Creating A Paint Effects Tree
This tutorial will teach you how to create a tree using Maya's paint effects. This tutorial has been written for intermediate Maya users.
Go to the rendering menu set.
First I want to say this tutorial will be covering strictly how to make trees in paint effects. I'll only be teaching the procedure and attributes needed to create a tree; this is technically not a cover-all paint effects tutorial. With that said, you should first start off with getting some reference of the tree you want to make. Google image search is a great help here.
Making A Standard Tree
Step one - Go to paint effects>paint effects tool. Now draw one stroke in the scene.
Step two - Select your paint effects stroke and open the attributes editor (window>attributes editor).
Step five - Now go to the creation tag.
First we need to get rid of the extra tubes.Set the tubes per step to 0.001. This will force paint effects to only create one tube. Now set the tube rand to 0. Now we've got one tube; this will be our trunk.
Increase the segments attribute to something like 28. This will break up the tube into more segments, allowing it to bend smoother. Now the tree's pretty short, so go to the length attributes.
The reason there's a minimum and maximum length is because normally it will randomly select the length from the range between those two values for each tube. So, by setting the attributes' values summarily (example: 2 and 3), it won't have much of a range to select from, giving us more control. The minimum should never be larger than the maximum. So, in our case, set the minimum to 3 and the maximum to 3.001.
Now to fix that leaning issue. Roll down and look at the elevation minimum and elevation maximum attributes.
To get this tree standing straight up and down, set both attributes to 1.
Our tree is way too skinny, so go to the tube width 1 and tube width 2. Tube width 1 is the width of the base of the tree. Width 2 is the width of the top. Set ours to 0.150 and 0.050.
Now that our trunk's done, we'll do our branches, twigs, and leaves.
First roll down to the growth tag.
As you can see, this immediately splits up the trunk into branches. Now go to the tag branches, and we'll work from there.
Set the number of branches (num branches) to 4. This is good for most trees, but our tree's still sparse on branches. So increase the split max depth attribute to 3.5.
This breaks up our branches into a more realistic density by adding more places where branches can split.
Split size decay allows you to set how much the branches will thin as they get father away from the trunk. We're setting ours to 0.600.
Split bias can create some neat effects. By increasing the value it will split the branches higher up on the branch. Decreasing it will do the opposite.
Now go back up to the growth tag and check twigs. Now go down to the twigs tag.
First let's fix the length of these twigs. Use the length attribute and set it to 0.250.
Now let's use the twig start attribute. Increasing it will push the place where the twigs start up the branch. We want to set ours to 0.600.
The twig angle 1 and 2 attributes allow you to change the angle of the twigs at the bottom of the branch and the top of the branch independently. In our case, we want to set twig angle 1 to 30 and twig angle 2 to 50. Our twigs will spread out more at the tips.
Right now, all our twigs sit on the same side of the branch. We'll fix this using the twig twist attribute. Set it to 0.500; this will cause out twigs' position to "twist"
Now it's starting to look like a tree.
Go back to growth and check leaves. Roll down to the tag leaves.
First we need to change the leaf start attribute. We want to set that to 0.860. This will push the leaves off the low branches.
Now our leaves are way too big for the tree. So roll up to leaf length; set it to 0.100. Now set the leaf base width and leaf tip width to 0.100.
Now we can start setting up the amount of leaves we want on the trees. First we want to set the leaves in cluster to 3. Set the number of leaf clusters (num leaf clusters) to 4. Lastly, we want to set the leaf dropout to 0.231.
We're going to be using a picture of a leaf for our leaf texture. We're not going to be trying to shape the leaves using the leaf profile options. So we want to set our segments to 1.
Now onto texture. You'll need two images - one for bark, and one for leaves. The bark image doesn't need to be really all that specific; should be tileable. Now the leaf image needs to be a bit more specific. It needs to be a .Tiff image with transparency, so only the leaf itself will be rendered and the excess will be removed.
The two attributes leaf color 1 and leaf color 2 let you set the color of the leaves. The three attributes below let you randomize the color. For best results, only use leaf sat rand.
Now for the bark.
Step two - Check map color. Now roll down to texture type.
Step three - Set the texture type to file.
The two attributes you'll be tweaking the most are repeat U and V. Repeat U sets how many times the texture will be repeated down the branch. Repeat V will set how many times the texture will be repeated around the branch.
A quick way to light paint effects is to roll down to illumination and check illuminated.
- Don't make your leaves too large; this will make your tree look fake.
- You can see and use pre-defined paint effects brushes for trees by going to window>general editors>visor. Now roll down to trees and treesMesh.
I hope this tutorial has taught you how to create a tree in paint effects. There are many other variations you could do to make different trees.