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[WIP] Realtime Hair: Bun + Ponytail Process

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JTurk3D polycounter lvl 3
Hey! Making a thread here to track my progress and share my process with how I create hair for games. 

So first of all here is a little breakdown of the texture sheet that I am using to create this hairstyle:

I've built this sheet in a way so that it can be used to create a wide range of long hairstyles. The shorter hairs at the bottom of the sheet are here so I can also create short hair with the long hair. For example if I wanted to create a fade into long hair, these short hairs would be necessary. To show the mileage I can get from this sheet, here is a hairstyle I made when I created this sheet initially:

So with that, I've begun to create a new hairstyle using this sheet, this one will be a Bun/Ponytail. I plan on building it in a way where the Bun and Ponytail can be swapped seamlessly and still work practically. Getting straight into it, here is my initial block of the hairstyle using just the base layer of cards:

Whenever starting with a hairstyle, I like to block in using just the base layer of cards to try and establish some shape that I can build upon. Bearing in mind with this that I want to create a bun/ponytail; I will split the hair into 2 sections, the bulk of the hair which will congregate at the back, and the Bun/Ponytail itself. So first up is blocking in the main bulk of hair, I like to start from the back and work my way upwards and towards the front hairline. I find this a bit easier to manage as you will be placing cards on top of each other this way, as opposed to underneath if you were to build from the front hairline back. Here is a GIF of how I build up the cards:

These clumps in the GIF are groups in Maya, I find it important to organise the scene this way as it makes it easier to manage when you need to later go back and make changes, and I always go back and make changes as I progress.

I'll keep this thread updated with my progress as I create this hairstyle. If anyone has any questions or feedback that would be very welcome! I'm aiming to improve my work and hopefully help others along the way! :)
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