Hair is the Most Difficult Thing to Make

This is the part that I wish was simpler to make, but nobody can escape it.  You have to build it from the ground up.  If you’ve seen the way that Square Enix makes hair, then you’ve probably wondered why they go through all the trouble of making separate strips for each lock of hair.

At first, I tried the plugin method.  This method lets the software do all the heavy lifting. It didn’t turn out well and I wasn’t surprised because it usually never does.  Bald spots and irregular root growths. This was especially evident in front of the ears, and it didn’t look very human at all.

Next is the minimal effort method.  A single mesh layer that covers the entire head. This is what video game artists usually do, and it works if the hair is meant to be used in a game engine. The tradeoff is that you sacrifice a lot of detail in return for ease of use and simplicity.

For this particular project I wanted to be able to see the individual strands of hair, and I also wanted light to pass through the hair. In this case, the minimal effort method doesn’t work.

So I had to build everything from the ground up. It was very time consuming, but it was really worth it.

First I painted the top part of the head with blonde.

Then I added a base layer of hair.

Next thing I did was add a filler layer. This is to give the hair a little bit of thickness. Without this filler, too much light would pass through and it would look as if the model didn’t have enough hair.

When that was finished, I laid down a bunch of strips, and I matched them to the contours of the previous layer.  This is the part that gives the hair a lot of detail.

Here’s the finished look.

Overall, I spent about a week making this.  I’m lazy. Ha ha. Just kidding.  There were many different attempts at making this girl’s hair (and many failures!), but I always say: if you stick to it, it eventually turns out right!

Thanks for watching!

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