I began making the tree for my scene by blocking out a default shape in Maya, and then sculpting over it in Zbrush to add more details. Here's the result of that sculpt:
I love sculpting in Zbrush, it feels so natural and fun. I was never one for being good at sculpting with actual clay, so it's nice that there's an alternative to make me feel as though I'm at least slightly capable of using it. ;)
Now because I sculpted this guy in ZBrush, the polycount was high. Extremely high. Too high for a single tree let alone a tree that needs to be placed in the scene many times kinda high. So I had to bake it.
I hadn't baked anything in Maya since roughly second year, so it was interesting to get back into doing so. I'm quite happy to say that I did remember most of the process, though!
So after baking this guy onto a lower poly version, I ended up with this:
As you can see, most of the detail on the tree's bark is gone, though the leaves still look more or less the same, which is good! This took my tree down from 88624 faces (ouch) to a much nicer 3395.
Then it was time for my favourite part - the painting! I used 3DCoat (which is a blessing to us all) to paint directly onto the model, which was a joy as always. I applied the texture to both trees so that you can see what they look like in colour side by side:
The high poly version is on the left, while the low poly version is on the right. :)
The real significant difference is the amount of detail in the tree's bark, though honestly I don't see that as much of an issue. The lower poly version still looks like a tree, and the UV map still reads as a tree, so that's what matters!
Here's the UV set so that you can see the painting on its own:
And then finally something I found out entirely by accident... Apparently Photoshop has a 3D option??? Am I the only one who didn't know this? Anyway, this is what the tree looks like in Photoshop. In 3D. Amazing:
That's all I have on trees for now, though I do have another blog post incoming with screenshots of an actual scene that you can see them in, so look out for that if you're interested!
Thanks for reading and have a lovely day~