How it works
An example of creating a new 3D object
In our example of creating a 3D object, we will start from scratch with a leaf
drawing and take it all the way to a finished leaf on a plant.
After you've read this example, take a look at the 3D objects in the libraries supplied
with PlantStudio. Rotate the 3D objects around and study how the triangles can
be aligned to create leaf folds and bends that look natural. Of course, no
plant has leaves that are all the same shape, but you can get some surprisingly
good results with this simple system.
|Step 1: Draw a leaf outline.
Using a paper notepad or a computer drawing program, sketch the outline of the
leaf shape you want to create, as though you had a pressed leaf to work from.
|Step 2: Triangulate the outline
Still working on your notepad or in your drawing program, add triangles to one
half of the leaf outline. Think about where you want the leaf to bend. In a
curvy area, use more triangles to approximate the curve. You can see in this
example that there are more triangles in the area on the top left, where the leaf
curves near the tip.
|Step 3: Make the triangles in the 3D editor
In PlantStudio, choose the leaf 3D object parameter for the plant you want
your new leaf on and click on the picture of the leaf there.
In the 3D object chooser window that appears, click New.
Starting at the bottom of the leaf (where it will attach to the plant), add
triangles matching the triangles you've drawn to create half the leaf (see Adding triangles to a 3D object). Remember to connect existing points whenever you can.
If some of the triangles in your half-leaf have a different color, flip them
(see Flipping triangles in a 3D object).
|Step 4: Create a mirror image
Now go to the points in what will be the center of the symmetrical leaf and
line them up vertically, so the lines between them are perfectly straight.
Click Mirror. Additional triangles will appear on the other side to complete the leaf.
Drag the center points to make sure they are connected. If not, undo your
drags (click Undo), then undo the mirror imaging, then drag the center points to the right
places, then click Mirror again.
Now you have a symmetrical, but flat, leaf.
|Step 5: Fold the leaf
Now drag some of the points in the Z direction: click Drag mode and right-click and drag up or down. Don't worry too much about which is up and which is down because you can reverse
the Z values later. Use the View panels to rotate the leaf into directions that help you see what you are
doing. In this picture, one View panel is used to see the leaf from its end and the other views the leaf from
the side. When you are finished you should have a reasonably folded leaf.
You have to drag the points on both sides of your 3D object to make it
symmetrical in the Z direction, so you might want to fold the leaf when you only have
half a leaf. But this takes a little more imagination as to what the whole leaf
will look like.
Remember that leaves usually have an indentation in their center where the
middle vein is, and that the strongest part of the leaf (the least folded) is
nearest the plant.
|Step 6: See it on the plant
Now it's time to see how your new leaf looks on your plant. Click OK, then Apply, and look at your plant.
If the leaves are upside-down or inside-out, go back to the 3D object editor
and click Reverse then click OK and Apply again.