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Leaf Variations

Using UV tricks to give plants multiple leaf textures, assigned with probability.

The Goal

When I began modeling foliage, one of the first things that came up is the amount of reuse. Technically most plants have one leaf, over and over. However in computer graphics exact repititon is often noticeable, and there are still small differences between leaves in real life. My goal was to figure out a way to pack multiple leaves into one model and texture set.


The method that ended up being most efficient was to handle it procedurally using UV transformation. The different leaves are packed onto one texture set, and each piece of foliage uses the same base model (or “card”).

The same model is divided into three versions by shifting the UV layout over to another position on the texture.

Each time a leaf is propogated on a branch, the plant has a chance of calling each of the different leaves.

Thus the final tree is populated with a variety of leaves.