Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tree visualization Part 3

In this post I want to make the trees more realistic and give them some leaves.

The improved realism can be achieved with a technique called "midpoint replacement", which was also used to make the lightning bolts look somewhat chaotic yet surprisingly realistic.

Of course, in the case of visualizing natural trees there are many factors to consider, and by applying unspecific random based algorithms you only reach a limited realism. But compared to the first approach using straight lines the results are much better ;-)

During the implementation of the lightning article, I've developed a datastructure which I wanted to use also for the plant-some-trees repository. This datastructure, "Vec", is shown below:

Vec datastructure

It contains some helper methods, which make it easier to do 2D calculations. Using this datastructure the midpoint replacement can be implemented like this:

Midpoint replacement algorithm
First, I refactored the code to use the Vec class, secondly, I added midpoint replacement for the trees.

To make the visualization even more interesting, I also added some leaves to the trees. I used a simple approach: If a branch is thin enough, it will get some leaves. Only the  traverse function had to be enhanced for that.

Result: a tree with leaves
The code is available at github.

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