is my workflow.

Yes, I’m well aware how time consuming the process for plant modelling is! I have tried it myself.

Do you already sell your models? I’m assuming it would be the same set up as say in Turbo squid, where I would pay for the model and the right to use it in my work, but the model itself remains your property, which you can then continue to onsell to others.

I’m after models that look realistic enough for my clients to be able to identify the plant.

Look forward to hearing your thoughts. :blossom:

Understood. I too am always looking for good plants. I’ve found that at some point in the future, I’ll just build my own library…especially of California Native Plants as that’s the direction things are going where I’m from given the lack of water.
I’d recommend reaching out to someone like this group: Redirecting... and see if they’re taking requests. They haven’t launched their product yet but from what they’ve described, sounds promising.

Here’s a leaf texture that is similar to your plant.

I made one for you. You can read the terms of use for here. Textures for 3D, graphic design and Photoshop!
Plant.skp (1.2 MB)

Render time: only about 2 minutes with flat textures on Low+

Render time: 21:51 with reflectivity and ambient occlusion

I use twilight render v2 (hobby version).

The model is a bit laggy at 25,350 polygons, but the model should stop lagging when you turn off the plants layer.


Other options discussed recently.

Related thread

Oh my goodness Forestr,
You modelled that in a blinking of an eye! That really is very kind and generous of you thank you :heart:
Clearly you are quite skilled. Do you model plants often?

1 Like

A closer photo of the foliage

1 Like

You’re too kind. I’m glad you like it! Thank you for the compliment! I model plants occasionally. This was the very first 3D plant component I successfully modeled.

Usually, I just download them from the 3D Warehouse instead of modeling them, but occasionally I model plants if I can’t find the one I want on the 3D Warehouse. I saw your post and thought it would be a relaxing exercise while I take a break on my 10 bedroom house design I’m making. :sweat_smile:
My favorite thing about the house is it’s a community living situation where ten people live together and share the same kitchen, bathroom stalls, etc. Then they can all split the cost of the large house. It’s borderline almost a mansion, but not quite.

You could use a bump map to make close ups look more realistic, but that would make render times even longer.

1 Like

Nice work as usual @Forestr. When you have a moment, myself and I’m sure others would benefit from you sharing your workflow on creating that plant. Thanks!

1 Like

Have you searched for it in some online resources like ?


  1. Import leaf image. Explode. Make it into a “leaf” component. Divide the leaf in half hot dog style to bend it.

  2. Draw a hexagon the diameter of your stem, then explode the curve & delete the top and bottom lines.

  3. Create a bezier curve similar to the arc of the branch. Use follow me on both diamond faces, then soften/smooth until the side faces are selectable (not the inner faces).

  4. Scale the branch to around 70’ tall. Scale the leaf component’s raw geometry to be relatively proportional to the stem. Move the stem to the origin of the component and position the leaves along the blue axis. You need to download the “Make Fur” extension from SketchUcation for this part. Select one side of the branch, then use the “Make Crowd” tool on it to randomly place the leaves. Select your leaf component in the list and turn off “stand up”.

  5. In the leaf component, position the leaves similar to how they appear on the branch in your reference photo. Some will still be off rotation. Rotate the odd leaves to a normal position. Mirror the leaves to the other side of the branch, then move each leaf up the branch to create an alternating leaf pattern. Retrieve the bezier path, then delete the old branch & extrude a square along the path to make a new branch. Color it a solid color by using the eye dropper tool on the stem color. Make the branch & leaves into a component.

  1. Make 2 copies of the branch and rotate and scale them, so the bush will look full. You want one of the branches to be rotated close to the ground, a high one, and a medium level one.


  1. Use follow me to create a circular surface to randomize the branches onto.

  2. Use “Make Fur’s” “Crowd Maker” tool again. Then delete the circular surface because you don’t need it anymore. Using the vertical grips, scale the plant component to a random scale while shift is held down (click, release shift), then type in 36" (or whatever) to scale the plant to that height. Hit enter. And there you have it!


What a beautiful, generous soul you are Forestr!

1 Like

Many thanks for this great, simple and clear tutorial Forestr:+1:
Tak2hata Make Fur’s Crowd maker is one of those great plugins that make SketchUp such a pleasant toy.

1 Like

Thank you! And you’re welcome. SketchUp is my favorite. And Make Fur is such a helpful plugin for randomization. I love it.

I use Skatter to do the same thing but glad to see options just in case. Thanks for sharing @Forestr

1 Like

I would like to add another possible solution to the request. Since many years I use the very effectivly established plant collection from dynascape. I was quite costly to aquire at first but it payed off soon enough because during designing a garden you wont need much time to search here and there for apropriate looking plants. The main reason above all is the very effectivlely kept size of the models. We all know that working with a heavily loaded model becomes a nightmare. So above all we have to make a decent aproach to time consumed during the process versus a convincing apperance of the result. I work with shaderlight to establish more photorealistic designs and the plant models behave reasonably well here too. Generally I went throgh them by redifining the saturation of colours, because they tend to be too strong. Most of the plans in the collection do have proper botanical names, else they are renamed in order to accomplish reliable tables by extracting the contents of a design into lists. Here is whre you find it:
DynaSCAPE | 3D Warehouse. Here you can see how they look in a typical design not rendered. 18900 Fam. Sesterhenn, Rengsdorf
or else rendered

Since plants are:

  1. Classified into certain genera with distinct and recurring visual properties
  2. Found in abundance across large swaths of the globe
  3. Hard to model well

…there is great advantage in using ready-made plant 3D assets. Which is also what a vast majority of users do. There are thousands of plant assets available out there.

Two 3D plant purveyors are Laubwerk and Vizpark. Laubwerk’s specimens probably are most botanically correct. They use professional botanists to create and validate their assets. For more exotic plant varieties, you could ask your asset purveyor to model them.

Otherwise, you are left to modelling them yourself. Since quality plants are difficult to model, and since each plant part needs multiple unique textures to look convincing when rendering, there are programs that help you model plants specifically. One example is SpeedTree.

A new extension for Sketchup that may suit your needs is SU Plants. SU Plants should support Enscape out of the box. SU Plants will be launched quite soon. Check out:

(Edit: Many years ago, SU Plants requested a hand from my team, but we moved on, and are nowhere near it)

1 Like

Hi Forestr,

Trying to give a go to your tut I encounter weird issues:
Step 1: I import a leaf.png 1

Step 2: I explode and the result is a white rectangle!

and from that I am stuck:

Would appreciate an explanation

and if i go on with Make Crowd and identical setting than yours, here I am:

What the hell am I doing wrong.

Thanks for help!

Oh and just for fun what I am playing with:

1 Like

Wow! Your art is superb!

Try changing the face style from monochrome to textured.

About “Make Crowd”, try confirming that your branch’s raw geometry is around 70’ tall. The density is calculated with number/sq. yard, but there is a density limit. So making the geometry bigger helps you add more leaves.