Progress continues on the DAS Tree Creator Maxscript for creating fully 3-dimensional trees using opacity/cutout mapped "Branchlets" or "Fronds" for the primary leaf regions. The script is very robust yet easy to use, giving the artist control over the structure of the tree, the level of detail and mapping, plus the ability to edit the tree as a mesh object. Below is a capture of the current UI from the script:
The script is intended to make good looking trees for real-time applications, not to try and replace existing programs like Onyx Tree Storm, Laubwerk, or X-Frog trees which make photo-realistic trees for pre-rendered applications. Trees generated from the script can look very good with as few as 1500 poly's but the user can control the level of detail and create better looking trees at the expense of poly counts.The user has control over the shape, size and detail of the trunk as well as the number, shape, size and detail of branches. Using your own created "Branchlets" (several examples will be included with the script) you can customize the canopy shape and density. The script has the ability to make conifers as well as deciduous trees and even bushes. Below is a screen capture of a test making a Birch tree. The total number of polys is less than 1700 (the viewport stats include a few hidden entities).
Though most rendering engines have gone away from opacity mapped trees, it is still needed in the real-time applications where millions of polys for foliage is unacceptable.
A release date is not set but it is my intention to make this a commercial script.