Polygon hair modeling techniques?

polycounter lvl 4
Offline / Send Message
FourtyNights polycounter lvl 4
I know this is asked many times probably (even recently), but I haven't figured out a comfortable way to create the polygon hair with cards.

Here's the low poly head (separated from the rest of the body) from my character where I'm trying to create the hair on top of it:


I'm aiming for a ponytail hairstyle like this, but with a shorted ponytail though:

As you can see, I've painted a basic hair colour on top of the scalp in case that player could see the coloured hairline between the possible hair strands, instead of the plain scalp with a skin colour.

Also, the alpha planes/cards for eyelashes are way more easier than styling and modelig the hair itself. Kinda stuck where to start and go with.


  • Popol
    Online / Send Message
    Popol polycounter lvl 7
  • FourtyNights
    Offline / Send Message
    FourtyNights polycounter lvl 4
    Thanks, Popol. Even though I've seen all of those, those are probably the best resources for this matter now.
  • thomasp
    Offline / Send Message
    thomasp polycounter
    well, you could create a small selection of hairstrips for the strands that cover the skull and ones to cover the ponytail. at least two different texture-snippets for each for the sake of variety. geometry should be pretty wide - you don't want to add tons of really thin strips to cover the skull. then lay out splines that run along the skull and ones that shape the flow of the ponytail.
    if you use a 3D app that lets you create splines from an edge selection it should be really easy.

    use whatever tool your software has to align geometry along splines and place instances of your hairstrips along the splines. duplicate, vary as needed. modify the hairstrips to add subdivisions or reshape them entirely as you see fit. break off groups of hairstrips into it's own subset of instances if your software allows for that and group-edit them to add variety (speaking from a max POV here). bit of trial & error here that will become less arduous as you gain experience.

    sticking with splines and instances for the bulk of the work is handy because it lets you reshape things after the fact, helping to quickly mass edit any aspect of your model/UVs/spline.

    the most finicky task will be to create a convincing looking hairline. might need some more hair snippet variations there, depending on how detailed you want to get.
    i find myself rearranging hair textures quite a bit when doing a new hairstyle, it's not so easy to plan it all beforehand.

    to polish it all, you don't just want to use a single layer of hairstrips to achieve the effect. try with something like at least two layers where the topmost one contains thinner strips of varying shapes to simulate stray hair, etc.

    lastly if you are using max, hair splines can be skinwrapped. very handy if the underlying skull shape changes. you can just morph to the new shape and skinwrap the splines to that morph and maintain full editability. presto.

    to create a texture base for the skull don't just paint random stuff on - when you have created your hair geometry, bake it with the hair texture applied onto the skull and use that as a base for painting. essential if you want the hairline to match or expect to have sections where the skull shines through the hair.

    as a last step look into copying vertex normals from the skull or a dedicated hair proxy mesh onto your hairstrips to create soft blends between strips of separate geometry.

    i find the biggest annoyance for creating hair is the terrible display of dense alphamapped geometry in viewports. bad sorting, one-sided display, flickering, z-buffer screw ups. it really is a bit of nightmare.

    in comparison that method with insert mesh in zbrush from one the linked tutorial will leave you pretty fucked with a big old mess of hard to edit geometry - in my experience at least. also even with the topological mask checked i find it near impossible to edit a hairstyle/derive a new one from existing work and end up with a clean looking result.
  • FourtyNights
    Offline / Send Message
    FourtyNights polycounter lvl 4
    Thanks for the tips, thomasp. Yeah, I'll probably need to re-paint the hair base color if the final hair color differs a lot from it. It was easy enough to do.
  • Markmars
    Offline / Send Message
    Markmars triangle
    What do you say about this?
Sign In or Register to comment.