Time in this 3D hair journey for 3 Rs – Research, Review, Reflection

Time in this 3D hair journey for 3 Rs - Research, Review, Reflection
This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series Hair for 3D models

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. :)


Series Navigation<< Making a simple hair transparent texture #Photoshop #GIMP #Paint.NET


  1. I have those fears. I think this is why I enjoy discussing the creative process. Maybe my explorations will help someone figure something out or maybe someone with a better idea will come along and share a few pointers. I’m just getting started on hair myself. Editing preexisting assets I seem to be okay with but creating my own hair has been daunting.

    So don’t be afraid to share what you’re learning as you’re learning. Someone like me might find it helpful, or someone out there might be ahead of the learning curve willing to share what they know.


    1. Thanks :) Yep – I agree with the whole discussing the creative process thing. It really helps. And I just love chatting to other creative people in general. They are awesome and inspiring :)


  2. I have been telling myself that I will put aside the time to learn Blender for about a decade. Your posts are interesting to me as a total noob. The biggest factor stopping me learning blender is finding the time. Procrastination, my excuse for a lot of things. I do like the way you break down your tasks and flow chart your methods. I have logged back into my daz account and will reinstall the software, I had forgotten about it until reading your recent post. Thankyou.


    1. Thanks Neil :) When I was learning programming one of my lecturers always used to remind us of how to eat an elephant: one bite at a time. I’ve taken this rule into everything I do, breaking tasks down into not-too-intimidating chunks :) I think the thing that I like about daz is how well it permits users to pose and render scenes :)


    1. Probably. But I always felt that a teacher should inspire their students to think, not just to memorize. I also tried to listen to my students. The feedback I received from student’s parents was very positive.


  3. Yes, it is easy to feel inept when you see the experts work. When you struggle in daz studio, remember that I will never know how to work it, and that the last time I baked, my then boyfriend said ‘Honey, this is awful’. I have not baked since. This was 1996.


    1. You know I realize that was not the whole truth. I have ‘baked’ since but it involved opening a box of Sara Lee or some such, marked ‘brownies’, following the instructions and coming up with blackies.


    2. True. Experts can be both daunting and inspiring LOL re baking. In 1998 my wife made a totally appalling baked cheese cake. But because we were newly weds I ate my piece and said yummy etc. After I ate it she laughed, told me she had burnt the chocolate and generally wrecked it, and said how impressed she was by me eating it because she had been unable to eat a second spoonful earlier. LOL.


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