Creating Long Hairstyles in Blender

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Strand Rendering in Cycles

With the inclusion of Cycles’ strand-rendering in Blender 2.66 that will be released very soon, we’re now able to achieve believable hair with relative ease compared to the former Blender Internal method. However, shading and rendering is only half the battle. Strand editing and styling is where the war of believable hair is won or lost.

In this multi-part citizen series I’ll be walking you through my workflow from a bald head to a long and flowing female hairstyle. Along the way we’ll be diving into particle hair systems, strand editing, and strand shading and rendering with Cycles.

The Challenge of Long Hair

Realistic long hair is notoriously difficult to achieve with computer graphics. Several professional plugins have been developed for other apps that are strictly devoted to hair styling and rendering.  With Blender’s built-in tools we’re able to get very specific with our hairstyle by creating multiple particle-hair systems, dialing in the robust kinking and randomization settings, and finally rendering cylindrical strands complete with physically correct lighting. When combining these tools with real-world observation and patience you’ll be turning heads with your digital hairdo!

Changing hair color is easy!











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63 Responses to “Creating Long Hairstyles in Blender”
    • Posts: 2031

      Haha that made me laugh 😀

      I don’t want to give anyone the impression that this is easy – changing the color is! But long believable hair has proven to be one of the most difficult things I’ve ever tried to achieve in computer graphics. AND I’m not covering animation (talk about diffucult…). So the creators of Tangled continue to be the masters of long hair! 😉

  1. Posts: 48
    bintangsenja says:

    Hi Kent… your work really awesome, I keep my citizen to get into this one.. Thanks,, :)

  2. Posts: 7
    Noé says:

    Is it ready yet? Is it ready yet? Is it ready yet? Is it ready yet? Is it ready yet? Is it ready yet? Is it ready yet? Is it ready yet? (ಠ⌣ಠ)

      • Posts: 7
        Noé says:

        Great! I just finished your tutorial of the female body (great job by the way 😉 ). I can’t wait to add some hair to my model 😀

  3. Posts: 22

    does anyone know how to get hair colliding with the mesh when using dynamics? it goes through the head in simulation?

    • Posts: 8
      darkesco says:

      Nope. Nobody knows. I’m about to scrap this hair project and go back to GPU rendering. Tired of feeling like I am rendering scenes on a Pentium 120mhz computer.

    • Posts: 8
      darkesco says:

      I got it working. Make the a vertex group for your scalp then make the scalp part of the mess CTR-J I think in object mode. Create a particle system for the entire character mesh but select your scalp vertex group for the density. Create a collision for you entire character and move it above the particles in the stack. The hairs were harder to start this way a they all shot straight into the air. I created one hair and just added guide hairs one by one. You will still have to play with the settings and if you don’t have enough segments, the parts in-between segments will still intersect the mesh. I hope this helps. Been pulling my own hair out on this one.

  4. Posts: 8

    I’ve been visiting Blender Cookie and Blender Guru for a long time now (2-4yrs). I’m actually at the point of considering to be a ‘citzen’ after seeing this.

      • Posts: 15
        ng-material says:

        gah! I was hoping it would be up today,I was going to take advantage of that returning member offer.

        I think kent forgot there was only 28 days in feb when he said “within the month” lol

      • Posts: 26
        svcam04 says:

        Returning Citizen member offer???? Guess I missed something. May have to sign up again.

  5. Posts: 60

    Kent, a small suggestion from me is to render the hair using the CPU and then render everything else with the GPU then combine the two render layers in the compositer to speed your rendering times.

    In your scene it might not be very beneficial but in other scenes with lots of geometry it will be definitely helpful. Just a little tip till we get full GPU hair support 😉

    • Posts: 2031

      Great suggestion Abdullah! If I was using this for a production project, the hairs would definitely be rendered separately and comp’d together.

      I unfortunately don’t have the hardware to take advantage of any GPU rendering with Cycles. An upgraded card one day in the near future I hope :)

  6. Posts: 157
    greg says:

    All I can say is……. Sensational!

  7. Posts: 2
    flaxias says:

    This kind of tutorial always made me wish I have the kind of money to get a citizenship :/
    What about making the citizen tutorial available for public after a year or two?

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