The ability to capture complex root structures or gnarly chunks of trees from a forest is one of the most exciting developments in visual effects and game production over the past few years. With photorealistic visuals appearing in AAA games as well as indie titles, the technology has changed what we thought was possible.

When it comes to trees and photogrammetry, however, there are significant challenges. While capturing the base of a tree can easily be done with a smartphone, the canopy, branch structure, and leaves are harder to capture and require extensive texturing and modeling work to finish. Because this is usually done in Z-Brush or 3ds Max, photogrammetry and SpeedTree have been a dichotomous approach to tree modeling.

We’re changing that.

Our artists and engineers are developing a cutting-edge workflow that allows SpeedTree to ingest a complex photogrammetry mesh and extend the branches with SpeedTree spines, complete with wind and LOD animations. With both geometry and texture blending, additional 3D meshes or SpeedTree branches can be welded onto photogrammetry trunks seamlessly. Stay tuned for more details and videos in the coming weeks.