A Tree made with Sapling

Blender 2.59 comes with a whole bunch of awesome new add-ons, so in this tutorial I’ll be showing you the Sapling add-on which makes one of the previously most difficult things into something you don’t even have to think about.

If you haven’t done so already, now would be a good time to and get Blender 2.59. And if you’re not convinced you need the new version, check out the changelog to see all the cool new stuff!

Download the new Blender 2.59


  • Leaf textures can be found here
  • I recommend looking through the Nature page on CG Textures for some inspiration
  • Wood Texture can be found here

Download the Blend file from the Tutorial




  1. 14 Aug ’11  12:40 am by Daito Reply


  2. 14 Aug ’11  12:44 am by Kalle Reply

    Thanks Greg for a new exiting tutorial.
    I follow your steps but I dont find any Toolbar with bevel when I press T

    Many times I have this type of problem.
    I run at a brand new 64 bits iMac Intel 10.6.8 (No Lion yet) to much bugs and problem.
    I upload the latest Blender 2.59
    Can you advice me


    • 14 Aug ’11  12:49 am by Greg Zaal

      I haven't found any bugs yet actually, what are you having trouble with?
      In your blend file I can see that you haven't changed any of the settings for the tree. Immediately after adding a tree (before even moving it) press T and adjust the settings of the tree like I did in the video

    • 23 Aug ’11  3:16 pm by Daniel

      You are probably having the same problem I had, what you need to do is go to view>Tool Properties and that should bring that up for you.

  3. 14 Aug ’11  1:30 am by daniele Reply

    thanks greg
    good tutorial

    turn on z transparency (alpha 1) in the wood material to fix that problem. Full sample is not necessary

  4. 14 Aug ’11  1:53 am by Kalle Reply

    Thanks Greg. I solve the problem. I delete my tree and add a new one and then I press T.

  5. 14 Aug ’11  9:10 am by Mio Reply

    A great tutorial !
    Can I download this file, while watching, it stops after 10 min.

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  7. 14 Aug ’11  9:52 am by Gigante Calogero Reply

    I've tried the animation settings : it's wonderfull. Just a little wind, and the tree begin to live ! According to me, even simple procedural texturing is awesome. Here is my result : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJsVawdJrs4

    • 14 Aug ’11  9:55 am by Greg Zaal

      That's awesome XD

    • 30 Aug ’11  10:11 am by Gary Parkin

      That's really cool. I'll have to try that.

  8. 14 Aug ’11  12:52 pm by Moolah Reply

    Congrats, Greg!
    Cool explanation, especially with that "random" part!
    Thank you for the tutorial!
    And of course, thanks a lot to Andrew Hale for this Sapling addon!

  9. 14 Aug ’11  1:37 pm by dancing elf prod. Reply

    awesome tutorial! thank you for this

  10. 14 Aug ’11  1:43 pm by beta-tester Reply

    hi Greg,

    thanks for the tutorial (tree & ivy).
    i didn't tried out the new features of 2.59 yet.

    but i have already a question about the leaves.
    does the leaves have some orientation to the branches? (in the UV mapping on witch position is the handle of the leaf)
    in your tutorial it looks like some leaf textures are oriented from (handle) left to (leaf) right and some are from (handle) right to (leaf) left.

    same with the ivy leaves... do they have any orientation?

    ok, maybe it is not a good idea to ask you these questions before i tried out by my self... :|

  11. 14 Aug ’11  2:53 pm by Michael Giggs Reply

    it works except the plane and tree spine more or less. Will not show up in the render. Only the leaves show up in the render.

    • 15 Aug ’11  4:13 am by Greg Zaal

      Try sending your blend file to me and I'll see what's wrong

  12. 14 Aug ’11  3:31 pm by Jimmy Gunawan Reply

    Awesome tutorial! Plenty of great tips along the tuts as well. Cheers.

    Thanks for the Ivy and Tree posts, those cool addons could have been easily overlooked if you did not mention them.

  13. 14 Aug ’11  5:32 pm by Terry Reply

    This is great timing since I just started playing with the tree and Ivy. Very Nice tutorial...
    Thanks Greg.

  14. 14 Aug ’11  5:43 pm by Jimmy Williams Reply

    Greg, there's a much easier way to texture the tree, leave the tree as a curve object and under the curve tab in the "texture space" select "Use UV for mapping" and then in your texture of your tree material just leave the image mapped as "Generated", it will map your image along the curve.

  15. 15 Aug ’11  12:12 am by Yanneyanen Reply

    I just started experimenting with Arbaro yesterday, and now Blender has something similar built in! Gotta watch this and the ivy tutorial when I get home, I expect them to be awesome.
    And I need download Blender 2.59 too (didn't even know it's out yet, good that Blender Nerd's keeping me up to date :D).

  16. 15 Aug ’11  3:21 pm by callmeishmael Reply

    Thank you for the excellent and very timely tutorial. I am working on a project thaat requires trees and, thanks to 2.59 and your tutorial, it just became orders of magnitude easier to finish.

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  19. 30 Aug ’11  10:12 am by Gary Parkin Reply

    Thanks, Greg. Please do a run-through of the new features of Blender.
    And I never knew how to copy a material. Just then I think I know enough, I learn another thing new.

  20. 31 Aug ’11  3:25 am by Guenzi Reply

    Thank you for this again well explained tutorial

  21. 5 Sep ’11  4:59 am by Ben Vengeance Reply

    hey greg, i'm also 17 and i'm a little daunted by the fact that I get taught by someone the same age as me or near enough. I find sometimes that I can't do things on blender. did you have this frustrating problem when you were starting out? and how long have you been using blender? i also want to study animation at university although your portfolio is much more impressive, how much experience do you need to take it at uni? (animation was not an option at my highschool)

    • 6 Sep ’11  9:31 am by Greg Zaal

      Hey man, age has nothing to do with it :) I've been using blender passionately for about 2 years now.

      But there's always more to learn.
      If I find something that I don't know yet and can benefit me, then I'll find a way to figure it out, usually by asking around on the blender IRC channels (if you don't know about them, then consider this your best lesson yet! Join #blender and #blenderchat on webchat.freenode.net) or if that doesn't help, looking around for tutorials.

      As for studies after high school, I really can't help you there. I'm going to intern at a friendly little animation studio called BugBox a fair distance from where I live. Animation schools and such are not the best quality in my country, so I was advised to do an internship and see where that takes me.

      The best advice I can give is to just play around at your own pace and not worry about anything else. If you get stuck on something, do some research and figure it out :) Sooner or later you'll know it all!

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  23. 7 Oct ’11  1:33 pm by John Brettrager Reply

    Nice tutorial, easy to follow. I have added wind to a grass scene but I can't do the same for trees. I've been using your tree tut blend file & I must admit, trees & wind have me clueless.

  24. 7 Dec ’11  1:59 pm by Igor Reply

    Man, I'm with a doubt about this super tutorial.
    In the part that you choose the texture of the leaf .... I did not iqual was not clear him to part entereça.
    The textures of the piece I took cg texture.

  25. 9 Feb ’12  4:39 am by peter Reply

    absolutely kool--kind of complicated but fantastic

  26. 12 Mar ’12  10:26 am by tarik bagriyanik Reply

    here is my tree work:

  27. 20 Mar ’12  3:24 am by fwjiowjeiowejf Reply

    who could dislike this maginific tutorial? oh fuck you...!

  28. 22 Mar ’12  4:58 am by Bob Reply

    Hi Greg. thats a really cool tutorials... thanks a lot. i am using Blender 2.62. when i am trying to generate leafs for the branches... and making them rectangular, the leafs wont come... but when i am trying hexagonal, it came. please advise...

    • 1 Apr ’12  3:59 am by jpv2

      The same issue here... o rectangular leaves possible to generate.

  29. 7 Apr ’12  12:43 pm by Dirk Reply

    Same problem here, rectangular leafs will not show up.

    • 9 Apr ’12  4:43 am by Zachary

      Not being able to generate rectangular leaves appears to be a bug in the addon when running in a build of blender with bmesh (2.61 or later). Hopefully it will be fixed soon...

  30. 3 May ’12  5:23 pm by Thunder 5 Reply

    Great stuff man!! :) learned alot from this tut. Im pretty new to Blender and this tut answered alot of quetions! THANK YOU!!!

  31. 11 May ’12  6:21 pm by Durand Reply

    Nice tutorial, thanks :)

  32. 16 May ’12  10:23 pm by Akshat Reply

    Damn! viemo blocked in my country!! WTF is the same tut on youtube .. :( ?

  33. 27 Aug ’12  12:42 pm by Memduh Reply

    Hello, I am not getting any options besides the Geometry tab in the toolbar. Like this: http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/843/treetab.png/
    Could you please help me?

    • 30 Dec ’12  9:21 am by Fabian

      Same problem here, running Blender 2.63, 64Bit on Ubuntu 12.10. Any solution?

  34. 3 Jan ’13  4:44 pm by Starfash Reply

    Why is there so many dislikes ? This tutorial is f****** great ! And very undersandable, even for a stranger ;)
    Merci beaucoup !

  35. 5 Mar ’14  6:46 pm by Joey Reply

    Wow.... saw it on YouTube! I already knew about the sapling feature, but couldn't use it properly! :) Thanks!

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