So, you’re standing at the base of a tree, commanding it to do your bidding, only to have a squirrel look at you inquisitively, toss a pecan in your face then scamper off. The only way you may actually get a tree to bend its branches all at once is either by falling through them or getting an incredible app from Steven Longay of Algorithmic Botany called TreeSketch (iTunes). Version 3.0 is here and it brings a myriad of new features that make creating 3-dimensional trees easier than growing them or trying to control them with the power of your mind.

TreeSketch 3.0

TreeSketch is interactive procedural modeling of trees for tablet devices. It’s based on research by Steven Longay and others at the University of Calgary, Canada in association with the CIRAD/INRIA Virtual Plant Team in Montpellier, France. Tree structures are incredibly complex and what their research addresses and this app provides is the method for generating the structures with a minimal amount of interaction using strokes and touch to both create and manipulate the model. By using top-down generative algorithms. It’s absolutely fascinating research and goes a long way toward the simplification of generating structures that are less complex or even integrating simulation and analysis into designs that are initially created with a strokes of the fingers. New features include:

  • OBJ Export
  • Hybrid gorwth algorithm
  • Shadow and light rendering
  • Add fruit, buds and thorns
  • Control growth with sketching
  • Multi-touch branch bending
  • New color attributes (hue, saturation, brightness)
  • Growth/Rendering parameters can be loaded as presets
  • Brushing gestures to illustrate model construction

The app is free. You can download TreeSketch for iPad (iTunes) and find out more about the research into the generative modeling of trees at






Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.