One of my biggest bugbears in track building is the lack of decent nature textures being used, especially trees. Low in resolution, high in shadowing, low on quality, this combined with co-planar modelling (and sometimes even no pointing up normals!) means the immersion factor of the environment is ruined. Perhaps this is down to a lack of resources in this area (trees being some of the hardest textures to find and THE hardest to create if not able to be found).
So instead of whining (constantly!) about it, I decided to release my tree texture library, containing 154 textures, compiled from Vyonyx and Archiforge and a little of my own work. These textures are all high resolution (the smallest being 1024x512, with most at 2048). Most of the resolutions are too high for the type of uses they are intended for, but I kept the resolution high to enable users to perform their own editing should they need.
The archive is around 600MB unpacked and split into four categories, which are fairly self-explanatory.
This pack should give plenty of base material to those budding (or experienced) modders out there.
Feel free to use these textures wherever you like. If released as part of your own work, it's always nice to see some credit though.
*All these textures are in DDS DXT5 format with alpha channels, meaning they can be plugged and played for those with less time/knowledge.
*They also come with a bog standard green 'backing'; too many tree textures have a black background giving ugly black edges to the textures. Adding more textured outlines to the backing will result in higher quality, softer edges, but I can't do all the work for you :).
*Not all these textures are exactly centred (some are not meant to centre) so if they are intended to be used in co-planar GMTs, make sure to centre them.
* Huge tip when creating transparent materials for tracks. Make sure to assign two materials to your GMT, using the same texture, but one with simple transparency and one with multiple. Alternatively, should you not have 3dsMax or similar, you can simply make a copy of the GMTs in SimED, and assign the simple or multiple transparencies to each. You can learn a step-by-step process here: http://manoloztt.blogspot.com/2010/03/transparent-trees-are-beautiful-trees.html
* For God's sake, make sure that your tree GMTs having pointing up normals applied, not facet or smoothing!
*Photoshop tips: (You will need the DDS Plugins).
If you feel the need to do some editing, you can select just the tree (without the background), by holding CTRL and clicking the alpha channel.
To set the alpha channel after you have done your editing, delete any existing alpha channel, merge any transparent layers into one layer, hold CTRL and click that layer thumbnail, before clicking 'add channel'. Don't forget to add a nice coloured background (some shade of green usually works, not black! You'll find playing with that background colour can give you different effects) to the texture before Layer>Flatten Image (otherwise you will get the 'too many channels to export error') and saving in DXT5 format with at least 6 mipmaps.
NB: An alpha channel determines how much of a texture will be visible, with white fully visible and back fully invisible. Shades will only work in a material with 'Multiple' transparency set, 'Simple' transparency is all or nothing.
* Using any tree texture above 1024x1024 in-game is pretty much overkill and not advisable.
I'd like to thank Vyonyx and Archiforge for their resources, Manolo for his tree transparency tips and YouTube for teaching me everything else. Google is your friend people!