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The Unofficial Hair Tutorial
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Landis
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Joined: 11 Jan 2003
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Post subject: The Unofficial Hair Tutorial
Post Posted: Wed Sep 24, 2003 10:55 pm
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Ok....today I have officially launched....

______________________________________________________
The Unofficial Hair Tutorial ______________________________________________________
Code Named: "OPERATION PEACH FUZZ"
A study performed specifically for the purpose of applying hair to the AIRMAN but not exclusively icon_wink.gif
______________________________________________________


User Level:

- Beginner to Intermediate (depends on the individual icon_neutral.gif )

Assumptions:

- The reader of this tutorial can find thier way around Blender pretty well.

- The reader of this tutorial can produce the applicable model (what ever object they want to apply this method to...if you are wondering why I say "method" and not "hair", read the introduction icon_wink.gif ).


Introduction
_______________________________________________________

I have been wanting to try this theory out inside of Blender for quite some time and the AIRMAN himself is nearing a point of completion so it is time I start worrying about his virtual wig. It is very important that you realise that this method can be used for producing phenomenons other than hair (feathers, leaves for trees, grass, fur, etc.) Now when ever I was day dreaming at work about this method, one question has always haunted me:

How do I make it a "hair-do" and not a "hair-don't"?

Well, this is what I have come up with laying in bed at night while starring at the ceiling.....

Blue Sky studio (or MAYA rather) uses what can be called "the card method". Basically the idea is to attach an image texture consisting of a few strands of hair like the image below.....





....to a plane with the appropiate alpha settings applied. The card is then duplicated (I believe MAYA does this automatically) to the degree of forming a head of hair, fur, feathers, etc. I believe that this can be done in a Blender as well with results that are actually acceptable. Now, I say this because I have seen some take a similar approach, however, the finished product was less then "below par". Why? There is a particular approach that others, and myself until about an hour ago, were not taking.

The problem that one runs into is allowing the hair to lay down correctly. I initially tried placing the "cards" at random as I saw fit....basically plopping them into the surface of the scalp as if I were planting flowers....a very natural way of thinking but not very affective by any means.


Lets get started
_______________________________________________________

icon_arrow.gif First, insert a plane (if you just opened Blender you should already have one unless you have changed your user default).

icon_arrow.gif Then, apply the hair texture I have provided above with the approapiate properties ( I had some trouble with this intially so I have provided the screenshots below).








icon_arrow.gif Now, place the 3d cursor on the bottom edge of the plane. Got to the edit buttons and select "Center Cursor".

Why? What this does is place the objects center at the bottom of the plane. Why do we want to do this? . This will ultimately allow for greater control over the hair as a whole during the animation process.

How? By estabilishing the bottom edge of each card as the "center" I can then rotate along this point rather than the object's "true" center, allowing for me to easier simulate effects (such as wind blowing the hair) simply by selecting the entire set of cards, and rotating all of the cards SIMULTANEOUSLY along each cards newly estabilshed center.

Now, for possibly the second most important aspect of this study...


CARD PLACEMENT
_______________________________________________________

icon_arrow.gif Instead of placing the cards whereever your little heart desires, create a wall of different sized cards in the shape of the contour of the object that you are trying to apply the hair to (in my case the head) see below:





I personally want the AIRMAN to have a closer shaved cut on the side compared to that of the top. So, the following image is an example of what I came up with:




icon_arrow.gif Next, duplicate the "wall of cards" and resize it accordingly. What do I mean by this exactly? Well, basically what I am going to do is apply this "wall of cards" to the head much like a set of headphones is worn (the upright style, not the newer kind icon_wink.gif )

For example...

icon_arrow.gif Start by duplicating the "wall" that you have established by duplicating all of the "cards" containg the hair image texture/ resize it to fit towards the next section of head/ duplicate that wall/...and so on.

Why would you want to have some walls different sizes than others? Well, maybe you wouldnt, but in my case I do! If I look at the front of the AIRMAN's head in Top View, it is not as quite as wide as the middle of the head...it kind of tapers in, so, I would scale that specific "wall" in a little to fit that specific portion of the head. So, when it is all said and done, if I look down at my scene (in Top View), I have a row of duplicated walls in varying sizes which roughly resembles the contour of the his head (I modeled the hair in a scene seperate from the AIRMAN for greater control of the process...I will simply append the hair to the AIRMAN scene later upon completion) see below for a Top View of the hair ("wall of cards") exclusively.


Top View of the "walls of cards" (hair) after duplication.

icon_arrow.gif Then select ALL of the newly duplicated "walls" and rotate them (along our newly established center icon_wink.gif ) so that it appears as though the hairs are laying down towards the front see below.


Side View of the "walls of cards" after having rotated all of our newly duplicated walls.

icon_arrow.gif That's it! Give it a render. If I have done a good job in explaining myself, you are probably jumping up and down, running around the house screaming and yelling for joy:o. because of the results that are currently living on your screen similar to those below.

Still's...



Video's...

The following videos are jpeg avi's. The first one is 602 kb and the second is 718 kb. Both Quicktime and Windows Media Player play them nicely.

Dark hair (no gradient):

http://www.landisfields.com/hairtest_001.avi

Blond hair (no gradient):

http://www.landisfields.com/hairtest_002.avi


Now, keep in mind that I accomplished this in about 5 minutes and it took approximately 2 minutes to render. As far as the shorter hairs are concerned, I would recommend having probably 3 walls of them on the side for every 1 of the long ones at the top. This would fill in the sides, giving that "buzz cut" look from the clippers. I will be doing this for the AIRMAN. The possibilities are endless especially when using image maps that consist of gradient colored hairs! If there are any programmers out there that would be willing to work with me , I think that we could really be onto something....I already have ideas for a script if someone is interested in coding it.


Essential Links Related to This Topic:

None yet...however...if you havent noticed, I posted this topic in the W.I.P. forum, so, feel free to suggest some! I am thinking around the lines of a basic texturing tutorial and/or some other methods of applying hair.


My Tutorial Mission Statement:

"If you have any questions or comments let me know and I will alter the tutorial as I see fit. As I said before, this tutorial is and always will be a W.I.P. as all tutorials should be! I would also like to take this time to thank everyone out there that created tutorials that I found useful (yeah right...everything that I could get my hands on) while performing the newbie crawl of shame among the giants here at Elysiun....take it easy on me fellas (you know who you are icon_wink.gif )."

Cheers,
Landis
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A real time start to finish look at my ongoing project: The AIRMAN


Last edited by Landis on Mon Nov 24, 2003 4:32 am, edited 30 times in total


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Modron
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Post Posted: Wed Sep 24, 2003 11:00 pm
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Thanks Landis. That looks really useful.
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skeletor
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Post Posted: Wed Sep 24, 2003 11:07 pm
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i was...copuld we see a render of wut u made?
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ilac
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Post subject: Re: The Unofficial Hair Tutorial
Post Posted: Wed Sep 24, 2003 11:52 pm
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Landis wrote:

If there are any programmers out there that would be willing to work with me , I think that we could really be onto something....I already have ideas for a script if someone is interested in coding it.


Uhm... have you seen Ripsting's latest Fiber script which supports UV mapping? icon_wink.gif

Grass, hair, and even things like feathers are easily done! (I tried a quick render with feathers using the fiber script at home and it was really cool !! icon_biggrin.gif )


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Landis
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Post Posted: Wed Sep 24, 2003 11:56 pm
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Sweet! No I havent...then I guess everyone should disregard what said about making this a script...although, I am still going to use this method for the AIRMAN's hair. I will have to try that script though. Thank you very much for the info!

Cheers,
Landis


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LohnC
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Post Posted: Wed Sep 24, 2003 11:59 pm
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Awesome tutorial Landis, i managed to pick up Blue Sky's Book up at Siggraph and it really shows the card methods capacity, been wanting to pick up on it some more.

Also just want to mention that recently with a recent couple of characters ive made ive tested out hair and what method would suit me, liking both the hair lock and card method i have found a mix that ultimately pushes toward an anime look, which is a style i appreciate. These 2 styles both have tutorials, you for the card method and the hair lock postings (sorry cant remember the author from memory). It can be animated quite easily like card method, and also fits well for longer hair.

http://homepages.picknowl.com.au/leewj/eagfin0001_0120.avi (DIVX 5.02)

http://homepages.picknowl.com.au/leewj/DEredtest.avi (DIVX 5.02)

http://homepages.picknowl.com.au/leewj/eagleview.jpg
http://homepages.picknowl.com.au/leewj/redview.jpg (viewport)

^^ here is a small test (eek sorry bout the quick animating) of how a few armatures mixing yours and the hair lock method can bring great results. I think it would be good to try and get both your method, the hair lock method and any mixing style (there are many) into an official tutorial. I beleive it would greatly benefit the community to know just how easy it is to make great hair given the right methods.

Once again great tut, i am still working out the card method fully and you seem to have it down, so ill be doing some more studying for sure =)
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Landis
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Post Posted: Thu Sep 25, 2003 12:19 am
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LohnC,

Great job buddy! It looks like you have really been doing your homework. As far as your method is concerned, it produces EXCELLENT results for a more "chunky" or "wet" looking hair versus the "soft" and "dry" hair results that I got using the "card method".... possibly a way to divide the two methods! I think that this point would be very important to address at the least when and if an "official" tutorial were to be created.

Also, yes, the blue sky studios book really has some great pics presenting the full potential of the "card method" (which is why I would have liked for a programmer to go check that book out and then get back to me, but I am told that there is a script out there from another individual...not sure if that scripts touches the potential of the results this method can produce but I a plan to try it out and see). I was going to post some pics from the book but did not for obvious reasons (copyright issues). So, here is a basic description for the rest of you:

It (MAYA I am guessing) automatically does this card placement (or attaching of the cards to a user defined object) for you. I assume that it prompts hair length, density, etc. Then, it displays the "cards" in various colors for better visualization of what is going on (if the cards were all the same color like they are in Blender, then it is very difficult to get an idea of what you are working with). I was even thinking that it would be nice to have the script prompt the user for an applicable image texture (similar to the hair one I provided, a feather, or a blade/s of grass) to be applied to the cards. Judging by the looks of the "scrat" (a character from iceage), the properties for this method can also vary according to the area of the fur that is currently selected by the user (meaning that I can have hair a little shorter and of a different color towards the end of the tail comapred to the another portion of the tail that is covered, essentially, by the same coat of fur).

Anyways, take care buddy, and keep me posted regarding the results of your study as well. Take care LohnC and again great work!

Cheers,
Landis
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A real time start to finish look at my ongoing project: The AIRMAN


Last edited by Landis on Wed Oct 08, 2003 11:46 pm, edited 2 times in total


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dante
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Post Posted: Thu Sep 25, 2003 12:29 am
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ilac: Thats a sweet script! It CAN take a little longer to render tho icon_wink.gif Still, you gotta love that script icon_smile.gif

dante
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Fweeb
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Post Posted: Thu Sep 25, 2003 12:49 am
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Sweet! This will actually be very handy for me RSN. Thanks for the detailed howto!
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lemmy
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Post Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2003 2:22 pm
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ALL RIGHT!
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blendermax
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Post Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2003 3:33 pm
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lemmy wrote:
ALL RIGHT!


please dont wake up 2 month old threads with blunt posts...its annoying. first im like "cool, a new post", and then i see it says "ALL RIGHT!" and all my hopes go down the drain... icon_frown.gif
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Jolly Gnome
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Post Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2003 5:26 pm
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Hmm, at least to me this was a new post, which is nice, and this seems rather useful. So thanks Landis icon_wink.gif
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@ner
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Post Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2003 5:36 pm
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wow! thanx icon_biggrin.gif
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Joh@n_
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Post Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2003 10:17 pm
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i really prefer this method compared to the fiber script
but it's my personnal opinion ... really great

Quote:
Blue Sky studio (or MAYA rather) uses what can be called "the card method". Basically the idea is to attach an image texture consisting of a few strands of hair like the image below.....


hey landis (excuse my bad and rude english ...)
you should have made a lot of search on the web before founding this method ... no ?
do you have a link please ?
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Landis
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Post Posted: Mon Nov 24, 2003 4:42 am
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blendermax wrote:
lemmy wrote:
ALL RIGHT!


please dont wake up 2 month old threads with blunt posts...its annoying. first im like "cool, a new post", and then i see it says "ALL RIGHT!" and all my hopes go down the drain... icon_frown.gif


Well...I felt bad for you buddy so I decided to wake the dead with this one. I know I havent posted in a while but my algebra class is consuming every spare second I have that I can spend doing something creative like....generating make-believe fur...what the hell is the matter with us....we all are very strange in case any of you have failed to realize this (normal people remind me of my insanity on a daily basis....I hope all of you have "normal" family and friends that can provide the same services). Ok heres what I got (the upcoming concept was sketched on the back of some of my notes for my Algebra test so you will have to excuse me for that).

Objective: To transform the Blender specific "card method" developed for achieving near realistic hair/fur results (currently code named "Operation Peach Fuzz") into a full fledged script titled...

"BEAST 1.0".



Basically, before I mentioned a series of cards that when placed next to one another, they formed a wall as shown below:



However, in order to intensify the effect, each card used to make a wall could also have an adjacent card with a similar if not the same exact texture giving each collection of hairs more depth! These single adjacent cards could then be subdivided on the fly as a whole to a level determined by the user through the BEAST interface itself. Ok...have to get some sleep now...6 hours till work and then a test after I get out....long day...wish me luck on my exam. I will talk to all of you tommorow night.

Oh before I forget...

If you are wondering where I got the whole BEAST thing from, it al started with these Sully (MONSTER's INC.) like slippers that my wife bought me to wear around the house since my feet become unusually cold when working on the computer especially. Anyways, I call them the beasts. Ok you can stop laughing now. I have studied these puppies quite a bit when it comes to all of this fuzz talk. Well...there you have it....now off to bed...and yes I am wearing the beasts right now.

Cheers,
Landis
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A real time start to finish look at my ongoing project: The AIRMAN


Last edited by Landis on Mon Nov 24, 2003 6:51 am, edited 4 times in total


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