3D / 2D hybrid tree for OELVN (aka VISUAL NOVEL) use. I am GENIUS!!!

May 25, 2013

Finally, a solution to a problem that has plagued me for such a long time! How to have decent looking 3D trees but still have low poly count enough to shorten render times so I can get more BG’s produced in short time.

But first a bit of history…


What you see above are a bunch of 2D trees I’ve been using and abusing for a long long time now. I use them in my sketchup scenes whenever possible and it is very good decision because it make my scenes look good  and being 2D they are just one plane so very low poly count but…


Problem with 2D trees is that they are flat objects in 3D world so if you turn on the shadows you can quickly see the problem immediately.


So for a long time I used this really clever but depressing method of hiding the source of imperfection by hiding the base of the trees behind walls, structures, other plants and shrubs or make sure they are offscreen.


It works but this severely limits what scenes I can do which makes UNCLE MUGEN really sad…


Of course, there are 3D trees in Sketchup but chances are the poly count quota for the leaves alone is enough to model a whole town in sketchup. A single tree alone is enough to slow or even hang a low end unit and even if you have a high end unit that can accommodate such polycount intensive resource they don’t quite look anime’ish enough for use with OELVN (visual novel) backgrounds.


So UNCLE MUGEN comes up with a clever solution because UNCLE MUGEN is very smart. Let us combine 3D tree trunks with low poly 2D leaves. I am genius!… not only does it look somewhat OK for use with OELVN (aka Visual Novels) it is low poly count enough that I can put a whole forest of it without worrying too much that it will make machines all over the world crash… and best thing of all… I can now do scenes that I wasn’t able to do before using 2D trees… like scenes where the base of the trees are visible…


Anyway, this is just the first. it doesn’t look good right now but we’ll get better. As always, UNCLE MUGEN is releasing this for everyone to enjoy. You can download it HERE in the Sketchup 3D warehouse… more to come!

“POOF” (Disappears)



  1. I think you’d benefit from more heavily stylised textures for the trunk as well, though.


    I tried to find a few examples where you could see the rendered model and the textures themselves – in my opinion you could render that kind of painted texture to look quite good in an anime-esque environment.
    At the moment, in my opinion, your trees look a bit too pale and plastiline-like, probably because they’re right against a very rich and saturated green from the foliage. I’d also advise trying to give the bottom of the tree texture a bit of darker decal to make it better integrate with the ground, to make it look dirtier at the bottom.

    Also, I may be talking out of my arse, but I figured I’d ask about this as well: would having a complete trunk be a hindrance for rendering times? I don’t know anything about renderers, but I wonder whether cutting the trunk in half (so that, if looking from the bottom you get a semi-circle) would optimise rendering times more, while still giving you a decent shadow.

    Nice job on improving your methods, it’s somewhat reminiscent of the video from Blizzard I sent you some time ago… I think.

    • Unfortunately, Sketchup can’t do UV Mapping (by default) and doing it by hand is horrendously difficult but not impossible though time consuming. Right now I’m trying to develop and perfect techniques which would eventually lead me into producing a sort of tutorial that revolves around Sketchup and it’s immediate plug-ins because they are the easiest to learn if you are a layman starting from scratch so exporting to blender to do UV Map is no-no because Blender is not Layman friendly. Though there is a way to do UV Map but it requires a third party plugin that is not free. So for now I’m currently stuck with this generic plain texture unless I found a way to UV Map within Sketchup… for FREE of course 🙂

      I think complete tree trunks is better because it does produce nice and somewhat proper looking shadows. Cutting the trunk in half doesn’t really do much in speeding things up especially in my case where I use the absolute minimum polycount to produce a rudimentary trunk like object that could pass as a tree trunk and even a high detailed tree trunk still has less polycount than a full blown full 3D tree

      This is just the start, we’ll get better once I discovered more and better techniques that revolves around sketchup and of course I’ll try and spread it to others so they too can enjoy them. 🙂

  2. I see, I didn’t know Sketchup couldn’t do that!

    Anyway, good luck with refining your technique, I’m sure you’ll find a way around the limitations. 🙂

  3. @Mugenjohncel

    Your work is pretty good, but you make too many games about female characters which is pretty boring… and we all aint Lesbians so you know you should really open up to your audience. If you made a game where you could date a male character you would probably have a hit, oh and don’t forget the yaoi.

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