When I saw that our modling artists were about to create the needed fir-branches traditionally in Maya, I couldn't withhold my urge to solve this in a procedural way using Houdini. I developed a "fir-branch generator" HDA that allowed us to come up with lots of different variations in a artistfriendly, fast and artdirectable way which would be very hard if not impossible to achive using standard modeling methods.
Screencapture showcasing the fir-branch generator HDA in Houdini.
The built-in preview/display modes allow to adjust the model in real-time.
Ramp-controls allow to edit and customize the fir-branch in a visual way.
Once the look is defined, the Artist can switch to the highres-geometry to inspect the result.
The finished fir-branch can then be exported as alembic and imported into any 3D-package of your liking.