Creating Low-poly Foliage

1. We are going to create this orchid thingy. So take a good look at it, because we need to store its form and colors into our brain.

Now start a new photoshop image and add a green background. You should always choose the dominant colour as your background colour. In this case the leaves will be green, so choose green as background. I heard this was so that mip-mapping wouldn't destroy the look of the model.

Now you should and paint the leaf shape, I've just selected a square to demonstrate how I paint a leaf texture (this is only my second time, so if you know of a better way, please email me, I always like to learn new stuff). Now paint some dark spots and light spots to make it a bit interesting.You can use the dodge&burn; tool for that.

2. Now, I noticed that those leaves had very bright edges, so I tried to paint something like that.

3. Now create a new layer and choose black as your color. Paint some detail on your texture, and change the brush size now and then to make different elements. Duplicate your layer and hit CTRL-i to make it negative so that the black becomes white. Now move this white layer beneath your black one and move it 1 pixel to the right and 1 pixel to the bottom. Join these 2 layers together and then set the blend mode to overlay and play with the opacity until you get something that looks reasonable.

4. Now, go to something like and get some grunge textures. Add this as an overlay and again, play with the settings so that it doesn't look like crap. Here's what I got so far (the left side kinda messed up, don't ask me why :P).

5. After playing around, I ended up with this, I don't think it looks to bad but it will do for this tutorial :). Again, if you have any tutorials about this kind of stuff, please send it to me, I'd really like to learn new ways of doing things.

6. And here's how my texture looks after some time:

I worked on layers so that I could always select the shape of my leave, and by doing that, I created the alpha. Just select the shape of it and color it all white.Now select inverse and color that totally black. That is your alpha map :).

3DS MAX part

1. Create a plane and give it 1 length segments and 1 width segments. Hit "m", this will open up the material editor. Click on the first ball and scroll down to maps. Click on the NONE button for the diffuse map and select bitmap.Now navigate to your texture file and select it. Do the same for the opacity map and select your alpha map now.
Also right click on your model and select properties.In there click on the backface cull box.

2. Go to Modifiers-->Uv Coordinates-->Unwrap UVW.Now make your plane cover your texture correctly. Make sure there is no stretching. Also scale the model, if you cant fix the stretching in the uv map.

3. Right click on your model and select Convert To:->Editable Poly. Now go to edge mode and select the 2 tallest edges and hit the small box next to connect. In the dialog that comes up set it to 4 segments and press OK.

4. Now go to vertex mode and move the vertices around until you get the desired shape. If it doesn't work out, just look at my model. After that go to the Hierarchy tab(on your right, the button with 4 boxes on it).Once there, select "Affect Pivot Only" and then move the pivot around the bottom of your leave like I did:

This is so that rotating goes easier.

5. Now hold SHIFT and rotate it couple of times so that you get something like this:

6. Now select one the leaves and make it hang a little more, then rotate it 45 degrees.Hold shift again and rotate it like you did with the first one.

7. Keep repeating step 5 and 6 until you get it look like your reference. Here is my result:
This was my second foliage model so if you send me hate mail, please be nice in it:).

Please send me an email at

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