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The Sapling addon does an excellent job of modeling the shape of the trunk, branches, and leaves of a variety of trees, and can be used to quickly produce realistic trees in my models. However, real trees often also have flowers, berries, pine cones, buds, etc which I would like to include sometimes.

Is it possible to add these objects using the Sapling addon? If not, would it be possible to configure a particle system to add these objects onto the tree-object created by the addon?

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How about randomly selecting some of the leaves, separating them and scaling them to match the size of whatever object? – CharlesL Jun 26 '13 at 15:52
@CharlesL With the Sapling addon, the leaves aren't individually selectable (the leaves are all a single object, and the trunk/branches is a single object--this speeds up modeling/rendering times immensely) – Gwenn Jun 26 '13 at 15:57
you could do it in edit mode after generating the tree. – CharlesL Jun 26 '13 at 23:08
up vote 19 down vote accepted

1) When creating the tree with Sapling, choose 'Rectanglular' for the leaves' shape because it will allow you to create a UV map. Also, make sure to select the appropriate leaves distribution.

enter image description here

2) Select your leaves and enter Edit mode.

3) Open an Image/UV Editor window and Activate the "keep UV and Edit mode in sync" option in the UV editor window

4) In the 3D View, select 2 vertices that are on the branch side, they will appear orange in the UV Editor.

5) In UV Window, with the box selection, select all those "branch vertices" which are actually above each other. enter image description here

7) Subdivide once, you get the vertices that are directly on the branches, select them as well in UV Window and separate with P in the 3D View. enter image description here

8) A new object is created with only vertices, put a particle system on it with emission per verts. Done :)

enter image description here

Really useful to replace default leaves with nice 3D leaves as well :)

An example. I made the new leaves and fruit using that method (The branches are the default one, ugly but it's not the point) : enter image description here

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Really good idea! +1 from me. – CharlesL Jun 26 '13 at 23:10
Someone down-voted. Could he be constructive and say why ? It's the method all professional I know use, so it maybe good to learn them a better way of doing it :) – matali Jun 27 '13 at 6:06
There really isn't a reason. Your answer is great. Don't let it get to you :) – CharlesL Jun 27 '13 at 12:32
@CharlesL Thanks :) – matali Jun 27 '13 at 17:46

Or you may try to simply put a particle system onto the leaves without any hassle, when you need only random fruits on it, but no precise control over their position. Emit from faces with low amont, experiment with velocity and rotation, render with obect or group. For still particel system I usually use -1 start 1 end and 2 lietime. See the example. I did not take the time to make it photorealistic. It came to my mind, you may control the fruits position with vertex groups.

tree with apples

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  1. Make sapling - select leaves in object mode
  2. Select vertices/faces in edit mode- assign to vertex group
  3. Create particle system - hair with the object/group you like - use selected vertices for density (under the vertex group tab)

This way you have full control over the placement of the objects (like blooms on the sunny side of trees) or the apples to the south.

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Create your tree with rectangular faces, parent your object to the leaves object and enable Duplication Faces: enter image description here

Perhaps someone could elaborate on a way to instance a group of objects instead of just a single one?

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