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Easily make free mesh trees for OpenSim and Second Life

Every once in a while I discover a really good free tool for Second Life, OpenSim and other virtual worlds. Tree[d] by frecle ApS is one of those great free tools for Windows users. It is an easy to use yet powerful tree and leaf maker that makes mesh trees with just a click of a mouse:

Tree samples

Tree[d] is particularly useful for OpenSim based worlds with mesh, as large numbers of mesh triangles add up quickly in Second Life.

Once you have created you tree, you can make an infinite number of variations with just one click of the mouse. Tree[d] is free to use and the models you make are freely transferrable. But there is one catch: You CANNOT sell them. The output of treed[d] is really free!

I wasn't sure I had read the license correctly. It indicates that you cannot sell the trees but did not mention transfer, so I contacted the creators. Mikkel Fredborg, Technical Director and Founder said "You are free to use the trees for anything, except selling them as individual models or in model bundles. Ie. you are not allowed to sell a tree you make for 1$, but you can give it away for free. If the trees are incorporated into a larger work, you are free to use them in any scenario both commercial and non-profit."

Features:

Free!
One click auto generate infinite varieties
Change trunks, branches and leaf quantity, shapes, lengths, widths, and fractals
Shows the triangle count before you pay to upload it.
Export to OBJ format, simple to convert to Collada (.dae) with Blender (also free)
Changeable textures for trunks, branches and leaves.

There are a lot of easy to use and really sweet details in the program, too many to get into really, but look at this one: You have the ability to attach leaves to a tree by their tips, or you can set the tip anywhere you want:

Set the tip

This makes it really easy to make unusual trees.

As a bonus, there are a lot of textures you can use:

Textures

How to make trees for OpenSim and Second Life using treed[d]

First, get Treed[d] and install it.

Once you start it, you will see the simple user interface and your first tree:

First screen

Controls:

Left click = Rotate: You can click on the tree and drag your mouse to view it

Right click = Zoom. Move the mouse back and forth while holding down the right mouse button to zoom.

Now click the "Randomize Seed " button to make more varieties of your tree

+ : Click the + sign next to a menu to collapse or expand it to fit your screen.

Go play! There are dozens of parameters for making trees. Once you are done, you will need to take one additional step to upload it and use it.

Here is a tip you will need to know: Both Second life and OpenSim will only show one side of the leaves. tree[d] will show both sides. So once you have a tree that you like, go the the Leaf menu and double the number of leaves:

Double the leves

How to Export your tree

Export your finished tree by clicking File-Export OBJ...

Export OBJ

How to Convert OBJ to Collada format

Second Life and Open Sim use Collada (.dae) format, and tree[d] exports as an Object (.obj). So we will need to convert it. You can do this for free with Blender, from Blender.org

Blender is notoriously difficult to use, but exporting to Collada is easy.

First, download and install Bender.

Once you start Blender, you should see a welcome screen:

Welcome screen

Left-click the grey area behind the welcome splash screen to make it go away. You will see a cube:

Cube

Press the Delete button, left-click the Delete option from the pop up, and the cube will disappear:

Delete option

Left-click File->Import and select Wavefront OBJ:

Import OBJ

Browse to your .OBJ file, left click the file so that it is highlighted, and click the Import OBJ button at the top right of your screen:

Import Button

Your tree should appear:

Tree

Exporting

Export the tree as an Collada .DAE file:

Exporting is the reverse of the import process. Click File Export Collada (.dae)

Export

Type a name in the entry field where it says .dae at the top of your screen and press Export COLLADA at the top right"

Export Button

Now your file is ready is upload to Second Life or OpenSim.

Tips on mesh uploads:

Second Life uses the number of vertexes in your tree to determine the cost of uploading and the land impact. It also adds in the physics model of the tree to detect collisions. In addition, special reduced Level Of Detail (LOD) models are also uploaded automatically. LOD 'falls off' with distance, so people will see a low resolution tree as they get further away. You can adjust all these parameters to get the best looking tree for your needs.

Physics:

Set the Physics model to lowest possible.

Set the LOD factors to 0

Texturing your tree:

Your tree needs two textures, for the trunk and leaves. Locate the textures you used in making the tree and upload them. Put each texture on your tree and it will look almost identical to the preview you saw in this lovely program. The only difference will be you can see only one side of the leaves. You did remember to double the number before you exported?

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