Next on the agenda is the tree. I did a little research to see what sort of tree it could be and opted for a Field Maple, since they tend to be fairly small but with full, shaped crowns. With this in mind I completely reworked the model from the blockout and experimented with using circular forms for the leaves rather than the usual plane/billboard approach. This was because I wanted the canopy to have the more dinstict shape of a Field Maple as well as keep in with the style of the scene. I also added some roots that permeate the earth of the forest.
The whole thing amounts to 962 tris, which isn't too bad at all!
I started the texturing process by painting the leaves of the tree. As tempting as painting each leaf individually was I opted instead to paint a few unique leaves and create the final texture by cloning and manipulating those original images (resizing and changing the hue ever so slightly).
Which is how I went from this...
I wanted to keep all of the tree's textures in one file so I compiled the bark texture alongside two variations on the leaf texture; allowing me to break up the canopy with some darker clumps of leaves.
Here you can see how I laid the texture and the UVW map out. The tree's trunk, branches and roots all use the bark texture on the left; they're arranged vertically so that the tiling effect continues along the entirety of the model. On the right are the two collections of leaves.
And here's the result...
And here's a shot from a different angle to show the roots sticking out at the back; making the diorama break out of its own boundaries! I've tweaked the colours of the whole scene a little as well to work better with the warm colours the tree brings to the composition.