Arbor Day SpeedTree Sale!

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SaleblogArbor Day is this Friday the 24th of April, which means it’s time to shut down your computer, step outside and get your hands dirty planting trees and exploring real-life foliage generation.  At the very least give a tree a hug or a loving pat, and let it know that you care.

Once that’s done, head back inside turn your computer back on and get ready check out the massive sale on SpeedTree packages on the Unity Asset Store.  Our assets are far more than just a static mesh, bringing carefully tuned LODs, wind effects, collision, and seasonal variations. Need more variation?  Our SpeedTree Modeler is available on a subscription basis, letting you use it to edit the assets or create your own from scratch.  Use the modeler for as long or as short as you need, everything you make will remain available to you whether you continue the subscription or not.  To continue the celebration, our Subscription Modelers are both on sale for $10 dollars off the first month ($19 a month after that) with the code ARBORDAY.  The code is valid from until midnight EST April 30th and the sale on the Unity Asset Store will be running until April 29th.   

WIP by Adam Goodrich

Whats Included with SpeedTree Assets:

Three Resolutions

Every tree model in the set is available in multiple resolutions:

Hero: A high detail tree that runs well in real-time. These are perfect when there are only a few trees in the scene or if a tree is particularly important (e.g. a big tree at the center of a town). Triangle counts normally exceed 15,000.

Mobile: Right around 1,000 triangles, these are great trees for targeting lower-performance platforms or just to use as distant fillers when billboards won’t do.

Desktop: This is the most commonly used resolution, hitting right in that sweet spot between Hero and Mobile trees. Commonly around 8,000 triangles, this is the default resolution when designing a title for use on PC/Mac, PlayStation® or Xbox®.

Seasonal Variations

Many of the models feature seasonal variations. Deciduous trees all have autumn and winter versions. Others may have snowy variations. Each seasonal variation is modeled in three resolutions: hero, desktop, and mobile.

Artist-Tuned LOD

The SpeedTree Unity 5 integration supports seamless LOD transitions. A typical desktop model might have three discrete LOD levels with triangle counts of 8,000, 4,500, and 1,800, and finally a normal-mapped billboard for very distant rendering. Our artists painstakingly tune the 3D LODs and the transitions in between to keep transitioning artifacts at a minimum.

Artist-Tuned Wind Effects

SpeedTree employs a very scalable wind effects system, supporting anything from simple global wind all the way up to cinematic-level as used in The Lone Ranger and many other feature films. Our Unity 5 models have been artist-tuned specifically for use with the SpeedTree/Unity 5 integration. Once imported, users can adjust the speed/complexity trade-off by editing the Wind Type (e.g. fastest, highest-quality, etc), per material.

Helper SPM Models

For tree models where it’s impractical to model every leaf separately, creating convincing leaf clusters is important (example at right). Many of our models include SPM files to help generate these automatically. Using the Modeler, users can easily tweak the individual leaf sizes, quantities, and color variations. The Modeler will also automatically generate the diffuse, normal, specular and transmission masks – all without ever opening Photoshop®.

Branch Seam Reduction

In low-polygon modeling, a tree’s trunk and its branches are often modeled as cylinders shoved against other cylidners. Our models take full advantage of SpeedTree’s branch seam reduction feature as integrated into Unity 5. Without using sub-division surface modeling or unwrapping the branch/trunk texture, a smooth seam is still possible where the branches meet the trunk. Because the texture still wraps, a higher overall texture resolution appearance results.

Preset Ambient Occlusion

Per-vertex ambient occlusion is included in every tree model, tuned by our artists to darken the interior or otherwise obstructed parts of the tree model. When dynamic shadows aren’t possible, SpeedTree’s ambient occlusion can make a huge difference in rendering quality, especially for the lower-polygon models. The image at right shows a desktop tree model with no dynamic or static shadows and then that same tree with our ambient occlusion applied.

Preset Collision Objects

All tree models will have medium-detail collision objects already placed and ready to work with Unity 5.

Quality Textures

We supply high-resolution textures with all of our models, often higher than is commonly used in real-time, allowing you to scale down to the resolution you need. Models include diffuse and normal maps with alpha masks. Masked textures also include edge padding to prevent bleeding at lower mip

SpeedTree for Games v7

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Today we’re happy to announce the release of SpeedTree for Games v7.   SpeedTree for Games has been used in AAA development since 2002 and continues to be used in some of the most exciting, bleeding edge next-gen titles coming out this year.  Our new release brings significant changes to our Modeler, Compiler, and SDK to greatly increase efficiency while at the same time giving artists more control over their models.  We’ve tuned the GUI to cut down on modeling time while introducing much-anticipated features such as subdivision surfaces, more control over LOD and more intuitive controls for generation algorithms. We’ve also made changes to the SpeedTree Model Library to include an expanded and improved set of real-time models and improved wind animation and LOD settings.  Our Unreal Engine 4 and Unity 5 subscribers are already able to access the v7 modeler.  If you’re interested in our subscriptions, check out our offerings in the SpeedTree Store.

Version 7 changes to the SpeedTree SDK include: 

  • Rolling Wind Effects. In the same way that real wind gusts through nature, SpeedTree grass and trees now react rhythmically and believably to anything
    rom breezes to gales. Each leaf and blade of grass animates uniquely.
  • Optimization. Increased performance throughout, including faster instance paging, faster constant buffer updates, and shader optimizations.
  • Per-Instance and Per-Vertex Hue Variation. Each tree instance and/or each leaf can now be uniquely tinted, adding more variation with fewer assets.
  • Image-Based Ambient Lighting. More realistic ambient lighting.
  • Support for PlayStation® 4, Xbox® One, Windows (DX9/11/OpenGL), Xbox® 360, and PlayStation® 3

Version 7 changes to the SpeedTree Modeler include:

  • Subdivision Surfaces. Create procedurally generated subdivision surface models suitable for hero trees.
  • Improved Leaf LOD. New options for controlling the appearance of leaves during LOD transitions. Have fewer triangles with a fuller look at lower LODs.
  • GUI Improvements. Slash modeling time with user interface and workflow enhancements, including a new “Focus” tool that presents only those portions of the tree being actively modeled, reducing certain processes from hours to minutes.
  • Floating License. The Modeler may be activated by either a node-locked or floating license option.
  • New Generation Algorithms. Friendlier options for controlling how many and where tree components are placed.
  • Improved Control for Leaf Normals. Per-vertex controls for leaf normal manipulation.


Press Release

Environmental Horror- P.A.M.E.L.A and SpeedTree

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Right out of the gate, SpeedTree is starting to show up in some great looking games being developed in Unity 5.  P.A.M.E.L.A. was one of the games featured in Unity 5’s showcase reel at their Tuesday morning GDC announcement. P.A.M.E.L.A. is NVYVE Studio’s first project, an open-ended survival horror game that that builds on the team’s background of creating compelling environments. Its unique visual style utilizes all that the new Unity 5 engine has to offer, including SpeedTree for their foliage.

Working in one room, NVYVE Studios are four programmers and artists who have branched off of NVYVE, which uses Unity to create interactive architectural and product visualization.  Drawing visual cues from games like Mass Effect and Mirrors Edge, P.A.M.E.L.A. takes place in a massive floating city with environments ranging from the brightly lit mall  to dark nightclubs and wooded areas. The GDC demonstration hooked us in with its visuals and after hearing more about the game and the dystopia they are creating, we were even more intrigued.

The premise is thus: an artificial intelligence awakens, cures, and releases you into the pristine future city Eden, but you are not alone. The city is filled with infected citizens who aren’t too happy that you’re awake and pose a constant danger.  This might all seem very familiar, if not for the unique approach to designing the world of Eden. One of the foundations of the horror genre is the corruption of the familiar. The family home becomes a death trap, the child’s doll becomes a possessed murder, the underwater utopia becomes a waterlogged nightmare; it’s a time-honored premise. In most games, the common practice is to place you within an environment that is covered in gore or crumbling architecture to create a dark mood. P.A.M.E.L.A. reverses this premise, placing you instead in a world of gorgeous architecture and lush environments. This can create a tension between the beauty of your surroundings and the horror that takes place inside its walls.  Eden is a dystopia, just one that is better maintained than most.

NVYVE Studio is using a combination of our SpeedTree Assets and our modeler for the trees in Eden and is a great example of SpeedTree’s integration into Unity 5.   P.A.M.E.L.A. is still very early in its development, but the team is hoping for a 2016 release. We look forward to seeing how this project continues to grow!





Introducing Desktop Tree Package 2

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Asset store

We’re constantly working to add new varieties to our asset store and our latest addition brings a broader range of species into a single package.  As with our other package this includes all the tuned lightmap UV’s (for UE4), LODs, Seasonal Variations, tuned wind effects, leaf map maker files and more; making this the best option for high quality drop in foliage.  Keep an eye out for more packages in the coming weeks as we release new ground cover packs, hero level tree packages, and more.  Desktop Tree Package 2 is available now for both UE4 and Unity 5.  Follow the links below:

Unreal Engine 4                   Unity 5

Introducing Desktop Tree Package2:

  • African Baobab (2 models – Version 1 and Version 2)
  • Amur Cork (3 models – Summer, Autumn, and Winter)
  • Bald Cypress (3 models – Summer, Autumn 1, and Autumn 2)
  • Chinese Banyan (2 models – Version 1 and Version 2)
  • European Aspen (3 models – Summer, Bare, and Autumn)
  • Japanese Maple (4 models – Summer 1, Summer 2, Autumn 1, and Autumn 2)
  • Red Delicious Apple (4 models – Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter)
  • River Birch (3 models – Summer, Autumn, and Winter)
  • Southern Magnolia (5 models – Summer, Bulbs, Pink Flowers, White Flowers, and Bare)



Vernal Equinox Spring Sale!

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Screenshot from The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt courtesy of CD Projekt Red

The first day of Spring is here at SpeedTree, and here in South Carolina it is…remarkably cloudy and overcast. But still, there’s no denying that the sun is tipping past the equator and it will only get warmer.  So in honor of this Vernal Equinox, we’re holding a sale of all our assets and asset packages for this weekend.  The sale encompasses  all trees and packages in the UE4, Unity, and all VFX Trees (note: these won’t work in Unity or UE4).  This is shaping up to be one of our most exciting years and we have lots of great things to share over the next few weeks.  Be sure to keep checking back for more sales and new trees hitting the stores.  Click the image below to head to our store!

Use the coupon code SPRING10 to receive 10% off of any asset in our store, including sale items.  Sale ends at 12pm EST on Monday March 23nd




New Trees Thursday – 5 New UE4 Models on Our Store

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We’re always adding new Unreal Engine 4 tree models to the SpeedTree Library, allowing UE4.3 or higher users to create even more varied environments.  See our three new models on sale at 33% off – for a limited time.

Sunflower package for Unreal Engine 4.3 or higher users added to our store.









Corn Stalk package for Unreal Engine 4.3 or higher users added to our store.









Bamboo package for Unreal Engine 4.3 or higher users added to our store.









Red Delicious Apple package for Unreal Engine 4.3 or higher users added to our store.









Orange Tree package for Unreal Engine 4.3 or higher users added to our store.









New Trees Tuesday – 5 New Unity Models on Our Store

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We’re always adding new Unity tree models to the SpeedTree Library, allowing Unity 5 users to create even more varied environments. See our three new models on sale at 33% off – for a limited time.

Sunflower for SpeedTree for Unity 5 users has been added to our store, on sale now at 33% off!









Corn Stalk for SpeedTree for Unity 5 users has been added to our store, on sale now at 33% off!









Bamboo for SpeedTree for Unity 5 users has been added to our store, on sale now at 33% off!









Red Delicious Apple for SpeedTree for Unity 5 users has been added to our store, on sale now at 33% off!









Orange Tree for SpeedTree for Unity 5 users has been added to our store, on sale now at 33% off!









SpeedTree and the Democratization of Unity 5

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Unity 5 was announced this morning with one resounding theme: Democratization. The world of video game engines is undergoing a massive shift in how video games develop as the smaller indie developers like Facepunch Studios and Camoflaj release stunning titles without the aid of major studios. The integration of powerful technologies such as SpeedTree and Oculus VR directly into their game engine levels the playing field of game development by putting these tools into the hands or both the casual developer and major studios.  New features allow developers what they need to realize their visual and gameplay concepts quickly, without needing a large team or high overhead. Needless to say, this fits right in with our goals in providing access to our SpeedTree software and assets to Unity 5 users.

SpeedTree is integrated in Unity 5 through the subscription-based Modeler and the availability of assets for purchase in both the Unity storefront and the SpeedTree store.  Our Modeler provides Unity 5 users access to some of the same tools used by AAA studios and VFX artists through a monthly subscription.  For $19 a month, users can create as many assets as they need and import them directly into the Unity engine. Meaning that if you only need SpeedTree for one month to create a forest of randomized trees you can  pay for that month and retain all your assets once finished.  Be sure to watch the video of  today’s presentation and read through the release notes for Unity 5, there’s so much more than we can fit into one post!

Some of the benefits of SpeedTree in Unity 5:

  • Multiple resolutions with each asset
  • Seasonal Variations
  • Artist-Tuned LOD
  • Artist-Tuned Wind Effects
  • Helper SPM Models
  • Branch Seam Reduction
  • Preset Ambient Occlusion
  • Preset Collision Objects
  • Quality Textures




New Trees Thursday – 3 New UE4 Models on Our Store

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We’re always adding new Unreal Engine 4 tree models to the SpeedTree Library, allowing UE4.3 or higher users to create even more varied environments.  See our three new models on sale at 33% off – for a limited time.

Wheat SpeedTree package for Unreal Engine 4.3 or higher users added to our store.









Palm SpeedTree package for Unreal Engine 4.3 or higher users added to our store.









Bald Cypress SpeedTree package for Unreal Engine 4.3 or higher users added to our store.









Unreal Engine 4.7 Makes Huge Forests Easier Than Ever

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In case you haven’t noticed, games and the tools used to make them are not getting any smaller. From upcoming games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which shows off a world size that is 20% larger than the thumb-numbing blissful world trek that was Skyrim, to Far Cry 4, which demonstrated that a linear plot is less important than an enormous open world with dynamic systems to keep you occupied. But this trend isn’t restricted to AAA blockbusters. The Steam marketplace is full of indie games (The Forest, Rust, Firewatch, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter) that take place in worlds where the open environment sets the tone and is a core element of the gameplay.  However, creating these worlds is typically a time-consuming and tedious task, one that has just become more approachable.

UE4 has made a major leap in how it handles foliage rendering  in their 4.7 release that allows creating scenes with huge amounts of vegetation more feasible.  This is where Ben Burkart’s weekend project comes in.

Ben has been working with the new 4.7 release of UE4 and using SpeedTree to create a test of the new rendering method:

“In the end the level had over 900,000 foliage instances in it with 100% dynamic lighting and shadows with the dynamic lighting distance pushed up from the default 20,000 to 200,000 and I could not get the frame rate to drop below 30fps.”  

The 4.7 update has altered the way foliage is batched for rendering to allow for a massive increase in the amount instances allowed in one scene before making it unusable.  To the tune of many hundreds of thousands more.  In one sq. mile, Ben filled the entire landscape with foliage and most of the ground cover in a very thick grass.

Oh, did we mention that Ben also completed all of this in about 20 hours over a weekend using only our sample trees? If you look close, you’ll notice that many of the trees look somewhat similar. In fact, all the tree assets were the samples that can be found in the UE4 asset store simply rotated and scaled to make it appear like a diverse forest.

 “Just preparing for a project this large normally takes a lot of manpower but with SpeedTree all I had to do was import them and everything I needed was setup automatically for me from wind shaders, to automatic color variation, LODs, collisions, billboards, etc…  This allowed me to take what is normally hours if not days of preparing and setting up all of the technical stuff for the level to simply importing and having it all just be ready for me so that I could spend my time on the actual environment.”

Making excellent use of just the samples, Ben created an impressive world in a very short time, which is one of the reasons we’re excited to have SpeedTree as a part of UE4 and Unity giving people more freedom to create their vision without the need for large staffs or months of tedious asset creation.  Ben has continued working on this project since first uploading this test video hoping to use it as a benchmarking tool in the future. Be sure to check out the latest screenshots below.

Take a look at our product page for more information on SpeedTree for UE4 and the upcoming Unity 5 release as well as our standalone products.  If you’ve got a great example of what SpeedTree can do head over to our forum and share it with us, we love to see how people are using SpeedTree.

Check out more screenshots below:
Ben Burkart’s Portfolio