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Creating High-Resolution Custom Trees Using SpeedTree

Produce Hero Assets Using SpeedTree & Houdini With Jean-Michel Bihorel


Discover how to generate complex-looking trees using SpeedTree and Houdini, with this intermediate-level tutorial by Jean-Michel Bihorel. Starting from simple generating rules before deep-diving into more advanced areas of tree generation in SpeedTree and Houdini, Jean-Michel teaches every step needed to generate a hero tree asset — perfect for use in a cinematic.

Throughout the workshop, Jean-Michel shares how to create a mixture of hand-drawn branches extended by procedural generators, as well as how to use the mesh forces for realistic results. He also reveals how to set up and export a leaf as a point cloud in Houdini in order to manage a more optimized setup, as well as great procedural control over the leaf geometry generation and placement based on the direction of the sun.

For those that don’t want to export their tree assets to Houdini, Jean-Michel also provides guidance for exporting your trees into other software — in this case, Maya — along with advice for how to get your shaders working in other software packages.

By the end of this tutorial, you should feel comfortable generating a variety of trees growing from any surface, including growing a variety of other vegetation from trees as well. You will also develop a solid understanding of how to deal with importing and exporting your assets between software.

While this is not an introductory-level tutorial, you are not required to be a SpeedTree expert in order to follow along.

Duration: 3h 32m

Format: HD 1920x1080

Jean-Michel Bihorel

Digital Artist & Mentor at Creative Seeds

Jean-Michel Bihorel has been working in films and commercials since 2008. While he has primarily worked as a generalist and as a look-dev lighting supervisor, he also creates a lot of personal projects to keep his creative universe growing. His skills cover a wide area of the CG production pipeline and, for Jean-Michel, while techniques are important, they should mostly be used to serve a visual purpose. 


Visit Jean-Michel’s ArtStation portfolio and follow him on Twitter @jmbihorel and on Instagram @jm.bihorel.