Lindenmayer System Basics: More on Branches

This post is one of a series exploring the creation of Lindenmayer System patterns using my Lindenmayer System Explorer.

The introduction of branching into our patterns, which we explored in my previous post, allows for a near infinite variety of designs. Often these pattens come remarkably close to the patterns seen in plant growth. In order to provide some realism to the patterns, there are a few more options in the explorer which are only available when creating branches: Line Scale, Line Taper, Angle Increment, and the option of using multiple colors.

Line Scale modifies the length of individual line segments. Line taper modifies the width of line segments. Angle Increment adjusts the angle that a branch is drawn from its parent.

The following images illustrate how each modification works. Clicking on an image will take you to the explorer pre-configured to recreate that image.

Start with this basic tree shape:

Now change the Line Scale to .75. You should end up with this:

Each branch is 75% of the length of its parent. This can be any number greater than 0. For branches twice the length of their parents, set the value to 2. For half as long, set it to .5.

For line thickness, update the line width so that it is something like 10:

Now change the Line Taper to .75:

Each branch is 75% of the thickness of its parent. You can use any number greater than 0. For instance, to have each branch twice as thick as its parent, you would set this field to 2. For half as thick, you would set it to .5.

Now change the Angle Increment to 10:

The angle of each branch from its parent is 10 degrees greater than that of the preceding branching. This can be any positive or negative number, though they will always evaluate to a value between -360 and 360.

Finally, you can use multiple colors, which are applied at each branching, by creating a comma-separated list of hexadecimal color numbers. This will have the following effect:

As the pattern is rendered, at each branch the next color in the list is used.

You can use any hexadecimal color you would like, and use as many as you would like.

So that, along with the previous post, is Lindenmayer System branches, in a nutshell. Enjoy!