Making a simple hair opacity map #Photoshop #GIMP #Paint.NET

Making a simple hair opacity map  #Photoshop #GIMP #Paint.NET
This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Hair for 3D models

Purpose

In the first post of this series, I made a simple hair texture, demonstrating how similar hair textures can be created in Photoshop, GIMP and Paint.NET. In this post, I shall show how to make a simple hair opacity map using these three applications. It’s remarkably similar.

NOTE: In this tutorial, I do not intend to implement the texture in a 3D application, simply to make it.

What is an opacity map?

An opacity map is usually a black and white image used by a 3D application like DAZ Studio or Blender in order to determine which parts of a texture are transparent.

In the case of hair, this is useful because we don’t want the hair to appear as one solid block like the texture we may be using.

Hair has strands and gaps as shown below in some of my older images.

In these above cases, I used purchased hair with purchased textures. Now I am making my own during the course of this series. The theory of opacity maps for hair for 3D models is as simple as:

So let’s make ourselves some opacity maps! It’s incredibly easy.

Photoshop

As the opacity map should be the same size as my hair texture, I tend to just create a new layer on my existing Hair Texture psd file. I then choose a big rough brush. Here is the one that I used in this case, but anything rough should do.

So I painted the top part white and the bottom third/quarter black.

Then we use motion blur, at angle 90. Note the short distance used in this case. I came to that figure by experimentation. I suggest that you experiment too in order to find what meets your needs.

And here is the result.

 

GIMP

As the opacity map should be the same size as my hair texture, I tend to just create a new layer on my existing Hair Texture xcf file.

I then choose a big rough brush. Here is the one that I used in this case, but anything rough should do.

So I painted the top part white and the bottom third/quarter black.

Then we use motion blur. Note the short distance used in this case. I came to that figure by experimentation. I suggest that you experiment too in order to find what meets your needs.

Then we use motion blur, at angle 90. Note the short distance used in this case. I came to that figure by experimentation. I suggest that you experiment too in order to find what meets your needs

And here is the result.

Note that I deliberately made the hairline much more ragged than the Photoshop one. But, had I wanted to, I could have made it similar.

Paint.NET

As the opacity map should be the same size as my hair texture, I tend to just create a new layer on my existing Hair Texture pdn file.

Now at this point, my method differs from my Photoshop and GIMP approach. Unless I use a custom brush add-on, Paint.NET only provides me with simple brushes. But the point of this tutorial is to show the process using the base configuration. So let’s pick a simple brush setting. I’ll reduce the brush size at different points to get a ragged appearance.

And paint the top area white and the bottom part black.

Now select the Dent effect.

Use the following settings (or experiment as you wish)

Then we use motion blur.

Don’t forget to make the motion angle equal to 90.

And here we are.

I actually quite like it.

 

Conclusion

Photoshop, GIMP and Paint.NET are all great for making hair opacity maps.

 

Thanks for reading.

Greg

 

Series Navigation<< Making a simple hair texture using #Photoshop or #GIMP or #Paint.Net

3 Comments


  1. Thanks Greg. great to read how you achieve the results that you do. Hope 2018 is treating you well.
    Dale

    Reply

Leave a Reply