The Summer Cherry Tree has about 150,000 polys, but the leaves are sort of billboards – not facing camera but images mapped to planes that don’t look so good side on but also don’t look good if they’re all lined up the same so that the repetition is obvious. I’ve rotated the tree to minimise the problem here, but it is a constraint. I’ve seen some trees with billboards look OK by using several different billboards, but like tiled textures one needs to be careful.
Perhaps I should explore the approach of rendering several different views and compositing the leaves to get a good result. When I did the Vue workshop with Scott Brisbane he usually used that approach (with clouds) to get the result he wanted. No need to be constrained by what Vue can offer in a single image. Must give it a go.