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ArchiCAD Tip: Simple Tree Representation


When putting together a scheme design, it is nearly always required to incorporate trees in some shape or form.

Due to the complex geometry of trees, the polygon count of trees can disrupt an ArchiCAD model quite substantially resulting in perfomance slowdown in Elevations and the 3D window.
This is not limited to ArchiCAD - any 3D software package will slow down when the polygon count increases due to highly complex elements.

To counteract the polygon issue with trees, some users prefer to use 'lollipop trees' to show a basic representation of the tree arrangement in a design.

Below is a screenshot from ArchiCAD 15, of the setup of one of the default tree objects in this 'lollipop' format.

(click to show in new window)


To consider the specifics of performance, a sample file (found here) was created with:
- 20 default deciduous trees with an elevation with shadow casting
- 20 'lollipop' trees with an elevation with shadow casting
resulting in:
- the 20 default trees requiring 86,920 polygons and 35 seconds to rebuild the elevation
- the 20 'lollipop' trees requiring 6,280 polygons and 4 seconds to rebuild the elevation
(see our tip on Polygon Counting for more information)

The choice to use a simple/realistic representation is always the decision of the user and usually an aesthetic one, but the resulting perfomance may always be a contributing factor.