Willow Tree Process (Part 2)

Today, I figured I’d touch on my process for creating textures.

While many folks prefer to use a photograph for their texture, I’ve always worked from scratch, creating my own textures digitally, while referencing a large number of photographs for ideas and clues about growth habit.

With respect to trees, I usually start with a few variations on a base leaf, taking care to work out the base silhouette.

In the case of weeping willows, the leaves are narrow,oblong, and taper gradually. While the final  product will ultimately be much smaller and not show small details like serrated edges, I usually add them anyway, along with veins so that these elements can give hints of themselves later.

It’s usually a good idea to create a variety of different leaves, even if they are a slight modification of one base shape. This allows the final branch texture to have some variation to it, even if, at a distance, the differences are small.

Sometimes, the use of traditional media for texturing is helpful too. I have used my share of drawing tablets but (even considering the use of Cintiq tablets) none of them can truly replicate the intuitiveness of simply taking pen or pencil to paper and simply drawing.  Sometimes, it’s just easier to sketch out a base to work from, clean it up or paint over it, rather than drawing and erasing ad nauseum via tablet, and this is what I’ve done here.

This and some other branches were drawn with pencil, scanned, cleaned up and painted over.  Using this process, I was able to put together a sideways branch, which is now at a prime stage for the addition of leaves in Blender.

I usually start by unwrapping the UV of a plane to fill the whole area of a UV layout matching the proportions of my leaf texture. In the Node Editor, this object gets assigned a material with the leaf texture as a diffuse map. I additionally assign transparency to the material, using transparency from the texture to be the deciding factor in what gets rendered.

The plane gets cut up so that each piece of geometry gets a different leaf. I then also bring in the branch texture and put it on a vertical plane object (using a similar node setup as above) by adding it to my Diffuse Map node in the Node Editor.

Once this is in place, I divide the Blender windows such that I can view a preview in Render mode on one side as well as edit in either Texture or Wireframe mode on the other. This allows me to move leaf textures to match the branch texture relatively quickly, while still seeing the results (and how the transparent textures interact with each other) in real-time.

In this case, leaf geometry was laid out and duplicated with an Array modifier and also given a curve modifier, so that the geometry would conform to an extruded curve (to act as a stem). This allowed me to move and deform the long string of leaves in any way I wanted.

Special consideration is made to maintain variation and depth. Being able to use a 3D program to put together this texture means that I can take the time to create parts of the foliage which move forward or recede. Setting my texture workflow up this way also means it would be easy to replace the leaf texture later for other texture sets (fall colours, for example).

Once I have an arrangement I’m happy with, I add a solid emissive blue background, set up some appropriate lighting, position the camera and take a render (F12) of the camera view.

The result gets saved and opened in Photoshop. I select as much blue as possible, then delete it from the layer, leaving behind a transparent background. I then add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and de-saturate any remaining blue colour on the preceding layer.

Any additional cleanup should be done to the texture at this stage. I save a .PSD file as well as a .PNG at full size, then I repeat the placement process for branches along the full trunk. Once I have finalized placement, the file gets saved again as a .TGA, with an appropriate background & alpha channel and at a more SL-appropriate image size.

There can be a lot of experimentation at this stage and the solution, for trees, isn’t always a flat billboarded texture. As it stands, this tree still looks a little spare!

In my next article, I’ll show what additional geometry and texture work goes in to making the tree look believable from multiple angles.

If you found this or any other of my articles helpful, please consider becoming a Patron! Doing so supports further articles of this kind and my content creation in general.  Alternatively, if you like the sorts of things that I make for Second Life, drop by my Marketplace listing or my in-world stores and check out what I have to offer!

Unless otherwise noted, I (Aki Shichiroji) and this blog are not sponsored in any way. My thoughts are my own and not indicative of endorsement by any associated or discussed product/service/company.

Two new trees, one new plant!


More meshy goodness for you this week!

This new all-mesh plant comes with a planter and one plant – with broad, uniquely marked leaves and no alpha textures, these are great for both indoor and outdoor use and will not experience alpha flickering. Offered mod/copy/no transfer. ( Buy in Store ) ( Buy on Marketplace )

This set of trees comes in both green and autumnal foliage. Offered both mod/copy/no transfer and mod/no copy/transfer. ( Buy in Store ) ( Buy on Marketplace )

By request, a new evergreen coniferous tree is being added to those available! This low-prim tree features detailed foliage based on the majestic cedars of Lebanon. Offered both mod/copy/no transfer and mod/no copy/transfer. ( Buy in Store ) ( Buy on Marketplace )


One last parcel is available in Sylvan; come check it out!

Parcel size Prims Weekly price SLURL
Parcel 2B – 960 383 L$690 SLURL


New Releases – Nov 26 2011

I’ve received some requests to make winter trees available as packs outside of their usual offering for those who wish to furnish their sims for the winter season, so I’ve made two packs available;

They are divided by foliage type – deciduous (leafy) and coniferous (needle). Each pack comes with seven trees plus frosted grass. All items are sculptie. Please note: These two packs are offered as is. No updates for items contained within these two packs will be sent out unless there is some defect.

The Coniferous pack includes:

Bristlecone Pine 1 (frosted)
Bristlecone Pine 2 (frosted)
Bristlecone Pine 2 (snowy)
Bristlecone Pine 3 (frosted)
Spruce 2 – Frosted
Spruce 2 – Frosted, Lit
Spruce 2 – Snowy
Grass 3 – Frosted

( Buy in Store )( Buy on Marketplace )

The Deciduous Pack includes:

Alder Grove 1 (winter)
Birch 2 Cluster (winter)
Birch 3 (snowy)
Oak 6 (winter)
Oak 8 (winter)
Sugar Maple 1 (lit)
Sugar Maple 1 (winter)
Grass 3 (frosted)

( Buy in Store )( Buy on Marketplace )

Christmas tree ornaments return to the store and will probably hang around until mid-January before they are put away for another year – they come in two varieties – star and tapered, eight colours to a box. All are mod/copy.

Check out the store for some holiday freebies as well!


Finally, a release unrelated to the upcoming holidays:

This ficus is the newest in the Ficus series and features a beautiful leaning trunk and detailed bark and foliage. This is a mesh product, so you’ll need SL Viewer 3.0 or newer. It is 8LI out of the box and is mod, copy, no transfer.  ( Buy in Store )( Buy on Marketplace )

Tiny Trees, Delicious Monsters and a little taste of Paradise

Three new items released this week!

Two new tropicals are available;

Known by many names, including ‘Swiss Cheese Plant’, ‘Split Leaf Plant’, Mexican Breadfruit, Ceriman, and even Delicious Monster (after the Latin name), Monstera Deliciosa are broad-leafed plants which in nature develop attachments to tropical trees and use them as a support to gain height. Domestically, they’re known as excellent low maintenance plants that do well in planters in homes, offices and commercial areas. Offered with a mesh version (small cluster of the plant set within a mesh planter) as well as a sculpt version (large cluster of plants, suited for outdoor use). The mesh version requires at minimum a mesh-capable SL Viewer such as V3.0+. Sculpts are viewable with SL 1.21 or newer. Offered mod, copy, no transfer. ( Buy in Store ) ( Buy on Marketplace )

When one thinks of exotic tropical flowers, it is hard to overlook the highly iconic Bird of Paradise plant. This plant is offered mesh only and takes up 8 LI out of the box.  Because it’s mesh, you’ll need a mesh-capable SL viewer such as V3.o or newer. Offered mod, copy, no transfer. ( Buy in Store) ( Buy at Marketplace )

A new bonsai is now available – it features classic Japanese Maple foliage which can be switched between red and green on click. This is a mesh item – you’ll need a mesh-capable viewer to see it. Offered mod, no copy, transfer and mod, copy, no transfer. ( Buy in Store ) ( Buy at Marketplace )

Land Update:

Only two parcels are still available in Sylvan!


Both parcels split from the originally larger Parcel 7 are now occupied, so there are now only two parcels available in the sim. Both are quite scenic – Parcel #2 is a square shaped lot in a quiet bordered on two sides by water on the eastern half of the region and the other (parcel 9) is a generously sized L-shaped lot that faces north-west, with a full view of the waterfall.

Full parcel details as follows:

Parcel size Prims Weekly price SLURL
Parcel 2 – 1760 704 L$1267 SLURL
Parcel 9 – 1584sqm 633 L$1140 SLURL

Crocus and Hawthorn

Two new products released this week!

These beautiful flowers are offered in three shapes for a variety of arrangements. They come in ten different colours individually and in a fatpack. No alpha textures used – no texture flipping! Buy a fatpack of crocus and save up to 33%! Each flower is as low as 1 land impact count and is mesh, so do ensure you are running SL Viewer 2.8 or newer. Offered mod/copy/no transfer. ( Buy in Store ) ( Buy on Marketplace – FatpackWhiteWhite/Purple VeinsYellowYellow/Purple VeinsPink Creme AmethystLavender/WhiteBlue/White/PurpleOrange/Red )

Hawthorn is a large family of plants that features unique foliage, small white flowers, small red berries in the summer and bright red foliage in the autumn. Offered in tree form, this product comes with four foliage types, scripted and unscripted.  Oblong sculpties – requires SL Viewer 1.21 or newer. Offered mod/no copy/transfer and mod/copy/no transfer. ( Buy in Store ) ( Buy on Marketplace )


Three parcels are still available in Sylvan. Some changes were made to parcel 7, which is now two parcels. If you are looking for a smaller lot, one is still available and situated just next to the Falls.

Full parcel details as follows:

Parcel size Prims Weekly price SLURL
Parcel 6 – 1760sqm 973 L$1752 SLURL
Parcel 7A – 1120sqm 448 L$806 SLURL
Parcel 9 – 1584sqm 633 L$1140 SLURL


Two new trees, some land updates.

The Releases:

I’ve had some requests for more compact and upright trees that are more suitable to both urban and rural areas. Coupled with the desire to put out some more autumnal offerings, the results are as follows!

Both trees are low prim at 3 prims each. They come with three foliage textures, both scripted and unscripted, mod copy and mod transfer.

As always, they can be found at Organica sim.

Mod/Copy editions can also be found on the Marketplace as follows:

Birch 3: https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/Organica-Birch-3/2736086

Oak 8: https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/Organica-Oak-8/2736102

The Land News:
Six new parcels of land have been made available this month in Sylvan sim. If you have always wanted a spot in this quiet sim, now’s your chance. There are three parcels left, in the north-east corner of the sim and all parcels in Sylvan now have a 1.75x prim bonus, which means you can have 75% more prims on your parcel than you would normally.

The details are as follows:

Parcel size Prims Weekly price SLURL
Parcel 7 – 2432sqm 973 L$1752 SLURL
Parcel 8 – 1696sqm 679 L$1223 SLURL
Parcel 9 – 1584sqm 633 L$1140 SLURL


New trees and plants at Organica

This new bonsai is offered both mod/no copy/transferrable and mod/copy/no transfer and takes up only three prims! If you so choose, the tree can also be unlinked from the pot and resized for use as a full sized tree. It’s perfect for any Asian style garden. ( Marketplace Link )

These fan-style palms are available mod/no copy/transferrable and mod/copy/no transfer. The pack contains six palm tree shapes and new realistic foliage. Prim counts range from 4 (for single trees) to 9 (for clusters of four).These are a great compliment to your tropical or desert garden. ( Marketplace Link )

By request, fully prim, non-alpha lotus flowers and lily pads. 12 prims each, offered mod/copy/no transfer. These are perfect for shallow ponds! ( Marketplace Link )


As usual, everything can be found both on the grounds and in the store at Organica sim:  http://slurl.com/secondlife/Organica/127/138/24

New Oak Tree (with optional tire swing) released!

Many, many moons ago (almost two years!), my friend Todd Action asked for a big tree with a tire swing on it. I didn’t think much about it then, but over time I came around to the idea and how to execute it. I’ve also had a chance to play around with JJacek Antonelli’s Blender .bvh exporter, so I was ultimately able to put together something to my liking that meets the standards I try to keep today.

The result is a 11 prim Oak Tree (3 prims make up the optional tire swing) that is offered with both scripted and unscripted versions (for foliage change) as well as a rez-faux version which uses a scripted tree and swing. Sit on the tire swing to swing – three animations are included and can be switched through clicking the tire while seated. Due to the nature of the scripts and packages included with this product, it is being offered mod/copy only (scripts inside are copy only).

The tree’s available in the store as usual or on site here.

Two home items, one new tree!

There are a number of new releases this week!

This is a bookcase made from sculpties, so you’ll need to rez items on the ground then place them on the shelves. Low prim, Asian design, realistic lighting and shadow base. Great for your home! Available mod/copy only.

This is both a decorative and functional tea set. Scripted and unscripted versions of the teacups are available (for wearing) and it’s possible to make the teapot steam when clicked. A pouring gesture is also included so you can pour tea while holding the teapot in your hand. Available mod/copy only.

Folks who have been following Organica for a while may recall a couple of Acer tenuifoliums which were made many many moons ago and which were relegated to the discount wall. Well, finally I’ve gotten my act together and put together a new version of that tree; it’ll be known by its more colloquial name, the Full Moon Maple. This new tree comes with sculpted foliage and more efficient trunk. The foliage has also been completely redone to take advantage of the sculpt type most of my trees are made with now. This tree comes with: green, ‘turning’ and red versions (unscripted), foliage changing (scripted), and particle emitting (for leaf drop) on the ‘turning’ and ‘red’ versions. Available mod/trans or mod/copy.

As always, all products are available for purchase at the Organica main store.

Happy Holidays!

XmasPromoHappy Holidays!

A few updates to the store inventory are as follows:

Two Christmas trees, available in green and frosted, are now available for sale! They are mod/copy and feature sculpted ornaments, garland, lights, and star on top!

Additionally, the ornaments are also available seperately; There’s a set of star ornaments and two sets (one bright, one pastel) of tapered ball ornaments available!

Some of last year’s selections are also available.

Also be sure to  grab the free gift while you’re at it! (You’ll have to pop on by to see what it is 😉 )

Everything is on display out in front of the store, so do drop on by!

As always, you can reach Organica by using the following SLURL:  http://slurl.com/secondlife/Organica/127/138/24