Willow Tree Process (Part 1) & Bezier Curves

The last week has been a bit nuts!

Family is up from the States this week, so there was a family dinner. I also took a bit of free time earlier today to pick up a lovely vintage table for my kitchen, which is sorely lacking in the style department.

I am overseeing and creating content for a couple of new work projects and hope to be able to talk more about them soon – in the mean time, I figured I’d touch a bit on some work in progress I’ve got in mind for an upcoming Organica release.

It’s been a *long* while since Organica offered a weeping willow. Simply put, it’s mainly because I am not real big on flexi prims being linked in to mesh and, back when I did make some, we only had alpha blending (and not masking) – so it would be common to run in to issues where some textures would overlay others in an undesirable fashion.

With those caveats in mind, I figure it’s a good time to revisit willows, because let’s face it – a naturally moving  tree would be a great example of non-animal Animesh.

While I won’t touch on the rigging just yet here, I will at this point discuss my general modelling & UV layout process.

Willow Tree Process (Part 1) & Bezier Curves

The process begins with a simple cylinder – usually with no more than 12 sides, and with the length divided a multitude of times. I usually create the UV layout for this cylinder pretty early on (even though I do later unwrap the geometry again) because multiple copies will be made of this cylinder and it’d be nice not to define seams for each and every one.

While I could probably define the shape of the geometry by moving the verts around,  lately I’ve taken to adding a Bezier Curve nearby and applying the curve as a modifier to the cylinder, taking care to apply scale and location before any heavy modification takes place.

Willow Tree Process (Part 1) & Bezier Curves

By using a modifier, non-destructive changes can be made, allowing for a considerable amount of experimentation in placement and rotation prior to committing to a final shape. In this case, I am moving various nodes in the bezier curve to direct the overall direction of the mesh.

How does one use Bezier curves?

Assuming you are already familiar with how to move, rotate, scale and extrude vertices, edges and faces in geometry, Bezier curve nodes are similar to individual vertices (although more accurately, they are very similar to NURBS nodes).

A Bezier Curve in Blender (in object mode on left, edit mode on right)
A Bezier Curve in Blender (in object mode on left, edit mode on right)

Basically, each node along a curve is accompanied by a pair of handles which control the direction of the curve directly before and after the node. They are always 180 degrees from each other. The closer these handles are to the node, the shorter the area of influence they will have.

The default bezier curve will give you two nodes. You can add nodes in between by dividing the space between the two in the same manner as you would between two vertices. You can also extrude additional nodes from the start or end of the curve.

You can either apply this curve to existing geometry (using the ‘Curve’ modifier’) or extrude some basic geometry along the curve (using the ‘Curve’ properties menu, when the curve is selected). There are some additional advanced things you can do to this extruded geometry (such as non-destructive tapering or bevelling) but for the purposes of this demo, I have only applied my curves to geometry as a modifier.

It should be noted at this point that, even at top level geometry, I do not subdivide at this point. This is important, since fixes will later be necessary to clean up the results of proceeding workflow. It’s way less hassle to redirect and merge fewer vertices than more. If smoother, more curvaceous transitions are needed, subdivisions should occur after the final UV layout has been finalized (IE: not now!)

After the trunk has been defined, I select both the mesh and the curve and duplicate them at the same time, adjusting basic position, scaling and rotation at the Object level, then editing individual branches for variety by selecting the appropriate curve and editing in edit mode.

After I am satisfied with all the branch placement, I join each branch to the main trunk using a Boolean Modifier (‘union’ setting) to create the branch geometry in the same object as the trunk and also to join it with the trunk. This leaves behind a copy of the original branch, which can either be archived to a different layer or deleted entirely.

I do this for all of the branches, then go back and check each of the joints between the branches and trunk.

Willow Tree Process (Part 1) & Bezier Curves
Before (left) and after (right) some vert cleanup at the branch/trunk joint. Also, seam assignment.

Typically, use of the boolean modifier will create extraneous verts, showing the point at which each face intersected with its adjacent geometry. This is, by and large, undesirable and I will usually either merge several extraneous verts to converge on one desired vert OR i’ll select edge loops and slide them in the correct direction, taking care later to remove any remaining duplicate vertices. Checking for N-gons (polygons with more than 4 edges) should also be done at this stage.

Willow Tree Process (Part 1) & Bezier Curves

Cleanup is done around each joint, after which I attempt another UV unwrap to achieve a nice layout that is fairly clean, not overly stretchy, correctly scaled and laid out in a convenient direction.

Willow Tree Process (Part 1) & Bezier Curves
Tree trunk & branch UV layout

The overall silhouette and UV layout have been achieved. Further modifications  within these constraints (additional edge loops to create more curves, for example) would be ideal at this point.

We’ll leave it here for now. Next week, I’ll discuss foliage geometry, layout and general texture creation.


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New Azalea Bonsai at Organica

A new set of bonsai are now available at Organica!

 

These flowering trees will brighten up any household or garden. 8LI at packaged size, they have individually articulated flowers and foliage for great closeup detail, all the while maintaining efficient geometry to promote viewer performance. For best results, view with Advanced Lighting Model (Materials).

Eight varieties are available separately as well as a fatpack. Mod, copy, no transfer.

Each variety is available for purchase here at the Organica shop as well as here on Marketplace.

New tree, ground tiles, garden walls this week at Organica!

Three new items are available this week from Organica!

FicusAlcove1-vendor

This new Ficus tree is materials enabled, mod copy, 17LI and offers all original animations! It is the perfect centerpiece to your backyard or garden.

CobbleMossTile-vendor

This is a simple, tilable mesh built solely for flat surface use. It’s great for adding variety to a courtyard, creating pathways & more! 1 LI each, Mod, copy, no transfer, materials enabled.

GWS-Vendor-768

This wall set includes four pieces that’ll help you create your own private Asian-inspired garden! Ranges from 1-3 LI, mod, copy, no transfer, materials enabled.

All of these are now available at the main store (SLURL here)

The Neighbourhood – June 6 2015

Pop by today and tomorrow for Organica’s contribution this month to The Neighbourhood event!

JMaple-Vendor-sml

This low LI tree includes four texture sets both as static and scripted editions, featuring green, deep red, bright red and winter foliage. All texture sets are materials-ready, and the tree is 5 LI at packaged size. Available both mod/trans and mod/copy – at the low introductory price of L$100 and L$150 respectively, this weekend only!

Drop on by and check out what else we have to offer!

New waterfall, tree and plants!

Waterfall3-vendorStarting today and running thru ’til February 14, Organica will be participating in The House Hunt! For just L$20, you can pick up this wonderful new mesh waterfall!  It features animated texture water with particles, plus materials optimized mesh. Mod/copy/no transfer. Hint: The prize can be found where fire and water meet!

Additionally, there are two other new releases this week:

Elm5-vendor

This new elm features beautifully detailed textures, three foliage options, plus optional scripted version. It tree stands at 15.5 by 17 by 13m, is materials optimized mesh, and available both mod/transfer and mod/copy. Drop by the shop to see it in person, here! http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Organica/183/165/47

 

Rosebush2-fatpack-vendor-sml

This set of rosebushes is a great update for every garden, offering both a highly efficient 1 LI edition as well as a 7 LI edition (per plant) featuring fully modelled rose blossoms! Each bush features detailed textures and (new to the rosebushes) is now materials optimized for a more realistic look! Check these out in person here: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Organica/144/129/57

New tree this weekend for The Neighbourhood!

Hawthorn2-vendorHi Folks!

It’s been a while since I released a new tree, as well as a long while since I released a hawthorn tree, so if you were looking for one or both, you’re in luck! Standing at 19 by 16 by 17m, this flowering and fruiting tree comes in four foliage types and is accompanied by a scripted version that can switch between them at your leisure. The tree is mod/copy/no transfer and will be available for the introductory price of L$200 this Saturday as part of The Neighbourhood promotion. Pop by and pick one up now!

In other news, Organica will be participating in the upcoming Candy Faire! Keep your eyes open for another post in about a week for lots of scrumptious goodies!

 

This weekend for Neighbourhood + New Tree release

BoatBed-vendorNew this weekend for The Neighbourhood is this new rowboat bed. Featuring both single and couples animations, it also comes with some accessories for the headboard shelf. At 2LI plus accessories at 1LI each, this is a fantastic low LI addition to anyone’s bedroom! Pick this up starting Saturday, Jan 18 in-store only for L$200.

JapaneseMaple3-vendor

Also, the Japanese Maple is making a return to Organica, this time as a 5LI mesh tree measuring 12x9x9m in size. It comes with four foliage options (green, bright red, deep red, snowy) plus one scripted version which allows quick switching between all four. As usual, these are available mod/trans and mod/copy in-store and mod/copy on Marketplace.

 

New alpine offerings today!

 

Spruce3-vendor

 

This is the latest edition of spruce trees to be offered at Organica. Measuring 17 X 15 X 25m out of the box, this detailed tree comes to only 10 LI!

Included are three foliage types (green, frosted, snowy) as well as an optional low resource scripted version which allows you to switch between the three.

This is a great tree for every day or winter landscapes! Pick up your copy today either in-store or on the Marketplace!

Juniper4-vendorThis new juniper will be offered at the low price of L$200 this weekend as part of the Neighbourhood weekly event!

It comes with both green and snowy foliage and comes with an optional scripted version which will change between the two. As with the spruce trees, this tree is optimized for use with the Advanced Lighting Model, so be sure to switch that option on in your viewer for the best effect!

Look for it here. I’ll update it to Marketplace after the week is over.

 

New furniture, new tree

New furniture, new tree

New furniture, new tree

New couches and armchairs have finally made it to Organica this week! Alongside the forest green Lush Plush armchair, six new colours are now available as both armchairs and couches. Each are available individually or can be purchased at a reduced price in a fatpack.  These are mod, copy, no transfer, with copy-only contents. Available in-store and on the Marketplace.

New furniture, new tree

This new tree is the first Sycamore to be added to Organica. This is a great medium-sized tree with a lot of variety and will add a lot of visual interest to your garden. Comes with green, autumn and winter foliage, both scripted and unscripted. Mod, copy, no transfer, with copy-only scripts. Available in-store and on the Marketplace.

 

Also, as a reminder, there are only a few days on each of the hunts Organica is participating in this month!  Check out my previous post for full details!