Space Tree Pro: new features WIP

My Space Tree Pro add-on for Blender is doing quite well. However, any piece of software needs contineous attention and that is what I am giving it at the moment.

The features I am working on right now need some internal testing before I release them but you can expect them in a few weeks or so. The main focus is on the quality of the tree mesh. The algorithm I use now is pretty fast but the results are not optimal, especially for thin branches connected to thicker ones and for highly curved branches.

The improvements in the works are threefold:

  • Crease the branch forks. This gives a tighter look for small branches connected to thick stems with a negliable impact on speed,
  • An option to use Blenders skin modifier. Looks great but is much slower (5-10x),
  • An option to convert the skeleton to a beveled curve (a la Sapling). Is actually faster and although thin branches look better, the branch forks are somewhat inferior to the skin modifier
The last two options look a lot cleaner but there's no control of the uv-map, which means procedural or box-mapped textures only. (images will follow)

WeightLifter add-on: new feature

Version 201509040905 adds a new option to the view from camera mode: a height offset. It add allows you to add weight to vertices even if they are in a valley on not directly visible from the camera. A tree for example might have a top that is visible if it is longer than the valley is deep at that point. Using this feature when populating an area with tree particles still reduces the number of particles needed but adds an extra bit of realism, especially on ridges seen side-on. This is illustrated in the image below:

In the bottom image you can see that the tiips of some trees peak above the ridge. The generated weight maps used are shown below, with the default on the left and the one with a slight height offset to the right:

The new version is of course available free of charge to people who have already purchased the add-on. Check the BlenderMarket page for more details.