The new Tree toolset available as part of SideFX Labs can be used to create many different tree shapes using a procedural workflow. Learn how to use the various nodes and parameters to sculpt your trees adding in variation to give them a natural look. You will also learn how to bake out the tree designs to a single polygon and either using that as a background tree in a video game or as a branch for a 3D tree. 

NOTE: These lessons use the SideFX Labs tools. Make sure the latest release (non production build) is installed when doing this lesson.

Thanks to Ryan Gold for developing this tool as part of his internship at SideFX. 
Thanks also go to Nils Westfelt for the functionality of the simple leaf node.

1 | Tree Generator Quick Intro

Learn how to build a procedural tree using the SideFX Labs Tree tool. Take a quick tour of the various nodes and parameters used to generate a tree.

Length: 4:55

2 | Create a Tree Base

Take a more in-depth look into creating a procedural tree using the new tools.

Length: 23:52

3 | Bake Branches to Textures

Learn how to use the SideFX Labs Maps Baker to bake a tree onto a single polygon. Learn how to use variation sliders to quickly bake out many trees at the same time.

Length: 16:02

4 | Pine Tree

Learn how to specifically create a Pine tree using the new SideFX Labs tree tools.

Length: 14:47

5 | Willow Tree

Learn how to specifically create a Willow tree using the new SideFX Labs tree tools.

Length: 17:00

6 | Umbrella Tree

Learn how to specifically create an Umbrella tree using the new SideFX Labs tree tools.

Length: 15:05



Simon is a tech Artist that loves building procedural tools and assets. By adding more and more procedural approaches to his workflow, he is able to build 3D models with speed and flexibility. During his studies at Digital Arts and Entertainment, he taught himself how to work with Houdini. After his studies, he started working on Ary and the Secret of Seasons at eXiin. Currently he is a Houdini freelancer and focuses on creating procedural content.

More from Simon Verstraete


  • yao.liu 1 month ago  | 

    Thanks!!!Really nice tree sop!!!

  • micky_lin 1 month ago  | 

    Really Great!! Thank a lot !

  • efxlab 1 month ago  | 

    amazing, thanks to Ryan Gold

  • Endorphine 1 month ago  | 

    can it be easily used for dynamics ?

  • mf42 1 month ago  | 

    How do we install this? I can't seem to get it working through installing SideFX Labs in Houdini Apprentice, or via the GitHub version.

    • Siver 1 month ago  | 

      Tree tools are parts of the SideFX Labs and updating to the latest version of Labs (non-production build) should give you the tools. Make sure you are using Houdini 18.5 as well.

      • mf42 1 month ago  | 

        Cheers, just realised my Houdini was 18.0.5, not 18.5. Works now!

      • Grimwolf 1 week, 4 days ago  | 

        It's not working for me either. I've updated to the latest version of Houdini, 18.5.408. I've also made sure Labs is up to date, but the only "tree" labs tool I have access to is "Quick basic tree".

        • christomrut 23 hours, 57 minutes ago  | 

          check non production builds

  • theratos 4 weeks, 1 day ago  | 

    In sideFX Labs I find that quick tree and none of the nodes of the tutorial ??? I have Houdini 18.5 FX in the latest version of Labs (non-production build).

    • silmaeth 3 weeks, 3 days ago  | 

      Also didn't work for me with the automatic install of Labs
      Had to install it manually by copying the content of the downloaded Github zip file in my "...Documents\houdini18.5\SideFXLabs\18.5.408\SideFXLabs18.5"

  • michaelh99 3 weeks, 6 days ago  | 

    I'm having the same issue as theratos. Have Apprentice 18.5 and the 18.5.408 build of labs and all the nodes say "
    This node is using an incomplete asset definition. It will not
    function properly until the asset library containing the full
    definition is installed. "

    But doesn't say specifically what's missing.

  • RichaThomas 2 weeks, 5 days ago  | 

    Great tutorial !

    I'm new to Houdini. I was wondering if connecting an object merge to a scatter node is the right way to scatter a Tree generated with this tool on a terrain.


  • ChristopherShaju 2 weeks, 3 days ago  | 

    how to make banana tree, leaf orientation different and one big leaf per branch

  • zrjacobs1985 1 week, 3 days ago  | 

    Is there a simple way to add animation in these tools? I was wondering if they integrate into vellum in a straight forward way?

    Thank you!

  • Barrett Meeker 1 day, 2 hours ago  | 

    This is great thanks!

    Is there any way to get rid of the black edge borders when baking textures with alphas though? Maybe some cops pass? Thanks!

    • Siver 22 hours, 36 minutes ago  | 

      There are padding settings for the mapsbaker that might help

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