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Tree modeling


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I wouldn't say there is a best program for this. You need multiple tools in order to make trees for Skyrim. You will need to create 3d texture assets, probably at least two: a bark texture and a branch texture. Then you will need to make a 3d model that uses those assets. Then you will need to export that model in some manner to NIF format so it can be used by Skyrim. You will need to use Nifskope to edit and tweak the NIF to the necessary format.

3d modeling programs are typically Blender/3DS Max. There are also specialized tools such as SpeedTree. There may be others that people have used.

Do note that I have never actually made a tree for Skyrim. I've only ever made LODs for pre-existing tree models.

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I use 3DS Max and Maya, but Blender is the only good open-source, free program and works fine too (it's just difficult to learn). 3DS Max is probably simplest to learn. The main issue with all tools is that none are natively compatible with the Gamebryo NIF format, so custom plugins needed and all are limited to more/less extent.

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On 9/25/2022 at 8:26 PM, z929669 said:

I use 3DS Max and Maya, but Blender is the only good open-source, free program and works fine too (it's just difficult to learn). 3DS Max is probably simplest to learn. The main issue with all tools is that none are natively compatible with the Gamebryo NIF format, so custom plugins needed and all are limited to more/less extent.

One more question. How much should a tree have tris? 10-15k will be ok or it's too much?

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3 minutes ago, KaktuZHD said:

One more question. How much should a tree have tris? 10-15k will be ok or it's too much?

That's too big. Most tree models in Skyrim are between like 1k and 5k triangles give or take. For performance versions, you want less than 2k I would think. Aspens Ablaze trees have around 5-10k and the big ones are closer to 15k, I think. That's a FPS taxing mod.

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