Rendering trees has always been a headache for animators. Tree move in irregular ways, so  natural looking motion is hard to achieve. It is so expensive that traditional animation often use static trees - except in big-budget films. In computer graphics, tree models are just as hard to produce.

This works shows is it possible for users to make models of trees just by filming one. All a user has to do is draw around the tree outline, in the first frame only.  Then our system makes a 3D model of the moving tree.  More than that, the user can produce new trees of the same variety, each one an individual, at the click of a mouse.

These model trees can be inserted back into real video, they can be rendered in any season, or drawn to give a cartoon like appearance. What is more, these trees move - the natural motion of the original tree is reproduced too - and users can control that movement to create strong winds, they can even make the trees dance to music or blow in a strong wind, driven only by the sound track.

Li, Deussen, Song, Willis, and Hall. Modeling and Generating Moving Trees from Video. SIGGRAPH Asia 2011

There is a youtube video of this work, click here.

an animated cartoon tree

tree varieties: a single video input on left, four siblings on the right

This show reel is 120.1 Mb

This show reel is 39.9 Mb

dancing tree

four seasons, in 3D