I thought I’d post this with a few useful links. It’s a kind of combination gallery item + software heads-up + tutorial.
I was playing around at the weekend with a free tree generator that I came across. It’s called TreeIt. (I searched the forum…no apparent mention so far) http://www.evolved-software.com/treeit/treeit
Treeit is designed to produce vegetation for Dark Basic gaming etc and is really pretty tweakable in terms of tree shape, size, branching options, random seeds and so on. It even has a real-time poly-reduction tool for the trunk and branches.
It exports in obj format and also in .x format. All its material maps are also in dds format…which isn’t exactly helpful for SketchUp. However, you can download a dds converter http://www.ddsconverter.com/ which will batch convert all the bark textures to jpgs and all the branch/leaf textures to transparent pngs or tifs.
As far as getting the geometry into SU, I began by trying the obj export and converting to skp using various apps, but I found that a few of the textures had been rotated and were showing some with the cut ends of branches hanging in thin air. It was fixable, but a little laborious.
In the end, I went with the default .x format export from TreeIt. I’ve been recommending Ultimate Unwrap 3D for years. It not only provides a fantastic mapping resource for stuff that simply can’t be adequately mapped using the various SU plugins, but it’s jaw-dropping list of import filters ( http://unwrap3d.com/u3d/formats.aspx ) means that you can get almost anything into SU…including .x files. It exports directly to skp.
Anyhow, this is the result, poly-reduced to 50% before export. The file size is 1.11Mb and it has about 1700 faces. I also tweaked the RGB channels of the leaf texture in SU to give it Autumnal colours; the actual map is green Summer foliage.
All the foliage is composed of separate, raw geometry folded planes. I tried optimising this by taking just one such unit, making a component out of it, then duplicating-up till I got a decent foliage density. However I found that the “optimised” version still had about 1700 faces and was only 0.1MB smaller…so it was hardly worth the effort.
It’s not quite on a par with my hand-built, transparent png stuff which can often be just a couple of hundred KB and a poly count to match, but it ain’t half bad. I tried an array of 100 of these on my laptop. It navigated just fine…with shadows on and without even going to planes, much less bounding-box.
Having sorted-ot a work path and produced a parallel collection of SU-friendly textures using the DDS converter, it only takes a few minutes to get a tree from TreeIt into SU. As I’m a Newbie to the forum, I’m not sure if I can post the skp file itself, but I’ll give it a try; It seems my posting rights are a little limited yet.
birch.skp (1.1 MB)