How to

How to make a festive tree in 3D

A guide to designing a festive tree in 3D.

You’ve missed all the online shopping deadlines for delivery. You need a festive message to impress your clients. Plus your designer is “On holiday” creatively speaking, so the mandatory Season's Greetings card is up to you.

The message needs to be festive, something fresh. Also, it all has to be delivered via online channels, such as email or a landing page.

It’s been a tough year and clients may excuse the lack of corporate gifting, but that means you REALLY need to deliver on that card. You get to work, search and hope for a miracle.

Then you see it: an easy tutorial for making a festive 3D tree. And - BONUS - it only uses two shapes.


Before getting started, here are a few points worth noting about this tutorial.

  • The steps are a general guide for creating an element, more specifically a 3D tree, that that you can personalize before adding to your final design.
  • It uses two shapes: Sphere for the tree branches. Cylinder for the tree trunk
  • It takes a procedural modeling approach, which is the use of different techniques to manipulate 3D shapes. This includes the use of several modifiers and will allow you to adjust values to your preferences.
  • There isn’t a defined 3D model size, so you’re free to play with scale and the size of your tree.

Step one - make a template for the tree branch

  • Add a sphere from the basic shapes menu
  • Apply a Noise modifier
  • Reduce the Noise modifier values, adjusting according to your preference
  • Increase the Levels value
  • (Optional) Adjust the Curve value

Step two - add more branches to create the tree

  • Use Array Radial to duplicate the branch shape - we recommend around 5.
  • Re-position the shapes so that they make up a layer of the tree
  • Use Array Grid to duplicate the layer, creating the length of the tree - we recommend around 7
  • Adjust Array Grid values to change the distance between the layers to create height
  • Then use the Taper modifier, adjusting Curvature settings
  • Exit Edit mode
  • Now you have a basic shape of the tree

Step three - create visual interest for the tree shape

  • Create a copy of the layers
  • Unlink the shapes and adjust the positioning to give the tree’s appearance some variety
  • Modify the shapes in this copy so that they’re slightly different from the first set.

Step four - the trunk

  • Import a Cylinder shape or add one from the 3D asset library
  • Adjust the size scale so that it matches the tree
  • Add a Taper modifier and change the values to the shape you like

Step five - finalize and share

  • Adjust or reposition the shapes and layers to form a pine tree
  • Add final touches, such as 3D text, or drag-and-drop materials to change the tree color/texture
  • Once you're happy with your 3D design, select the Share option and toggle Share to Web to ON.
  • Then copy a link to share directly in browser view, or copy the HTML embed code to embed the scene into most mail and content platforms.

Now you have an impressive (and festive!) 3D tree for your festive messaging, add it to an e-card, use it as the centerpiece of a quick 3D design graphic, or add it to enhance a 2D design. If you're looking for more inspiration, here's a scene we created featuring the tree.

trees covered in snow and a winter wonderland sign in neon a 3d model made in vectary

Don't forget to share your 3D design content using #Vectary.

Create your first festive tree now with Vectary
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