The concept for this project is as follows: "The wind blows away heavy mist in a valley at dawn. A shinning start flies across the sky and lands here, the bright light rises, which lights up the red leaves of an ancient tree. The whole image is full of holiday happiness and exotic flavours."
As 3D work should be more precise than 2D work, the creation process should be longer and the effect is often represented only at the end. To avoid any deviation from the original design in the long making process, I've drafted a rough concept image which captures the atmosphere we're looking for (Fig.01).
According to the concept image, there should be a tree as the focal point of the image, so select "Banyan tree" from the Foliage options (Fig.02).
Set the tree on the earth table that has been made (Fig.03).
Open the Compile menu and adjust to get a satisfactory shape. What we need to pay attention to here is the following: by clicking the "New" tag on the left of "Seed" in "Parameters", a random tree shape will be generated. Clicking repeatedly will be unfavourable for returning to original shape and providing comparison, so I suggest using the parameters on the right of "Seed" to adjust the basic model. Secondly, the options under "Show" are about groups of tree, and one can remove redundant groups according to his needs. For example, in this work, we need a quite thick tree. Although the Banyan tree has quite an appropriate shape, its roots need to be removed. Such removal will be used more often in the following process (Fig.04).
Adjust the size of the work according to the draft, lock the scale and set up the cameras. Many artists like to do this step later, but as the work is "static", a lot of unnecessary work can be saved if it is done earlier. For example, it becomes unnecessary to consider the scene beyond the image (Fig.05)
Open "Material Editor", select a new shader and use "sucker" to suck materials off the "tree". We will find that the tree has six shaders, so adjust these shaders accordingly (Fig.06).
We're going to start with the leaves: open the leaves shader and we can see that there is only one alpha texture and no colour texture in the default materials. Click the "magic tube" icon to display the leaves cut by channels, and open the channel map (this is a default image provided by 3ds Max, and we can find location of the file by the path shown in the image) (Fig.07).