Modeling Stylized Hair

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All the hair, none of the strands.

 

Stylized hair is prominent in cartoon genre’s like anime, manga, comic books, and Disney animation to name a few. It’s a popular artistic approach to visualize hair without needing to address individual hairs.

What You’ll Learn

 

The workflow in this lesson focuses on using bezier curves to easily generate and edit locks of hair:

  • Setting up taper and bevel curve objects.
  • Easy duplication of variation of tapers and bevels.
  • Scalp population and hair styling using bezier handles.

The benefit of using curves instead of polygon-modeling, for example, is the ease of modification involving only 2-3 edit points per hair lock. Polygon modeling a hairstyle like this would be more of a manual and destructive workflow. Hair lock profiles couldn’t be easily changed or swapped out in large quantities.

 

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Tutorial Questions and Answers

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  • Replies: 1

    This method is great! If I am going to rig my character, would I leave the curves as is, or do I need to convert the curves to geometry?

    1 week ago

    • Replies: 1

      I don’t know how to edit my question. If it is for an animated film, would I leave the hair as curves? Also what is the best way to UV unwrap the hair?

      1 week ago

      • as for uving I would suggest one line all the way down so it would lie somewhat flat, as for the head if it’s a ponyrtail use a half bevel circle so you dont have to delite too much

        1 week ago

  • Replies: 2

    Hi kent, got a question. How do you turn the finished product to mesh for exporting to say unreal engine? Thanks, I’ve learned loads watching your vide!

    2 weeks ago

    • Replies: 0

      By the way how did you mirror ytour curves I can tell you parented them to an empty and did something but what was it?

      2 weeks ago

    • Replies: 1

      Hello Adele – To turn the hair tubes into a usable mesh for unreal or other game engine, I would convert them to meshes with ALT + C in object mode (with desired objects selected). Then combine them into one object with CTRL + J and add a decimate modifier to the combined object. Decrease the value from 1 to 0.1 (that’s the number I like to try first usually) and keep adjusting the value until you have a mesh with the polycount that you want.

      The way I was mirroring the hair tubes over was:
      1. Parent selected tubes (the ones you want to mirror) to an empty located at the horizon of symmetry (usually the world origin).
      2. Scale empty -1 in X axis.
      3. Optional, unparent mirroed tubes from empty using the “keep transforms” option. Just keep in mind these tubes will have an inverted scale of -1 for the X. You could apply transforms on the mirrored hair tubes but will then have to reverse the tubes’ direction to flip their normals back properly.

      2 weeks ago

      • Thanks for the fast reply! I wanted to animate the strands with Nivida apex, this is the main character so I can let it become a little higher poly than say the NPCs, but I don’t want to go crazy on it. Is there any way to lower the vertical lines without removing the horizontal? Does any other modeling software have 1 over # selection to make it easier? Hexagon had that but it’s so buggy that I can’t use it for something this complex. Or can decimate decrease the polys without destroying the animation abilities?

        2 weeks ago

  • Replies: 1

    hey kent i got a question when i made my bezier circle and wanted to shrink the points to get the effect you had i dont know what button it is to do this. i pressed S but its not working so i hope you could help me further :)

    2 months ago

    • Replies: 0

      When scaling in object mode, make sure you don’t have the “Manipulate center points” button enabled. It’s the button immediately to the right of the object pivot point selector (three dots with a left to right arrow).

      1 month ago

  • Replies: 1

    I couldn’t get the model so I am just using a sphere for practice. My hair is snapping on the sphere, but pointing toward the -y axis, instead of downward. Is there a way to change that?

    2 months ago

    • Replies: 1

      Let your hair object point in whichever direction it wants to. Then in edit mode, move your control points so your hair is pointing down. From then on, each duplicate that you snap should also be pointing down.

      2 months ago

  • Replies: 1

    What are the pros and cons of this technique in comparison to using planes with a texture on it for use in UE4?

    3 months ago

    • Replies: 0

      This tutorial isn’t aimed at game art. I suppose it could be if the hair lock tubes are low-polygon. But I’d recommend hair planes instead for game application. Though maybe this technique could be applied for hair planes, using a flat line for the bevel object instead of a circle.

      1 month ago