A long time ago I was a teacher. Besides the normal three Rs (reading, writing and arithmetic), I always followed with a second three – Research, Review, Reflection. For me, these were consolidation exercises that deepened my understanding. Each of you will have to do this for yourselves. I just thought that I would share my experience of it in learning about 3D hair.
I watched several Blender and Photoshop hair tutorials on YouTube. I don’t need to list them as you can simply do the same search that I did. For each I pondered what it had to offer and whether it added to my current knowledge. I found that each had their own slightly different approach, so I decided which suited me. Actually, I’ll probably do what I always do, use a hybrid approach that combines bits from each.
Next, I felt that I needed to look at an actual hair model created by someone else. I did this by picking a hair model in DAZ Studio, rendering it, exporting it to Blender, examining the textures. (NOTE: If you do not currently have DAZ Studio then I urge you to get it. It is free and it is superb. A good artist should have an array of tools and this is a must-have in my opinion.) A few things I noticed in doing this was that the artists group all their objects together in one mesh. Notice I say mesh and do not mention curves. This is because any of them that use curves probably convert them to a mesh, maybe UV unwrap and apply the texture. I’ve checked, and it is my understanding that you can bake a texture to a curve. So I am guessing that the baked texture is what is applied to the subsequent mesh.
I know the following:
- How to make hair textures
- How to make those textures transparent in places (occlusion maps or alpha layers)
- Making strands, curls, etc in Blender using Bezier curves
- Making strands in Blender using meshes (here is a link to a video on that)
- Node setups in Blender cycles for the textures
- Converting curves to meshes
- Baking textures
- Exporting/Importing between Blender and DAZ Studio.
Funnily enough, I feel a bit intimidated. Every time that I look at the craftsmanship of others, be it writing or art, I feel so inferior. I’m not going to let that stop me, but it is how I feel. I also feel stupid posting things on here like I know what I am talking about. But I know that we are all here to learn. The reason that I mention these fears is that I know so many other people that have those very same fears and let the fears stop them. Don’t. (NOTE: If you ever feel the same way, could you please comment.)
I am so worried that my first hair model will look absolutely awful.
I am also worried that it won’t import properly into DAZ Studio.
How will I start? Perhaps find a simple hairstyle on a Google image search. Lots of straight lines. LOL.
I think I understand all the principles. But art is more than technicalities, it is judgment and understanding and… well… art.
Thanks for reading. Hopefully my next post will see me actually beginning the hair model. :)