How to make stylized foliage with tree it and blender

Guillaume Chichmanov
May 2, 2024

Welcome to our latest blog post on "How to Make Stylized Foliage with Tree It and Blender"!

In this step by step guide, Florencia, 3D environment artist at Cominted Labs, dives into the exciting world of digital foliage creation, guiding you through the entire process of crafting beautiful, stylized trees and leaves. Whether you're a game developer, animator, or hobbyist, these skills will enhance your 3D landscapes and bring your virtual environments to life.

Starting with Blender, we'll explore how to create and manipulate textures that will form the basis of our foliage. From simple planes to complex shader setups, you'll learn how to harness Blender’s powerful tools to achieve the exact look you desire. Next, we'll shift to Tree It, an amazing tool for procedural foliage generation, to construct and fine-tune our trees.

Step 1: Creating the textures on Blender.

We're going to create the textures for our tree. Blender has tools that allow us to paint our textures, so we can make them as simple or as complex as we want. First, let's create a plane. It's the simplest geometric shape that already comes with the UV map in the way we want to export our textures later on.

Afterward, we'll assign a new material to our plane, onto which we'll draw.

We're going to select the Shader Editor to configure our material. The first material we'll set up is for the leaves of our tree, so we need some additional nodes to use an alpha mask. Let's create a Mix Shader, to which we'll connect our Principled BSDF in B and add a Transparent BSDF in A.

In the tab Add > Texture, we're going to add an Image Texture that will contain the Alpha Mask. You can download one from the internet, or create your own. I'll use a simple one that I quickly created. Also, you can create it in Blender by creating a new texture and painting black for the invisible parts and white for the visible parts. 

Finally, the shader would look like this:

In the material tab, our blend mode has to be set to Alpha Clip. Then, we create a new Base Color texture and start painting! It can range from a solid color, gradients to many details.

Step 2: Exporting the textures.

Now that we have the textures, we just need to export them. To do that, in our Image Editor tab, we'll locate our base color texture (and our alpha mask if it was created within Blender) and go to Image > Save.

Step 3: Creating a tree on Tree It

Tree It is a great program for procedural foliage. In the following image, we can see the main tools that we are going to use during the creation of our foliage. On the left, it has a node graph that shows the different components of the tree. We can navigate between the different components by clicking on the nodes or the tabs. On the right-hand sidebar, it has buttons to add more components.

In the tab of each component, we will have the different attributes that can be changed for each of these components.

The most common components I usually tweak to achieve the desired result are length, radius, gravity, crinkliness, and split.

Step 4: Assigning the textures

Assigning the different textures is simple: you need to navigate to the node where you want to apply the textures and open 'Load Texture' in the corresponding section. There, a window will open allowing you to add the different channels. In this case, I only created the base color and alpha mask. But all necessary channels can be applied if needed.

Step 5: Exporting Foliage

Before exporting, some settings can be reviewed. In the 'tree' tab, we can find the 'Tree Poly Reduction', which can help us perform a quick optimization (the total polygons are found at the bottom of the scene). 

'Randomize', which generates variations of our foliage based on seeds. It's useful for obtaining variations of the same asset quickly. 

'Global Tree Scale', which allows us to easily modify the scale of our asset.

When we are happy with the result, it just needs to be exported:

And that's how we can create foliage and iterate quickly on it. We can create all kinds of foliage in any style or complexity. 


We hope this tutorial inspires you to explore the creative possibilities of digital foliage creation using Blender and Tree It. With the skills you've learned today, you're well-equipped to add vibrant, lifelike plants to your digital environments. Remember, the only limit is your imagination—so let it grow wild and bring your virtual worlds to life!

If you are building a game and looking for an efficient and cost effective outsourcing partner, Cominted Labs is at your service. We are a leading game art outsourcing platform that has collaborated with over 50 leading game publishers and developers. Our clients include TCG World, Perp Games, Ethereum Towers, Baby Doge, Crossmint, MadWorld, and many more.

Contact us today and book a demo with an intro call.

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