Making realistic Tree in AutoCAD with Opacity Map

In AutoCAD renderings people, cars, trees etc can be added to give it a more realistic appearance using opacity maps. These opacity maps are generally 2D objects which are added to create the illusion of a 3D object in the drawing.

In this article I will show you method of creating a tree material and adding a tree to the drawing but if you don’t want to read this article then watch the video above.

Opacity maps are grayscale textures which are added to the existing texture to specify transparent and opaque areas of the material. Different degree of black and white color in grayscale texture will decide amount of transparency.

Darker the black tone of color in opacity map more transparent will be the portion of material at that place.

Making a tree material

For this tutorial I will use this tree and its opacity map. You can easily create opacity map from an image using photo editor tools like Photoshop or you can download it online as well. For this article you can download tree image with its opacity map and sample drawing used in this article from this link.

tree with opacity map 0-min

Open rendering drg drawing file and switch to AutoCAD 3D modelling workspace. Now go to visualize tab and click on materials browser to open it. If you are using older version of AutoCAD then you may not find visualize tab and for those cases you can use its command equivalent MAT as well.

Now click on new material button on bottom right corner of materials browser palette and select new generic material from menu as shown in image below.

Materials Browser palette

Now a new materials editor palette will pop up, enter name of this new material in name field, I am naming it as New Tree. From this palette expand the generic group and double click on box next to image.

A file window will open, locate the tree image and click on Open. Tree image will be loaded to the current material. Double click on image again to open texture editor palette and expand scale group.

In this scale group change sample size in width and height to 12 units. This is also the height and width of square we are using in the drawing for creating tree material.

Expand Repeat group as well in the texture editor palette and select none from horizontal as well as vertical drop down menu. Once you have made all of these changes close texture editor palette.

Scale and Repeat group in texture editor

Now again go to materials editor palette and click on Cutouts group, a new file browser will appear. Locate tree opacity map image and click Open to load it in the material.

Now double click on the image in the cutouts group and change scale to 12 units in width and height and also from Repeat group change horizontal and vertical values to none as we did earlier.

Applying Tree material to drawing

After making all of these changes close all open palettes except materials browser. You will now see your custom material in the materials browser. Drag and drop New Tree material on the blank square in the drawing and your material will be applied to the object.

Now change visual style to realistic if it’s not already selected from visual styles panel of visualize tab.

Your drawing is now ready for rendering, click the Render to Size icon on render panel of visualize tab and wait for render to complete. This is the rendering which I got using all of the settings as explained above.


Do you have questions related to this tip? Let me know in the comments below.

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