modelling icon3How to Make a Christmas Tree

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Tags - Addons, Photorealistic
Software:
  • Blender 2.69
Discover How To:
  • Use the Sapling add-on to make trees
  • Create pine needles with particles
  • Make tinsel, christmas lights and bulbuls

Chapter Marks (Full Length )

modelling icon31.13modelling icon320.3930.23modelling icon336.18modelling icon352.03modelling icon361.48compositing68.05
Software:
  • Blender 2.69
Discover How To:
  • Use the Sapling add-on to make trees
  • Create pine needles with particles
  • Make tinsel, christmas lights and bulbuls

Chapter Marks (Full Length )

modelling icon31.13modelling icon320.3930.23modelling icon336.18modelling icon352.03modelling icon361.48compositing68.05

Finished Result of Blender Christmas Tree

Download the tree bark texture

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Summary

Creating the Tree
1. Start by going to File>User Preferences and enabling the Sapling Add-on.

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2. Delete the default cube. Press Shift+A>Add>Curve>Add Tree.

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3. Press T to bring up the toolbar and change these settings:

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4. Go to the Branch Splitting section and change these settings:
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5. Go to the Branch Growth settings and change these settings:

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6. Now that the tree is formed we need to separate the trunk. Go into edit mode, select the bottom handle of the trunk, then Ctrl+L to select the rest and P to make it a separate object.

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7. Press Alt+C to convert the trunk to a mesh.

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Materials
1. Hide the branches (H) and with the trunk selected, go into edit mode and select one edge down the back and make a seam (Ctrl+E>Mark Seam)

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2. UV Unwrap the mesh (U>Unwrap) and in the UV Image Editor, scale the vertices (S) till the width fits the grid as shown:

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3. Add a new material to the Trunk and use the Black Rough image as the texture.

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4. Bring back the branches (Alt+H) and give it a new material as shown:

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Scene and Lighting
1. Position the camera front on to the tree and set the dimensions as shown:

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2. Add a Plane and extrude one edge to make a wall in the background. Add an edge loop just behind the tree.

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3. Press Ctrl+2 to add a Subsurf Modifier. Set the plane as Smooth in the toolbar (T).

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4. Change the default lamp to a sunlamp and position it as shown:

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5. Go to the lamp settings and make the Emission Strength 5.

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6. In the World settings make the background light blue and set the Strength to 0.5

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Give it a render and you should now have this:

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Creating the Pine Needles

1. Select the branches and convert it to a mesh (Alt+C) so we can add a particle system.

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2. Add a new particle system to the branches with these settings:

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3. Scroll down and make these changes:

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4. Scroll further and make these final changes to the particle system:

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5. Give a new material to the particle system with the following settings:

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6. To further adjustment the material, go to the node editor and create this setup for translucent, shiny pine needles:

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Render now and you should have this:

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Adding Christmas Lights

1. Add a Bezier curve (Shift+A>Add>Curve>Bezier) and place it at the bottom of the branches.

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2. Split the view in two to see the top and front view. In edit mode, with one handle of the bezier curve selected, Ctrl+Click to extrude and create a new handle. Repeat until you have spiraled up the outside of the tree.

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3. Go to the curve settings, set the fill to Full, and the Bevel Depth to 0.007 and Resolution to 2.

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4. Give the following new material to the curve:

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5. Now we’ll make the physical lights. On a new layer, add a cylinder (Add>Mesh>Cylinder) and scale it to the dimensions as shown. Apply the scale afterwards (Ctrl+A>Scale).

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6. In edit mode, add an Icosphere to the cylinder and scale it to a small ball at the end. Using proportional editing, stretch the tip to make a candle shape.

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7. Assign the object the previous Cord material, then create a new material for the bulb (as shown) and assign it to the icosphere in edit mode.

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8. In edit mode duplicate the Christmas lights 4 times and place them about the same distance they are in real life. In side view mode (pictured right) rotate each one 90 degrees.

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9. Add a Curve modifier and assign it to the newly created BezierCurve.

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10. Add an Array Modifier and position it above the Curve modifier. Change the settings as shown:

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Creating the Tinsel

1. Duplicate the Bezier curve and in top view, rotate it about 90 degrees for more variation.

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2. Convert it to a Mesh (Alt+C) so we can add particles to it.

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3. Add a particle system and give it the following settings:

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4. Scroll down further and make these changes too:

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5. Add a new material and use the Glossy shader to make super shiny tinsel.

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Render it now and you should have this:

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“But the tinsel looks so bland!” That’s because it’s reflecting the environment which is solid blue. Put the tree in a room and it’ll look much better :)

Adding the baubles

1. Add a Sphere (Add>Mesh> UV Sphere) and scale it down to suit the size of the tree.

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2. Go to the node editor and create the following setup for dynamic baubles that will be either purple or red when duplicated :)

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3. Press Alt+D to duplicate the bauble, then place it on another branch. Repeat until you’ve covered the tree.

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Render now and you’ll have this:

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Looking snazzy! Now for the star…

 

Creating the Star

1. Enable the Extra Objects add-on in the User Preferences (File>User Preferences)

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2. Go to a new layer and in the Add menu add a Star (now possible with the add-on).

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3. With the Star selected, go into edit mode and select the top and bottom edge loops. Then press S (scale), Z, 0. This will collapse both edge loops into each other.

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4. Go to the toolbar (T) and Remove the Doubles so there aren’t duplicate vertices.

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5. In edit mode, add a Cylinder and scale and position it at the base of the star as shown. Extrude and fan the bottom of the cylinder out to create a practical way to place the star on the tree.

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6. So that the Star catches more light, add a Bevel modifier.

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7. Place the star at the top of the tree and scale to suit.

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8. Give the Star the material as shown:

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Pre-render

1. Before rendering, we want to be able to add glow to the lights in the compositor. So to do that we’ll create a separate pass just for the bulbs. Do that by selecting the lights, and for the Bulb material, give it any number other than 0 (I chose 1).

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2. To take advantage of this special material pass, go the Render Layer Panel and under Passes, enable Material Index.

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Render it and you’ll have this:

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Now time for some minor compositing to make the lights glow.

 

Compositing

To make the Christmas lights glow, create the following Compositor node setup:

Finished!

final

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