3D Hair

Posted Friday, June 20, 2008, 12:03 AM

There are a few holy grails in 3D graphics that most artists struggle to get to grips with. Water is one such feature that only recently has been finally knocked on the head, but even then only in certain situations. A lot of the water and ocean effects in Peter Jackson's King Kong were excellent, and a few were not. As long as they don't draw attention to themselves from their wrongness, then that's considered a success, but geeks like me tend to notice the tricks that are employed a little too readily.

Another difficult to nail down aspect of 3D is animating physical motions like jumping or falling. I've never seen a convincing hand animated jump yet. All three Spider-Man movies are full of crappy attempts at hand-animated leaps and swings, and it annoys me a lot.

The Uncanny Valley problem of eyes is another continually difficult nut to crack. It's improving, but it's still not there yet.

One that has been figured out, relatively recently in computing terms, is hair. But the problem is if you want it to react and interact like real hair, it takes a huge amount of processing power to do it properly, and I haven't got such a luxury. So my attempts at things like cloth effects and hair have to be simplified and reduced to something relatively basic.

Here is my first attempt at polygon hair, based on a tutorial. I am... not satisfied, but it's a good start.

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