Billboards for trees?

Hey I was wondering if anyone knows how to make the trees billboard at a distance. I haven’t found a tutorial on how to do this. I know I may need to make a separate plane with my tree baked to it, but how would I attached this to a tree in unreal? I’m using 4.14.1 too, so if anybody knows a good video or can explain it to me would be of great help, thanks.

Take a look at the trees in the ‘kite demo’ asset pack. As far as I can tell, epic rendered an orthographic view of their tree assets from 8 different angles, and made a single image (atlas) containing all of them. The lowest LOD of each tree is a camera facing billboard, that displays one of the 8 different tree images, depending on which angle you are viewing it from.

It’s all done in the material, which looks really complicated, but that seems to be the underlying theory. You could render the billboards (well, bake them, since there isn’t any lighting or shadow information) in any DCC app.

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Thats a great idea Ill have to look into the kite demo and see how they did it. Right now I am just having speedtree make them for me but really wanted to know how its manually done. Ive got as far as making a billboard actor face the camera but havnt figured a way to attach it to lod, thanks!

Specifically look at these documentation pages as well: Artists Tools and Workflows for Rendering in Unreal Engine | Unreal Engine 5.3 Documentation

  • Render 3D Imposter Sprites
  • Render a Normalized Depth Map

These are what were used to generate the imposter billboard for the tree and using the Normalized Depth Map allowed lighting to be faked for these trees so that they blended more seamlessly at a distance than a standard billboard would have done.

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