I set about making a model of a tree, so that i could rig it and produce a couple of tests. I felt this was important to do as Ive volunteered to help with some secondary animation and i need to give the trees some lifelike features for example gently swaying in the wind or in the breeze. The initial concepts for the trees were to have them as topiary shrubs, so i thought there was no point looking into movement of individual leaves on the tree at this point as it wouldn't be necessary. Instead i looked to give the shape i created a nice flexible feel, so that it could bend naturally like a flimsy tree would under wind pressure.
Below are some screen shots of the very simple rig i made of three joints together, with an IK handle, and then bound to the simple model i made.
Using the rig
A test video of how the rig enables the tree to move
A little mock up of the rig in action
I also did a quick test of the bottle falling and smashing below, however this is not appropriate anymore as the job has been handed on to somebody else.