Tree Rigger


After learning how to use the 3d Studio Max SDK, I wrote some plugins that automate the process of rigging and animating trees.

Normally, rigging a tree is a tedious, difficult process. My tool uses curve skeletons to analyze a tree mesh and create a proper bone system over its branches. Then, it sets up a MassFX hierarchy and applies it to the bones for instant dynamic animation potential.

The second half of the tree rigger toolset I created is a procedural leaf animation system. It can scatter custom geometry over anything and apply dynamic forces to it, as a way to quickly animate thousands of individual leaves.

Click the image below to see a video of the result:


The toolset was created in-house for MAKE and is not publicly available.


  1. great job on this Tyson.
    I’m working on an advanced tree tool, and also have a MassFX rig to animate it.
    But how do you have this simulation on the branches running so fast ? Of course when I reduce the amount of bones it runs faster, but how do you get that on the detailed tree in your example ? just a better graphic card maybe ?

    • Hey Clovis,

      For the purposes of the animated .gif on this page, I sped up the screen capture considerably. If I recall correctly, it originally only played back at 2-3fps in my viewport.

      Also, disabling collisions on all tree bones (if you don’t need them to collide) will greatly increase MassFX calculation speed!

      • oh, great, thanks,

        actually I already found a solution that drastically speed up the simulation.
        if you clear the undo buffer : clearUndoBuffer()
        after you created your tree, the MassFX helpers, and even after you add the skin modifier on your tree mesh.
        I tried everything, and it seems that even the skin modifier history slows it down, so I clear the undo buffer and it’s way faster.

        of course the problem with that is that you can’t undo the script that did it.
        Good to know about the collisions, i’ll see if it improves it.

        thanks man, and continue to show us your works, that’s really inspiring.

  2. Please create a public tool for the rig

  3. love the way those leaves move!

  4. Hoopoe Safaris | Who We Are

  5. Hi Tyson,
    animation looks amazing!! Even better than what I have finally achieved in Thinking Particles. Can you share a tutorial of the Mass FX setup for the Tree and leaves?

  6. hello please done script thanks my mail!

  7. please done you project you cats for my!thanks

  8. Need this. Or somerhing similar

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