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Forester Pro - An easy tree creator for Unreal Engine 3

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    Forester Pro - An easy tree creator for Unreal Engine 3

    Forester Pro is an easy to use tree creator for windows that generates high quality tree models that can be exported to UDK. Forester generates randomized tree models from tree templates (different species). Forester features fully editable and poseable models in which branches and leaves can be moved and rotated to generate exactly the model you require. Templates can be customised with your own textures and tree structures modified. Forester Pro can also export to Collada allowing models to be imported easily into Blender, Maya etc allowing tweeking.

    Export to UDK is a simple and straightforward process. Forester can produce automatically generated LODs, simplified convex collision meshes and billboards. Forester even includes an image editor allowing adding and editing of alpha channels to textures. The tutorial below demonstrates how to create and import Forester Pro trees into UDK.




    Here is an atmospheric autumn scene in UDK of trees generated using Forester Pro and our Autumn Tree Pack 1. All the tree models in this scene (five different varieties) were produced from a single template, created and exported in less than 30 minutes.



    A free version, Forester Lite, is available for download from our website and can be used to created randomized models of 7 different tree types for use in development. The registered version of Forester Pro is $40 and the models it produces are ROYALTY FREE. At present 40 additional tree species are available in tree template packs including 5 species each at $10 each.

    http://www.hptware.co.uk/forester.htm

    p.s. It can also make bushes and groundcover.

    #2
    Awesome! Thank you for sharing this.

    Comment


      #3
      hmmm I gave the lite version a try and replaced my custom modeled trees with it. At least in the Lite version it seems to suffer from the "SpeedTree" problem. It creates trees that are lower quality while still having a higher performance impact due to poor optimization. Ultra low-poly trunks+branches that look crappy and don't improve performance on modern systems at all. VS Huge ammount of overdraw created by 118 bad big leaves which kill the framerate. My custom model has 400 smaller leaves and even runs at higher framerates. So I guess that says it all.

      Deleting individual leaves gives a Runtime Error 118 - Array does not exist or array subscript out of bounds at line 11825.....
      Having said that the Pro version seems to have the required featureset to manualy circumvent these issues. So maybe I'll try that one tomorrow, simply because I love the idea of exporting a randomly generated tree to 3DS max and keep working from that. Which is obviously a giant leap forward when compared to UDKs SpeedTree version.

      Comment


        #4
        Hi Xilence,

        You are absolutely right, trees made by a professional 3D artist will always be better optimized than those procedurally created. I am interested, how are you getting better performance with more leaf meshes? Is it simply polycount? Are they just flat planes or is there some specific UDK optimization I don't know about? You can perform quite a bit of optimization in Forester Pro. You can swap leaf meshes, or import your own custom leaf meshes, if you want to use simpler meshes. Although trees made with just flat planes tend to look quite unrealistic. You can also change the segments versus slices on branches to reduce the number of polys on branches, and remove/move slices. The auto LODs actually work pretty well in some engines, but not in the best optimised and really are designed to be used far from the camera (hence the crappy ow polys). One of the reasons we spent ages writing an importer and exporter in Collada was so the trees can be opened in editing software for artists to use Forester Pro models as a base for further development. You can also chose to export trees as independent meshes for this purpose. We do plan some extra optimisation in future updates (e.g. reducing polycount more effectively on smaller branches) and, apparently, tracking down and fixing bugs (yet again). Anyway your input would be useful.

        Thanks for comparing us to SpeedTree, it is more than ten times the cost of Forester Pro.

        [edit] We've just been trying to address the leaf deletion error you mentioned...and can't replicate it. I suspect it must only occur in certain circumstances, you were probably unfortunate to encounter it. We'll keep trying but any other information you can give us would be useful. Were these leaves you added manually? Does it only occur after you've created LODs? Send it to support@hptware.co.uk and we'll give you a free tree template pack for your help.

        Comment


          #5
          No the polycount of my tree is higher in fact. As I wrote before the problem is the overdraw caused by giant transparent polygons stacked ontop of eachother. This polycount framerate improvement wiki entry explains it:
          "Don't use alpha ! Seriously 99% of the stuff people use alpha for these days could be done with actual geometry and it would both look better and perform better!
          Use as little transparent stuff as possible... if transparency cant be avoided (fire for example) make sure it covers as little screen space real estate as possible and doesn't come in multiple layers."
          http://wiki.polycount.net/Framerate%...ization%20Tips

          Now if we compare this to the leaf mesh you create in your tutorial at 4:30 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbsxou87Tnk
          Think of the Black (transparent) Alpha space as evil... and your leaves have lots of it. So basicaly you improve performance a little bit with less polygons and then kill it completely with overdraw via transparent materials.
          So to sum things up it's all about more polygons and less transparent "screen space real estate" (that quote sounds kinda weird doesn't it? ).
          I believe with the pro version features and the Collada exporting the Forest Pro trees can be forced to follow this rule... but it would've been nice to do that a bit more by default.

          The UDK implementation of SpeedTree is free. I'll send you an Email if I encounter the error again.

          Comment


            #6
            Well we can always have the ability to edit the tree in an external modeling program. It may not be intuitive but I myself hate modeling vegitation.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by TheAgent View Post
              Well we can always have the ability to edit the tree in an external modeling program. It may not be intuitive but I myself hate modeling vegitation.
              Just to clarify... Forester Pro is awesome. I was merely pointing out how it could be more awesome. I wasn't too happy with the lite version, but maybe it had more of the features activated than I thought?
              Anyway not that it matters... 30Euro is a steal for this.

              Comment


                #8
                Yeah very cheap, I actually haven't tried it yet. But probably will soon.

                Comment


                  #9
                  XSilence,

                  Interesting, who'd have thought that more polys and no alpha is better. I guess this is for the latest generation of game engines. I've seen big leaves and loads of alpha masks everywhere. I guess there must be some limit though, if you need 20 polys in each leaf for example.

                  Forester Pro certainly can draw leaf meshes without alpha, it isn't a problem and can attach them to the 4 levels of subbranches. At present there's a limit on the number of leaf meshes of 4000. But that limit is just an array dimension and easy to change. If there is a demand for it we'll think about how to implement it better than at present.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by hptware View Post
                    Interesting, who'd have thought that more polys and no alpha is better.
                    Layers of alpha has always been pretty expensive. Best to use geometry instead of a lot of wasted texture space that causes layers of alpha.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Wouldn't that make for insane poly counts on the trees?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        It means you have to be clever about what you group. It doesn't mean model every leaf, but it does mean to use geometry when you can avoid empty space that creates a large layer of alpha'd pixels.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I didn't know that, I'll keep that in mind next time.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Like ambershee said you shouldn't go crazy with polys but having just rectangular leave planes with empty corners is usually a bad idea.
                            Here's an example of two texture sets + UVs that I've made for some trees.
                            http://www.abload.de/img/treeleavesuvs001yasc8.jpg

                            @hptware
                            Thanks for sharing. I'll also give Forester a serious try within the next days.
                            So far I've encountered only a slight issue. This is the scaling of gui elements (e.g. splash, treeicon) which makes it hard or even impossible to read any font:
                            http://www.abload.de/img/forestergui002hbstk.png
                            http://www.abload.de/img/forestergui001g4sq0.png
                            It might be possible that the application is reading the max supported display resolution in order to set the scale? My screen resolution is 1920x1080 but I've installed a custom display driver (with 4x resolution) to use downsampling in some PC games.
                            Edit: The progress bar also shows up in the lower right corner instead of the screen center.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I am still getting tons of chrashes using this. My PC must be cursed, or you guys aren't deleting branches/leaves as much as I do. lol Oh well it's good to create some basemeshes that look more natural than sticking together instances in 3DS Max. It certainly isn't suitable to create in-game trees directly though...

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