Space Tree Pro: new features

I have updated my Space Tree Pro add-on for Blender. Its latest version (201510041334) comes with additional skinning modes, and option to add some random bumps to the basic crown shape and and option to randomly drop some mature branches from a tree to add 'character'. The new update is of course free to download for people who have previously purchased the Space Tree Pro add-on.

Better skinning

The native skinning option in the add-on left something to be desired, especially for thinner, highly curved branches which may end up looking rather squashed. This new version therefore sports three additional skinning modes, each with it own pros and cons:
The original modifier. An example of the flattened twigs is shown in the image:
Skin modifier
It is now possible to use Blenders built-in skin modifier. It looks better but is really slow:
Convert to curve
Another choice is converting the tree skeleton to a collection of bevelled curves:
Ball and pipe
The final option is to use the conventional ball and pipe approach:
The quality of the new methods is comparable but the time to generate the mesh and and the number of polygons in the mesh differs significantly: For a moderate tree (1000 markers, 400 new markers, branch segment length 0.25, kill distance 1.0) the four skinning methods give the following numbers (on a Intel i7, 4 cores, your mileage may vary)
MethodTime (seconds)Tris
Convert to curve1.263,536
Skin modifier35.8415,092
Ball and pipe1.6141,376

A more random crown

It was already possible to vary the branch generation by choosing a different random seed but the overall shape of the crown stayed the same unless you used a crown group. Now with the added bumpiness and size variation for the basic crown shape it has become much simpler to generate unique trees. Compare the three different trees on the top row (diffent branching, same overall shape) with the three trees on the bottom row (which have random bumpiness and shape).

Dropping some mature branches

The final new addition to this version is the option to break away a random number of branch segments after the tree is fully generated. This may add some character to trees think storms etc.). The image below show the same trees where the one on the right has 50 segments removed:

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