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This tree, created with the Sapling addon, has some 500 branches.
enter image description here
And I need to select the outer end vertex of each of the branches, like this but not just with two branches, and create a vertex group with those vertices.
enter image description here

My end goal is to have a sphere placed with its centre located at the end vertex of each branch, and the tree is going to be beveled, so it will be visible in the render.

In the images the tree is still a curve. I've played with this for quite some time, and I've tried with the tree still being a curve object and converting it to a mesh object, but still the only way I've found is to manually select the outer end vertex of each individual branch. Is there a shortcut?
Or better yet, is there an even simpler way to get objects growing from the outer end of each branch, and only from there? Apart from that, the branches should be left bare.

The tree in the images isn't the exact one I'll be using for the scene I have in mind, but just a random one I used to try and figure out how to do this.

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  • $\begingroup$ Try this : select one of them, then "shift + G" then "radius" (you can also find it in the select menu : select similar). That seems to work because of the tree calculation, so not sure it will work on your tree. $\endgroup$ – lemon Aug 26 '16 at 5:31
  • $\begingroup$ @lemon I just tried, and that one does work to the point where it selects the outer ends of all branches. And I believe I understand why. The sapling addon sets the radius of all the curve points, so if you bevel it, the bevel will get thinner along the length of the branches. Pretty obvious, if I'd thought of it. But the next problem then appears: How do I align objects to specific curve points, as curves can have neither vertex groups nor particles? I'm not really the world's greatest fan of curves, so I have done very little with them. $\endgroup$ – Duane Dibbley Aug 26 '16 at 5:48
  • $\begingroup$ I did try to duplicate the selected points and separate the duplicate into a separate object, and convert that one to a mesh, but it won't be converted. I also tried just selecting the points and convert the entire object to a mesh, but then the selection was lost in the conversion. $\endgroup$ – Duane Dibbley Aug 26 '16 at 5:51
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    $\begingroup$ @lemon Tried both. And I got it working. I'm out and about at the moment. When I get back home in 5 to 6 hours, I will edit my question to try to make it clearer and post my solution as an answer. $\endgroup$ – Duane Dibbley Aug 26 '16 at 6:46
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    $\begingroup$ If you're not bent on using the sapling add-on, this add-on will automatically add vertex groups for you at the ends of the branches. (it's free) github.com/MaximeHerpin/modular_tree/wiki $\endgroup$ – JakeD Aug 26 '16 at 15:41
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With help of lemon's initial comment, which pointed me in the right direction, I arrived at this solution.

Once you happy with the shape of your tree, select it and hit AltC then M to convert it to a mesh, then Tab into Edit mode. Hit A once or twice if needed to select all.
enter image description here

Hit CtrlV then D to remove doubles. Reduce the Merge Distance in the options panel in the lower left corner. Set it as low as it will go.
enter image description here

Select the end vertex of one branch, the hit ShiftG then O to select every vertex that has the same number of edges connected to it as the already selected one.
enter image description here

Instead of creating a vertex group, I duplicated the selected vertices (ShiftD) and then separated them into a new object (P then S). Now Tab out of Edit mode and hide the complete tree by clicking the eye next to its name in the Outliner.
enter image description here

Select the other "tree", which is just a cloud of unconnected vertices. You should see something like this.
enter image description here

Add a sphere (or whatever object you want at the ends of the branches). Hold Shift and select the vertex cloud. Now the sphere and the vertex cloud should both be selected, with the vertex cloud being the active object. Hit CtrlP then O. The vertex cloud is now the parent of the sphere. Select the vertex cloud and go into the Object tab of the Properties panel. Under Duplication, click Verts.
enter image description here

Scale the sphere (select it and hit S, drag the mouse until things look good, then hit Enter). You should now have something similar to this.
enter image description here

And if you unhide the original tree, by again clicking the eye next to its name in the Outliner, it should look like this.
enter image description here

The spheres in the tree are now just copies of the original sphere. The original sphere and the vertex cloud need to be left. They will be visible in the 3D view, but not in the render.
The duplicates can be made real, if you want or need to, by selecting the vertex cloud (i.e. the parent of the sphere which is being duplicated) and hitting ShiftCtrlA. After that you can delete the vertex cloud and the original sphere.

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