Have some fun and pick up workflow tips from SketchUp Allstars. Register for our free, eight-week webinar series today!
0:00 Whether searching for vegetation on 3D Warehouse or elsewhere, you’ll typically find three main categories:
0:09 2D trees...
0:12 3D Trees...
0:15 ...and Render-ready trees.
0:20 It’s important to know the differences as you may find that you need to use different types to address different needs.
0:29 Starting on the left, we have a typical 2D FaceMe tree that is similar to the schematic people reviewed previously.
0:37 These trees are great to use in early stages of design as they are low poly and show tree shape and color well.
0:45 The only real shortcoming of using these trees is if you look down from either a birds-eye or plan view.
0:53 One option here is to embed a 2D tree symbol inside the component which can be turned on and off as needed by assigning it its own layer.
1:03 Also, because these trees are so simple and really don’t affect performance at all, you can embed seasonal or various growth sizes as well.
1:13 For example, you may want to show a planting concept at day one with a small tree and another on its own layer for full maturity.
1:22 The next type of tree option is also 2D but this one uses an imported texture instead of solid colors for more realism.
1:31 The same thing applies here about the person component we reviewed in that you need to cut the tree out if you want it to cast a shadow that matches its form.
1:44 Note that if rendering the tree with an extension, it usually will cast a realistic shadow as render engines recognize the PNG transparency.
1:58 That’s it for 2D trees. Next are few 3D tree options to be aware of.
2:04 First here is a low poly tree that is fully 3D but simplified to only show general form and color.
2:14 Next to that is a 3D tree that uses 2D PNG textures for the leaves which keeps its polygon count down.
2:25 Most of the time, these kinds of tree components are the best option to use as they look fairly realistic with little impact on performance.
2:34 Just a quick check here on its statistics reveals about 20,000 polygons which is not bad for this amount of detail.
2:42 If we turn shadows on, we can see here that the detail of the shadow drops a bit given the fact that the leaf shadows are really large square PNG textures and therefore look a bit dark and boxy compared to the actual image.
2:57 If better shadows are really important than we have the option to trace and trim around the leave texture, which keep in mind adds geometry to the tree but results in a much nicer shadow.
3:10 From a distance it’s probably not noticeable and therefore not worth the effort and extra polygons but for an up-close view it might be worth that exrtra effort.
3:22 Next is another 3D that uses PNG textures for leaves.
3:28 If we switch to the ‘Shaded’ face style, we can see the big difference here…which is that the leaves haven’t been traced like the one to the left, yet the shadows have leaf-like details.
3:40 That’s because there is a hidden transparent leaf shadow PNG inside the canopy and the leaves themselves have been set to not cast shadows.
3:51 It's a very clever work around to keep detail high and polygon count low.
3:57 This particular tree has only about 9,000 polygons and has a really nice shadow to it…so it's a good choice.
4:05 The last of our typical 3D trees is the fully 3D.
4:11 The trunk, branches, and leaves are all modeled with no PNG textures.
4:17 This tree trades leaf and bark realism for accurate shadows and canopy structure.
4:23 At about 32,000 polygons, it’s a bit higher than the others but still manageable.
4:29 Remember that one or two trees is usually no problem but if you have, say 50 or more, then every little bit of detail in the component makes a big difference.
4:41 The last trees are extremely detailed in both textures and polygon count and are intended for use only when rendering with a photo-realistic rendering extension.
4:53 This first [render] tree has over 1 million and a half polygons.
4:57 And that’s just one tree.
4:60 All the other trees combined adds up to less than 200,000.
5:03 So this one tree has the potential to serious affect modeling performance and should be used only when necessary.
5:10 Just a reminder that if you’re sourcing vegetation from 3DWarehouse, you can and should check the components file size and polygon count prior to downloading.
5:21 If you are going to render your model and want the detail a high-poly tree...
5:26 ...then be sure to firstly use good modeling techniques such as layers, styles and scenes together to keep high-poly geometry turned off until you need it shown.
5:39 Beyond that, depending on your rendering extension, you may be able to convert the tree into a ‘Proxy’ or placeholder that saves the geometry and textures to an external file...
5:51 ...and then the rendering engine only loads it into the model at render time.
5:57 If we do a quick real-time render, you can see here that these two trees are in fact, exactly the same.
6:07 The proxy tree in this example made with using the VRAY rendering extension.
6:21 The last tree I want to look at is part of several plant libraries sold by a German company called Lauberk.
6:29 The word ‘laubwerk’, in case your curious, roughly translates to ‘foliage’ in English.
6:38 Laubwerk's development team clearly picked up on the three major challenges of working with vegetation in SketchUp.
6:46 And not only addressed them but took it a step further by adding an extension that allows you to browse and select plant models right from within SketchUp.
6:58 Let’s select the Japanese Maple and bring it into our model.
7:08 There’s also a plant attribute editor that provides options for choosing tree variety, size, season, and level of detail.
7:23 The cool thing about these trees, while seemingly expensive at first glance, one tree gives you 36 different options…which means that for each 10 plants in a library, you really get 360 plants.
7:37 For our Japanese Maple demo, let’s choose ‘Variety 1’, ‘Fully Grown’ and ‘Summer’…then we'll hit render.
7:55 And if we zoom in, we can see a really high level of detail that’s being loaded from outside of SketchUp as the tree component, or ‘Proxy’ itself has only about 1,000 polygons in it.
8:10 Just a note that the render extension Enscape currently doesn’t support Laubwerk trees.
8:16 But Enscape has its own tree library that functions in a similar way as Laubwerk does by inserting a low-poly proxy into SketchUp while rendering the high quality final version.
8:29 To conclude this lesson, let’s combine several trees into one component in order to utilize the benefits of each.
8:38 Here I’ve merged a 2D FaceMe, 2D plan, and render proxy together with each being able to be toggled off and on as needed.
8:54 This component’s total geometry is only 15,000 polygons. It suffers no lag when copying or moving in 2D or 3D modes…