Search Unity

Experimenting with TreePad in Unity

April 27, 2011 in Technology | 4 min. read
treepad-with-unity-2Today I have been having a lot of fun experimenting with the TreePad app for the iPad, with this app you can easily create an awesome looking tree within a short space of time. This can then be exported as an fbx file, and so seemed like an opportunity too good to turn down to see this running in Unity. So here is what I did: 

First thing to do is get the app which can be downloaded from the app store on your iPad, just search for TreePad. Next, launch the app and begin creating your tree, this is very simple to do, just touch, drag and release and you'll see a branch created with leaves attached, how simple and awesome is that! Also there are various tweaks you can do to your tree but I'll leave you to discover that for yourselves.

Without going into too much detail about the app itself, let's talk about getting your newly created tree into Unity and some of the steps you'll need to take to achieve a nice looking tree.

Getting your tree into Unity!

  1. In TreeApp save your created tree and tap Object manager. Tap your saved tree and notice an Export button has appeared, tap this to export your modelled tree as a .fbx file.treepad-with-unity-1
  2. Now, connect your iPad to your PC or Mac and open iTunes, choose Apps from the left menu and under file sharing select TreePad, here you'll notice the various trees you have saved appear in TreePad documents, select the desired fbx file and click Save to, for now pick a location such as your desktop for easy access.
  3. So here is where it gets really interesting. Launch Unity, and create a New Project making sure to check Unity's very own Tree creator package to import into your new project.
  4. In Unity, Assets -> import new asset -> Find the location of your saved tree and click Import - or in your OS, drag the .fbx file to your new project's assets folder, after a second or two you should see your tree appear in the Project window in Unity, click on your tree and in the Inspector's FBX Importer component - change the Scale Factor from 0.01 -> 0.5 and click Apply at the bottom.
  5. Now, in the Project window drag the tree into your scene and change it's Transform Position to (0, 0, 0) so it's in view of your main camera. Remember you can always center on an object by selecting it in the Hierarchy, hovering over the Scene view, pressing F and then selecting your camera and going to Game Object > Align With View (Ctrl or Command Shift - F).
  6. You will notice your tree is looking good but to make it look really nice, we need to add the correct Shaders and Materials to make it look a bit more realistic.
  7. Collapse the parent object of your tree in your Hierarchy (see above) and you will notice that it has a child object called branches, select this to show it's properties in the Inspector, look at the Material component and here you can see the default Shader is set to Diffuse, so let's change this to Nature > Tree Creator Bark.
  8. The Main Color needs to be changed from the default color (brown) to white, so that we will be able to see the texture more clearly. To add a texture click Select in the first Texture selection (Base (RGB) Alpha (A)) and choose BigTree_bark_diffuse. Do the same for the Normal map but instead choose BigTree_bark_normal.
  9. In the Scene view, zoom in to take a closer look at your branches and observe now that your branches are looking much more realistic than previously.
  10. For the leaves it's a similar process to what we just did for our branches, click on the leaves child object in the Hierarchy and change the Shader to Nature > Tree Creator Leaves, ensure the main color is set to white and then add the BigTree_leaves texture to the material. Once again zoom in to take a closer look, now we have nice looking leaves attached to our branches.

And that's it, very easy and simple to get nice looking trees in just a small amount of time. Here is what mine looked like:


Tips and Tricks!

You may need to tweak the tilling of the texture for the leaves and branches.

If you see this warning: "Meshes may not have more than 65000 vertices at the moment: Leaves", then your tree was made very big in the TreePad app and includes to many leaves, scale your tree down to an easier and more manageable size.

Thanks all and happy tree creating!

April 27, 2011 in Technology | 4 min. read